The essence of a CEO is in the middle word that makes up the acronym. The word is “executive”. In the business world, a lot of CEOs are founders and some other founders have equally handed over the business to someone who will be the chief executor of the next stages of growth in the business.
Either way, to serve in this capacity you will need to think and act based on a new acronym – HIGH.
This is not in any way connected to the euphoric feeling that arises from the use of recreational drugs. Neither is it the result of accomplishing a set goal (though the latter is not too far from what is described next).
The word high also connotes a difference in elevation. This elevated position distills into just one of the functions of the CEO.
This function of the CEO entails having a vision for your business, home or personal life. It is required that this vision is also clear.
Let us get to our acronym.
H – Hope
Every vision is usually the desired direction for any entity to grow and hopefully prosper while positively affecting the lives of other entities around them. Central to every vision is hope. As a CEO, you must be the embodiment of hope in your organization. It has been said that hope is not a strategy however it is the picture of a favourable future modelled in words and deeds before your organization. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, a leader should be a dealer in hope.
I – Insight
As the chief executor of organizational vision and the physical embodiment of hope, every CEO needs the gift of insight. This insight may not be theirs personally, it could be from another member of the team. However, insight is critical for the organization to move forward. Insight is what Steve Jobs had for Apple products. The iPhone was an improvement on the devices offered by the behemoths bestriding the mobile landscape around the time of its conception and development. Those devices – from BlackBerry and Nokia, worked just fine. However, something more refined was needed. Enter the iPhone. All other device manufacturers have been playing a form of catch up ever since.
G – Growth
You can not afford to be stagnant. Your number one priority is growth – personal and corporate. Personal growth come first because it is who you become that determines what you have, how you lead and how your home, business or wherever you serve, moves forward.
Take every opportunity to develop your different skills and those of the team that surrounds you. This may mean pulling all-nighters in order to deliver on a project. It definitely means delaying gratification for the sole purpose of achieving a loftier goal.
Growth means you need to be ambitious, seeking always to better your current position and add value to everyone who crosses your path.
You don’t go through the motions on this matter of growth. You have a vision – perceived and received after journeying the corridors of time – seeing a world better than it currently is because you took one step. Growth is not bulldozing through relationships or burning bridges all around (even though you may have to). It is about accomplishing results. No wasting time on trivia.
Growth means seeking knowledge – general and specific. It means understanding how to synthesize what you know with what others know and forging ahead based on what you now have. Knowledge and superior discernment always bring breakthroughs.
Rest is part of growth. No body builder ever won Mr Olympia by exercising non stop.
Growth is visible. Growth means nurture not hacks. Make growth your number one priority.
H – Hurry
Hurry patiently. Whatever you seek to achieve, takes time. So give yourself time. Push yourself, pull your team, stretch your resources. The only way to compress 20 years into 1 day is to read a book that spans such a period. Seek knowledge and all but realize you will apply what you have learned to your situation and though it takes a shorter time than 20 years, you still need to put in the time.
So run – with the footmen and with the horsemen – patiently so you do not burn out in the process of pursuit.
Being a CEO is not only about the corporate title. It is a choice to be in charge of your life and the directions it takes.
So, Sir / Ma, what next?