|November 28, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand...
Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—
In Part II of my series on CEO performance I offer a couple questions any CEO can ask himself to help evaluate how well he’s doing in his job. Naturally, asking the people around him to answer the questions might also give fresh insights into his performance.
BELCHING AT THE TABLE, Part II
by Chuck Violand...
Entrepreneurs start businesses for all sorts of reasons, including being our own boss and taking charge of our own destiny. But along with this independence comes the risk of not being accountable to anyone other than ourselves for the performance of our company...and that can be a dangerous place to be. Having the strength to hold yourself accountable to the following four questions can mean a world of difference in the performance of your business.
How do people feel about working at your company? In a broad sense how’s the morale at your company? Not how do YOU think it is, but rather, how do YOUR PEOPLE think it is? Do they enjoy coming to work? Do they enjoy being around each other?
At first blush company morale and having people who look forward to coming to work may not seem like the responsibility of the CEO. But they are. Every CEO is responsible for the culture of the company and part of that culture is having people feeling good about coming to work. After all who wants to be part of a culture where people only show up for a pay check or because they can’t find any place else to work?
As the CEO of your company you can measure how well you’re doing by how enthusiastically your people do their jobs. We work more productively when we like what we’re doing and we like where we work. So, if your people are performing their jobs with passion, then congratulations. Why not schedule a party with them to celebrate your good fortune. It will help everyone feel even better about where they work. If they aren’t passionate then ask for their suggestions on what you can do to improve the atmosphere. Your people will probably have some pretty good ideas.
How is your company performing financially? Is your business enjoying sustained growth that isn’t dependent on windfall contracts or weather events? Are your financial margins where they should be? Are they deep enough to build cash reserves? How’s your cash flow? Is it healthy?
Like it or not the CEO is the person primarily responsible for a company’s financial performance. You’re the one who wanted the ball, now it’s time to run with it. So if your business is not performing as well as it should there’s no sense looking for scapegoats like a bad economy, soft markets, unmotivated employees, slow paying customers, family members, spouses, or phases of the moon. Pick up the ball and run with it. Saying you’re not “a numbers guy” is no excuse.
On the other hand if your company is enjoying superior financial performance then, again, congratulations. Give yourself a bonus out of your added profits and consider sharing some of that bounty with the hard working people who were responsible for helping to produce it.
While the people around you may be reluctant to belch out loud and tell you how well they think you’re doing as the CEO of your company, their inner drive to perform their job and the stark reality of financial performance tell no lies.
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