Why You Hate Being the CEO

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Every business has a CEO, even yours. Now, you may not ever call yourself that, or when you do, it’s only in the theoretical sense, but the fact is, every business has a need for the role of a Chief Executive Officer.

Every business also needs a VP of Marketing, Finance, Operations and all those other boxes you’ll likely find on an org chart.

Kevin Lawver via Flickr

The problem with the very small, even solopreneur, business is that because you’re doing all of these jobs, often concurrently, you don’t tend to departmentalize the various functions as you must.

In many cases, you most relate with the tactical work that seems to consume most of your day. The busy work is where you feel most productive, it’s how you make stuff, sell stuff and ship stuff. I mean, who has time to fantasize about the goofy title of CEO anyway?

And that’s the rationale we use so we don’t have to do the really hard work.

A CEO’s primary function in most organizations is to look beyond today, tomorrow, next month even, and determine the resources, strategies and innovations needed to take the organization to a place of unknown some 12 or 18 months from now.

Some people naturally think this way; most can’t rise up above the noise of the urgent to do so.

Unless and until you force yourself to actually play the role of CEO in your business (even in 15 minute increments) you will constantly find yourself struggling to maintain that which you can effectively keeps your arms wrapped around.

You play the role of CEO – even if you have no one else to manage or account to – by carving out time to think long term, plan long term and measure and correct short term on a consistent basis.

You play the role of CEO by creating an annual growth plan, brining your entire team together for a day each quarter to report and access, holding weekly all hands meetings and even daily fifteen minute check-ins to get a sense of how people are progressing with priorities and projects.

All of the above can be done with an actual team or all by yourself – the point is to wear the CEO hat in this intentional manner, no matter the situation.

This takes the kind of discipline that few have. You have to get good at separating your routine from what needs doing – wear a suit on your CEO days if that helps. Make an org chart with all the boxes and magnets that allow you to move yourself from box to box. Have your printer make business cards for your various roles – do whatever it takes to get yourself into performing the essential roles in your business as though they mattered.

Because, actually being the CEO in your organization may be the most important fifteen minutes you spend each day.


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