A CEO Only Does Three Things | Trey Taylor

Summary of: A CEO Only Does Three Things: Finding Your Focus in the C-Suite
By: Trey Taylor


Embark on a journey to discover the secrets of exemplary leadership with Trey Taylor’s insightful book, ‘A CEO Only Does Three Things: Finding Your Focus in the C-Suite’. Unravel the interconnectedness of people, culture, and numbers in building a strong foundation for business success. Overcome decision fatigue by focusing on these three critical areas and delegating other tasks. Through this exploration of self-awareness, values-driven decision-making, and culture building, you’ll learn the importance of thoughtful hiring practices, employee recognition, and key performance indicators in shaping the organization’s future.

The Three Pillars of CEO Success

CEOs who prioritize their people, organization’s culture, and numbers create a strong foundation for their company’s success. These critical drivers of business success are interdependent, and CEOs must strike a balance among them. To avoid decision fatigue, CEOs should delegate decisions that don’t directly relate to these core competencies to their teams, who have better information and are closer to the issues. Being a CEO is a tough job, and it’s important to focus on the right things to prevent unnecessary work. Neglecting culture, people, and numbers will lead to their natural development without direction or scrutiny. Wise CEOs realize that prioritizing these three pillars can create a thriving business.

The Importance of Self-Awareness for CEOs

Less than 10% of people achieve self-awareness, but it is key for a CEO’s success. Understanding oneself, values, and emotions guides decision-making and aligns with the organization’s mission.

The ability to be self-aware is a rare quality, but it is a crucial predictor of a CEO’s success. Great CEOs prioritize understanding themselves, including their motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and values. They understand that their emotions and intellect shape their decisions, reflect who they are, and determine their beliefs.

Moreover, successful CEOs evaluate the impact of their decisions to inform and improve their actions. They are aware that whenever their actions, thoughts, or feelings don’t reflect their beliefs or purpose, their authenticity is threatened. By being self-aware, CEOs unconsciously align their values with their organization’s mission, attuning to their colleagues’ beliefs, and aligning them with their own.

For value-driven CEOs, success is not only defined by short-term achievements or financial gains, but also by their ability to uphold the values of their organization, reject options that compromise it, and leverage its strengths. When an organization aligns around its genuine values and purpose, motivation and potential soar.

Finally, good CEOs constantly gather information, read books, and reflect before making decisions. According to research, CEOs read at least 12 books annually, while the majority of Americans read three books or fewer.

The Power of Organizational Culture

Culture is the primary determinant of behavior, making it vital for CEOs to shape and monitor the culture of their organization. CEOs should recognize and reward employees whose actions align with the desired culture and hire individuals who share the company’s core values. Consistent communication of these values is key to success.

Core Values and Rituals

Core values are unique to an organization since they arise naturally within it. To determine the company’s core values, the CEO should observe behaviors and beliefs, then record and consolidate their findings. Once the core values are identified, the CEO should draft and describe a corporate value statement. The statement should also contain stories exemplifying employee behavior that puts values into practice. To make core values resonate, it is essential to create rituals to accentuate certain aspects of the company culture. These rituals should link to a value and serve a purpose. They should be easy to perform and regularly repeated to reinforce desired behaviors. Celebrating corresponding values and encouraging new hires to participate in rituals are key to keeping the company culture alive. It takes time for cultural change to take place, so persistence is key.

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