What do I do all day? Great question. But the better question is, “What should we (as CEOs) be doing all day?” In my case, I know what I should be doing.
- Setting and communicating the company’s vision. This is critical because a vision lets your team know where the company is headed and what their role is in getting there. Your team can help with this one. Mine did, and we came up with our “why” (see www.nyreport.com/why).
- Establishing the culture. Norm Brodsky says that you can’t have two cultures in a company, and it is up to the CEO to ensure that there is just one.
- Demonstrating priorities. This is super critical in a smaller business because you have fewer resources. Said another way, part of my job is to say no to projects we may really want to do, but don’t have the resources to take on. I have to keep the team in balance.
- Managing people. I have to always be recruiting and making sure the right people are on the bus. Sometimes this also means asking people to get off the bus.
If you aren’t doing the above in your company, who is?
I know it’s easy to say that the above is what we should be doing, but it’s really hard in practice when we have to do other things during the day like put out fires and meet with clients. The truth is it is a chicken and egg problem. But like other chicken and egg problems (e.g., selling something so you have the cash to then build or deliver it), we need to find a way to do the important (the above) and still do the urgent (fires). That makes for a complicated job description.
We asked a few of our 25 Founders about their job descriptions. You can read their responses here.
PS: Want to meet some fellow CEOs who are doing their jobs exceptionally well? Join us for the 7th Annual Small Business Awards on October 10th. You can find information on the event at www.nyreport.com/awards.
Robert Levin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The New York Enterprise Report. Levin has extensive experience with midsize and small businesses, having previously held CEO, CFO, and COO positions with companies in several industries. He is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Levin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (212) 307-6760.