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Being the CEO of a company entails thinking about the bigger picture of the business and its people, in terms of:

  • Vision What does the business want to be when it grows up?
  • Purpose Why does the business exist or what role does it play in the world?
  • Culture What are the core values of the business and how are they lived out each day?
  • People Putting the right people in the right roles at the right time.
  • Process/systems What systems or processes need to be in place so the business can deliver better results?

Focusing on these five things is a full time job in itself, but sometimes the dedicated time to do this only comes a couple times a month when talking with your coach, your board, or other trusted advisors.

The rest of the time, especially in the early years of your business, you are not only CEO, but also CBW (chief bottle washer), CHC (chief head cook) and every other C-level position in the company.

The demands are many as you often find yourself in the weeds of ensuring customers are happy, work is getting done, and the bills are being paid.

A client recently reflected on the current state of his business and his place in it. His board had made a firm request for him to start being CEO of the company and to get out of the weeds. As you can imagine, this is easier said than done. The spirit of the request is spot on and exactly where he needs to be to move his business forward towards its 2013 goals and beyond. The reality of the situation is a different story, and often times the weeds are exactly where a CEO needs to be so that there is a tomorrow for the business.

Given this reality, how can you step out of the weeds and into being the CEO of your business? By taking it 10 minutes at a time.

Here are three questions to ask during those 10 minutes to ensure you’re being the CEO while also fighting the fires of the day and getting things done.

  1. What am I building? The answer to this question will force you to choose whether you’re building a company or just a group that does work and then moves onto the next thing and then the next and then the next.
  2. How do I bring my CEO-self to the next meeting or activity? We often settle for second best from ourselves, our team, and the results we get. This question gets us thinking about how get to approach the next situation in a way that will build what we are really intending to build.
  3. How do I approach the next task so that I never have to do it or be involved again? Take a few of those 10 minutes to document the process or bring someone alongside of you so they can do it the next time.

As you take these steps, the 10-minute chunks of time should start to grow, affording you more time to dive into those things that only you, as CEO, can do.

My new book, Become a Better Leader, 10 Minutes at a Time, is coming in June. Sign up to receive my monthly emails and receive a free copy.

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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