Do you want to be a successful CEO?
The pyramid of the management hierarchy will project the C.E.O, also known in other jurisdictions as the Managing Director (MD) at the top. The top is usually viewed as a much privileged and pleasant position. The aspiration of many middle management personalities is to get to the top to enjoy maximum satisfaction, power, better remuneration etc.
Whereas that may represent both a perception and reality, it is absolutely important to note that becoming a number one in any human institution is also a heavy responsibility. The C.E.O whilst enjoying power and privileges is at the same time the trustee of all resources involved – men, money and materials. The C.E.O becomes the steward of these resources at defined period ends.
Yes, it is an opportunity and pleasure to make the appointment but the devastating effect of such appointment becomes a burden of the C.E.O. Can a C.E.O disassociate himself from any wrongdoing or any unfortunate occurrence of an institution? The answer has and will in most cases remain “NO” even if such occurrences are seen as the act of God, the C.E.O is expected to have taught of mitigative measures and even if there are, questions are asked as to whether such measures were adequate.
The Power Factor
The C.E.O consciously or unconsciously influences the entire institution because he casts a deep shadow of the institution. A company may have 1000 people working for it and the C.E.O may not even know 100 of them personally. However, every single action and behaviour by every worker becomes a responsibility of the C.E.O.
In public circles, we have had instances where heads of ministries and departments have been summoned to answer questions on perceived unpleasant dealings even when such acts were known to have been perpetuated by lower personnel of such institutions.
The Best Way to Go
I am sure any aspiring C.E.O at this juncture of our conversation may be wondering whether to drop or keep that aspiration. So long as you are not just being favoured or forced to become the C.E.O, keep to that aspiration because not being favoured or forced may mean that you are aspiring by developing relevant capacities by gathering relevant experiences and intellectual abilities to accept the opportunity and the associated deep responsibilities when they com.
On the other hand, being favoured or forced unnecessarily may have devastating effects. It is said that “nothing gets done out of nothing”. Everything is done out of something. Let us consider a few basic issues that make the C.E.O.
As established earlier, the successful CEO is not the occupying of a space or position. It should rather be seen as the handling of the overall responsibility whether directly or indirectly of the institution. Here, the C.E.O must fully understand the concept of the organization and if it is a typical business entity, be abreast of the technical and operational units of the business aside from his adequate competency in the management of the “man, money and materials of the institution.
Secondly, a C.E.O of any level-large, medium or small sized institution must have a certain vision. Then, he must consider it important enough to share that vision with those he works with through effective and absolutely simple communication. Relevant information must be shared by all as and when it is expected. At the implementation of such vision, the C.E.O must make hard and difficult decisions that may be associated with the vision implementation process even if that may result in hatred and criticisms.
The C.E.O must also learn to be very humble. No single individual can command all wisdom, it should not be difficult for a C.E.O to say “I do not know” when appropriate then, go and find the right responses through appropriate consultations. Humility is a resource to a C.E.O and the C.E.O should be able to rely on that (humility) to say I am sorry when he errs or when any part of the institution does not go as desired by interested stakeholders.
Our current business environment makes some unfortunate revelations on the business of being a C.E.O. The desire and the advocacy to establish businesses and enterprises have led to having many C.E.Os. From our conversation, a C.E.O must carefully be “baked”. Can that be the case for a new graduate who has established a business and by that mere establishment makes him the C.E.O The idea and investment may be important but the implementation of the idea into sustainable business becomes a greater responsibility?
What is recommended in this situation is that the establisher of the institution relinquishes that C.E.O position to a much experienced and knowledgeable person for a considerable period of time? During which period, the establisher/owner of the institution will gather adequate capabilities and experiences to take over. Alternatively, one can also be humble enough to make submissions to mentors and consultants in the industry. Failing to do any of these may either slow the growth of the business or sometimes deprives of any growth and the result, collapse and loss of investment. Fortunately, the management aspect of the job of the CEO is being complemented by the presence of tools of information communication technology. Areas of management such as evaluation and assessment, monitoring etc. are done much easier these are reliefs which were not available to CEOs decades ago.
In conclusion, it must be clearly noted that the job of a C.E.O is not for everyone. A school of thought has it that, for some people and professions, by their training and resulted thinking, the job of C.E.O may not be appropriate for them because the fair balance of the management of the men, money and materials may not come easily to them.
To be a successful CEO, it needs the ability to be the goldfish in a bowl. It is certainly not a mere occupation but strictly a vocation. This vocation calls for being able to have independent thoughts without losing the ability to listen to others. The C.E.O is strictly thinking and acting job at different times. When situations are pleasant and things are generally going very well, the C.E.O needs to think, think and think. When things are going bad, the C.E.O needs to evoke all senses to act and act and act.
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