• Mary Grothe

5 Focal Points of a CEOs Responsibility Part 2

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

As a CEO, you have tremendous responsibility with your power and authority. This is a two-part blog, focusing on the 5 focal points of a CEO’s responsibility.

Welcome to part 2, where we walk through focal points 3 through 5 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.

If you missed part 1, please access that here.

The third focal point is expectations versus agreements.

Have you ever had an expectation of somebody and they didn't follow through and do it? Okay. Pause, ask yourself this: Did you communicate the expectation or did you just make an assumption that they knew what was expected of them and to what level and with what detail and the timeline, etc. As humans, we love patterns. Repetition. We start to become familiar with our surroundings, with routine, circumstances and we build assumptions. Let me give you an easy one. Who takes out the trash on trash day in your household? In mine? It's my husband.

Okay. But we've never talked about it. We've never communicated. He just did it. And there was one day where we were both at home in the morning on trash day and I was waiting and waiting and waiting to see if he's going to take out the trash. He doesn't, he doesn't, he doesn't, I don't say anything. I just grow angry. And then I hear the trash truck come down the street. So I storm out into the garage and throw up the garage door real quick and pull that trash can out huffing and puffing thinking to myself, geez, why didn't you do that? We almost missed trash day and almost had this stinky can in the garage for an extra week. How could you? But that was an expectation I had never communicated with him. He had never owned that. We didn't have an agreement on it.

There wasn't a repercussion for not following through. And it was so short-sighted of me to not look at this as a partnership like, Hey, if it doesn't get done, I can easily do it. What expectations do you have of people in your life, specifically as a CEO of your team members that you have not communicated with them on? It's just an expectation that you walk around thinking, well, everyone knows that, isn't that common sense? Come to find out, common sense isn't so common.

And you learn that as a CEO and as an executive. Are expectations being communicated? If they are, are you gaining agreement on those expectations? Meaning, can the person repeat it back to you and agree to the terms and the details of the expectation? How often have you said, I need a report that shows us our combined marketing and sales funnel.

I want to know all outbound activities, all inbound activities. I want to see a blended rate through conversion rates, through the funnel with aligned. Okay, great. And then you assign the report, then you get it back. And it's not what you were looking for. Whose fault is that? Is the person you assigned it to supposed to be a mind reader or should you have communicated in a way where you're gaining agreement on the expectation? If you notice that this is a trend or pattern, you're not setting up your team for success.

And it's not that they're not capable of doing it. They may not understand the way you want it done. It is your responsibility as a leader. And trust me, it will remove so much friction between you and your staff. If you learn to gain agreement on expectations, on all details of the expectation on the front end, when it's being delegated, assigned, communicated if they know exactly what to do and they agree to it, they're not going to let you down or the chance of them not doing it correctly.

It also gives you more visibility into your team members who may not be the right fit for the role if you are great at communicating, delegating, assigning out projects, tasks, communicating, and gaining agreement. You, two understand and be on the same page. Hey, if this isn't done, there's a repercussion or this is going to be the outcome or the next steps. This is the importance and why it has to happen. The impact of it not getting completed. And you gain agreement on that. But if you start to see behaviors in any of your team members consistently where certain activities aren't being done, then, you know that you've done what you can to set them up for success. And you can start having a different conversation, more of a performance conversation. It can be different, but expectations versus agreements, they're critical that you start communicating this way.

You'll notice that when you do all of this, the fail rate on projects, delegated assignments, tasks, etc, significantly goes down. Your team's going to love it. People want to know how to succeed. They want to know the rules of the game. They want structure, humans crave structure. If you could clearly communicate to each team member what is expected of them, how in what detail, by when, and in what format, you give them the ability to perform to your level of expectations. And then everybody's happy because people just want to win. They want to be valued. They want to be great at their job, but you have to ask yourself if you're setting them up for success.

So that's our third topic. Expectations versus agreements.

The fourth focal point is saying yes to the team who said yes to you.

Let's jump into topic number four, we're talking about your responsibility as a CEO, as a leader, you've said yes to running this company, which means you've also said yes to the people, who've agreed to work for you. Especially as a small business. Let’s discuss recruiting. You're not as exciting of a company as you may think you are. Working for a startup or a small business is actually not as attractive as you think it might be. So you may need to check yourself on what you're offering candidates and truly what the job or the role is. I speak from experience. We've helped over a hundred companies in the last three years recruit and augment their teams. And we run into this issue 90% of the time, nine out of 10 companies want to offer low base salaries. They don't have benefits yet. They may have strict policies about work schedules, where to work, time off and then they want to hire people who have proven experience from larger companies. Okay? Let's talk about this.

This seems to be most common with hiring salespeople. You cannot excitingly recruit a salesperson from a Fortune 1000 company, which looks by the way, phenomenal on their resume. And they also have a huge marketing budget, great inbound lead flow, awesome technology, dozens of resources at their fingertips. They have client resolution departments. They have full implementation teams. They have an IT department help them when their computer bugs out, all the things you don't have. They also work for a company, I'll say it again, that looks so good on their resume. It can open up the door to go anywhere. You don't have that as a small business. And I've seen time and time again, small business CEOs want to recruit that type of talent, but they're not willing to cover the perceived risk that that person has if they leave that comfortable position to go work for a no-name startup or small business.

There's a lot of risks there. So let's talk through it. I want to shift your perception, especially with hiring sales talent, but this can be transferable to other roles. And we'll talk about that here in a moment. If you are asking somebody to leave a very cushy successful position, where they're a top performer with a big fortune 1000 or whatever size company with name recognition and all the things I just listed off, you need to share in the risk. You need to prove to them and show them that you're willing to invest in them. You're acknowledging you don't have the infrastructure, the name recognition, the inbound lead flow, and other components that they're used to having, but you are going to offer something in lieu of that because you want them. It could be offered in compensation. It could be part benefit package. It could be a path to ownership.

It could be some sort of concession, something that is of great value to that candidate that you can put forth. But where you will fall short is thinking that you're going to have that type of candidate making the same or potentially less money. It's not going to happen. You can't do it. And hopefully, some of you think I'm crazy right now talking about this, like really, who does that? Good. You're in the minority because the majority of companies, especially the small business CEOs, want that great talent, but they're not willing to pay for it. And they don't have the benefits package and they don't have all those other pieces and components. And then they wonder why they don't get great talent. So they keep spending less money on weaker talent who doesn't produce. And then they're just throwing money out the window. That's not a good strategy.

So my recommendation for you is to buckle up, fix your proforma and adjust your cash flow to where you can afford excellent employee benefits. Meaning paid for medical health, dental, vision, life insurance, get a 401k or an IRA match in there, have flexible work options, if you're able to, give people a choice in where they work, work from home, work from anywhere, hybrid flexibility. These components are critically important right now. Think about what the employees want with coming to work for you and be competitive in the compensation, figure it out. The talent that you hire is going to be a make or break for most of you. Some of your businesses may not be as heavily reliant on talent, but if you are a company that is a little bit more heavily relying on talent, then make the investment. They won't steer you wrong.

You need to hire smarter than you. You need to hire more talented people than you. People who are smarter, people who are more talented in order to take you to the next level. This was a hard lesson learned by our company, as well as a lot of the clients and companies we get to work with. They have a hiring strategy with the same candidate profile that they've had for years. It's like, well, clearly that profile in that function, isn't getting you to where you need to be. Do you think you need to adjust the profile? And I hear all these excuses. Well, we can't afford more. Oh, okay. So you can afford though, to throw away the same amount of money every year and have a lack of performance. Okay. That's crazy to me. I'm pretty sure you can afford more to actually finally, eventually fix and solve the problem.

So take a look at that hiring strategy. Your talent is everything, in most organizations, even in the companies that don't have such a heavy reliance upon exceptional talent. In some roles, you will have that in your upper-level management in those key employee roles. So be smart.

The fifth focal point is to stop being the reason you don't grow.

The fifth and last piece that we're going to talk about is getting out of your own way as a CEO or a leader. If you want to grow or scale your company, but you have a fixed mindset and you're actually allergic to growth, subconsciously you're never going to grow. You've got to do the inner work to understand and identify all of your fear-based thoughts, all of your thoughts that come from a place of a scarcity mindset. You need to look at areas that have held you back in the past in your life. It's really time. This may sound foofoo fluffy, kumbaya, whatever, do the work.

I didn't do the work. And it was a very hard time of scale for me for two years, our first two years of our own company. And when I finally committed to doing the work, I realized how much head trash and the belief systems that I had were holding us back. But I made a commitment to my team that I wasn't going to be afraid of growing anymore. And so it was on me to map it out, to truly understand at the inner core of who I am and my DNA and my belief systems and everything that has made me who I am today.

Why was I scared? And when I was able to identify and map it out and address every single one of those pieces, and it took months, months, some of it was me personally, other things were pieces and how our company was built and infrastructure, the way we were serving our clients. So many different components and it took months to be hyper-focused on rebuilding those pieces. But as we increased focus and we worked through them one by one by one by one, I have changed and you can change too, you will look at that future revenue growth in scale with such a different outlook. I believe in you. I know you have it in you, your CEO, great responsibility. Go lead.

I hope you enjoyed this 2-part blog. I plan to release one blog per month moving forward.

In the meantime, connect with me on LinkedIn or enjoy reading our eBook on our Revenue Scaling Methodology.

Founder & CEO

Sales BQ® & House of Revenue™

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