We CEO’s all have our strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing this we often look to others on staff to offset the shortcomings. This is fine it is normal and worthwhile. The other issue we face is time management with the key question, “Is my time being spent on those things that only I can do?” Delegating for time focus is also the right thing to do. However, there are critical areas of responsibility in our companies that cannot be delegated. Consider these:

The Controller
No CEO wants to spend time doing routine bookkeeping and accounting functions. Yet finance is at the forefront of key strategic decision-making. What are the cash flow projections? What services are profitable and which ones not so? Do we have enough credit lines? When should we increase our credit lines? What is our budget? How should we budget? Does our Balance Sheet have acceptable ratios?

These are all key questions that the CEO must decide. He/she must be on top of this. Delegate the routine work but do not abdicate the key decision-making. CEO’s must be their own Chief Financial Officer!

Human Resources
There are routine record-keeping requirements and communication elements that should be handled at lower levels for time management sake and reasonable compliance. However, compliance is over-played by Human Resource Directors and it is time for CEO’s to get a grip on this and stop acting “afraid of their shadow” so to speak in dealing with their staff. Company staff is far too important to be treated as “lawsuits waiting to happen”. Hiring decisions are critical. CEO’s must be their own HR Director. Would you like to see a sudden increase in company morale? Eliminate the HR Director. With the right team environment, the right people will be selected by the teams themselves and the wrong people will leave via “tribal council”. Let the office manager handle the paperwork.

There seems to be false conventional wisdom that once the CEO has reached the pinnacle of sales activity it must be augmented by sales people. The key question here is, who are the ones actually delivering the services? These are the people who should be out meeting with decision-makers, in fact, aside from the CEO, customer service staff are the only ones who have the right to meet with the decision-makers. In our “transitional” business environment sales approaches are no longer effective. Authentic message sharing is the rule of the day in making sales. Tragically this is often the number one area CEO’s tend to abdicate. The CEO is not required to make sales calls except on high-level exceptions. They are however required to stay in the “drivers-seat” managing the process, watching the metrics, and keeping the marketing and sales activities on track. CEO’s must be their own Sales/Marketing Director.

Strategic Planning
Few people in the company have the same vision as the CEO. If the CEO is delegating this activity, that CEO is in the wrong position. CEO’s must be in control of the strategic planning for the company.

We are in critical times for business. Empowerment abounds, managers are gone, leaders are in and all staff is running as fast as they can, wearing many hats. The companies that win through this are those with the right leaders with the right focus and doing the right jobs.

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