When a good friend was offered a position as CEO, he wrote me with this question: “If you were taking over an organization as the new CEO, what would be the first 10 questions you would want answers to?
Here’s the questions that came to my mind. What would your questions be?
- What is your mission?
- What are your values?
- What is your process for getting the value statements off the wall and into people’s hearts?
- Who are the real influencers – the “unofficial leaders” in this organization? Why are they the influencers? What do I need to do to build trust with them?
- How is the level of trust in this organization? Where are the pockets of high trust? Where are the pockets of low trust? How do you know?
- How authentic is this culture? How do you know?
- How accountable is this culture? How do you know?
- How engaged are the front line employees? How do you know if they are engaged?
- What do we need to do to get them engaged?
- What are people’s biggest frustrations (that aren’t being talked about openly)? How will we find out and what will we do about them?
To succeed in today’s economy you have to think of yourself as a freelance contractor – the CEO of your own business within the business you are working in. You have to transform yourself, in the words of Tom Peters, “from an ‘employee’ into a brand that shouts distinction, commitment, and passion.” This means you have to be savvy, informed, continually learning and growing, and take ownership of your career, the organization where you work, and your life. You have to know how to sell yourself, be committed to serve others, and most importantly, do work that matters. Given this assumption, the questions I passed along to my friend might be appropriate for anyone to ask the CEO of their organization.