Think Like a CEO by Jim Johnson


What if you walked in to your office this morning only to find out that you’ve been promoted to CEO? After the initial shock wears off and reality sinks in, what would you do?

Where Are We?

A CEO must know where the company is at…financially. You need to know what the bottom line is saying. You need to know what the numbers are telling you. The numbers tell a story – learn to tell others that story.

Net income down? Why? What impacts that? Are sales growing, declining, or flat (another nice way of saying declining)? Are your competitors taking a bite out of your business? Why? What activities are your sales staff doing to build the business? Who is performing? Who is not? Are certain regions growing while others are not? Are your expenses starting to creep up? Are there necessary controls on expenses?

Every company has its own culture. Do you know what yours is? Is your culture one of intimidation and fear? Or is it an energetic, upbeat one? As CEO, you set this direction. Do the other executives support your culture definition? Culture, left on its own, will degrade to the least common denominator. To lead a vibrant culture, leadership needs to be intentional on all fronts by all department heads.

Where Are We Going?

I’ve heard it said that “vision” is the primary leader going out into the future to see where she/he wants to go and then returning to the team tells them, “Here’s where we are going!”

Do you know where your company should be heading? If so, what do you need to do today to make that tomorrow happen? A strong vision for the future is only as good as your present-day expectations.

There’s so much more to be said about this little “fantasy”. But, step out of your world periodically and go through this exercise. Honestly look at your work and department and think about what you would expect differently if you were the CEO reviewing who you are and what you do.

As a competent CEO would do, be courageous, positive, intentional, honest, visionary, and focused. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make them happen. Be faithful in the little things. Someday, you may be tapped for greater things…

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