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Posted at: Jan 10, 2018, 1:12 AM; last updated: Jan 10, 2018, 1:12 AM (IST)

Art of being a smart CEO

Art of being a smart CEO

Kirpal Singh

Start-up and entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride, with peaks of high and low moments within a day. It takes grit and perseverance to tide through the initial phase. Here are a few tips for first-time start-up CEOs:

Be accountable

The role of a start-up CEO is hugely challenging, especially in initial days. And it is far more challenging when the start-up is creating something that doesn’t exist elsewhere.  As the destination is clear, but the path is not.

CEO is the most accountable employee of any company. And the context of accountability is from the desired results, both short and long-term. It can vary from the understanding of the task at hand with clear communication to product quality or delivery timeline. He should constantly be in touch with team members and apprise himself on the progress of work. It is easier to achieve this in the initial days when the team is small.

Work on clarity

Bringing clarity to plans is one of the most crucial roles of a CEO. The business world is full of uncertainty and many times it leads to insecurity. Insecurity has many facets; refusal to delegate, procrastination, excessive checks, etc. Checking in on resources available or required is a good idea to convert expectations into plans. And your team will be more motivated and productive when they have clarity about tasks at hand and where results seem to be achievable, with a bit of stretching.

The direct approach

Direct verbal communication should be preferred over emails to avoid loss of time in communication. At all costs as a CEO you have to avoid the ‘blame game’,  any action to the contrary may put an end to the start-up. In short, CEO is responsible for whatever happens in the company. The buck stops at CEO’s door.

Choose wisely

The team is the backbone of the company. Selecting right team initially can be challenging especially when you have to pivot and your skill set requirement changes with pivoting. The best way to manage this crunch is to offer the existing team new responsibilities as ‘First Right of Refusal’. It is painful to let go any partner/employee just because they don’t fit into the new requirements.

It is a good idea to provide continually listen and if required, provide corrective feedback too. This might take a lot of time for CEO, but it is always better to spend time with the team to keep the understanding in sync than to let them go. Creating and maintaining a competent and ethical work culture is something that CEO can’t miss on. Also keeping transparency everywhere is essential, it will build trust.

Think ,think, think

A CEO has to imagine himself/herself as a company and think patiently. Thinking provides a lot of clarity, innovative way to execute tasks, solutions to critical problems, etc. A small time slot dedicated in the morning can do wonders. Also, keeping oneself abreast of what’s happening in the outside world is essential. CEO has to always look at shortening the timelines, for it’s a race against time.

While delegating task, most important factor is to focus on the strength of team member but at the same time be aware of weakness as well. By knowing the weaknesses, we can avoid dragging the timelines, poor quality of outcomes, etc. With the crunch of resources initially this can be a daunting task, but the idea is to trade off to get maximum speed and quality while scaling up.

— The writer is founder & CEO of Propsquad

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