In 1998 you were a black belt and now, 17 years, later you are the CEO of your firm. Have you called Jack Welch, Mikel Harry or your MBB to thank them for believing in you? If not, it’s time to do so. But what comes next? You go big on the 10 things you did to get to where you are today.
1. Remember that effective change is a product of the technical solution and its’ acceptance.
So how do you address the acceptance issues and leverage all of the intelligence in your organization and your supply chain?
- Get to know all of the people across your organization – know their names and faces cold. Set up a breakfast with the three to five people a week that are critical to the success of the organization and recognize their contribution
- Lunch is reserved for your consultants, suppliers, industry gurus, bankers and board members
- Dinner and drinks (and the occasional sporting event) are reserved for clients
- Wake up thanking your people, learn new things at lunch and wow your clients at dinner with all that your organization can do.
2. Single Source of Truth – In God we trust all others bring data.
There should be only one source of data on the business – the CFO must have the financial data and the COO the operational data. If the data is wrong, tell your people to work through the CFO and COO to make it right. No one brings their own data to the meeting – there is just one set of books in your company and the measurement system is tested.
3. Strategy – big word – what is it that your company does that others can’t?
Will anyone pay you for that? Is it enough to be viable?
4. People – if your business isn’t viable, and you don’t have a way to pay your people, it is a moral imperative to tell them before they leave a perfectly good company to join you in your quest.
5. Manage the Enterprise Value of the company.
The equation is easy: EBITDA x Multiple = Enterprise Value. But what are you doing to make them both go up? EBITDA is critical but Multiple is your challenge.
6. Limited resources – what are you going to mass your energy around?
7. Your problem/opportunity statement – be clear and make sure your people are clear on what they are doing.
8. Ask ‘why’ 5 times and after you’ve mastered asking ‘why’ five times, start asking ‘why’ 15 times.
9. Employ people that are more talented, hungrier and more aggressive than you.
10. Go big and go bold but place your ego on hold.
These 10 lessons are the building blocks for any successful CEO. They got you to where you are today and will always help you face what comes tomorrow. Most of all, never forget the biggest lesson of all:
11. Regardless of what happens during your tenure as the CEO, the worst thing that will happen is you crash and burn and tomorrow you take a job as a black belt – the best two years of your professional life.