Managing Energy for Optimal CEO Performance | Mark MacLeod

September 21, 2022 - Mark MacLeod

Managing Energy for Optimal CEO Performance

Have you noticed that some meetings and activities drain you while others feed you? As CEO, you get pulled in many directions. Your work days can be intense.

While intensity is needed if you want to build something big, you can absolutely be intentional about which activities and meetings you focus on. I believe one powerful filter for focusing can be the impact those activities have on your energy. Focusing on managing energy frees you from the activities & responsibilities that hold you and your company back.

Energy management and daily activities

All we have is our days and our time. Our most precious resource. Let’s look at two CEOs as they go about their work day:

CEO 1: Wakes up, opens email & Slack. Immediately gets drawn into things. Responds to issues and requests before beginning a work day packed with meetings. The meetings are across every department, after all, she is responsible for the whole company.

Lunch is spent in a meeting. Got to make the most of your time!

This CEO is often late for meetings because they are scheduled back to back.

6pm: time to shut down work. Now this CEO is in parenting mode. More fire fighting.

8:30pm: Kids are in bed. Time to do email.

11pm: Crash.

CEO 2: Wakes up and works out. Shows up to work fresh and energized. CEO 2 knows what the top priorities are for the day and schedules those first.

This CEO has surrounded herself with a strong leadership team. This doesn’t mean she can now abdicate her responsibilities. But it does mean she can be much more strategic about where she spends her time.

Her superpower is sales. Put this CEO in front of customers and magic happens. She feeds off this. Also what she learns from customers gets looped right back into the product roadmap.

As a result, her days are focused on helping close big deals and staying as close as possible to customer needs. This CEO has a close pulse and both the sales pipeline and product roadmap.

The things that this CEO hates doing (detailed operations & finance reviews) are handled by her leadership team.

This CEO knows that if she is to be at her best in front of customers then she needs to manage her energy. She takes small breaks (5 – 15 minutes) between meetings so she can reset & remind herself of the purpose and objectives for the next meeting.

She knows her team relies on her input so schedules time for email & slack in the morning, afternoon, and a little bit in the evening (in order to set her priority focus for the next day).

After family time, this CEO likes to read a book or listen to a podcast as she winds down.

As you can see, work is happening to the first CEO. She is reacting. It is in charge of her. She has no boundaries between work and personal life. She has not built-in routines for happiness and energy management.

Also, the fact that she needs to be involved in every aspect of the business tells us that her leadership team is not strong enough (but that’s another topic).

CEO 2 is in control of her work. She is in charge. She knows what her superpowers are and has designed her team and work around that. She is intentional about what she needs to accomplish each day and mindful of the boundaries needed to have enough energy.

It’s safe to say that we would probably all prefer CEO 2’s routine. How do we get there?

Strategies to manage your energy

First, identify your superpower.

What are you uniquely qualified to do in your company? What kind of work puts you into a state of flow where you harness all of your creative power? Where you don’t even feel like you are working?

Next, build your entire company around this self-awareness of your superpower.

I firmly believe that there is a 100% correlation between a CEO’s performance and the outcome (exit value) of the company. This is why I only coach CEOs! You need to be selfish here (even if your leadership style is to serve).

Knowing your superpower what leaders do you need around you in order to leverage that superpower to the fullest? Which meetings & activities do you need to keep in order to get maximum leverage? Which ones do you need to remove?

This is likely an iterative process. I would just look at my calendar at the end of each day and group the activities based on whether they supported my superpower and whether they gave me energy or took my energy away.

As you allocate more and more of your time to activities that leverage your superpower and give you energy you will see that work becomes deeply fulfilling, rewarding (in every sense), and sustainable. Your leaders (& perhaps entire company) will see this. This is where you want to get to: A truly sustainable flow.

Do this and settle in for a long ride up and to the right!

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

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