The CEO's job is about tomorrow not today. Yes, you need to oversee a team that produces results and executes for today but the CEO should be focused on making sure the company can also deliver for tomorrow. Given all the day to day operating pressures we face, we don't always focus enough on tomorrow. This is a bigger challenge in the present work environment where it seems like change, often driven by technology, is happening faster and faster each passing year.
Hockey Legend, Wayne Gretzsky, is famous for saying that "his success did not come from skating to where the puck was but rather to where it was going to be". As CEO's, it is our job to predict where the "puck" will be travelling next. A common problem facing CEO's is that often you need to place a bet in order to be successful in capturing these ongoing opportunities. The bet is necessary because we will never always have all pertinent information or exact insight on where the industry is going.
This is even more challenging for smaller companies, where often you simply cannot afford to make multiple bets. The gamble for a CEO is a risk that must be taken when aspiring to move the business forward, and you must accept the uncertain future of your bet in that it could also result in costing your job. The ability to make those tough decisions is why you are the CEO.
Three things to ask yourself as you reflect on the end of 2015 and continue to plan for 2016:
1. Did I bet my job at least once on something for the future?
2. What did I learn from my bet?
3. What do I anticipate betting on in 2016?
To reference Wayne Gretzsky again and to "predict the puck" successfully we need to remember the skills we've learned along the way, trust our instincts, welcome a little bit of luck, and lastly hope that the odds will be in our favor. Here's to 2016, now gather round everyone and place your bets!