Discover more from And It's Up to You! by Antoine Martin
The rise of the Chief Everything Officer
Spoiler alert: this post contains a one-million dollar question that will change your life.
I'm the CEO, bitch!” - or how three letters make you feel good.
Executive is the dream. Everything is the reality.
The Chief Everything Test: simple math for a wake-up call.
The point should still be to make yourself redundant. Wondering how? Sign up 👇 for more business & performance hacks!
I talked to an old friend of mine earlier this week and our discussion led to reviewing his role as the CEO of his company.
The conclusion was that the CEO people want to become is rarely the CEO they are at the moment. And there's a good reason for that.
But first, a little bit of background.
He and I met about eight years ago in Paris (et oui…) while we both worked on our respective business projects.
At the time, I joined the little entrepreneurs' club he had created with another friend to boost each other (and a few more) while enjoying a well-deserved fresh pint. Of course.
Long story short, we had our own businesses, we were our own bosses and our own CEOs. So our egos came up with a joke which sounded just like that.
I'm the CEO, bitch!” - or how three letters make you feel good
It made no sense, of course.
CEO of what? One-man businesses?
Still, it had a satisfying element to it. You are in charge of yourself and that makes a massive difference.
Beyond the ego, the startup culture is what it is. It comes in the shape of a mold and people try to blend in (including us) even if there’s very little substance to support the idea.
Young entrepreneurs and business owners are always told that you should have a captain on board, so they focus on being the proud captain and they tell themselves stories.
Having a CEO name card makes you feel good because it flatters the ego, but so what?
Realistically, you are nothing more than the captain of a dingy that makes no money, has little to no client, no particular business model, and very little to offer since we're at it.
Not as sexy, is it?
In reality, having a boat that floats and fuels itself is a lot more important than being a captain.
But nobody tells them that, and so we see herds of just captains who get stuff done and run around in circles instead of piloting the ship with perspective on what comes next.
Chief Executive vs Chief Everything:
My conclusion, a few years later, is that when their business survives the first few years, many business owners and executives turn into Chief ‘Everything’ Officers rather than Chief ‘Executives’.
Sooner than later, karma makes you pay and throws everything possible at you. That’s when the Captain's head gets under the water and stays right there for years.
You've got to pilot the boat without having a precise direction.
You have to clean the boat because it gets dirty faster than you think.
You have to find the mechanics and staff to look after the clients.
And of course, you also have to keep looking for ways to fuel the boat, knowing that nobody else can do whatever you do so well.
Rings a bell?
Somehow, the Captain becomes the handyman on board, and by the same token, the Chief Executive Officer gets downgraded to Chief Everything Officer.
Worst of all, you have to suck it up, because there's no other solution available for the time being.
We get what we tolerate, remember?
There are solutions, of course, but seeing them implies opening one's eyes and deciding to do something.
Meanwhile, and as odd as that might sound, this type of story is a big (big) classic.
What makes me say that?
We've recently launched a business performance survey (click on the link in the first comment and participate, people!) and the data so far suggests that while ALL the participants evaluate their performance as being optimum, they also declare that they have little to no targets, little to no strategy, little to no progress tracking method so forth and so on.
I'll elaborate more on this survey in another post but, for now, no wonder why business owners and executive managers end up being Chief Everything Officers!
The good news is that there's always light at the end of the tunnel.
My buddy has decided that it's time to make a change for himself, so he now has a lot more possibilities. In corporate environments, managers and executives can also work on becoming leads and leaders as soon as they decide that it's time to make their job title work for them, rather than the other way around.
It's up to us, really.
The Chief Everything Test: simple math for a wake-up call
I can hear you. “Dude, how does that relates to your own circumstances?”
Great question, easy answer.
Does this Chief Everything situation ring a bell? Then do something until you still can.
What I just described doesn't sound like you? Good job! Still, try to make the following test (we call it the Chief Everything Test), just to be sure.
Here's how it works.
1 - Pick up a calculator, and input the money you make annually.
If you own a business: input its turnover (say, 5 million), aka the trading value produced thanks to your efforts.
If you are an executive in a business that doesn't belong to you: input your annual salary instead, plus all the bonus money you can make, your real estate income, etc.
2 - Divide that amount by the number of weeks you work every year (49 usually). That’ll give you a weekly wealth creation.
3 - Divide that amount by the number of days you work every week (say, 5 days a week) - that’ll give you a daily wealth creation.
4 - Divide that result once again by the number of hours you spend at work, and you'll have a clear idea of your hourly wealth creation.
For instance: if $250.000 is your turnover, that's ~$5000 worth of wealth created every week under your leadership.
Are you working 5 days a week, 10 hours every day? That's about $100 worth of wealth for each hour.
5 - Put things into perspective. Think about all you've been doing last week. How many hours did you spend responding to useless emails, doing tasks that don’t generate money, or attending endless meetings?
Ten hours maybe? That's worth a thousand dollars.
Twenty? Two thousand.
Now, how would you react if I told you that you are literally paying someone in your company somewhere between one to two thousand dollars a week (a week!) to sort emails and do tasks that make no money?
That would clearly piss me off…
So, the one million dollar question is this one: have you been acting as the Chief Executive, or as the Chief Everything lately?
You can only pick one, chose well.
6 - Do the exercise again, but this time, try and shave a dozen hours off your weekly schedule (about two days of work usually). Can you see the difference that makes?
The point should still be to make yourself redundant
That's something I like repeating, I know. But the point should be to make yourself redundant, whether you own that business, or whether you are 'just' a talented executive working inside that business.
Focusing on the executive, innovative, and high-value-making part of your job is the only thing that's important, and urgent.
The rest should be reorganized and delegated.
Drop the Chief Everything thing.
I'm the CEO, bitch!” - three letters that make you feel good. But so waht?
Executive is the dream. Everything is the reality. Isn’t it?
The Chief Everything Test: simple math for a wake-up call.
The point should still be to make yourself redundant. Still not subscribed? Sign up 👇 for more business & performance hacks!