People of power generally carry an aura with them, the Untouchables seems to spring to mind. Now the CEO is someone of power within the company, they have potentially spent their lives learning and failing to get to the top.
Now CEO’s are appearing everywhere, all aged from 19 to 30 and really not having the experience or track record the majority of old school leaders have. To conquer this, the new style of CEO has begun to close the gap between frontline and the office at the top.
Here are 4 ways to close the gap:
Work for the team
As you go further up the ladder you begin to move away from the frontline duties, or at least forget about them. Generally speaking business owners or CEOs have had some sort of role in sales or have risen to fame from their illustrious sales record.
Can you cut it now? One of the aspects of working as a team is respecting each other for both role in the company and personality. With a CEO they are generally considered to be at the top of the mountain away from the action, get involved.
Become a team member’s PA for the day; answer calls, cold call an upcoming list of contacts, be an account manager for the day or simply do the coffee rounds for the team.
Nothing breaks down barriers more than seeing the companies CEO get a cold call slammed in their face. It makes the position of power less threatening and closes the pay scale divide that has plagued the business world for years.
Arrange a meal
Most pipelines have a couple of tricky accounts or prospects that just won’t commit. This account is holding up the cycle and the pipeline, the team have tried every closing technique but nothing has come from it.
This may be an opportune moment to make yourself available for a group meal with you the CEO, the account manager and the potential client. There’s something about meeting with the “untouchable” of a company that is the CEO to get the deal moving along.
People have paid good money, $610,000 for a meal with Tim Cook or $3.4 million for lunch with Warren Buffett, to pick the mind of a CEO.
This doesn’t have to be just for a tricky account, hold a competition internally and whoever wins gets to choose one account in their pipeline or current customer base. The idea is the team member can now decide if an account can be sweetened or a cycle can be fast forwarded by using the commodity that is the CEO’s time.
One to Ones
Few CEO’s can see how vital this is for the growth of business and team camaraderie. But feedback/suggestion forms or management interviews have little affect these days. Messages passed on by a messenger are diluted and generally are rarely auctioned in the long run so why would the team waste their time with suggestions?
Once a week, for 5 minutes arrange meetings with each and every team member – obviously this gets difficult when you’re the CEO of IBM or such – and make yourself completely present.
No message or email alerts just a notepad and your concern need to be at the meeting. You’ll be surprised at the ideas, concerns and emotions you’ll receive at these meetings, but it’ll be something off the team’s shoulders in the long run.
Make yourself accessible
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t sit in an elevated glass chamber of knowledge; he sits in the bull pen with the rest of the team. What makes this great for the team is that there is no divide between powers, everyone is in it together and everyone can communicate without having to go through internal gatekeepers.
A sales team on cold calling duties already spends 80% of the day contending with gatekeepers, why would you want the same internally?
The CEO has the ultimate power of being the decision maker, so you’re going to expect a large number of emails/phone calls per day. Tim Ferriss, in his book the 4 Hour Work Week, explained it brilliantly with overcoming these hurdles:
– Set a time that you check emails for example 12pm and 5pm and deal with accordingly.
– Set up an auto responder that tells people exactly what it is you’re doing regarding email replies.
– If it truly is that important, they have your number and they can call that.
– Give the freedom to your sales team, the customer service team and everyone else to make their own decisions on their own calls. You’ll find many problems are easily solved without the need for your input – people have the fear of getting it wrong.
Sometimes CEOs and business owners get onto their high horse and forget about the frontline troops. By simply sending a generic thank you email once a year is never going to get the team going, so you need to become one of frontline troops.
Your time is your currency, so devote some of it on creating wealth internally by building relations that go beyond the Christmas party.