Although one could argue no single role at a company is unimportant, the CEO is singularly responsible for company growth.
A CEO is the face of a brand, the person who defines an era in a company’s sales cycle.
Michael Scott’s Apple looked different from Steve Jobs’ Apple, which looks different from the current era under Tim Cook.
With the pressure of being the face of a company in mind, the CEO must understand there are expectations with what they can bring to their new era.
Will massive turnover, failed products, and an inability to reinvent continuously mark their time as CEO?
Or will it be a period of unprecedented growth, unbeatable company culture, and revenue outpacing projections?
If a CEO wants their era to be the latter instead of the former, they must make way for evolution in their company. That evolution should come in enough forms to be felt by not just the company but by global perception.
A CEO should go into the role, understanding they should not expect to leave until their era drives innovation in multiple forms.
How Should a CEO Grow a Company’s Technology?
A CEO should not resist growth. If a CEO truly wants their era remembered for innovation, they must embrace what is sometimes called a “culture of genius.”
This phrase essentially means the company is one step ahead of the curve, willing to test out new technologies and ideas and invest in the opportunities they create.
Take, for instance, a company that relies on traditional content management systems (CMS) to create a website to attract new customers. They utilize Google Search Ads, Facebook Ads, and other online advertising strategies to bring potential customers back to the website.
The company can still grow, but it may not be keeping up with today’s digital opportunities.
A CEO who opts to switch from a traditional CMS to a headless CMS can certainly drive growth. The switch will take some investment, but that investment is worth it.
Today’s tech-savvy users do not just access the Internet through traditional means, like web searches.
The CEO willing to use a headless CMS opens up new touchpoints to access potential customers, from building apps to creating immersive VR experiences.
Before a CEO decides to invest in costly new technologies, it’s worth considering the company’s objectives and key results (OKRs).
A CEO who wants their company to grow should always have quantitative OKRs to reference before making any big strategic move. How will this new technology help your OKRs? Is the particular technology beneficial to you, or is it just something you’re interested in trying? And, perhaps one of the biggest questions, is this technology feasible with your current staff size?
How Can a CEO Address the Needs of their Staff?
Again, it’s important to stress that no single role at a company is unimportant. And no one wants to work under a CEO who thinks otherwise.
If a CEO is spending their workweek holed up in their office, unreachable by most staff, that CEO is creating a climate that says, “You’re not important enough to be worthy of my time.”
A CEO who is unwilling to speak with their staff is a CEO who should expect a great deal of turnover.
An internal CEO may recall what it was like to be on lower levels. While that may help them better understand their team than an external CEO, they may also believe that working on lower levels looks the same today as several years ago.
If that’s the case, they should be concerned about their company’s growth. But most likely, it’s simply not true because technology advances rapidly, and their team is working to keep up with it.
Before a CEO makes any changes to grow their company, they must first consult their staff. This check-in is necessary because they are the ones who will have to deal with the changes on an executional level.
So before a CEO invests in any fancy new technology, they need to know if they currently have the workforce to utilize it.
It’s also important for CEOs to be process-driven and have a clear understanding of whether processes in their departments are working, or not, and if changes need to be made.
For example, if the sale team is leaning too much on cold pitching and not cultivating enough warm leads to compliment their outreach, that’s something that needs to be addressed.
Rather than shutting the door during the day, they should consider developing an open-door policy with their staff. Doing so can show their staff that the head of their company cares about their needs, which can boost morale. And a happier team is a more successful team.
Beyond simply leaving their door open (or, if it’s a remote team, their inbox open), they can also establish a system that encourages staff to come forward with ideas and desires.
One option is to have a weekly all-hands meeting, where the CEO will take questions following a briefing of what’s going on in the company.
However, this method may put off staff members who are more nervous about speaking in front of the entire company.
Another approach, which takes this issue into account, is appointing a leader for each team who may be more approachable to such staff members and having a meeting with those leaders once a week where they can bring up staff concerns for them.
The CEO may learn which groups are more overburdened by listening to their staff, allowing them to enact plans to bring on new staff or find ways to lessen their loads. For this, you can implement a project charter that helps you outline the scope of work and better divide it between employees.
Companies remain stagnant when their teams are too overworked by their current load to spend any time thinking about innovation. If the CEO is concerned about the cost of new hires or new technology to help their team, they need to think about cost-cutting measures elsewhere.
Their team’s needs should come first.
How Can a CEO Address Costs While Growing?
While listening to their team, it may become apparent they need to invest in new people or new platforms to help them succeed.
While the CEO might be hesitant to do so, spending money on their team reinforces they are valuable to them. However, a CEO cannot simply spend without finding other ways to balance the budget.
One option many CEOs are resistant to trying is allowing more employees the option to go remote or even hire employees who are remote from the start. However, we’re entering a new stage of work, where more people are looking for the flexibility to work from home to increase their work/life balance.
Not only would allowing employees to work remotely demonstrate the CEO is conscious of their employees’ wants and needs, but also doing so could save them money in the long run. One study found companies that allow their employees to work remotely are saving $10,000 per year per person.
Going remote also can help their team’s productivity. Although people who work remotely tend to take longer breaks, they also work nearly 17 more days per year than people who work on-site.
Perhaps that productivity has to do with the fact that taking a break, even going so far as taking a short nap, is better for problem-solving.
A significant cost-cutting measure is staring us all in the face, but we need to embrace not having everyone in the office. There are plenty of other options to cut costs while a company grows.
First, it’s worth considering evaluating your current platforms and seeing if there are less expensive options. Are there services the company is subscribing to that don’t get used enough?
The CEO can ask team leaders to look at what they’re using and not using and have them make suggestions for what to cut. But, ultimately, the CEO doesn’t want to accidentally cancel something they think isn’t being used but is being utilized each day by one team.
A CEO should always aim for their era to be a period of growth, but that means that the CEO shouldn’t be resistant to change.
Whether that means changing technology, policies to address staff needs, or how they interact with their team, a CEO should look for opportunities to challenge what they already know.
What works today may not work tomorrow, so a CEO must constantly evolve, ready to take on whatever tomorrow brings.
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