What Is The Role of the Chief Executive Officer?

At the small business level, another name for CEO is Principal, Managing Partner, Owner, and Founder.



When I started working at a Fortune 500 company in Los Angeles in my late 20's about 25 years ago, I received the experience of a lifetime to see a company with about 500 employees grow to about 45,000 employees in 12 years.


The CEO when I started with the health insurance company was the same CEO who grew the company to 45,000. And, I was right there watching the company grow and benefiting from perks like having a window office, stock options, an expense account and a Hertz Gold Card for out of town car rentals.


But the perks were nothing compared to what I learned from the CEO. The CEO's name was Dan. I recall working in my first position right after military service as a swing-shift lead. Dan left the headquarters office to make an unannounced visit to the satellite office about 15 miles away. Dan brought the VP of Human Resources, Mee-Wha, with him.


After Dan toured the facility and operation, Dan asked Mee-Wha, "who is the night time supervisor?" Mee-Wha answered, "this facility only has a swing shift lead”. Dan replied, "effective immediately, let's make Rick the night time supervisor!"


My pay jumped about 75% and I was officially in a junior management position.


I never told that story on a blog or a podcast episode, so I wanted to make it known to the public.


This article is really about role of the CEO. I only worked for one corporation after serving in the military, but I believe I was at the right place at the right time. I learned so much!


The role of the CEO is very confusing to lots of people in the public. Outsiders think the CEO just gets paid lots of money for doing nothing and, when he or she leaves the company, he or she gets paid lots of money. But there is a lot happening in the CEO's daily duties.


Here's the biggest misconception about the CEO's role: the CEO is supposed to know everything.


The biggest responsibility the CEO has is to make sure the company is performing at its optimum. To ensure high performance, the CEO must do the following:


  1. Understand the business. This means knowing the in's and out's of the industry. CEO's must know how the competition is performing. The CEO must have detailed to high level knowledge of the how key departments function like sales and marketing, customer service, accounting, information technology, corporate legal, human resources and maintenance.

  2. Pick the right people for the job. This is critical. A good CEO is less likely the pick friends for key positions or show favoritism to unqualified people. The wrong people in key positions can hurt the company severely. The CEO looks to key people to support his or her initiatives. If the person in the key position is not performing, the CEO is not performing.

  3. Ensuring the business survives. The two top departments in a corporation are Sales and Customer Service. Next are Accounting and Information Technology. The Sales Department makes money for the entire corporation and generates revenue for every employee to take home a pay check every two weeks. If the Sales Department is not successful in meeting its monthly sales quotas, the company will soon go out of business and/or hundreds of people will be laid off.

At the small business level, the Principal, the Managing Partner, the Owner, and the Founder have all three of the above responsibilities.


What I see today when my company begins consultations with white-collar small business owners such as attorneys, dentists, CPAs, plastic surgeons, insurance brokers and real estate brokers is not much attention focused on items 1, 2 and 3.


But, I totally understand why.


The majority of white-collar small business owners never spent thousands of hours in management classes and business development training and/or learning about sales systems.


When faced with understanding the entire business as in item 1, the small business owner only has technical expertise and certified licensing. The owner may not know how to navigate the business waters.


Regarding item 2, white-collar small business owners all need business development support. The skill set alone requires 1,000 to 1,600 hours (or 6 to 9 months) to become proficient in executing sales and marketing plans. Business owners do not have time to spend in this specialty training.


Last, is item 3, ensuring the business survives. Without some mastery in items 1 and 2, it is difficult to keep the business open.


The success of the company leader is tough without all the right parts in place. On the other side of the coin, the success of the company leader is more likely if he or she has a great plan implemented by good people.


321 Biz Dev LLC is here to help any white-collar small business with improving sales systems and providing business development support.


Let 321 Biz Dev LLC help you become the CEO you are meant to be. The good news is none of our sales systems training is rah-rah or hype.


Interested parties can contact me, Rick Nappier, CEO, at (833) 321-3212, or Yeilyn Rodriguez, VP, Business Development Specialist (bilingual) for English or Spanish contacts, at (786) 697-3400.


Business owners can also complete a 5-minute Questionnaire by clicking the Services tab on our website. Also, click the About and Podcast tabs to see and hear more about 321 Biz Dev LLC.


Thanks for reading this article.


Rick, CEO

Yeilyn, VP



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