Over the past 10-15 years, advancements in technology and the globalization of the world's economies have changed the end game for many business organizations. As the leader of these organizations, CEOs are under tremendous pressure to stay nimble and flexible in a dynamic business environment where regulations and processes are continually changing. Of course, those individuals surrounding a CEO still have a tremendous effect on the ability of any organization to succeed. However, the old adage “the buck stops here” will always be directed towards the man at the top of the organizational chart; the CEO.
How the Job Description Has Changed Over the Years for CEOs
Prior to the start of the 21st century, CEOs could afford to be directed towards one product line, one client base, one economy and a fairly predictable employee base. In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote and released the song “Time Are a Changing” and never have those lyrics been more relevant than now. Today's CEO is now required to consider things like:
- product/service diversification
- producing product lines with mass appeal
- navigating global economies where the guidelines are still being developed
- how to deal with a new breed of employees (millennials) who are entering the job market in force.
How Does a CEO Bring the Most Value?
There is no denying that CEOs are accountable to their Board of Directors, business owners and shareholders. With the company's current and future success on the line, it is incumbent on each and every CEO to create their own value. So, how do CEOs create that value?
Recruiting Top Talent – Most CEOs can ill afford the time to become involved in every decision that needs to be made throughout the organization. There are hundreds of important decisions that are made everyday. Successful CEOs know how to delegate the responsibility for making most of these decisions. More importantly, successful CEOs have talented employees to whom they can delegate. For high-level talent, the job marketplace can be very competitive. In order for a CEO to be able to draw much needed talent, they must be able to do more than offer an attractive compensation package. They must also be able to effectively communicate the company's vision and how each prospective employee fits into bringing that vision to life inspiring a top candidate to join the team. The best thing a CEO can do is recruit a solid talent pool from which to draw on and who can take over the top spot in the organization if needed.
Defining the Right Metrics – Working with the right people within the organization, it is ultimately up to the CEO to properly define what would be considered success for the business organization. Great CEOs define success as something more that dollars and cents. The recent recession proved that profits and losses are unpredictable in volatile markets and far from the only way to evaluate a company's viability. A valuable CEO is one who understands the need for the organization to have a solid reputation, integrity and a strong presence in local communities. CEOs who can embrace the need to incorporate all of these things when defining a company's success is going to be invaluable.
Thinking Out of the Box to Motivate Employees – Each generation of employees brings new challenges. Good CEOs recognize the importance of an engaged and spirited staff from top to bottom. As millennials enter the workforce, they bring with them a unique set of expectations as employees. In order to motivate millennials to optimize their contribution, there are 3 things a CEO might consider.
1. A Flexible Work Environment – Millennial were mostly raised in two-income families or by single parents. They don't tend to do well with structure. If a CEO recognizes this characteristic, they can institute policies such as telecommuting and flex hours to help millennials feel more comfortable in the work environment.
2. Increased Involvement in the Company's Vision – Millennials thrive on involvement and engagement. CEOs will find an eager audience if they are capable and willing to communicate not only the company's vision, but also how that vision was derived. There is real value to be found for CEOs who are willing to let their employees be part of the entire business development process.
3. Future Prospects – Millennials tend to be fast-trackers. They are looking for new challenges all the time. It's not about the money (most of the time), it's a chance to stay upwardly mobile with title changes and new responsibilities. Successful CEOs know how to use this drive to the organization's benefit.
Establishing a Global Presence –
Any CEO who can successfully function across international borders is going to be worth their weight in gold. It is more than speaking different languages, it is about understanding different cultures and addressing the uniqueness of each one through the goods and services that are being offered by the company. It is also about understanding the laws governing nations in which the company wants to do business.
Incorporating Modern Technology Into the Business Model – We are now firmly into the second decade of the 21st century. A successful CEO is going to be the person who embraces the need for social media and an online presence. The biggest reason for globalization is the Internet. In order for companies to successfully compete, they need to direct the organization into the cyber-market where customers from countries all over the world have access to the company's goods and services.
Any CEO who can successfully bring these attributes to the table is going to have job tremendous security. More importantly, they are going to become the kind of leader that people want to follow and interact with from a business perspective. It's difficult to be all things to all people, but value can be found in any CEO who has the ability to evolve.
Brad Smith is CEO and co-founder of Rescue One Financial, headquartered in Irvine, California. Rescue One Financial helps individuals resolve unsecured debt during troubling times. Brad’s 18-year financial services career includes Wall Street with Merrill Lynch, where he helped pioneer the restricted stock diversification business at Morgan Stanley. Brad holds a BA in Economics from the University of Southern California.