Become Great CEO
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How can you be a Great CEO?

5 min read

Most articles/books that try to teach you how to become a great CEO will talk about management, actions, plans and processes. However we’ve seen many leaders fail at some point as all they know is plans and procedures. As we all know, CEOs primarily just have to focus on creating, communicating and executing the vision and it is as difficult as well as important.

What is a CEO (Chief Executive Officer)?

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or just Chief Executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization - especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution.

What CEOs actually do?

A CEO's role varies from company to company depending on the it’s size, culture, and corporate structure. In large corporations, CEOs typically deal only with very high-level strategic decisions and those that direct the company's overall growth. In smaller companies, CEOs often are more hands-on and involved with day-to-day functions. CEOs can set the tone, vision, and sometimes the culture of their organizations.

Good CEOs realize that a wrong decision may be better than no decision at all

Whether you’re a CEO now or on your way to becoming one, you want to be a good one. No, a great one! That’s what is needed in this business world. Everyone around you - your employees, clients, customers, competitors, community - will demand best out of you. Like a normal employee, as a CEO also, you need to keep learning and improving. Even CEOs can benefit from constant improvement. And there are two things necessary to improve:

  1. Hard work on your part. There is no denying that the oldest secret in the book to success is hard work.
  2. The right hard work, which is learned from successful people already doing it. You can read management books and blogs, watch some videos, listen to some podcasts etc

Everyday that you aren’t getting stronger and better, you’re getting weaker and worse.

But, is there anything you can do to learn and improve? Yes, absolutely. For example, sportsmen are not required to have a particular level of education; but it takes their years of practice and experience to become one. Being a sportsman involves more than just being strong and competing in sports events. It requires hours and hours of practice every day and training for many years, usually under the guidance of a coach. They undergo many training sessions to build up qualities like concentration, decision-making skills, dedication, eye hand coordination, stamina, and the ability to work well as a team player. CEOs are no different, they have to be best with mental toughness. Besides perfecting skills of strategizing, planning and decision making, they need to learn from a lot of other things that bring out the best in them when they are faced with corporate challenges. As a CEO towards the path to becoming a great CEO:

  1. You can read biographies

    The best way to learn about business is to listen to those who have achieved the same types of goals you’ve set for yourself. But it doesn’t mean you have to have a direct connection with Bill Gates or Warren Buffett to get this insider insight. Autobiographies give a personal look at these successful people's motivations, successes, failures and lessons learned. You can read some biographies like Made In America by Sam Walton, Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and many more.

  2. You can watch movies

    We all look for inspiration in different ways. Some people turn to religion, some listen to podcasts, and some might prefer movies. Movies always help us whether it’s a biopic or a short film, they inspire us to do more and be more. There is a huge list of movies that you can watch but mentioning a few for you: The Social Network (based on the fairy-tale rise of Mark Zuckerberg and his startup - Facebook), Pirates of Silicon Valley (covers the successes of Bill Gates’s Microsoft and Steve Jobs’s Apple), The Pursuit of Happyness (one of the best movies ever on never giving up).

  3. You can learn about other cultures

    We now live in a world where cultural borders have become blurred with the adoption of technology and the increase in diversity in our workplaces. Without a doubt, as a CEO you need not only understand these cultural differences but embrace them as well for the many benefits they offer businesses. This is one of the main reasons why Indians are so good at becoming CEOs in the west.

  4. You can adapt a new technology tool

    People usually like routine as it minimizes stress and provides a sense of comfort. But when we become too reliant on what’s predictable, problems arise. The same principle holds true for companies. Routine offers many benefits but being too relaxed is dangerous for those in the marketplace, as well as their employees. So if you want your business to move forward, it’s time to help your team move from a steady routine to innovation by adapting new technology tools for faster payroll, easy to-do lists, simpler bookkeeping, better marketing techniques and what not.

  5. You can communicate with other CEOs

    Communication is the most powerful tool. As a CEO, you can participate in meetups. Meetup can bring people together in person offline or online and help you share common interests. CEOs/Founders/Managing Directors and those who are responsible for a business can arrange meetups to exchange ideas, get answers, solve problems, hear new ideas and share perspectives. They can learn from successes and failures of others.

  6. You can work on your hobbies

    Don’t neglect doing what you love, making time for hobbies is always worthwhile. When life gets busy and there seems to be no extra time to do anything optional, the first thing we often neglect is our hobbies. A hobby is something you find interest in that actively engages you. Hobbies push you creatively, physically and mentally. If you take time to plunge into your favorite hobby, it will allow you to free your mind from worries and help you make your decision making process with a clear and more relaxed mind.

  7. You can take a class to learn a language

    As the business world breaks down global barriers, leaders need to build up language skills. Being multilingual simply means you are an effective communicator. It will widen your market, and allow you to interact with numerous clients in various geographic locations. This means more revenue, more exposure, and more success. Sometimes, we’ve seen our clients greet us by saying ‘Namaste’ or ‘Kem chho?’. Of course, you’re going to love it when someone talks to you or greets you in your own language.

  8. You can give back to society

    It is important to give back what we earn for the greater good of society. It’s our individual and collective responsibility of giving back to the society that deposited so much in us whether it comes in the form of something small like being there for a friend in need or something massive like contributing financially to a worthwhile cause.

  9. You can exercise to be healthy and energetic

    Being healthy embraces many facets of your life. From your mental health to your physical health to your spiritual health. Being healthy should be a priority to everyone, not just CEOs. However, we’ve seen them struggle with health time and time again. Leaders who understand the importance of being healthy and energetic, can look after the mental and emotional well being of their team members.

Well, that’s a long list, but indulging in some of those diverse activities can make you a better human being, ready for bigger challenges, a creative person, and broaden your thinking to another level. And, all that can make you a great CEO. Focus on the big picture in everything you do. Ask “Why?“. Do it if that makes you better than the present you.

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