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The CEO Top Ten – Right Now

Time to Read – 4 Minutes

The CEO Top Ten – Right Now

Whenever we see or speak with CEO’s we ask them “what is at the very top of your most difficult, yet most important pile, right now?

The CEO’s are from private, listed, charity and 3rd sector companies, based in many countries.

It is not a formal survey, it is not scientific and it is not particularly structured – it is a finger on the pulse question to simply see what they say – when we reach 100, we share the list with our client partners – on this occasion, we have decided to share it with everyone.

This week we list them, and next week I will share with you what to do about them, that will work, based on what I have seen work, in real companies around the world.

OK – in chart rundown order – the Top Ten issues:

10 Meetings – personally and within their organisations – too many, too long, too expensive.

9 Silos – Wanting their directors to think horizontally across the organisation, not just living in their own “strategic business unit.”

8 Compliance – staying out or prison. What do they need to do, without dedicating so much energy, resource and time that they can’t get on with the day job.

7 Projects – Too many (most CEO’s felt their organisations were doing far too many things), with too little accountability, prioritisation or realisation of benefits.

6 Social Media – What should we be doing to use it as a competitive advantage?

5 Innovation – Less candy floss brainstorms, bigger, dangerous ideas that will make the difference.

4 Reputation as an ethical company – “We spend years building something that can take seconds to destroy” “We want to be a Force for Good, and don’t know how.”

3 Customers (Yes, THIRD!) – Need more (“who will pay us on time”).

2 The Quality and effectiveness of our leaders – “we need internal leaders who deliver,” includes removal of external dependence on leadership (to consultancies).

1 ?

It’s not often that we have a cliff hanger in NL Week – what do you think is number one? Clue – it’s not a fear of being found out (that is the secret number one), say what you think below – and next week I will reveal all, including three actions for each that will work, for you to do if you are a CEO, or for you to do to impress your CEO and be a total hero.

With my love and best wishes


23 Responses to The CEO Top Ten – Right Now

  1. Staff – gaining their committment to company goals and empowering them to achieve their full potential.

  2. Rose is spot on, if it isn’t the development, acquisition and retention of talent then shame on theose CEOs

  3. people, people, people, in your organisation.
    If you don’t have the skills in your workforce to help and nurture your customers then the business is dead.
    It is all about people.

  4. There’s nothing on the list already that speaks to the CEOs themselves. If they don’t see that all these other issues stem from their own position as leader then they should. So I would have hoped it is how they can better lead and inspire, with purpose, vision and personal values.
    Or maybe that’s all nonsense and it really is profit…

  5. I like that last one, but to inspire yourself you need to feel as though you are valued and have input into the business, and therefore are paid well! It all comes down to money in the end.

  6. I agree with Tim, I think it’s the inner drive of the CEO to want to be a better leader than just a figurehead. This is not to suggest that the CEO is afraid of being ‘found out’ and thus wants to prove anything, it is more of the CEO realising the potential impact he/she can have on the entire organisation and all of its shareholders, and wanting to rise up to that responsibility and fulfil it in the best way possible.
    Just my two cents 🙂

  7. Thank you for your thoughts – ceo personal comments such as “leaving a legacy” and “changing the world for good” were mentioned and are just outside the Top Ten, “Trust” is similar, and often got mixed in with reputation – if the Barclays storm had broken just a few weeks earlier “trust and ethics” would have been there. People are included under leadership and I got that wrong and will separate the two next time. CEOs don’t seem to know what “Talent” means, and I am not sure I do (people?) – so that pretty much leaves an obvious number one, unfortunately or otherwise…

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