How to be a CEO

On the basis that most people in an
organisation are ambitious, and covet the power and pay cheque of CEO, Jeffrey Fox has put down some key pointers on making the journey in his book How to Become CEO.
Fox doesn’t deal with motivation. He assumes you have plenty of that, and you are already in ‘ambitious overdrive’.
If you’re ambitious you’ll soak it all up. You’ve probably already adopted the first rule, “always take the job that offers the most money”. Money is the scoreboard, says Fox. The more you make, the better you’re doing, and the reasons are simple:
* First, your benefits, bonuses and subsequent raises will be based on your salary.
* Second, the higher paid you are, the more visible to top management you’ll be.
* Third, the more money you’re paid, the more contribution will be expected of you, and the opportunity to perform is an invitation to success.
Fourth, if two people are candidates for promotion to job that pays $50,000 and one person makes $30,000 and the other $40,000, the higher paid person always gets the job. That’s because corporations usually take the easy way out and it’s easier to promote the higher paid than the lower.
Of course you have to have an open mind about any ‘rules’. Here’s sample of the Fox Formula.

Never write nasty memo
Never write memo that criticises, belittles, degrades or is hurtful to colleague. Never write memo that’s cynical, condescending or unkind. Never send memo written in anger or frustration.
The business world is small. People get promoted, change companies, jobs, get powerful friends and your self-made enemy could show up anywhere.
Never give company rival smoking gun.

Don’t hide an elephant
Big problems always surface. If they have been hidden, even unintentionally, the negative fallout is always worse. The ‘hiders’ always get burned, regardless of complicity. The ‘discoverers’ always are safe, regardless of complicity.
When you know there’s problem, goof, snafu, and it’s important, let your supervisors and colleagues know right away.
The longer you wait the more you increase the severity of the problem.
Watergate, Vietnam and surprise business bankruptcies are classic elephants, apparently well hidden, that were mismanaged and produced disastrous results. Each elephant grew with the hormones of panic and deception. The crisis managers were like children trying to save sandcastles from the tide.

Be visible — practise WACADAD
Promote yourself in the organisation. Work on projects that are visible or pet projects of senior people. Ask people what the big problems are. Think about them. Work on solutions. Test them.
Don’t talk about how good you are. Prove it with action, over and over. Remember WACADAD — “Words are cheap and deeds are dear.”
Ted Leavitt of Harvard Business School wrote that “creativitiy without implementation is irresponsibility”. Ideas are nothing without execution.
So few people in corporation actually execute ideas that the person who does becomes visible and is often sought to do more.
Pick your spots to shine. Presentations to senior management, instructing training class, and speaking before sales force are highly visible forums. Seek them, and work very hard to prepare outstanding presentations.

Always take holidays
The person who brags they never take holiday is either fool or poor manager. You must be able to establish your department, job, or area of responsibility so it can function smoothly without you. Otherwise you won’t be able to travel to see customers.
If you go to the right places you increase your chances of meeting people who have the potential to help you. It’s an occasion to observe other ways of life, new fashions and trends, different ways business is done, and literally broaden your horizons. It’s time to think and plan.

Never let good boss make mistake
One of the best things that can happen to you to help your ascendancy is to work for good boss. good boss trains you to take her place, and when she ultimately gets promoted, you have chance to progress.
Don’t let your good boss make mistake that could hurt her promotability, because that directly hurts your promotion chances.
If your boss needs more facts to make decision, do her homework. If she’s ill prepared for meeting, give her heads-up briefing. If she has weak presentation, beef it up.
Never say “you’re making mistake”, or “there’s mistake in your report”.
Handle mistake avoidance like this: “Mary, there may be problem in this budget. It looks like the cost numbers are understated. If we use $10 an hour, we will have more realistic budget.”
The corollary is you have to make sure everyone who works for you knows they mustn’t let you make mistake. Be sure your boss knows that rule.

Stop, look, and listen
CEOs reflect. They don’t shoot from the lip. They think, consider, ponder, observe, probe, and listen. They stop and observe. They stop before saying the wrong thing. They stop before making snap decision. They stop before sending the barbed letter. And they watch and listen some more.
Therefore master the art of, and ability to stop, look, and listen.
Listening is very difficult, especially for aggressive, energetic bright people. But it can be learned and practised. When someone is speaking, stop what you’re doing, look at the person and listen. Listening is equated with wisdom and intelligence. Listen, listen, listen.

Never panic or lose your temper
Temper tantrums, immobilisation, unwise snap decisions, finger pointing, and acts of cowardice are all signs of panic. Good CEOs don’t panic. They don’t throw tantrums. They keep themselves in control so they can keep control of the situation.
Several years ago, in the midst of the crush at famous winery, the CEO received frantic call from his managers. The winemaker had resigned. The CEO knew the potential damage but stayed calm, thought for some moments, then asked, “What would you do if the winemaker had died instead of resigned?” The managers said they would make so-and-so the winemaker. “So be it,” said the president, and the new winemaker carried on the winery tradition for 15 more years.
If colleague makes an unkind comment to you, don’t respond. You can laugh though. Your supporters will be as offended as you. Your detractors will sense your control. Anyone else will see you as above the fray.
Don’t get angry. Even when anger is justified, observers are put off by the angry person.
School yourself not to panic. Tell yourself to “stay calm”. If you have 10 seconds to make decision, think for nine seconds.

Focus on the bright idea — not the source of the idea
Always be on the lookout for ideas. Be completely open-minded as to the source. Get ideas from customers, children, competitors, other industries or taxi drivers. It doesn’t matter who thought of an idea. What matters is who implements it.
Many managers don’t understand this. Creative people are doers. They recognise good idea right away. They add their own personality in the relentless execution of the idea.
Creative people don’t say “Whose brilliant idea was that?” They don’t belittle ideas or the suggesters. They can’t be bothered.
Truly creative people realise they have only one brain, no matter how fertile. So they enhance the probability of getting good ideas by listening to the ideas of others. If they listen to 100 people they’ve multiplied their creative capacity 100 times.

Stay out of office politics
So many executives think the road to the top is paved with the bodies of their colleagues. They scheme to embarrass or downgrade their fellow managers. The crude ones are gunslingers, the clever ones use stilettos. They are often sycophants. They are at your feet or at your throat. They are obvious. They survive only in poor organisations.
Rampant office politics is symptomatic of weak leader. The reward system is probably not fair or clear. The fiefdom may even be in trouble. Instead of fighting the competit

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