As I promised in last week's blog, I present to you today my observations on what I think are some of the qualities of good versus bad CEOs. Furthermore, if you are thinking about or currently working in a public charity, I submit these rules for you to consider as you advance (hopefully) in your career. I am providing ten rules this week and another ten next week. Some of these rules are quite universal and transcend public charities. I hope you find them helpful.
1. A CEO’s job is sometimes focused on process and reactive, like a person running beside a snowball rolling down a hill. It gets bigger and bigger and rolls faster and faster. Your key job at times is to simply run alongside it and yell, “Look out! Here it comes!” At other times you can be proactive and get to create your own snowball. At times you can also be outcome focused and plan ahead, building a trail that the snowball will follow. Then you don’t have to shout!
2. There is an 80/15/5 rule - 80% of staff do a day’s work for a day’s pay, they are reactive and do not question things. 15% are problem identifiers and will let you know what needs to get fixed. 5% are proactive problem solvers, the gems of an organization. If you can increase the problem solvers to 10% or more, you are among the best of the best and you’ll have good snowballs.
3. You can accomplish anything, as long as you let other people take credit for it. Especially if you are willing to be paid very little.
4. Stay at a place where you are encouraged to use your creativity and skills to the fullest. It is a rare and precious organization that allows you to do that.
5. Pace yourself and don’t sacrifice your personal life for a job, otherwise you will burn out.
6. You can’t please everyone, so you got to do what’s best.
7. Who you know may get you a job. Who you know can also result in you not getting a job. It depends on what level the job is and what level your contact is.
8. Nurture your organization’s Scarecrow and Tin Man (brains and heart). Margin and mission both must be kept in focus in order for a charitable non-profit to succeed.
9. Don’t wait for things to be handed to you, go out and get those things for yourself - but in a respectful way without stepping on anyone. Be assertive but not too aggressive.
10. In lieu of the profit motive as a reward system, most non-profits reward those who grow the organization, but growth without heart is meaningless.