Being a Chief Executive Officer means that you’re the highest-ranking executive in a company. You are responsible for the most important decisions in the business, meaning the buck may well stop with you if you make the wrong decision. While you can ask others for their input, you are in charge of a business’s vitals. Being accountable to a board of directors, you are responsible for leading the development of strategies to improve share value and business stature.
To be successful, you need to possess a firm knowledge of the sector you’re in. However, there are also transferable skills that CEOs must hold that will allow them to be successful in any sector. We take a look at these skills here:
Innovation is important for growth. It helps you stand out from your competitors as you can ensure that you offer something unique. This can help you meet your customers’ needs as well as attracting the best talent to work for you. This is because talented and innovative people are more likely to be drawn to innovative companies — and this starts from the top.
Indeed, Greg Phillips, CEO of ElizaSixtyFour, which offers innovative data solutions for your business, states that one of the company’s main behaviours is ‘be better than yesterday’. Phillips said: “This is a mindset of continual improvement, with innovation at its core. Innovation doesn’t have to be some whizz-bang technology. It might be a new way of using data or a change in mindset and is something that has to be on every CEO’s agenda.”
“Successful CEOs of the future will understand that innovation isn’t something you should be doing, but is something that is intrinsically embedded in how your organisation is.”
Be a risk taker
Many of us have dreams of how to improve — whether that’s in work or in our personal life. However, as soon as ‘risk’ is mentioned we baulk and return to the safe haven we know best. Sometimes, in order to move forward, you must become a risk taker and this rings true for CEOs too. Coasting along may be all well and good for some in the production line, but at top-level management, this isn’t possible. You must be prepared to take calculated risks in order to reap the rewards. The road to success is paved with risk, but not everyone is willing to make this journey.
Indeed, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, encourages CEOs to take risks, but insists they shouldn’t have to do ‘big, crazy things’ too often. In a discussion with Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, Zuckerberg commented that stagnant companies don’t make changes and are guaranteed to fail and not catch up. The best bit of advice he was offered by Peter Thiel was “In a world that’s changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”
You must not let emotion rule your decisions or indeed be overly shown in front of your workforce. This doesn’t mean that you should be void of emotion altogether. However, you are the one in charge — displaying excessive emotion, such as anger at small mistakes or too much joy at minute wins may make you come across as not being in full control. You must know how to correctly appreciate your staff.
While 75% of employees who were recognised by their superiors once a month were satisfied in their role, it’s vital you control your praise to only when it’s most needed. Continuous praise for the smallest of achievements could see your praise diluted. Staying controlled will allow your comments to provide more of an emphasis.
It’s crucial that you take other people’s views into account. While you may be the final decision maker, you should always listen to what people think and trust their judgement. If your team of employees feels like they have a voice in change and how your company moves forward, as well as feeling confident that they’re an important part of the business, they will work harder to achieve your overall goal or objective.
Katrina Percy, who has over 10 years as a CEO, believes that collaboration is hugely important. “Collaborative leadership is beneficial to all involved and helps individuals to strive towards excellence. You should blur the experience gaps and engage with every staff member and operate as if they were your peers.
“If you know your own strengths and weaknesses, and own them, this will help you become a successful leader.”
As well as this, delegation is key and shows staff that you trust them. Doing so relieves time for yourself to focus on more strenuous tasks while also engaging your team. In fact, a study by Gallup found that a highly engaged team showed 21% greater profitability, too. There tends to be a shortened turnover ratio and reduced absenteeism. Therefore, a CEO must continue to collaborate with staff at every level and make them know their worth.
Of course, there are many other skills that a CEO can transfer from one sector to another. However, those mentioned can prove pivotal to becoming a success.
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