5 Focal Points of a CEOs Responsibility Part 1
As a CEO, you have tremendous responsibility with your power and authority. I spent time in my own reflection as a CEO of the commitments that I'm going to make, as I continue down this path, scaling my own company. And through that reflection, I started to map out what went well, in an effort to bring this forth to you.
We made some changes over the last 12 months. What went well? What still needs improvement? I also analyzed the inner thoughts and inner workings of the CEOs we get to work with and started to dig in and analyze who they are as people, how they show up to the role, how they lead their company and the outcomes that result from their thoughts, words, actions.
Let’s walk through five key areas that, as a CEO or executive, are your key responsibilities. You've said yes to showing up and running a company. And that comes with great responsibility.
This is a two-part blog, focusing on the 5 focal points of a CEO’s responsibility.
The first focal point is the 75, 100 rule.
One of the biggest mistakes that CEOs make in their early stages when they're hiring their first handful of employees, is they expect the people that they hire and bring on board to do the work as well as they do it. They want to train them through osmosis. They don't have a written or well put together onboarding plan or training plan. And there isn't a big runway for them to be proficient and successful in the role. And oftentimes they're just not set up for success.
You are a CEO, you are a 100 on a scale of zero to 100. You are a 100, you're smart, talented, brilliant, capable. You have the stomach for risk. You're probably a little bit crazy because I'm pretty sure all CEOs have to be a little bit crazy. I can say that because I am one and in order to do what we do and say yes to what we have to get done every single day on the risk and responsibility that we hold for ourselves, our family, our employees, their families, our clients, and key stakeholders. It's a lot of weight. It's a lot of responsibility. I think you need to be a little crazy to do it, but we are ‘100s’. Most of us are trailblazers. We're extremely innovative pioneers. We're high urgency. We get things done.
We are a 100. Most CEO's as they hire, they have an expectation that they can find other 100s to come and work for them. In fact, a lot of the modeling they put together for future growth plans would be a replication of the work that they can do at the same level.
Let me explain. A CEO who's growing and decides to hire their first salesperson, they'll say, okay, I was able to sell or secure three-quarters of a million dollars in a year. And that was me by myself, as the CEO. I also ran the company and did client work. Therefore, a full-time salesperson should easily be able to sell a million, right, because they would be full-time. So they set a sales plan for their first sales rep hire above what they were able to do with that justification, but the salesperson doesn't succeed.
They bring on the salesperson. They say, here's your laptop. Go sell. I'll attend the first few meetings with you. We'll see how it goes. And from there it's all on you. They haven't invested in marketing. They haven't invested in automation, technology, a profiled database of contacts that actually exist with correct contact information, and the person doesn't sell. And they wonder why?
This can also be an example with somebody to run operations. If the CEO has also been acting as COO, running all facets of operations internally for the company, they go to extend that offer to that first operations manager, director, VP, or COO level. And the expectation is they are able to do it at the level of the CEO. Well, that person is not a 100. They may not have the urgency that you have. They may not have the knowledge that you have. They may not understand the intricacies of the business. Yet, your expectation is that they can just come in and take it over for you, but yet they may fail.
So let's talk about the 75, 100 rule as you bring on employees, especially very important key hires that you have an expectation of them being a 100, just like you. Remove the expectation. On their best day, your best key employee will be operating at 75% of what you can do. On most days, they're going to be between 50 to 60% at 50 of what you can do. 50% of what you can do is good.
If you are attempting to hire those who are 75s on every day and can peak to that 90 or 100, I have a warning for you. It will be a short-lived hire because when they acknowledge and realize how smart, brilliant, talented they are, they will go be a CEO and they will no longer be working for you. They will not have the patience to work underneath you for too long. And they will begin building the foundation that they believe they need in order to go off one day and run their own company.
So be cautious of that, unless you're okay with that. When you have an employee who maybe started at that 50, and now you see them developing and working at a higher level, I believe the right thing to do as a CEO who carries the responsibility of the mentorship and development and caring of your team, you should help them get to that level.
It's not fair to wrap your arms around them and suffocate them and hold on to them and make them feel lesser than they are, which I've seen a lot of CEOs do. They don't want the employee to know how good they are, because if they knew how good they were, they would leave. And I have heard executives say that, and that is absolutely terrible.
In fact, you signed up to be a CEO. You signed up to be a leader. You signed up to have a great responsibility in this world. And one of those pieces, that's the team that has said yes to working for you. You don't own them and they don't owe you anything. You need to value them as human beings and you need to serve them as human beings. You need to understand their goals, personally, professionally, who they are, the more you can do to help this person get on their path, to be able to live and execute on their God-given purpose in their superhuman talents, do not hold them back.
Do not push them down out of fear of losing them. There are a lot of people out there and that you can employ. It is your responsibility to love care for and serve the people that say yes to working for you, your brand, your company, your reputation, your success, your profitability, your income. So be sure that you are returning that to them in the same level of respect, they have options on where they can work. There's a saying that says a person who feels appreciated will always do more than is expected.
We've covered the 75, 100 rule.
The second focal point is truly serving your team members first and acknowledging that a person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.
Figure out how your people feel appreciated, how they feel valued, how they feel heard, how they feel respected. When you can understand those and adjust your leadership style and mentorship style to empower your team members, watch the productivity, output, and excellence go through the roof. But if you are CEO who loves micromanagement, pushing people down, putting that fire pit in their stomach, where they don't feel good enough so that they want to perform and perform and perform… well, that fire pit will burn out. They will burn out. They will get smart. They will realize that's a toxic environment and not want to be there anymore.
But when you can truly appreciate people, they will do more than what is expected of them.
This thought, of serving first, was a critical shift for me, as CEO at House of Revenue™.
Our culture is now driven by our new core values: Serve First, Scale Second, and Succeed Always.
Serve first means to serve ourselves first. Be right with ourselves so we can be right for others. As CEO, I ensure each team member has the personal time and resources they need to be well with themselves. This includes unlimited time off, work from anywhere (many work from the slopes or the beach!), and weekly conversations to listen to them, hear about their challenges, celebrations, and well-being. I've promised every employee I will always greet them with an open heart and an open mind. Every conversation is welcome and safe. We also have a budget for personal development. Career progression is also clearly laid out and we believe in constant feedback loops.
Then, we serve our team members. We always take care of each other. Without question, we've committed to helping anyone on our team if they ask for help. As CEO, I still step in and help with any request in any situation. Nothing is "too small" for me. That mentality is shared by our team. We serve each other's needs, no matter what, so we can be great at serving our clients.
THEN we serve our clients. The work we do is so hands-on... so deep, so powerful! We love our CEOs at their core - as humans before we focus on scaling their companies. Once we get our servant mentality right, we can scale! Our focus on scaling revenue, profitably, has led multiple companies to 2x-3x growth! In a year or less.
Our third core value is to succeed, always. Our success metrics are custom-built with each client. The world doesn't define our success. We get to build the definition with our clients and ensure each engagement is successful.
My management style: love first, approach each situation with calmness. Be curious, ask questions. Ask employees to share 1-2 possible solutions for each problem they identify. Then, show up, roll up my sleeves, and help them solve the problem, to the level that my involvement is needed. My goal is to empower them to solve it first, but I never want them to feel like I am a super delegator, and leave them to solve it alone. I'm here. I'm accessible. I'm committed. I care.
I believe in praise and recognition, but only to each employee's comfort level. I use behavioral theory in management and adjust my style with each team member to align with their motivational style (intrinsic, extrinsic, or altruistic) and their style of language/appreciation (words of affirmation/praise, quality time, or gift-giving). I ensure that feedback is specific and celebrations are personal.
Be sure to read part 2 of this blog, on the 5 focal points of what I believe are the key areas of a CEO’s responsibility.
Founder & CEO
Sales BQ® & House of Revenue™