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:
- What if there’s a board of directors that is responsible for strategy and the CEO is only responsible for execution?
- What if there’s a recession and the entire market for the product or service has dried up?
- What if the business is under-capitalized?
I would respond:
- 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!
- It’s up to the CEO to create and/or execute a strategy to open up new markets.
- 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.
- As a top decision maker in your organization (team, department, business, etc.), take full responsibility for the success or failure of that organization.
- Use your leadership power wisely. People want to be led, not pushed. Trying to push people is like trying to push a rope.
- Be the best leader you can be. Know your weaknesses, then strengthen them or delegate those areas to someone else.