Performance management is key to any successful business. Making sure you have clear goals and responsibilities defined for everyone in the company is important to create alignment and focus. Without a good system of measuring success, results tend to be lackluster.
As a business coach, I work with leadership teams on defining strategic goals and outcomes and developing performance management systems for guiding the execution process. This includes functional and process accountability, standard operating procedures, and role definition.
Key to this are role scorecards. These define the core responsibilities and success metrics for each role in the company. With good role scorecards, management becomes much easier and you can ensure alignment across the organization.
Typically, one of the hardest scorecards to develop is for the CEO. As the head of the company it's hard not to put everything on your scorecard. And this is the mistake I typically see CEOs making.
As the company grows, the CEO roles need to be focused on fewer and fewer things. If you try to focus on too much and keep your fingers in too many pies, you'll hinder the development of your people and slow the growth of your company.
Here are three key areas that I advise CEOs to focus on and which I generally put on their scorecard. If you're looking to grow and scale more quickly, consider focusing on these and creating metrics to define your success.
1. Senior leadership team scorecards
One of my favorite metrics on a CEO's role scorecard is the percentage of leadership team members who are successful on their scorecards. I typically do this as a measure of the green, yellow, and red metrics across all of the leadership team. And if there are any empty seats, those count as zeros.
One of the most important jobs of a CEO is to design their leadership team structure and then find the right talent to put in those seats. By putting the average of their team's score on their scorecard, it forces them to either train and develop their leaders, redefine the roles so people are more successful, or recruit better talent.
2. Customer conversations
As your company grows, you need to spend more time on external strategy than internal processes. Too often, I see companies stuck in their growth because the CEO just can't give up control of operations and deliver.
If you want to grow your business, you need to get out of the office. One of your most important roles as CEO is to have an intimate understanding of the market and to develop insights and predictions about where it's going.
One of the best ways to do this is to spend time with your customers and deeply understand the challenges and struggles they have and where you can provide value and solutions. This is more than just going out to lunch. Go to their offices and watch their people working. The more time you can spend understanding their pain and struggles, the more opportunities and value you can create.
3. Allocation of time to strategic planning
The hardest part about strategy is finding time to do it. When you're a high-growth company, there are a thousand things vying for your attention. Salespeople want help to sell, delivery teams want you to provide insight, and HR wants you to interview and spend time with new employees.
Yes, you need to do all of those things, but you also need to dedicate time for strategy. And since nobody else is demanding that from you, you need to create the structure and discipline to make the time, not find the time.
I like a CEO to set aside at least one two to three hour block of time to focus on strategy development. This could be collecting data, developing insights, or creating potential paths for the company. This could also include products/service development and innovation if you have more time. The key is to have a larger block of focused and uninterrupted time to really steep yourself in creating the future of the company.
There are many other factors that show up on CEO scorecards, and each one will be unique to the company and the leader's unique strengths and weaknesses. But these three will drive your development as the head of the company and help accelerate your growth.