How To Be the CEO of Small Businesses or a Billion Dollar Business: Part Two

How To Be the CEO of Small Businesses or a Billion Dollar Business: Part Two

Last Monday, we started talking about the formula for being a CEO of small businesses or a billion dollar business. No matter the size of your business, your role is the same. There are 5 things every CEO needs to make sure he or she is doing. Check out last week’s blog to catch up on the first two roles of a CEO.

3. Commission the work or redirect it. The highest form of disrespect is not being honest about what you think to your employees. If the team comes back to you with their suggestions, you need to make it very clear what you are commissioning. Make sure they understand. They bring plans, ideas and recommendations, but the CEO gives the final directive.

It’s like if I was leading a symphony, but before I was a conductor I was a flute player. I’m not pleased with the flute player, so I say, “You know, you’re not really doing a great job. Here’s how it’s done.” So I start playing. All of the sudden, the cymbal guy misses a beat. So then I go over there and start playing the cymbals. I’m feeling good because I’m hitting the right notes. But who’s leading? Being a CEO doesn’t mean you don’t have any work to do. You’ve got a lot of work, it’s just of a different kind. Commission in these 5 steps.

  1. Ask what could go wrong.
  2. Be honest if it’s a good idea or not. Tell them what you like and don’t like. As the CEO, you’re still responsible for making the decision and giving a clear directive.
  3. Sell them “off of” the idea. Let them think around the positives and negatives.
  4. Authorize or convey new direction.
  5. Get their commitment through the accountability covenant.

The Accountability Covenant: This puts the responsibility to own the directive you’ve given on the employee. While you don’t have to formally repeat this with every commissioning, it’s good for your employees to understand this.

If anything happens that should prevent the successful completion of this project or assignment on time and in the way that I directed it, and that you agreed to do it, then you are to tell me immediately and then tell me what you are going to do about it.

4. Provide for success. Create an environment for success by providing methods, standards, systems and processes, as well as coaching, teaching, training and mentoring. Every business should have an operations manual that includes its job descriptions and its policies and procedures. If you’re not providing those things, you’re not providing for the success of your employees or volunteers.

But it goes beyond this. Put your people in a growth environment where they can learn, change and grow in their positions. If we’re not careful, we won’t expand our business because we limit our employees. Develop your leaders by really coaching them. Delegate, empower and entrust.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Put your people in a growth environment where they can learn, change and grow in their positions.[/tweetthis]

You will reach a point where you can give your directives to those who you coach, teach, train and mentor. Then it can filter down through them to those they lead.

5. Obtain evaluation. This is different than obtaining plans, ideas and recommendations. Any business of any kind in the world uses numbers. These numbers help you evaluate the health and success of your enterprise.

And we’re not just talking financial numbers. When I owned several franchises, we knew exactly how long the average customer wait was every day. We knew if a customer had to wait more than 10 minutes, we were in trouble. We used quantifiable numbers to obtain evaluation. You have to figure out what numbers are important for your business.

In the church, you need to know how many people in your church are involved in a role, group or task. If you have 40%, you’re declining. If you have 50% involved, you’re stagnant. If you have 60%, it means you’re growing.

In a business, it’s not just a matter of whether or not you made money last year. What other numbers am I quantifying to tell me if I’m moving forwards or backwards? For example, we knew in our franchises that if the salary ratio got over 35%, we were going to lose money no matter what. That’s why you need to:

Check the pulse of the organization regularly using quantitative and qualitative factors. Quantitative is using these quantifiable numbers. Qualitative is using behavior, attitudes and disciplines.

If you don’t have a pulse on the organization, you don’t know whether you’re healthy or not. Gap recognition is when we have set goals as a team. Then we measure those goals on a yearly basis to see how well we’re achieving them. Sometimes we start falling off. Then there’s a gap. And if we fall off anymore, that gap gets bigger. A CEO’s job is to recognize the gap and then prioritize how to address it. If you are not obtaining evaluation, then I’m 90% sure you’re organization is probably not healthy.

Thanks for reading! Whether you’re the CEO of a start-up company or a well-established enterprise, these guidelines will apply. I’ve also found these rules hold up well in positions of church leadership, so feel free to share with pastors you know!

Join me every Monday for tips on leadership and entrepreneurship. 

Billy Epperhart
Billy Epperhart
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