Views on the CEO as Chief Advocacy Officer

Today’s CEOs  —  sector and industry notwithstanding  —  have to take on many more complex roles thCEO Blogan before.  As chameleons adapt to every unique environment they are in, CEOs need, and are expected to possess a vast array of professional competencies balanced with strong personal characteristics to succeed in their roles.  Experienced leaders know full well that as the Chief Executive Officer you must also be the Chief Advocacy Officer of any organization you serve.

We look to today’s leaders to have an equal amount of personality to match their business acumen.  Giving a passionate speech is just as important as reading a balance sheet.  Staff, at all levels, look to their CEO to be not only a positive role model for the organization, but also their ultimate champion.  Leaders must look beyond the boardroom and remember to visit the shop floors, go to see all of their operating sites, show up at staff retirements and picnics; show interest in your staff teams and advocate for them when you can.

Organizational cheerleading is a lost art form and one that many CEOs should be embracing, and realize that more and more boards are searching for these types of talents and traits in their leaders.

The CEO needs to be the face and the voice of the organization, as well as their cheering section.  They need to be prepared to both internally and externally to articulate and live the vision, mission and values of the organization.  And, in advancing their company, need to spend as much time applauding the merits and importance of their people as they do rooting about the value of their product or services.

After all, if you, as the CEO, are not your company’s ultimate champion, then who is?

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Thoughts on the CEO as Chief Fundraising Officer

The roles and responsibilities of a CEO are constantly evolving and your organization must adapt and develop with the needs of your client base, customers, and shareholders.  Revenue development is one predominant change in the skill set demanded of a CEO in any sector or industry.  No more can CEO’s simply delegate revenue generation; today, they are required to play a far more hands-on role.  Customers want to hear from the CEO directly; donors want to see the whites of their eyes.  People raise money and people, customers and sponsors respond when being solicited directly by the CEO.

Look at today’s advertising, CEO’s are selling and guaranteeing mattresses, cellular phones, department stores and yes, even banks and insurance companies.  Corporations need a face and a voice, and it is the Chief Executive whom, in this economy, should be playing that role.

In the non-profit and public sectors, it is most important for the CEO to also be the champion of their organization through fundraising efforts and means.  They need to advocate for the organization with corporate donors, individual donors and through special events.  In fact, in today’s highly competitive CEO market, it is extremely reasonable and appropriate for boards to insist that their CEO be comfortable and experienced in community-based fundraising and, even require credentials such as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

These credentials will assure a board of directors that their CEO has the skills and edge required to compete in a busy charitable environment.  When donor fatigue is high, the CEO needs to lead the charge for revenue, avert attrition and grow the base of both donors and dollars.

Sector and industry notwithstanding, the Chief Executive Officer is, among many other things, the Chief Revenue and Fundraising Officer for their corporation.  This is the type of core business competency which will differentiate them as a leader, and create greater value for the organization.

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Thoughts on the CEO as Chief Relationship Officer

The CEO is the ultimate face of the organization, the ultimate champion of the brand.  Your mission, the vision, the value and the priorities of the organization must be clearly displayed every time the CEO is with a potential customer, investor, client, board member or colleague. The end goal is strengthening all relationships.

Therefore, ask your CEO these questions:CEO-blog-2-300x268

How is your relationship with your board?  Do you have the right leadership team? Who is responsible for the ongoing future growth of your organization?  Who is talking to new potential investors?  Who is talking to existing customers?  It should be you.

Are you too busy with daily operations of your organization to be building external relationships for the future of your business?  Who is looking for R and D opportunities?  It should be you.

Who is spending time with your board directors?  It better be you.

As CEO, you should see yourself as the Chief Relationship Officer. Don’t be afraid to empower your CFO and your GM.  Create a virtual COO if you aren’t large enough to hire one yet.  Looking for new customers, investors and relationships are always a part of the CEO’s role.  We don’t want you to be the sales manager – but we DO want you to be the ultimate champion of your company.

It’s not a popularity thing, but it’s the accountability to your stakeholders, partners, investors, directors and staff that is imperative. Create supporters of achievers in everyone that you come in contact with.  That is what the CEO is trying to do, always selling the concepts.  Interpreting ideas, methodologies and the ideals of the organization. The CEO should be your Chief Relationship Officer.

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