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What do CEOs do?
Batko OS - A system for your job.
Promotions are equally exciting and scary.
On the one side, this is what you’ve been working towards and it comes with a salary increase - what’s not to love?
On the other side, it’s extra responsibility and comes with the fear of the unknown.
When I was promoted to the CEO role 12 months ago, I felt like that times 1000.
As I thought about the role and the associated responsibility, my mind started spiralling into a deep, dark hole.
You have ALL the responsibility.
I also pretty quickly realised that I had no idea what “being a CEO” even meant.
What the hell does a CEO even do?
I didn’t know where to start.
Fortunately, I have great mentors who helped me on my journey, especially Nick Crocker, Niki Scevak and Rachael Neumann. They guided me on the CEO path, but frankly half the time I still don’t know what I’m doing.
So you don’t feel as lost as I did at first, I want to share the framework which I use in my role every day.
[The CEO] Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
Let’s break that down:
Ever since I first saw this, I’ve had this list on my Trello board to remind me every day.
1. Set the Vision and Strategy.
This is your core responsibility - how are you changing the world? What are your building blocks to build strength along the way to get there?
Here is my blogpost + template about strategy based on the best book about the topic I found so far ‘Good Strategy, Bad Strategy’.
Here is the short version of the Startmate strategy which I presented to the Startmate Family (all founders and mentors) in November 2019.
>> Excuse the Xmas elves it was on theme in November 😬
2. Get the money to execute the strategy.
Even the best strategy will only work as long as you have the money to pay for it. It’s the CEOs job to make sure the strategy brings in the required revenue or fundraise to support the strategy. See my last strategy slide as an example.
3. Hire the team to execute the strategy.
In my opinion, this is your most crucial responsibility. There’s nothing more important than hiring the right team. Making sure they not only fit but add to your culture, are technical superstars and complement the rest of the team.
Read my post - here - for great questions to ask in interviews.
4. Hold the team accountable.
It is breathtaking how slow, substandard and unfocused many companies out there get through the day. And think nothing of it. The lack of energy is palatable. There is performance upside everywhere.
As a leader, your opportunity is to reset in each of these dimensions. You do it in every single conversation, meeting, and encounter. You look for and exploit every single opportunity to step up the pace, expect a higher quality outcome, and narrow the plane of attack. Then, you relentlessly follow up and prosecute at every turn.
Yes, it is confrontational.
That is pretty much what CEOs do all the time: confront people, issues and situations.
The emotionally hardest part of the job is to keep yourself and the team focused and accountable to results. This is the hardest, loneliest and can be the most energy-draining part of the job. The only way to make this easier for yourself is to hire absolute superstars and believe in them.
Read my post - here - for questions which can guide your 1:1 conversations with your team to help keep you all aligned and driving forward with your most ambitious goals.
5. Evangelise that vision internally and externally
Lastly, once everything is in place, communicate and over-communicate your vision so often that you feel sick that you keep repeating the same phrases over and over again.
Spread your vision internally with the team and externally with customers, suppliers, investors and frankly anyone that will listen. Practice your one-liner and all the hard questions you inevitably receive every time as you will keep repeating yourself.
Remember that even though you’ve said the same sentence a million times, your audience is hearing it for the first time. Evangelise as if it’s Day 1, every day.