10 TIPS FOR CEOs TO GET THEIR STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT WORK DONE

10 TIPS FOR CEOs TO GET THEIR STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT WORK DONE

The first time I branded my business, over 15 years ago, I had a green field. No website, no collaterals, no physical documents, nothing. And it was a pretty straightforward process.

 

This time around, branding my business was a major program. When I kicked off this program of work in October, I knew it was going to be big, and yet I still seriously underestimated what was involved. After all, I am not really a marketer.

 

Being the CEO, does not make you the ‘knower’ (new word) of everything. So I thought I would, on reflection, share a few of the reminders and lessons that helped me see this program through.

 

1. MAKE THE DECISION TO DO IT.

Develop the big vision, then decide to enact it. Make the decision to implement, and then to take the action to follow through. The decision, with real commitment, is fundamental because this helps you to keep this important work top of mind, and at the top of your priority list.

 

2. UNDERSTAND THE SCOPE.

We had an existing business – website, collaterals, our social media accounts, physical collateral like business cards, bookmarks, postcards and letterhead, and so on. So we did have a sense of all of the things that needed to be considered in this program.

 

But in addition to what is the obvious part of a re-branding exercise, which is new logo and colours, there is so much more that goes behind it. There is all the thinking around the messaging, the positioning, who your target market is, what you want the future to be about, how long you want this to set you up for, and what else you would like to change about the business to set you up for success and alignment with this new brand and way forward.

 

To set up for success, take the time to understand the real scope of your initiative.

 

3. PLAN.

You do not necessarily need to plan every single detail, yet you do need to have an overall plan for what it is that you are attempting to do. Then break your high level plan into manageable chunks that you can then share with your team. The team can then create the detailed plans.

 

4. CONTINGENCY.

In my experience, you can never think of everything, and even if you do, chances are there is something that does not quite work according to the plan. By having contingency, you have some space to resolve the issue or to do the additional work that is required to achieve the outcome. This is part of setting yourself up for success.

 

5. FOCUS.

All of these ideas allow you to keep your priority focus on the important things, this program being one of them. When you allocate your own time, because you have a plan, you know that you need to set this time aside for this important piece of work.

 

Stay focused by regularly reviewing your personal, team and organisational priorities. Keep your eye on the prize, on the goal, even if you have to change the course to get to the goal. It is about re-evaluating that this is still a priority and where it sits amongst all of the other priorities, so that you can continue to focus on it and put the appropriate time into it.

 

6. NO QUICK RESULT.

The other thing with a program of this scale is to recognise that it will not be instant. It becomes important to pace yourself and your people. Celebrate the progress along the way. Recognise achievement and learning. This helps to re-energise and refocus throughout the process.

 

7. COMMUNICATE.

Once you have the vision and perhaps the beginnings of your plan, it is important to communicate this with your team so that they can be involved, participate, and contribute. And quite simply, this means they know what is ‘going on’ in your organisation.

 

This also allows everybody to be better positioned to balance the day-to-day and the strategic. Keeping the business going, while also setting ourselves up for this long-term strategic change, which provides impetus and focus and foundation for all the things you want to do in future.

 

8. CADENCE.

The change process cadence that I like to use is something I learned from Taki Moore. It has 4 stages. One – activate your change. Two – check in by calibrating the change activation. Once you are sure that you are on the right track, then three – really accelerate and work with intensity towards the goal. Finally stage four – evaluate and celebrate the progress.

 

We are in stage four right now. We have completed the bulk of our program work and now we get to really enjoy what we have achieved. And we are also checking in with how did it go? What else do we need to do? And, where do we go from here?

 

Now a couple of the especially key reminders I wanted to share, about being the CEO of the organisation.

 

9. DO NOT BE THE EXPERT.

Do not try to be the expert at everything. It’s easy to say ‘I’ll just do it’, or ‘it can’t be that hard’. Until you’ve wasted a day trying to figure it out. Or forgotten to do your other important work. Use the experts you have and hire the additional experts you need to fill in the capability or capacity, for the duration of the program.

 

10. DO NOT STAY STUCK.

Ask for help, get support, early. Staying stuck does not achieve anything, except perhaps a bit of frustration. I am not a marketing expert, and certainly not a branding expert. I needed, and asked for, help. So seek guidance, advice, support, help from wherever you need to. As the CEO you do not need to know how to do everything. You do not need to know the answer for everything. You need to know how to ask the question.

 

A few lessons and reminders. I hope there is something in this list that will be beneficial for you. Remember, as the CEO, it is up to you to set the frame within which these big important strategic initiatives can progress.

 

I’d love to know your thoughts.

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