As a CEO, do you sometimes wonder how you can up your game and make the company stronger, more profitable, and more competitive? Everyone who sits at the top of the management pyramid endures occasional sleepless nights. What keeps them awake? Those very questions about how to improve an organization. The good news for new CEOs is that there are all sorts of ways to break out of a slump or move to the next plateau. Before calling in a high-priced consulting firm, try the DIY approach first by going through a checklist. Chances are, you’ll find at least two or three techniques that can propel your business to new heights of achievement.
In no particular order, take a hard look at what kind of fleet management program you’re using, whether you conduct regular in-house audits, and how you delegate work to others. Additionally, you can gain deep insight by reexamining the company’s mission statement, regularly collecting honest feedback from employees, and working with an outside mentor. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to get started, so review the following points and decide what feels right for you. From there, you’ll likely have a gut instinct about which step should be next on your list.
The best internal audits are regular, unannounced, and invisible. That way, employees need not sweat the prospect of being put under a microscope. Audits are for CEOs to gather information about daily operations, financial activities, customer satisfaction, and dozens of other factors that go into the everyday operation of a going concern. Avoid outside firms and instead, rely on your own teams composed of managers you trust and who have the skills to perform exacting financial and operational audits.
Fleet management systems are the nerve center of transport companies. If your CEO duties involve oversight of a large delivery operation, it’s essential to use top-ranked fleet management software to keep track of shipments, track vehicle maintenance issues, prevent hours-of-service violations for drivers, and create efficient routes. The best way to get started is to review a comprehensive guide about how to select the most suitable fleet management software systems for your company, based on what kinds of products you sell and how vast the geographic delivery zone is.
Delegation is more an art than a science, and it’s one of the qualities every good leader has, so be prepared to experiment with several techniques. For most companies and CEOs, the sweet spot is somewhere between the extremes of 100 percent hands-on styles and delegating everything to others. In large corporations, top management people typically spend a year or more finding the delegation strategy that works best for their teams and the kinds of projects they work on regularly.
No mission statement is carved in stone. Organizations grow and change, as do their customers and legal environments. Now, how often you change it is up to you but it’s a good idea to evaluate your business’s mission statement every few years, with an eye toward adjusting it as needed. Consider expanding the wording to include new markets, products, and goals. Most organizations that update their statements revise them to include larger customer demographics and long-range financial targets.
CEOs need information to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, too many business leaders ignore what their own teams have to say. One of the most effective ways to sharpen your management skills is to gather feedback from every part of the organization. That means conducting regular surveys, holding small-group discussions with people in every department, and systematizing the collection of relevant feedback from everyone who has an opinion. It’s up to you to decide how to use the information. But without it, you’ll be ill-informed and out of the loop.
No matter what you do and no matter how much of an expert you are, there’s a mentor out there for you. There is so much value in mentorships which is why some of the world’s top CEOs spend regular sessions with mentors. They do so for the same reason that top athletes often have private coaches, and number-one ranked boxes have trainers. An objective listener who knows your business inside and out can offer excellent advice when you run out of fresh ideas.
How to find the right mentor? Look for recently retired executives and owners in the same field as yours. Contact a few of them and ask about hiring them as “informal consultants,” which is the official code-word for “executive mentor.” Offer to compensate them for their time and come to an arrangement that is agreeable to both of you. Consider meeting at least once per week for hour-long sessions. Ask your burning questions, take notes, listen, and learn.