Is the CEO Always the Problem?

The correct answer is “almost always.” The top decision maker is always the problem (and the solution), and that’s most often the CEO.

You might be thinking:

  1. What if there’s a board of directors that is responsible for strategy and the CEO is only responsible for execution?
  2. What if there’s a recession and the entire market for the product or service has dried up?
  3. What if the business is under-capitalized?

I would respond:

  1. CEO’s can always leave if they think the strategy of the business is fatally flawed and impossible to execute. If the board is trying to run the day-to-day operations of the business, then you need to run for the hills anyhow!
  2. It’s up to the CEO to create and/or execute a strategy to open up new markets.
  3. It’s up to the CEO to acquire the necessary capital to make the business successful.

Business performance is a direct result of leadership performance, plain and simple. A business always takes on the personality of it’s top decision maker. How could it not?

Think about it. Whatever behavior the leader rewards remains a part of the business culture. Whatever behavior the leader punishes drops away from the culture, as do the people who don’t agree with the leader’s values and priorities. I call this the Leader Trickle-Down Law.

Because they are the “800 pound gorilla” in their businesses, top decision makers’ strengths and weaknesses become the strengths and weaknesses of the business. What might really blow your mind is when you fully realize that the only real limitations on your business’ success are YOUR WEAKNESSES.Kind of makes you wish you’d paid more attention in that leadership training class, doesn’t it?

High-performance habits

  1. As a top decision maker in your organization (team, department, business, etc.), take full responsibility for the success or failure of that organization.
  2. Use your leadership power wisely. People want to be led, not pushed. Trying to push people is like trying to push a rope.
  3. Be the best leader you can be. Know your weaknesses, then strengthen them or delegate those areas to someone else.
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