What do CEOs really do? There are 4 simple priorities for business leaders – strategy, people, action and leadership

June 18, 2018

15 years ago I sat down with some colleagues to write a book called “The Complete CEO”.

We spent much of our time debating what exactly a CEO needed to do, and what he or she should leave to others. Not many people have tried to define that, and our experience showed there was significant confusion – with CEOs, with boards, with executive teams, and headhunters.

A few years later when I myself became a CEO, I realised how easy it is to get sucked into everything. You can easily feel the weight of the company on your shoulders, and you can easily get distracted by short-term pressures or innovative ideas for the future, which distract you from the fundamentals.

Knowing what CEOs need to do, and what to empower others to do, became incredibly simple yet powerful. A recent report from Bain & Co confirms this.  Indeed, the principles have net changed much in the last 15 years, despite the digitalisation, globalisation and acceleration of business.

So here are the 4 priorities for CEOs:

The Strategy Priority

The People Priority

The Action Priority

The Leadership Priority

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