CEO Success

July 9, 2009

After working with more than 40 CEOs for the past 7 years, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined about what hampers them from attaining their ultimate level of success.

First, almost all of them have little spare time on their hands. The hours in the day are never enough and therefore many of their great ideas never get implemented. Those that do get implemented aren’t communicated optimally, the follow through on execution is lacking and the time to sort through turf wars and politics just isn’t there.

In a recent survey that I conducted of almost 100 CEOs in Atlanta 46% of them wished they could implement more ideas. Some other data points from the survey:

  1. Only 7.3% are “very satisfied” with their company’s ability to execute.
  2. The most common response to the biggest challenge facing their company was “Managing Change”.
  3. On average, 10.93% of a CEO’s time is spent on “strategic thinking and planning”. 65.9% wanted to spend more time on these activities (24.4% wanted to spend more than 20% of their time on strategic thinking and planning”).

So what to do? The thought occured to me that companies have a CFO, CIO, CMO etc. etc. What about a CCO (Chief Corporate Officer) who would be the CEO’s right hand person?A few responsibilities might include:

1) Making sure the CEO’s ideas are implemented and communicated optimally

2) Managing any resistance to the initiative

3) Keeping the CEO on task with prior committments

4) Someone without a political agenda for the CEO to “bounce ideas off of” without wondering if the responses were being made to protect turf, or who wouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth for fear of losing job security, a promotion, a future compensation increase etc..

5) Holding the CEO accountable for behavioral change

6) Keeping a consistent Strategic Planning Initiative and maintaining the scorecard of executive commitments

7) Researching and promoting CONSISTENT leadership development initiatives that aren’t just “the flavor of the month”.

8) Dealing with delegated “CEO minutia” so the CEO could spend more time on higher value activities that he/she is currently struggling to find time to do.

The CCO would need to be someone:

1) The CEO could trust and with a proven successful CEO track record

2) With no desire to get promoted

3) Who is an employee, not an executive coach or consultant

4) Who is fun/positive to be around

5) A good communicator, mediator and champion of ideas.

Depending on the size of the company, the CCO may only be required 4 – 5 days per month and cost the same as low-mid level manager but deliver many more times the value. Something for CEOs to consider.