Defining the Role of the Chief Executive As the chief executive of your company, your role can be daunting. You have ultimate responsibility across the company for everything from Strategy, Finance, and Talent Management to Operations and Business Development.
The Dilemma You may be suffering from the same dilemma or challenge many Executives face - how to stay focused on these executive job duties without becoming distracted by the day-to-day operations of the business.
There are several possibilities to explain why this may be happening.
1. No high-level leader assigned to the distracting business area or lack of competence of that leader
What is missing in your organization that makes it necessary for you to step in and handle day-to-day operations?
What are the kinds of distractions that you face with some regularity?
Is there a high-level leader who reports to you who is responsible for that area of the business? If there is, then what is missing?
What skills or knowledge are lacking on the part of this leader make it necessary for you to step in to be a part of, or handle, this area of the business so directly?
What conversations need to take place with this leader to assist them in handling these issues instead of you? By when will you have this conversation?
2. You are unnecessarily stepping in to the day-to-day operations where it is not necessary.
If you have a competent leader assigned to the business area that repeatedly takes your time away from the kind of work that ONLY YOU can do, it may be that you have not been able to let go of being a part of the operations of the business. This is EXTREMELY common among executive leaders and frequently shows itself in the area of the business in which the executive leader is an expert. For example, if your expertise is in sales, you may be more heavily involved in the sales management than is necessary. Similarly, if you came from an operational background, you may like to be more directly involved on that end.
How much of your day or week is spent on your Executive responsibilities and how much on more managerial or even professional tasks? Are you setting aside time to reflect on and analyze your business?
Not having the "right people in the right places" that you are confident will make those decisions and do those tasks can keep you from fulfilling your Executive responsibilities.
3. You may need additional Executive Development to identify and carry out your Executive responsibilities.
If your Executive Leadership comes from the "school of hard knocks" you are not alone. Many Executives grew up in the business or the industry and few have had the opportunity to formally grow and explore their Executive Leadership potential.
1. Develop Strengths and Work Around Limitations You certainly have your areas of strengths - you did not get to be a successful leader of a thriving business without them. It may be in finance or business development, in operations or in leadership.
You also certainly have your limitations because every leader does. They key is discovering both and identifying opportunities to develop strengths and work around limitations. (Have you ever noticed that your Executive Assistant, or key team member who reports directly to you, has a completely different skill set than you do?)
2. Find a Confidante As the Chief Executive, you have a lot of people telling you "yes." You could probably be more successful if those around you challenged you more. Ideally someone with whom you have a high level of trust, that is not afraid to question you about your decisions and give you honest feedback intended to help you grow as an Executive Leader.
Find a business professional who can act as your confidante, allowing you to download the multitude of thoughts running through your head in a day (your strategic ideas and concerns about the future, your frustrations, etc.) and the things that keep you up at night.