Are you slowing your company down? – Mark MacLeod

November 24, 2022 - Mark MacLeod

Are you slowing your company down?

As CEO, you set the example. What you do (more than what you say) determines the values and norms in your company.

As I have written about before many times, speed is both the primary strategy and primary tactic when it comes to running a high growth company. All else being equal, getting to the same place faster tends to be more valuable.

Now, it is definitely true that most CEOs, especially founder CEOs, are the hardest-working people in their company. They set the bar for work ethic, often at great personal sacrifice. But, this doesn’t always translate into speed.

As CEO, you have the ultimate context. The most domain knowledge. And as your company grows the demands on you become all encompassing.

Many CEOs are overwhelmed when they reach out to me for coaching. They can’t keep up. More often than not, this is driven by one or both of not operating at the right altitude or not having the right leadership team.

If either of these is true, if you are too deep in the weeds and/ or you are making up for the weakness of one or more of your leaders, then despite all your efforts, you may be slowing your company down.

Are you slowing your company down? Let’s check…

Do you take days to respond to emails or slack messages?

Do you only respond to some messages because it is impossible to respond to everything (excluding messages that don’t require a response)?

Does it take a long time to get on your schedule because it is so packed with meetings?

Are you unable to quickly react to changes, opportunities, emergencies because your schedule is so rigid?

Are you unable to be fully present in a meeting because you thinking about what is next or otherwise just overwhelmed by your responsibilities?

If any of these are true, then despite your herculean efforts, you are slowing your company down. Moreover, you are establishing a norm that slow is OK. It’s ok to be slow to respond because the CEO is. It’s OK to not be fully present in a meeting, because the CEO isn’t present.

You get the picture…

The fix for this is NOT more work. In fact, it is likely a reduction of work. It is about operating at the right altitude and having the strongest leadership team that your scale and resources allow for.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

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