“You’re a tough guy because you’ve executed your plan,” “Raul,” one of our investors said to me.
I nodded and said, “Thank you,” in response. What Raul said meant a lot to me because he threw praise around like manhole covers. In other words, it was a rare event when Raul ever said anything positive.
You have to be able to execute your plan if you’re going to be successful.
I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of great CEOs over the years, and I’ve had the good fortune of advising some very successful CEOs too.
The great CEOs always, always, execute their plans. Think about it. You can have the greatest strategy in the world, but it isn’t worth anything unless you have the ability to execute.
So, the real question is how do you execute your strategy.
Step 1: Executing your strategy always starts with your ability to recruit a great team.
If you want to be successful, then you’d better learn how to recruit a great team. I won’t say there’s one hundred percent correlation, but the great CEOs that I work with usually have a core team that they’ve worked with before.
When you’ve worked with some of your co-founders and early team members, you reduce risk. The team is more likely to execute than not.
You start with a core team that has familiarity, so they are going to march in the same direction. It makes your life a CEO so much easier.
It also makes recruiting the next group of engineers easier too because you and your team will all be recruiting your, and their, past colleagues. Now, that you have a great team, you can move to the next step in executing your strategy:
Step 2: You have to be able to lead and manage your great team.
As I think about the CEOs I work with today, and their ability to lead and manage, I again see more consistency. This time the consistent theme is the ability to delegate.
Successful CEOs are usually successful delegators because delegation is a force multiplier. The more your team can do means you can now work on the things that no one else in the company can do.
Now, successful delegation doesn’t mean that you delate a task and that’s the end of it. That leads to…
Step 3: You need to have a culture of trust between you and your team.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a CEO is teaching your team when and how to ask for help.
For example, I recently heard Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, being interviewed on a podcast. Ek was talking about how wanted his team to ask for help. I’m paraphrasing, but he said, “I want my team to ask for help early, and I want them to tell me how they propose to solve the problem.”
That’s letter perfect in my opinion. Ek is saying, “I don’t want you to use me as a crutch. Instead, I want you to come prepared, tell me what you’ve tried, and how you think the problem should be solved.”
Achieving what Ek has done at Spotify requires a lot of trust. This goes against everything most people have been taught their whole lives.
You have to walk the walk and talk the talk every day to get your team trust you enough to tell you they don’t have the answer. However, the rewards are extreme if you stick with Ek’s approach. I can see this from the CEOs I work with.
There you have it. Three simple steps for you to follow to get you and your team executing at a high level. Follow them, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to successfully execute your strategy.