Monthly Archives: December 2010

Are Your Employees Living the Company’s Values? Four Recommendations

Situation: A tenet of the Company is that all decisions are made consistent with Company Values. However, some of my managers are asking for guidance on how to do this. How have other CEOs encouraged managers to make decisions consistent with company values?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Create cross-functional teams to address initiatives, solve problems and develop new processes consistent with company values.
    • This builds understanding other departments’ perspectives, and awareness of the impact of decisions on the company as a whole.
    • It builds awareness of company values and fights unhealthy competition between functions.
  • One company created an employee task force to encourage living company values. Their solution includes:
    • Review the company’s values and consider revising how they are stated for easy learning.
    • Involve employees in discussions of company values and how they are applied in their departments.
    • Create a cross-functional employee task force to address inter-departmental conflicts and to suggest solutions in line with company values.
    • Expect everyone to know the company’s values, and occasionally test them.
  • Build a vision of what the company looks like as an expression of its values.
    • Make living this vision part of your role.
    • Include living company values as a formal responsibility of managers.
    • Reward initiatives that build company values into company efforts.
    • Regularly review with your mangers their execution of company values.
  • Create “SMART” objectives around implementation of company values, and hold individuals accountable for achieving their objectives.

Key Words: Company Values, Decisions, Employee Involvement, Initiative, Vision, Role, Objectives, Accountability 

Living for Work or Working for a Living? Six Solutions

Situation: The CEO typically works long hours and frequent weekends. This taxes family life and has resulted in neglect of activities that were previously enjoyed. How do other CEOs maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Life is more than work. Just the fact of your asking this question indicates that you already know that too much focus on work is not good for you.
  • Develop and devote time to your hobbies. The CEO and engineers in one company developed a company robotics club, and even participate in robotic competitions. This has a number of benefits:
    • It provides fun away from work while keeping their creative engineering skills sharp;
    • In the process of competing, they meet and form relationships with potential business partners and customers;
    • It builds camaraderie and cohesiveness within the team;
    • They have the opportunity to involve their kids in this activity, and
    • They translate this into a public service by assisting local schools who have their own robotics clubs.
  • Regular exercise, particularly with a group, helps you to be more effective at work. This is supported by substantial objective research.
  • Involve other people – friends and family – in your hobby or exercise activity – it will help to both strengthen relationships and resist distractions.
  • To assure that this becomes part of your life, put it on the calendar and don’t let other priorities displace it.
  • Learn to say “no” to things that would displace this activity.

Key Words: Work-Life Balance, Hobbies, Family, Exercise, Health, Priorities 

How do you Prioritize Multiple Priorities? Seven Suggestions

Situation: The CEO was just promoted from COO. During the transition, the CEO is responsible both for past and new duties. There is an extensive list of Company priorities. How should the CEO prioritize this list for action?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Key Take-Aways
    • Focus on Executive Committee roles first – the roles of your leadership team.
    • Select your leadership team carefully – the team that will implement your agenda. They will help you make key choices and implement changes and programs. It is essential that this team present a united front as you roll out any changes.
    • As CEO, you are now accountable for the success of the company.
      • Put issues on the table.
      • Gather input and advice from your team.
      • Make your decision on how to move forward.
      • Delegate responsibility and accountability.
      • Rally the team around your decision.
      • Follow-up to assure that things are getting done.
    • Be focused. If you only had the resources to do three things, which would these be? What will bring the greatest short and long-term value to the company?
    • Avoid micromanaging assigned responsibilities.
    • Bring in a consultant to assist you in implementing organizational changes that are necessary for the company.
      • Defining new roles and responsibilities.
      • Correcting behavior of team members that does not benefit the team.
    • As soon as possible, promote, or hire someone to take on your old roles. You will have your hands full as CEO.

Key Words: Priorities, Leadership Team, Accountability, Responsibility, Delegation, Follow-up 

What’s My Role as CEO? Five Perspectives

Situation: The CEO questions whether he is the right person to lead the Company. The Company has solid revenues and profitability, but growth is lower than expected. How can the CEO improve his situation and solidify his leadership?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The primary functions of the CEO are to assure the maintenance of company values, to provide vision, and to monitor resource allocation within the company.
  • Identify your strengths, and the most important areas where you need help. Create an organizational chart not of positions but of strengths that are needed within the company. Compare these positions with your own strengths, and focus your own activities on your strengths. Promote or hire talent to support you in the latter areas.
    • As you hire or promote and delegate, make sure that you are allowing those with new responsibility the latitude to run their areas of responsibility.
  • Should I consider hiring a CEO or COO?
    • Maybe. If you do, first identify the key leadership traits that we most want to see in a candidate.
    • If you hire a CEO, this individual should have skin in the game. They must be perceived as a leader, and there must be a clean hand-off.
    • Consider hiring a COO. This can be someone willing to take this role with the understanding that your long-term objective is to replace yourself as CEO. A person unwilling to come on as COO and to develop into the CEO may not be the right candidate.

Key Words: Leadership, Role, Strengths, Delegation, Organizational Chart, Values, Vision, Resource Allocation, CEO, COO