I’m so sorry this post is just coming now, it was supposed to go live yesterday but I had some work and technical issues, please bear with me…Welcome to the official debut of the CEO Memoirs, Enjoy!
Growing up, I have always been in awe when I see owners of companies, members of an executive board or any decision maker in an establishment. In those days, CEOs and most decision makers of establishments, including proprietors of schools, were mature men and women who were at least in their late 40’s or 50’s. These days, just as we have young professionals in various fields, we now have young CEOs, men and women, who are in their 20’s or 30’s.
Talking about CEOs, I think the place to start is to first define who a CEO is. CEO means Chief Executive Officer. A CEO is a top executive responsible for a firm’s overall operations and performance. He or she is the leader of the firm, serves as the main link between the board of directors (the board) and the firm’s various parts or levels, and is held solely responsible for the firm’s success or failure. One of the major duties of a CEO is to maintain and implement corporate policy, as established by the board. Also called President or managing director, he or she may also be the chairman (or chairperson) of the board. This definition (culled from businessdictionary.com), is one of the conventional definitions of a CEO. Bringing it home to our context here in CEO Memoirs of distinguishedlives.wordpress.com, a CEO is any individual who has decided to own and solve a problem in his environment or work place and consequently create a source of revenue in the process.
There is mad rush for the CEO title in our time. One in ten complimentary cards you receive in a week will likely have the title ‘CEO’ attached to the owner, even those who may not know the meaning of the acronym. We all feel a touch of awe when someone has it: the CEO title. The power, the salary, and the chance to be The Boss. It’s worthy of awe! So naturally, nearly everyone wants to be CEO, which is a good thing – we need more employers of labour to balance out the large unemployed populace. Unfortunately, there’s a huge misconception surrounding the job requirements of a CEO. Most people believe that CEOs can do whatever they want, are all powerful, and are magically competent. But the role of a CEO is purely that of responsibility. A CEO is responsible for most initiatives and their execution especially during the start-up stage of an establishment. By its very nature, the job description of a CEO means meeting the needs of employees, customers, investors, communities, and the law. Some of a CEO’s job can be delegated. But several elements of the job must be done by the CEO. A CEO is principally responsible for the success or failure of a business. Too bad so few CEOs are good at what they do. In fact, only 1 in 20 are in the top 5%. Many don’t know what their job should be, and few of those can pull it off well. This is one of the issues this column of the blog hopes to address.
I too was ‘CEO title’ hungry at some point. I had assumed being a CEO was just a question of having and implementing a business idea, being my own boss, doing some buying and selling and/or being able to employ some people. My interest was primarily fuelled by the desire to make some money. Let me share my little experience and some lessons learned.
During my 100 level in the university, I was amazed when I discovered that one of my course mates was running a fully functional cyber cafe alongside his studies. I was also awed when I discovered that some of my course mates/hostel mates were doing some small businesses alongside their academics. Some sold jewelries, while some sold other essential commodities needed by students e.g. Ok (okirika) bags, shoes, clothes, provisions etc. These scenarios inspired and challenged me to start up something of my own as well. My primary aim was to make some extra cash to add to the pocket money my parents were sending for my upkeep. And it did work for a while, I gained ground and before long, people started referring to me as ‘business woman’ which is a normal term used to refer to anyone involved in some form of buying and selling. Having my own small business boosted my self-confidence and gave me some level of self-fulfilment, mostly cos I was making some change as profit. But before long, I realised that beyond the thrills of making profit, having losses was also a critical part of running a business. Gradually, it dawned on me that running a business goes way beyond surface buying and selling. It involves a whole lot of critical reasoning, analysis and decision making. I learnt quite a lot from the experience and subsequently came up with the following conclusions:
- Not everyone involved in buying and selling is a business person.
- A business person has two core goals – i) To meet a need or solve a problem and ii) To make profit.
- To succeed and last in business, you must be passionate about meeting a need or solving problems.
- Anybody, no matter the environment or financial status can meet a need and consequently create a stream of income for him/herself and others.
- All successful CEOs are business people.
- To succeed in your career as an employee, you must think and act as a business person.
To wrap up today’s post, here are some of my personal CEO secrets:
- Set your priorities right – your desire for solving a problem must supersede your desire to make money. Once you’re passionate about solving problems, individuals, organisations and nations will gladly pay you to solve their problems.
- Be intuitive and pro-active – to succeed as a CEO, career or business person, you must think and plan ahead. Having a reactive approach to issues will stall your progress and may affect you adversely in the long run.
- Invest in Continuous self development – the importance of personal development can not be over emphasized. Always seek out opportunities to learn and increase your domain knowledge in your field of investment. Attend seminars, workshops, read books, ask questions.
- Have the right network – I keep telling people to never underestimate the power of their association. Your association can make or mar you. Yesterday, one of my bbm contacts put up this write-up as his pm “Your network determines your networth” and I completely agree.
- Have a strong spiritual backing – man is a spirit being and everything that happens in the physical is controlled by the spiritual. This is a truth that denial or ignorance cannot change. To succeed in life, particularly in your business and/or career, you must have a strong spiritual backing – God or Satan, there is no middle ground. Without a strong spiritual backing, you will be tossed back and forth or even eliminated in the workplace and business world.
This is where we draw the curtains on today’s post, more insights will be shared in subsequent articles from different CEOs. Thank you for reading and welcome once more to the CEO Memoirs.
Do have a Successful Thursday.