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How to Think Like a CEO: Top 10 Care-Abouts

 Founder and CEO of The Grossman Group, David Grossman’s presentation
focused on the Top 10 CEO Care-Abouts. 

David Grossman, who is Founder and CEO of The Grossman Group, twice named PR Week’s “Boutique Agency of the Year”, recently spoke to the St. Louis PRSA and IABC chapters. His presentation, “How to Think Like a CEO”, offered PR and business professionals a look into the mind of the modern CEO, and he helped attendees self-reflect on their management styles.

Previously featured on NBC Nightly News and CBS MoneyWatch, David is a member of USA Today’s corporate management and leadership CEO panel, and he was director of communications for McDonald’s, prior to founding The Grossman Group.

David's presentation focused on the Top 10 CEO Care-Abouts, including:

1.)    All About the Board
According to Grossman, today’s CEO must think about their board and manage accordingly. By understand their board’s needs, expectations and style, CEOs can purposefully manage up and have a lasting legacy.

  • Understand your boss’s expectations and style. Ask yourself: Is my boss a no news is good news person, or a no news is bad news person?
  • Purposefully manage up based on your boss’s style.
  • Do something to advance your career every day.

2.)    Performance is King
CEOs are all about performance. They understand who their customers are, how they make money and how they are measured.

  • Regularly track your progress and stay in tune with your boss’s expectations.
  • Encourage your colleagues to use the stoplight model (Green = things to start doing, Yellow = things to keep doing, Red = things to stop doing).

3.)    Culture is Critical
Culture is the core DNA of an organization. CEOs strive to have an authentic enterprise, where their culture is in sync with core values both inside and outside of the organization.

  • Define what your organization's culture is.
  • Don’t just talk about culture, live it.
  • Use your actions and works to send a message that performance matters.

4.)    Define, Then Align to a Common Context
Context is how an organization sees the world around them and affects how decisions are made. Context can contribute to organizational success if it's well defined and shared with all employees.

  • Understand how your organization views the world.
  • Understand how your work contributes to organizational success.
  • Have an elevator speech about what your organization does.

5.)    Grow Leaders
For CEOs, succession planning and development of employees is extremely important. By identifying, recognizing and training top performers, CEOs can ensure organizational success.

  • Know your career aspirations as well as those around you.
  • Make top performers visible in your organization and contribute to their development — keep in mind the Four Fs of Feedback (Frame, Feedback, Feelings, Follow-up).
  • Identify and train two people who can fill your shoes, before you switch positions.

6.)    Make Everyone Feel Valued
When employees feel valued they are better performers. The best CEOs have learned to connect with their employees instead of transacting with them.

  • Know your employees' names.
  • Ask opened ended questions to employees, such as: What are we doing well? What should we stop doing?
  • Show employees who you are — connect by providing appreciative feedback.
  • Have your actions reflect messages that relate to what you expect and care about.

7.)    Define Core Competencies
CEOs understand their unique qualifications and spend their time and energy on those qualifications. They define the organization’s top priorities and provide guidance to employees.

  • Understand what you are uniquely qualified to do, and spend your time and energy focusing on those qualifications.
  • Provide guidance to your team about priorities and qualifications.

8.)    Balance Focus on Today and Future
Good CEOs balance their focus between short-term needs and long-term planning. They are willing to sacrifice margin in the present to manage innovation and plan for the future.

  • Make sure that you and your boss agree on how you spend your time.
  • Have standard operating practices about messaging and communication.
  • Balance your time to ensure results today while still planning for the future.

9.)    Sense of Urgency
Balancing quality work and urgency creates better service and value for organizations. CEOs must demonstrate a sense of urgency while ensuring that high quality work is being created.

  • Remove distractions from your work area.
  • Prioritize and focus on the most important needs first.
  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency in your work.

10.)    Understand CEO Needs
Most CEOs are introverts who act like extroverts. Employees who understand the unique management styles of those around them can more effectively lead their teams and organizations.

  • Know yourself. Are you an introvert or extrovert? What about your team members?
  • Strive for quality over quantity when it comes to communication.
  • Make it a priority to understand others' management styles and approach.

This post is courtesy of Kendra Moser who currently serves on the PRSA St. Louis Communications Committee. Kendra is a Public Relations Associate at Osborn Barr and earned her bachelor's degree in business management at Luther College.



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