I love the book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” and I highly recommend that all CEOs read it and deploy their recommendations. In the book, the authors describe the challenge of extracting ourselves from the day to day whirlwind that violently sweeps us into solving urgent and unimportant problems, instead of staying diligent to the critical responsibilities of a CEO.

I have worked with many business owners and most of them struggle to remain steadfast in their role as CEO. There are many reasons for the distractions and many appear to be significant enough to warrant their attention for a short while. The trick is to find a way to stick your arm out from within the whirlwind and grab onto a tree and pull yourself back on track. Your role as the CEO and business owner is to keep the business on your plan.

To that end, if you are a CEO & business owner, please cut out the list below, and put it on your desk as a reminder about what you should be doing vs. what you are distracted by.

Responsibilities of a CEO/Business Owner

Courageously explore new markets and exploit opportunities

Vigorously probe the competition for weaknesses

Identify and carve out new market niches and reposition as needed

Assess and fix the internal capability and capacity weaknesses

Experiment, measure results, and own the business performance outcomes

Curate the internal culture and define the rules & expectations for all

Set the plan, the vision, the pace, the tone, and the leadership style

Find, nurture, and challenge the next generation of leaders

Communicate effectively to your team, your customers, and the industry

Nobody says that the responsibilities of a CEO are easy. In fact, it is very challenging to balance all of the time demands from the matrix of your stakeholders. But, in the end, it’s your job and there isn’t anyone else in your business that has the skills, experience, and motivation to be the business principal. It’s lonely at the top but when you can stay focused on what is really important, the feeling of accomplishment is extraordinarily rewarding. The results will be there, and it is worth it.