*What it takes to be a leader at Work, Discover the Insider Secrets of the World’s Best CEOs.

Introduction:

Is it ever puzzling to you why some businesses succeed and others fail? Is there a reason why certain executives are more successful than others? Is it possible to learn these abilities, or do the most successful businessmen just have them inherently? Take advantage of the wisdom of the world’s most successful people. An executive is a key member of any company’s leadership team. Poor choices can lead to a company’s downfall because their choices have such a significant impact on the growth and advancement of the firm. For a high-performing executive to be successful, they must know exactly what to do and how to execute it.
It’s critical to recognize that no one is born with the skills necessary to be an effective CEO, and that anyone may gain such skills.
Learn how to lead effectively by studying the attributes of the most successful CEOs in this book.
Do you have what it takes to succeed as a top executive in an organisation? You may believe on this book to help you along the way.

KNOW THY TIME

The first thing an effective executive does is analyze how they spend their time.They will then minimize the time spent on unproductive activities and integrate their time on top priorities.Time is important to everyone: once time has passed it is gone forever, even if it was unproductive or wasted.No one is well-equipped to manage his or her time effectively; a psychological experiment was done whereby people were put in a dark room with no access to the outside.While they still had their sense of space, they quickly lost their sense of time.
 
The experiment was repeated with the lights on; most people were still unable to estimate how much time they had been inside the room.Many executives are pressured to waste their precious time on unproductive activities.One particular executive shared that his position requires him to attend dinners almost every night.These dinners tend to waste a lot of his time, but he must attend them nonetheless.Ineffective activities are a reality for all executives, but the most effective executives learn how to minimize such wasted time.
 
Some executives attempt to reduce wasted time by allocating the minimum time possible to various tasks: but this is not an effective approach.If you want to be productive, you must allocate a huge chunk of time to each activity, and if you want to establish good human relations with your employees, you will be required to allocate sufficient time to interact with them.When an executive is leading a large organization he or she is responsible for making decisions for the benefit of the organization.A hastily-made decision is likely to hurt the organization.Many effective executes take enough time to ensure they have reached the right decision,and have considered all their options before committing to it.
 
Alfred P Sloan, Jr. was the former CEO of General Motors, the largest manufacturing company of automobiles globally.It is reported that he never made a decision the moment a problem came up, instead he would offer a tentative solution the first time.A few days or weeks later, he would analyze the problem again.If he came up with the same decision again, only then would it be implemented.A senior administrative official in his fifties had been working in a government research institute all his life.The man had served the institution well, but then he began performing poorly.
 
The man could not be fired, nor would he be demoted because the company owed the man for his many years of service and loyalty, but being in an administrative position was a big compromise to the entire organization.The director and his deputy went through the matter of this administrative official’s poor performance quickly, but did not come up with a solution.However, when they dedicated lengthy time to the matter, they came up with a solution.It was such a simple solution that left them wondering why they had not thought it before.In any organization, an effective executive will always take time before making any major decision.
 
An effective executive will prune all time-wasters.The first step in pruning time-wasters is to identify what activities waste time due to the lack of a system.A lot of time is wasted because of hiring too many employees and holding many meetings.Harry Hopkins was President Roosevelt’s advisor during World War II.Since Hopkins was dying, he decided not to focus on less important things and instead to work on what mattered the most.As a result, he ended up being more effective than anyone else at the time.
 
If you want to be an effective executive, you must learn how to manage your time effectively.Sit down and list out where all your time is going.This way, you will know what areas to cut back on and where to increase your time.Only then will you be able to accomplish more tasks and focus on the most important activities.

HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE?

An effective executive looks around and asks themselves, “What can I do to contribute to the greater good of the organization?” Many executives are unable to deliver because they focus on their efforts rather than their juniors’ results.They believe that the organization owes them something or should have done something.Such executives never take responsibility for their actions.A large company had a director of publications who had been with the company since the 1930’s.
 
The director wrote on scientific topics even though he was not a scientist nor a writer, and as a result, he produced low-quality publications.When he retired, he was replaced by a  professional who could produce high-quality materials.The company saw much improvement with the new professional, but the target audience for these publications stopped reading the published work.A scientist told the company that the readers were losing interest because the publications were written ‘at them’ instead of ‘for them’, as they experienced with the previous writer.
 
The old director had been effective because he constantly asked himself, “What can I do to contribute to high reads for these publications?” He realized the answer was to make young scientists become interested in working for the agency.Every decision and publication was, therefore, aimed to achieve this end.He knew that the quality of the publications was not as important as the goal of attracting more scientists to apply for jobs in the agency.When you ask yourself  how you can contribute, consider how you can tap into unused potential.If an executive does not ask this question, they aim too low and contribute very little.
 
When an executive focuses on contribution, they end up developing people in the company.One such instance is of a new administrator working in a hospital. During the first staff meeting, a decision was reached for a major problem they were facing. Then one nurse asked, “Will Nurse Bryan be okay with this decision?” and the discussion started again.The administrator learned later that Nurse Bryan was not a distinguished employee or in a high-ranking position in the hospital.But Nurse Bryan always asked herself, “Will this be good for my patients?”
 
As a result, the patients in her unit always recovered quickly.She influenced the rest of the hospital staff, so they in turn began to ask, “Is this what is best for our patients?” Even though Nurse Bryan had retired almost a decade before, she set high staff standards.When executives commit to contributing to the organization, then they become more effective.Many execute fail because they are unwilling to change.When they are promoted to higher positions, they continue doing the same as they had done before, which is the road to failure.
 
Today, almost everyone who works in an organization has acquired higher education and is very knowledgeable.Converting this knowledge into ideas and concepts is not something just anyone can do.To be effective, one must focus on one area and perfect it.If one wants to be regarded as effective, he or she must make sure to deliver good results, which only comes through applying knowledge.Many executives do not relate well with their juniors, including General George  and Alfred P Sloan.Their employees highly valued them however, because they inspired affection.
 
Even though they were distant, they were tasked with making major decisions.They took the time to make these decisions, and these decisions turned out to be good because they were focused on everyone’s well-being.If you want to be an effective executive, focus on communicating  effectively from the bottom to the top.The next step is to encourage and to enhance teamwork.Then focus on developing yourself and developing others.Always take time in making major decisions and constantly think of ways to make things better.

MAKING STRENGTHS PRODUCTIVE

Nothing can be achieved by focusing on weaknesses.An effective executive will look at the strengths in the organization, from bottom to top management.The executive will then focus on using all these strengths for the good of the organization; he or she recognizes that those who deserve a promotion in the company are those who are strong.President Lincoln grew up in Kentucky where he saw first-hand the effects of alcohol abuse.When choosing generals, Lincoln appointed those who lacked major weaknesses to these positions.
 
While such generals were men of standard, they could not deliver because they did not have the strengths of a general. As a result, the North lost every battle for three years, even though it had superior men.The president eventually appointed General Grant. Although he was a drunkard, he had proven his capability in planning and leading armies.As a result, the North was able to win.President Lincoln learned that a man’s strength could not be determined by how sober he is nor by his lack of weaknesses.
 
This was a tactic that Lee, the commander of the confederate army, had used from the beginning of the war.His generals were all known for obvious vices such as drunkenness.However, Lee knew that these traits did not matter because these generals were capable of leading armies.He exploited these strengths, and this way, he was able to beat Lincoln’s men for many years.Therefore, an effective executive focuses on what an employee can do rather than what he cannot do.He knows that a man’s weakness is not relevant if  his strength is exploited to the maximum.
 
One of Lee’s generals is said to have disobeyed orders and, therefore, completely ruined Lee’s plan.Lee was a self-composed man, but when he heard this, he lost his temper.When he had cooled down, one of his men asked for permission to relieve that general of his duty.It is said Lee was completely amazed by this question He then said that the general had performed well previously and could not be terminated from service.Therefore, an effective executive knows that subordinates’ main purpose is to deliver, not necessarily to not make their bosses happy.
 
So how do you make yourself effective? Everyone is busy complaining about what they cannot change.They focus on what they are not allowed to do by their company, government, etc.An effective executive will focus on what they can do and do it while everyone else is whining.This is the only way to focus on strengths and productivity.One of the most important tasks of an executive is to utilize their strengths fully.Managing your boss is very easy, but only effective executives know how to accomplish this.The secret is simple: make the strengths of your boss count.
 
You have to understand that your boss is human and is prone to make mistakes.If you focus on the mistakes of your boss, then you will only get frustrated. Learn to focus on his or her strengths and exploit them.This way, your superior will feel like they are contributing something and they will want to contribute more.In the end, you will have won.For example, if your superior’s strength is in politics, make sure that any problem regarding politics is given to him to come up with a new policy effectively.One example is a major railroad company that was prevented from working by the government.A new employee, a financial vice president, asked permission to conduct new projects.
 
The commissioners told him that those projects were none of their concerns, and he should instead redirect his energy towards something they had permission to do.In the end, remember that a person’s weaknesses are nothing compared to what they can do.If you focus on strengths you will be an effective executive.Also, do not focus on what you cannot do, rather redirect your energy on what can be done and do it.And most importantly, remember that you will be the ultimate effective executive when you focus on your superiors’ and subordinates’ strengths.

THE ELEMENT OF DECISION-MAKING

Making decisions is just one of the tasks of an executive.The process sometimes takes a little time but can have a big impact.An effective executive does not just make many great decisions, but important decisions as well.When making decisions, they know that it is not just a matter of how much time you take, but also involves considering all variables and manipulating them accordingly.
 
Theodore Vail was the president of the Bell Telephone company around 1910.He is known to be one of the most effective decision-makers in history. In the time he worked at Bell, he built the company to become one of the largest and fast-growing private enterprises in the whole world.Many people do not take seriously the fact that the telephone system is a private enterprise. In the part of America that the Bell system serves, there has been tremendous growth and development.The Bell system has consistently taken a lot of risks when it comes to leadership, and has continued to grow rapidly over the years.
 
This has been attributed to the four strategic decisions that Vail made.Vail knew for a long time that if the telephone system was to remain in the private sector, they had to make well-defined decisions.In Europe, all telephone systems were government owned and they were doing just fine.  Vail knew that going against the government with a phone system in America was going to be an impossible mission.Vail also knew that for the company to thrive it had to do something for the public that even the government could not match.This led to making a Bell system focused completely on satisfying clients by meeting their needs while making profits at the same time.
 
But Vail made sure that this approach was not just preaching about good services; he made sure they delivered.Vail also knew that the policies put in place by the government were to ensure that telephone systems would not remain free enterprises. For the Bell system to remain in the market, they had to ensure they were honest and conscientious.What was worse is that people were not well-aware of these regulations.Vail’s second big decision was to ensure that these regulations were effective.He made the main task of every manager in each region where Bell offered services to be focused on offering favorable policies to the public, and the company as well.
 
Vail asked himself, “How can we make the company remain competitive?” The question was about more than just competition from other enterprises – without competition Vail new Bell would become irrelevant.Vail knew the answer lay within new and improved technologies. This led to the initiation of the Bell laboratories, which became one of the most successful industries in the business.But this company was not the only one which had immersed itself in future technologies, it, however, was able to thrive because Bell understood that new technologies could only be relevant if they make current technologies obsolete.When World War I came, the Bell system profited massively because of Vail’s policy.
 
His final and major decision was mass capital markets. If a company cannot attract the capital, it will fail.Vail knew he needed to make the company attract huge amounts of money. He invented AT&T, which attracted investors in the middle class.This category of people could put a little money aside for investment, and received the promise that their investment would not depreciate or deflate.
 
When it comes to decision-making, an executive needs to first understand the nature of the problem by asking “Is this a generic problem?”The answer should satisfy the underlying conditions.An effective executive must then develop the best solution that fully meets the needs and constantly builds a positive outcome.An effective executive will also take back feedback to know if the company goals were realized.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Doing the first things first, and doing one thing at a time is the secret to being effective.This is because executives are tasked with the responsibility of producing results without enough time to accomplish them. An executive who constantly looks to contribute more and focuses on the strengths available can get a lot accomplished even in a short period.Concentration is necessary for getting things done effectively.There was a CEO who followed this concept and achieved a lot. When he started working for a pharmaceutical company, the company was small and sold products in one country only.
 
However, when he left, the company was operating globally and was one of the largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide.While this CEO was not a scientist, he did his research well.He dedicated his first years at the company on research in all aspects.He knew the only way to grow was to do things differently.He discovered that the government and the health sector defined the consumption of drugs in the country.The only way to succeed was to wait: when the government implemented big changes in the health sector, he would make his entry.This way, he could start in countries that knew nothing about the company, with only minimal effort dealing with competitors.
 
He then focused on coming up with a strategy that would accommodate and fill the niche of modern health.He planned to have the agency pay for the patient’s hospital bill, but the patient would have the opportunity to decide on the type of care.This is a technique that many government and non-governmental organizations implement.He was able to raise the standards of the company in a short period of time.Many would have underestimated his ambition because of the assumption that such things require time.
 
And this is the reason most people don’t get things done effectively.They look at the time frame they have and conclude it cannot be done.To be effective, one needs to get rid of past procedures and regulations that are no longer productive.This includes cutting off funds that are being invested in the wrong places.The success of yesterday will not linger forever. Effective executives know they are required to constantly go back to the drawing board and develop new strategies.The number of productive tasks, opportunities, and problems will never cease to increase.
 
Therefore, to be effective, one must analyze all these and decide which is better for now and which can wait until later, because there will never be enough time to get everything done.This does not mean postponing, because postponing does not solve today’s problems but instead creates another problem for tomorrow.To prioritize tasks one must first understand that the future is against the past.Then look at problems as opportunities with potential rather than as problems.The next step is to take a different path and not the one everyone else has been choosing.The final step is to have new goals that will help achieve substantial results.

CONCLUSION

In this book, you will learn how to become an effective executive.Effective executives must know how they spend their time.Without planning, nothing will be accomplished.Executives who are effective must also allocate enough time for human relations.Effective executives constantly ask themselves, “How can I contribute?” and seek to build on the strengths of others.
 
Finally, effective executives realize they will never have enough time for every problem they are faced with, instead they must prioritize which activities are the most important. Being an effective executive is a skill that can be learned.Every known effective executive in history practiced these simple steps to get there.You can also start these habits today and take your company to the next level.Remain confident and open your mind to learn more, and you will get there

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