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Leadership: The 6 Core Functions of a CEO

Managing yourself is extremely difficult, especially when you're in charge. The following framework helps me understand and manage my responsibilities as a CEO. I believe that business leadership is the summation of its below constituent parts.

  1. Develop the Strategy and Share the Vision

  2. Build the Culture

  3. Develop and Own the Brand and Marketing

  4. Make Decisions Well

  5. Provide Proper Human Resources

  6. Deliver Performance



Develop a Vision and Strategy

The CEO is responsible for developing a compelling vision and establishing a strategy that will accomplish the vision. The CEO must keep the leadership team aligned behind the vision and assist in developing strategic initiatives that push the Company into uncharted territory.


Once certainty and familiarity are abundant, your role as a leader is significantly decreased and the position is better suited for a project manager.” Eric Kaufmann, The Four Virtues of a Leader


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Build the Culture

The CEO actively sets the standards for the Company and actively manages the culture. Through quarterly training, the CEO ensures that all members of the team are aligned with the Company’s values and vision.


“Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.” — Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO, Airbnb


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Develop and Own the Brand and Marketing

The CEO is responsible for developing and representing the Company’s brand, which is the externalization of its culture. The CEO works with the leadership team to grow the Company’s standing and to develop a positive reputation in the broader community.


“With a single, unifying drive behind both your culture and your brand, you reap the benefits of a focused and aligned workforce.” Denise Lee Yohn, Author, What Great Brands Do


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Make Decisions Well

The CEO ensures that thoughtful choices are made in a timely manner. The company should run well without constant stops and starts as decisions are either: a) not made or b) must be sent to the top for review.


“Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies, and customers.” Gino Wickman


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Provide Proper Human Resources

The CEO ensures that team members have the necessary skills, experience, and values. The CEO works with the leadership team to help them develop their skills and perform to their fullest potential.


“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.” Jim Collins, Author, Good to Great


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Deliver Performance

The CEO is responsible for the Company’s financial performance. The CEO works with the leadership team to identify quarterly strategic initiatives that build value in addition to profit. The initiatives are tied to the mission, values, and strategy of the company and help ensure superior performance.


“Leadership in defining—and delivering—the performance imperatives of strategy must come from the very top.” — John Hagel III


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Developing a leadership framework goes beyond understanding your roles and responsibilities; it provides a comprehensive conceptualization of your position. This conceptualization trains your underlying thought processes which will you to spot opportunities for growth and improvement that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.


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© 2020 Tripp Johnson 

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