In any industry nowadays, CEO’s face tremendous pressure. They’re often expected to create more profit with fewer resources and deliver more results in less time while meeting rising shareholder expectations. It’s often the case that the systems they are supposed to have in place for management fail to get the attention they deserve from the head of the organization. As a result, there is unnecessary churn, resulting in managers spending most of their time doing work that they weren’t hired to do. What is driving the lack of effectiveness of managers in organizations? What can CEOs do to improve manager effectiveness?
Creating a Strategic Plan
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A CEO is generally accountable to the Board of Directors for recommending a strategy for the organization. Most organizations are pretty good at developing strategy. It is on the actual strategy implementation where most organizations fall down.
While the plan is a plan to the overall organization, it is also the personal business plan of the CEO. The CEO needs to determine what personal work he or she must do to achieve the strategy, and what must be delegated to whom and within what time frames to assure the overall success of the strategy implementation. The strategy is not something that sets the CEO’s objectives over the next five years; rather, it must impact the entire organization.
When it comes to strategic implementation, most organizations do a poor job. In fact, literature confirms that as many as 60 to 70 percent of organizations are not attaining desired results. Nevertheless, the CEO needs to put into place a system that links the objectives of every single employee in the organization back to the goals of the strategic plan. This line of site is critical and performance needs to be measured against attainment of these objectives.
Ensuring Organization Wide Systems Are Running Efficiently
The CEO is also accountable for organization-wide systems. What often happens is that these support systems (finance, administration, human resources, legal, etc.) aren’t getting the kind of attention that they need. These support departments have a dual function. On the one hand they need to provide corporate support, e.g. financials will which help the CEO and the board understand the current state of the organization. However, they also provide tools and support to managers throughout the organization, e.g. expense and budget reports. If these systems do not get the right amount of attention, the systems that are intended to support managers can often have a contrary effect. Situations can develop where people throughout the organization depend on input from others, but aren’t able to get the support they need and as a result, cannot do their work effectively.
CEO’s Are Maintaining Accountability and Authority Frameworks
Both the successful implementation of strategy, and the appropriate balance of corporate support systems require that the CEO have an accountability and authority framework in place. Such a framework creates a means to ensure that work is appropriately delegated down the organization, and flows smoothly across the organization. In most cases, organizations do not have formal accountability and authority frameworks. Without them, managers simply cannot be as effective as they should, and organizations are therefore not as productive as they could be.