In my coaching sessions at one of India’s premier b-schools, students often ask me about what it means to behave like a CEO. I tell them that even though they are not CEOs of any company they can be the CEO of their lives.
And as the CEO of their lives, they need to behave like one. So how do you behave like a CEO? By doing the following five things.
1. Develop yourself as a product or service that people desire
You are multiple products to multiple markets depending on the role you play. When you act as a subordinate, you need to convince your boss that you are an ideal product and he should keep you. When you act as a boss, you need to convince your subordinates that you are the best boss. Being the best means being the best product or delivering the best service.
2. Market yourself to all customers, internal and external to the organization
You have to find the right segment of the market where there is a demand for you and for which they will pay a premium. You also need to promote yourself in that market. The currency of payment could be salary, or time or a great relationship.
3. Run your finances i.e. reduce costs and increase revenue to more than costs
It costs to build a product and advertise yourself. Some costs are investments, and some are expenses. The benefits that you get from the buyer should be more than what you have invested.
4. Create your own motivation and recruit people to help you (network)
You need people to help you in your various roles. You have to find the right persons. They need to be motivated or paid to help you. You need to motivate yourself.
5. Use technology to make their processes more efficient
You need to improve all the above processes by using the right technology – be it blogs, a rudimentary CRM system, a list of birthdays in your calendar and your to-do list.
I typically do not differentiate between personal and professional life.
This article by Riley Gibson talks about the same thing with reference to empowering employees to act as CEOs.
To quote Gibson, “Giving everyone the responsibility to set their own agenda, prioritize resources, and pull in the right people has also made our office more efficient.”
It is imperative that we understand, given our goals, what skills are required to do a professional job, based on the above classification. We need to analyse if we possess these at an adequate level and if not, create a plan for learning about these skills and then practicing them till we have the right level of expertise.
A portion of time in any Top MBA college needs to be set aside each day towards identifying and subsequently honing these skills. We cannot read a book and be a professional unless we practice it till it is second nature.
A part of this pertains to professional conduct. Although an organizational culture plays a large part in defining condonable conduct, a large portion can and should be learnt early on. The ability to meet deadlines, a sense of urgency, behaving appropriately and ethically is skills and qualities that need to be learnt, especially if a lot of unlearning is required. What better place to start than a campus which allows this experimentation, without the risk of getting fired?