Once you have settled on the portion of your life you are willing to devote to your company, there are several ways to organize the activity under the heading, “CEO work”. I view the position of CEO as having three main responsibilities, which are carried out through four key capabilities.

The jobs are:

  1. Strategy
  2. Board and Investors
  3. Running the business

The capabilities are:

  1. Managing Energy
  2. Managing Relationships
  3. Managing Conversations
  4. Leveraging Systems and Structures

In the next post, I will expand on the Executive Capabilities. For now, I will focus on the key jobs.

Jobs of the CEO

  1. Strategy – it’s your job to create or to ensure that strategy is created, understood, accepted and executed. It’s also wise to expect adjustments in the execution plans. This probably will take about 20% of your time.
  2. Board and Investors – public company CEOs are hired by the Board which is chartered to protect the interests of the investors under securities law. Boards, as you know, have their own dynamics and must be engaged wisely, diplomatically and purposefully to support and promote your well designed strategy. After selecting the CEO, their main role is to replace you when you’re ready, or if you are failing. Investors come in different sizes and shapes and have their own ideas and priorities. Which investors you attract ought to be a consequence of your strategy, though you may be unable to completely control the mix. You will likely spend 30% to 40% of your working hours on Board and Investors.
  3. Running the Business – this is what new CEOs usually think of as their whole job. They are surprised to learn that there is so much else involved. Running the business entails the execution of strategy. The CEO therefore must select key leaders and charterthe operating mechanisms through which direction is set, decisions are made, performance reviewed and people developed. CEOs don’t do the work (mostly). They choose the leaders who create the environment in which the work gets done. Then they engage those individuals and others in the organization through a series of conversations focusing the energy of the enterprise on the successful execution of the strategy. Exhausted CEOs forget that it’s not their job to do the work.