Mar 14, 2015

SXSW Recap: The American CEO


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By Peter Murane

Is your CEO a good CEO? A new book by Joel Trammell – The CEO Tightrope – explores the behaviors of good CEOs and bad. We heard him speak at SXSW yesterday and were impressed.
Some highlights:

What’s the #1 job of a CEO in Trammell’s opinion? Recruiting. “There is no more important job than providing the right human capital in a company.”

Strong leaders also…

  • Own the vision and tell the story of that vision to the highest and lowest levels of the company.
  • Build the culture. A CEO is the culture of the company. Actions and behaviors matter more than words.
  • Make good decisions and fast decisions. And take the time to explain the why behind decisions.
  • Define what winning is. Trammell suggest that companies create a written system of record to define what every single job in the company must do in order for the organization to win. Now that’s attention to detail.

Finally, you might want to give your CEO a hug because it can be a hard job and a different job. CEOs can struggle with the following unique dimensions of their position:

  • Lack of honest feedback.
  • Asked to make decisions in domain areas where they have no expertise.
  • No peers in the organization.
  • Take total responsibility although they must act through people instead of doing.

The power of a CEO flows from his or her, credibility, competence and caring. We liked that last insight a lot.

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