I just finished a phenomenal book.
The book simplifies the role of a CEO. It’s perfect timing for me, because recently I have been struggling with knowing where to put my time and focus in order to be most effective.
In this week’s issue, I am going to reflect on how I can apply the principles I learned in the book to my own business. In doing so, I hope you can find some opportunities of your own and hopefully discover more effective ways to use your time.
Defining the culture of a company is the CEOs core responsibility.
This was a big reminder for me, because over the last year, I have removed myself from the day to day conversations inside of Stodzy Internet Marketing. I told myself that the most important thing for me to do was to focus my time on new sales and growth.
While I know I won’t be able to remove myself from the sales role any time soon, the book so clearly laid out why defining the culture of my company is a job that only I can perform.
To understand why, you need to know what culture is. Culture is some esoteric word that everyone uses and no one knows what it means.
To me, culture is simply a clear understanding of expectations. “People like us do things like this.” – That’s culture.
The author organizes expectations in two ways.
- Least common denominator – this means that you have set a standard that allows employees and teammates to stick around, as long as they meet a minimum requirement. Without actively defining your culture, this will be the default of every company.
- Intentional – this means you set a standard for your employees and teammates, and in order for them to have the opportunity to work at your company, they must continue to try and meet an expectation that is advancing and most likely, always slightly of reach.
It’s up to me to set the standard for my company.
My company’s name is Stodzy (pronounced “stahd – zee”) because that was my nickname as a kid. It’s what my friends used to call me. My company is quite literally a representation of who I am.
Who else is more qualified to set a standard besides myself?
There is an uncomfortable reality in life that many people shy away from. That reality is based on the Pareto principle, or what is more commonly known as the 80 / 20 rule.
The rule states that 80% of the output is generated or owned by 20% of the inputs. This is a universal law that is seen throughout the entire Universe.
For instance …
- 20% of stars in the Universe account for 80% of the mass.
- 20% of trees get 80% of the sunlight
- 20% of the world’s population owns 80% of it’s wealth
And, in this example, it’s true that 20% of employees account for 80% of a company’s production.
I’m grateful that in my company, we have done a great job at attracting and curating the right people. I believe the reason my close percentage in sales is so high is because of the conviction I have when I talk about my team.
“I have the best team in the world”, I say. That’s a phrase I repeat many times over.
However, after reading the book I am realizing that there are areas in which I am falling short when it comes to my people.
First off, I don’t have regular conversations with them enough. People are complicated, and as the CEO, it’s my responsibility to make sure that everyone is in the best possible position for success.
- what tools do they need?
- are there any areas of improvement they see that I don’t?
- are they hungry and eager to learn more and do more?
In addition, I can do a better job of being very intentional and more ruthlessly focused (like I am with sales) on talent acquisition.
We have a great training program and we spend a lot of time working with our people. But for future hires, what would happen if I spent more time finding the perfect fit for new positions? and less time training after the fact?
That will be different in the future.
I hate numbers. I’m scared of them. I failed algebra three times in high school. I was in summer school my freshman year and my junior year.
But that’s no excuse. The reality is …
If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.Marcus Lemonis
The book broke down numbers and presented them in a way I haven’t previously thought of.
At any given moment, my leadership team knows our annual run rate, the previous month’s profit and loss, and what monthly expenses are. These are basic accounting numbers and it’s great that we measure them, because most companies don’t
But the book showed me how numbers play a role is every department. Most importantly, it taught me how I can “lead from the numbers.”
For instance, the most valuable result we provide for our clients is phone calls. Our entire company is completely optimized and laser focused on the agenda of creating leads and valuable inbound phone calls for our clients.
However, I’ve never created a front facing metric that shares those numbers with the team. If everyone’s primary focus is to do work that generates phone calls, doesn’t it makes sense that they should know how many phone calls their work has generated?
It’s so simple, but because I don’t take time to focus on the numbers, the idea never occurred to me.
Understanding the numbers reenforces the ownership mentality for me. If I know the numbers of my business, than I know what our objectives are.
A great insight the author provides is a quote from Alice In Wonderland.
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where—”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
The numbers tell me where I want to go, and without them, I am like Alice asking The Cheshire Cat for directions.
The reason why I enjoyed this book so much is a matter of timing.
I’m in a phase of abundant opportunity. There are opportunities everywhere. I get DM’s and requests every day from people who want to partner with me, share an idea with me, or pitch me on an investment.
It’s difficult to know where to focus my time, because I need to avoid low leverage work. (Except of course, writing my newsletter, because it makes me happy).
So how do I get the most of my time? How do I optimize my focus so that my inputs generate a positively lopsided output?
The answer is to focus all my time on these three aspects of my company.
Everything I want can be achieved through one of these means. As the leader, it’s up to me to steer the ship in the right direction.
If it doesn’t improve one of those three areas, then I’m not doing it.
I know what to say no to.