The importance of a CEO can be overlooked by many who may fail to really understand the roles that the position holder plays for the wellbeing of the organization. To many the CEO is just another figurehead perched atop the fabled ivory tower divorced from the problems of the lower echelons of the corporate hierarchy. However if considered carefully you will find that the companies with the best CEO’s tend to perform so much better to the benefit of the whole organization. So let’s look at some of the important roles of the CEO to a start up and indeed to any business of any longevity.
Fundamental function of a CEO
The most fundamental and important role that any CEO worth his salt will have to undertake is the building up of a firm and solid foundation for whichever business that he/she is in charge of. This means ensuring stability and growth of the company by delivering a cash flow for the company operations, managing the company resource, providing guidance to the staff below his guidance, nurturing innovation, budgeting and accurately judging and deciding on risks to take or ignore.
The building of a team that is strong is also another major function of the CEO. If the CEO builds a team that is strong enough to survive even the loss of a key member, then the CEO can be said to have done his job. The team should be able to continue running smoothly even after the loss of a member which includes evens the loss of the CEO himself/herself. This is achievable if the CEO makes the building of the right team his priority. When this is in place, then there will be proper leadership and even if the company was to abruptly lose the CEO, the company would still be able to operate optimally.
Leadership not micro management
Contrary to popular belief, it is not a mandatory requirement for a good CEO to always work on the mundane day to day drudgery of running the business. A good CEO will be able to build a team such that he can delegate the day to day running activities of the business to senior staff members who can ensure the proper functioning while the CEO concentrates on providing leadership to the overall company. By doing this, all the CEO has to do is to mange the senior staff to ensure the day to day running is done to perfection.
We can describe the responsibility of the CEO as being the provision of leadership and not micro management. Leadership means providing the motivation, encouragement, vision and direction to the whole organization. This may sound a bit abstract and overwhelming but that is what good CEO’s excel at.
Good CEO’s always set up a succession plan where they have a chosen successor to them in case they were to leave or not be able to carry out their responsibilities for any reason. They set up a clear direction for all staff to unwaveringly follow and are never involved in the micro-managing of minor crises.
Being the company leader the CEO’s roles change with the business as it matures and grows further. The CEO also needs to ensure that their personality does not subvert from the companies profile but rather build on it. This helps to remove risk associated with their personality from the company and instead leverages their considerable influence towards the companies benefit. In a startup, the CEO needs to be very good at organization.
“For example, an IT start-up, by nature, requires a CEO who is visionary, evangelistic and displays strong commercial sales and marketing skills to present the technology to market. However, in a more mature IT organization, the skills are more about maintaining organizational agility, governance and performance.
About the Author:
Matt is a blogger who usually writes about business and administration related topics. He also covers TV series called Today in America with Terry Bradshaw. Join Today in America on Facebook.