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You Are the CEO

Welcome back to Lesson 2 of Building Your Own Personal Board of Directors course on Listenable! In the introduction I shared the value of expertise and knowledge surrounding you on a daily basis in both your professional and personal life. Some of the people with the greatest knowledge may already be direct contacts for you, but others may be one layer removed from you. In other words, you know someone who knows someone else. Either way, you have access to a tremendous amount of free knowledge and experience that can be instrumental in providing guidance as you make critical decisions.

In order to drive the concept, I want you to think of your life as if it were a company. Why is the purpose for all of the key leadership positions in mid to large size companies? Why do they have a separate board of directors? What would happen if the CEO of a large company tried to manage everything from accounting, marketing, development and sales, operations, product development and public relations? It would be a disaster and the company would ultimately fail. First of all, one person can’t be an expert in all of those key areas and even if they had knowledge in all of the areas, they would not have the time to focus on each of them equally. The company would be doomed for failure.

This is precisely why companies have layers of expertise and an organizational chart indicating each person’s title and area of expertise. In addition, the company has a separate board of directors with diversified knowledge and expertise for oversight. Now think about all of the moving parts in your life. If you envision yourself as the CEO of your life, which you should be, how do you make critical decisions to make sure your life strategy is on track? While you should be as informed as possible, it is hard to be an expert in every aspect of your life. Much like the CEO of a company, you can benefit from surrounding yourself with a team of experts to provide you knowledge and expertise so you can make the best decisions possible for your life.

In a traditional company, an organizational chart, referred to as an org chart provides a visual look at the structure of the company. The typical top leadership roles, referred to as C-Suite or executive positions can vary depending on the size and purpose of the company. For example, it could be a company that has multiple brands so each brand may have an org chart that ultimately rolls up to the CEO. For the purpose of this exercise, we will keep it traditional. The traditional mid-to-large company will typically have these key leadership positions:

  • Chief Executive Officer: the CEO is responsible for the overall direction of the company and is ultimately held accountable for the failures and successes of the entire company.
  • Chief Financial Officer: the CFO is responsible for the company’s financials which include budgeting, accounting, reporting, forecasting and investing.
  • Chief Operating Officer: the COO is responsible for all day-to-day operations.
  • Chief Development Officer: the CDO is responsible for revenue generation for the company.
  • Chief Marketing Officer: the CMO is responsible for marketing, public relations, and brand management.
  • Chief Product Officer: the CPO is responsible for the product management or what the company offers.

Many companies may have numerous other C-Suite or executive positions depending on the structure of the company including Chief Engineer, Chief Technology and many others. For the purpose of this lesson, we will focus on these top 6 positions.

You might say, so what? This is Business 101, right? It absolutely is Business 101. But how does it translate to your life strategy? Let’s talk about that.

Each one of these critical positions in a company serves a specific purpose. The person in this role is expected to bring knowledge and experience to the CEO for decision-making. If one of these roles is filled by an inexperienced individual, and the information they share with the CEO is not accurate then the CEO could make a decision that harms the company. Remember, the CEO is the person held accountable for the success or failure of the company. That is why great CEOs surround themselves with a team of experts. If they put the wrong person in an executive role, it could literally derail the success of the company. So, is it possible to apply this exact same approach and reasoning to your own personal life to make sure you stay on course for success? My answer is YES, YES, YES, of course, you can, and YOU SHOULD!

By simply shifting the order within a traditional corporate organizational chart, you can develop your own personal team of experts AND AT NO COST TO YOU! If you are unfamiliar with organizational charts simply research them on your favorite platform and many examples will come up. As you look at a sample organizational chart or you think about it, you become the CEO and the traditional executive team of experts becomes your Personal Board of Directors. Your Personal Board of Directors now uses their knowledge and expertise to help you – the CEO – achieve your life objectives.

By seeking out and surrounding yourself with successful people in key areas of life, you create an environment where you have direct access to resources and advice, and thus, results in the greatest positioning for success.

I want you to think about the people you surround yourself with currently and how you might utilize their knowledge strategically to optimize success in your life. Start to make a list in your spare time in preparation for the next lessons. Don’t leave anyone out just because you think you can’t reach them. Think big and we will discuss ways to reach people you may not have direct contact with currently. Try to come up with 10-15 at a minimum. Think through not only people you are in contact with now but also from your past like teachers, principals, religious leaders, coaches, relatives, friends of the family, charitable organizations, corporate leaders, professionals or experts at your office or work and even older college alumni. As long as you think they meet the requirements for one of the job descriptions we reviewed then add them to the list.

Thank you for listening to this course on Listenable! I know it will add value as you become the CEO of YOUR OWN LIFE!

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Written by

Lynda Lee Smith