When to delegate and when not to – for CEO’s

Delegating responsibility for parts of your business is necessary for success, right?  Yes, but perhaps there are some things that you, and only you, can do best.

In a recent article on bnet.com entitled “3 Things Sales-Driven CEO’s Can’t Afford to Delegate” Tom Searcy discusses the following crucial responsibilities of a CEO:

“Quality Control: I’m not just talking about the quality of your product or service; I’m talking about the quality of your brand and how you position it in the marketplace. Decisions about which clients to work with and how long they stay with your company are yours to make as CEO of the company. At a certain level, your clients are your brand. What you do for them, the stories that come from your performance, your successes and missteps make up your shared history – this is your brand. On the other hand, everything your clients do independently also splashes onto you.

It is your job to create the organizational parameters and make the tough choices on clients and prospects. It is your team’s job to create the opportunity for those choices.

Cultural Absolutes: I was having this exact conversation with a CEO friend the other day: Should he say something about how one of his people dressed when presenting to clients?

In this world of individualism, tolerance, and hyper-sensitivity training, it is easy to lose one’s bearings on your rights and responsibilities as CEO of your own firm. My attitude is that cultural absolutes are not decided by committee; they are up to you.

How do we dress for client calls? Answer the phone? Address each other in front of prospects and clients?

What is our definition of the “customer experience ideal?” How do we manage it?

Which sales behaviors we will reward and which ones will we discourage?

Make your own list… but make one. CEOs who allow the culture norms of the firm to be dictated by others allow the degradation of one of their firm’s key competitive advantages.

Influence: Delegate tasks, don’t delegate your influence. Whether you’re navigating difficult negotiations, resolving a service failure or smoothing over a faux-pas, your influence makes the difference, especially with your bigger clients. Too often I find CEOs try to move away from client-facing work in favor of either prospect-courting efforts or operational performance. CEOs cannot make this move unnoticed. Large clients don’t resent it – they’ll just do the same in kind. They move the business relationship off of their list to someone further down the organizational chart. This is all perfectly normal as it relates to day-to-day work, operational execution and so on. However, CEOs must maintain contact to maintain influence – you cannot move this to someone else.

For sales-driven CEOs, holding on to these three things will keep the ship righted and the culture strong.”

Read the whole article here:

3 Things Sales-Driven CEO’s Can’t Afford to Delegate