When CEOs reach out to us, it is often on account of their impossible never-ending task list overwhelming their physical and mental states. CEOs describe to us that they’re spending hours in meetings, followed by a list of to-do’s, and generally do not get to their email until late in the evenings.
This notorious overwhelm is extremely concerning and there are a couple of things we ask these CEOs:
1) What does your task list tell you?
2) How do YOU generate the most impact on the results of the business and its value?
THE TASK LIST
The task list of a CEO is particularly revealing. When CEOs allow us to look over their list, it allows us to see how organized and structured they are. Do they compose a prioritized, dated, list? Do they utilize a planner such as Franklin Covey, or similar? Are they scribbling notes down on scratch paper or do they have an office covered in post-it-notes?
Once we determine if the CEO is structured or unstructured, we take a deeper look at the tasks themselves. Here, we uncover specific areas of the business that are generating more tasks than others. We then discuss these business areas with the CEO to flush out any weaknesses within that department. Examples of weaknesses include but are certainly not limited to:
1. Weak leader
2. No leader
3. No documented or followed processes or procedures
4. Mixed departments
We also observe the order of task prioritization; which tasks are critical and which can wait? If it is determined that a particular task can wait it is not important enough to be on the CEO’s task list. If the CEOs task list is full of old tasks that can wait, it is usually indicative of a poorly ran company and we categorize his “task list” as a “wish list”. This usually means that the leadership team is weak and/or the processes need to be more robust and upgraded.
Generally, as a business scales, the CEO of the business adapts from succeeding on his/her own to succeeding through others. This is often a challenging adjustment for CEOs, but if they are on this path their individual tasks should be limited to three core responsibilities:
1. Communication – Reinforce the Vision, Mission, and Values of the business
2. Team – Recruit, Retain and Develop the strongest leadership team that align and fit the Vision, Mission and Value, that your resources allow.
3. Funding – Making sure that you do not run out of money. That may be exploring outside options such as VC or Private equity funding, if needed.
In some cases, we see that the CEO has a deep knowledge or specialty in a specific part of the business, and may want to retain individual responsibility there, and that is ok.
At the end of the day, CEOs need to ask themselves how they best contribute to the value of their company. Their answers best determine the appropriate types of tasks that best fit each individual CEO. As your teams and business grows, you as a CEO must become more and more selective about what you allow onto your personal task list while maintaining a healthy level of work-life balance.
Right now, this may seem like an impossible equilibrium to reach, however, through small, realistic task-list modifications, you will not only gradually work towards this balance, you will notice that other varying factors will begin to support themselves.
Before you begin crossing out or highlighting any current assignments, it’s important that you first request that a qualified observant assess the cruciality of your tasks. With years of industry-wide expertise, our knowledgeable MCDA CCG experts can serve as a valuable contribution in this step.
You don’t want to find yourself in a worse position because you inadvertently delegated the tasks that actually needed your attention – or didn’t get to them at all.
Once we have worked to establish your efficient task list, we can begin focusing our efforts to equip you with the skills of managing through any onset CEO stress. Trust us, most of the stress- induced situations that disturb CEOs can be treated once we assess the symptoms.
And the support doesn’t have to end there! In fact, once CEOs are equipped with the ability to manage their task list and through any related stress, they find that they can trust us to help when facing any future obstacles.
Call our office -headquartered in Placentia, Orange County, California, today to speak with one of our consultants in a no-obligation discussion! In this call, we will gain a better understanding of your unique challenges and needs to begin to recommend the best way to move forward. As the year rapidly comes to an end, start taking back control of your time now so that you are best prepared to take on the new year!