The CEO position is a vital component of the management hierarchy in most successful companies. CEOs set the tone and course of their organizations in a number of critical areas, such as culture, values, branding, business strategy, and human resources.
In order for CEOs to effectively navigate their companies towards higher profits and sustainable growth, they must develop and maintain a true growth mindset, instead of a traditional “fixed mindset.” In other words, CEOs must take on roles that they may have to grow into, and view challenges and failures as opportunities for growth and learning.
The following information will discuss 5 key roles that growth-oriented CEOs must fill, and 5 key qualities that they must develop.
Key Roles of a Growth-Oriented CEO
The job of being CEO is truly a multifaceted position. While the following list of key roles is by no means comprehensive, it provides a window into vital duties that a CEO with a growth mindset must perform.
1. Team Building
One of the most important tasks that a CEO must tackle is determining who should be on the company’s executive management team at any given stage in the organization’s growth. Executive management is often subdivided into 7 key categories:
- People (or Human Resources)
A CEO with a growth mindset must search for forward thinking candidates that will buy into the company’s mission, values, and culture, and contribute to the realization of the CEO’s “vision” for the organization. The CEO must be willing to take a chance or two as he builds his team — without, of course, tying his company to underperforming hires for the long term.
2. Decision Making
CEOs have to make dozens, even hundreds of decisions on a regular basis. Some are tactical, some are strategic, and some will irrevocably alter the course of the entire enterprise, for better or for worse.
It’s important for a growth-oriented CEO to establish repeatable decision making protocols that will guide him and other key stakeholders towards optimal choices. For example, the decision to focus resources on a key product development project will inform organization-wide budgetary decisions from the top down.
Interestingly, about one-third of S&P 500 CEOs majored in engineering before entering the full-time corporate world, which indicates that many executives may leverage the design thinking process to make critical decisions.
Growth-oriented CEOs have to live their company’s values, and do so visibly. If an organization’s culture is built around the idea of fun, then the CEO should project a fun persona; if its values skew towards the conservative, then the CEO should reflect conservative sensibilities.
As the most visible executive throughout the company, the CEO sets the pattern for other team members to follow. In addition, the CEO should selflessly work for the success of his team(s), and always lead by example.
The founder-CEO typically has the main responsibility to communicate to investors how the company is putting their money to use. He may perform this duty on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the current development stage of the business, and the specific needs of the investors.
A growth-oriented CEO will get to know each board member on a personal basis, and mine his/her experience for suggestions on how to improve performance. Furthermore, a wise CEO will schedule at least one or two meetings of the board per year to serve as strategy sessions, apart from any pure financial reporting.
Research and experience both indicate that storytelling is a powerful business skill. A company’s CEO is the face of the brand; in some cases, like Papa John’s before 2018, he is the brand. This means that the CEO is uniquely positioned to wield storytelling in a number of ways, such as:
- A motivational channel to help refocus employees
- A crisis management tool to defuse controversies
- A marketing technique to attract customers, and even investors
Storytelling may not come naturally to everyone, but CEOs with a growth mindset will work to cultivate this important skill.
Key Qualities of a Growth-Oriented CEO
CEOs must also cultivate personal qualities that will help them to fulfill the many demands of their role. 5 key qualities are:
Every CEO makes mistakes now and again. However, a CEO that has developed a growth mindset will not view failures as immutable setbacks, but rather as learning opportunities. In fact, growth-oriented CEOs will even embrace failure as part of the development process in their companies, and in their personal lives.
It’s critical that a CEO is open to new ideas, methodologies, and market opportunities as he steers his company into the future. In order to identify and seize these precious opportunities, however, he must recognize that others on his executive management team, and even low-level employees, may have the ability to see things that he cannot.
The CEO with a growth mindset will take some time each day to reflect on the current trajectory of his company, and on his own personal development. In addition, he will accept criticism graciously, and even contemplate ways that such feedback can be transformed into actionable results.
Wise CEOs understand that they must work the process, and not worry about immediate results. “Learn well, not fast” is their motto. They approach risk, time, and effort with a realistic attitude, and don’t try to strain company resources just to meet arbitrary goals.
Successful CEOs are highly focused; every time they meet a long-standing goal, they immediately turn around and set a new one. As part of their personal development, they identify the learning methodologies that work best for them, and take time each day to further their education in some fashion.
CEOs that have a growth mindset display humility in a variety of ways. For instance, they take the time to study the successes and failures of others, with the goal of learning from their examples. They are not solely interested in defending their self-image, but are willing to acknowledge mistakes and growth opportunities. Furthermore, they motivate their team members not by financial incentives alone, but rather by praising employee efforts first and foremost, and then recognizing natural talent.
In summary, CEOs that develop a growth mindset and display the above-mentioned attributes will be a powerful force for progress within their organizations.
Of course, growth-oriented CEOs are always open to new and better ways of conducting business operations. Many CEOs have discovered the benefits of streamlining their organization’s HR, Payroll and Accounting needs into one consolidated channel, such as the platform that Platinum Group provides. If you’d like to learn more about our customized solutions and services, start exploring our catalog today.