If I were the CEO…by Jim Johnson

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So you’ve been in your leadership role for a while now. You think you’re ready for the next step. You even dream about your next promotion. You find yourself sometimes thinking, “Why did that decision get made? I would do things differently.”

Here’s a challenge – put yourself in the TOP role at your company. What would YOU do if you were the CEO? Yeah, dream a little! Actually, take out a piece of paper and start jotting down notes what you would do if you were in charge. Take 5 minutes right now and bullet point some thoughts down.

(I’ll wait….)

Let me ask some questions now that you’ve made some initial “decisions”:

* How would your dream decisions move your company forward?
* How does what you wrote down positively impact the bottom line?
* How much of what you wrote was a personal commentary on your boss or your boss’s boss?
* How does what you wrote align with your company’s mission?
* How would you convince other leaders to follow you and your vision?
* How would you communicate your vision to the Board of Directors and/or shareholders?

I’ve heard the lunch conversations. I’ve been involved in a few myself over the years. A lot of employees SAY they know what THEY would do if they were in charge. But when truly faced with that responsibility, it becomes far more daunting, doesn’t it? Why?

– We typically see life and work through our own experiences. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that we haven’t had the experiences, training, or exposure necessary. What we learn and apply at work is critical to demonstrate that we are ready for the next step.

– We see other people work and think it’s easy. The good ones make it look easy (i.e. Michael Jordan). But when faced with new responsibilities, that work becomes a bit more scary. It takes hard work to be an effective CEO. It takes a lot of hard work to get to that point in your career.

– CEO’s have to work well with others. They are surrounded by leaders of leaders. Many senior manager meetings are ego-fests. Those can be treacherous waters to navigate. Effective CEO’s have to know when to step in, when to keep quiet, when to allow a decision to be discovered by another, and when to say, “this is the direction we’re going.”

But I still think this little exercise is worth the time. It will show you how much you truly understand about your company, how it makes money, how it spends money, and how your customer-base likes doing business with you. You may expose some of your own weaknesses – and that’s very valuable!

And hopefully along the way, you’ll gain a better appreciation of your CEO and what she/he faces on a daily basis. Determine you will be a team member who will make their job just a bit easier.

Own your results. Own your attitude. Own your commitment. Start by being the CEO of YOU.

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