After countless overtime, and hundreds of meetings, you finally made it to the big chair! Put out that stogie and drop the Chivas…the work has just begun.
#1 You are now the face of the company. Adding to the daily business operations are demands on your time to meet with outside investors, the business media, dealing with individual Board members and their insatiable appetite for information. Add in a couple of non-profit and charity requests and your daily calendar looks like it was attacked by a 4 year old with a crayon fetish. It is never too late to get help: Time Management, Presentation Skills and Media Training are all valuable skill sets that will help smooth the transition.
#2 An effective CEO needs to learn to loosen the reigns. No longer involved in the day to day minutia of the organization, the CEO is responsible for the implementation of the overall strategic plan. Skills in Delegation and Effective Communication become paramount.
#3 Being a CEO is a 24/7 responsibility. Everything you say or do, both inside the organization and outside, is subject to scrutiny and interpretation. The off colour joke, the witty Twitter response, the Facebook post of you and your buddies. You are the full time face of your organization and taking the legal and moral high ground is imperative. Empathic Listening Skills and professional guidance in everything from dressing for the role to Dining Etiquette are all part of a steep learning curve.
#4 You are not the boss…surprise! In fact, you may have more bosses now than ever before; the Board of Directors, the Shareholders, the Financial Partners. Nobody in the world of business likes surprises and regular consistent communication is the key to reducing unintended messaging. Being able to Effectively Chair Meetings is a mandatory skill to ensure your tenure is as smooth and productive as possible.
#5 Be humble. Success is fleeting…and is rarely based exclusively on your own skills and talents. Business is a long term team game. Be quick to engage…absorb information like a sponge and don’t be bullied into making rash decisions. Ensure a Work-Life Balance, because long after your last Board meeting, you will want to make sure your family is still there!
BONUS LESSON: Your new role as CEO is certainly exciting and with the right support can be a successful and fulfilling one. Seeking guidance from a mentor or an advisor can help ensure that you master the five lessons mentioned above, while also helping you to build your career and reputation as a CEO.