What does that mean, “a learning CEO?” It is exactly what it sounds like: a Learning CEO is a CEO who is not only open to the idea of learning new information and skills but actively seeks them out. Brad Feld talks more about this on LinkedIn.
When you look at the organizational pyramid of a company, it’s easy to think of the CEO as the King of a fiefdom, shut away in his office all day and reaping the benefits of all of the work that is done by those below him. In truth, a good CEO doesn’t just hear about what’s going on in every aspect of his company, he understands what’s going on in every aspect of his company. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t trust his COO or CFO or that he should be trying to micromanage them. It simply means that he does the work to be able to understand the things his people tell him and to weigh in with an informed opinion if he wants to steer the team in a different direction.
In other words: he (or she) is an informed leader.
The idea of a CEO becoming too reliant upon his employees and becoming weak as a result isn’t just theory. Octavius Black, a reporter for The Telegraph says that most CEOs have a “five year peak” because as he relies more and more upon the people in his company, his own performance starts to wane.
There are two major areas in which you definitely need to always be learning and practicing: Networking and Finance.
When you think of networking, what happens? Do you slump down in your chair, scowling and think “nope, don’t wanna!”? It’s time to get over that. Networking is great because it helps you build your business and bring in new clients. More importantly, especially considering the context of this article, learning how to properly network will help you get to know everybody who is working for you. It will help you build connections that can be employed when someone on your team needs help “from the outside.” Like Tiisetso Maloma wrote, “I have noticed that some of the best relationships I enjoy are those where I added a bit of value, without being asked. And, some good people I lost because I persistently took from them.”
Being a good leader means adding value to your peoples’ experience and productivity, not just reaping the rewards. Learning to network will help you figure out the best way to do that with each of the people you employ and work with.
As the CEO of your company, you need to not just know what your numbers are every day; you need to understand how they got this way. Business money is more complicated than personal finance. There is more to it than simply earning from sales and paying your people. As someone who is intent on growing his company and earning as much as possible, you need to understand how to invest your company’s funds wisely.
You don’t necessarily need all the same sorts of certifications your CFO does, but you should know enough about those certifications to know who in your company should have them. Click here if someone on your staff requires investment management certification, or to learn more about what that training accomplishes.
Don’t forget that you can also learn from your people. Asking your employees and team members to teach you the things you don’t already know helps build morale. That morale helps you build your company’s productivity and profitability. So really, everybody wins!
Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities.
Image credit: CC nby Robert Scoble