CEOs, have you ever asked yourself, “Is improvement really necessary?”
You’ve become the leader, after all, and it seems only natural that you’ve achieved all you need to remain successful in your job.
This attitude is misguided and self-defeating, says Joel Trammell, a contributor to Forbes. “Continuous improvement is vital to performing well as a CEO,” he writes. “The best ones make time for it, because they see it as an investment in themselves and their company that will pay off in real dollars down the line.”
Trammel offers these tips for CEOs, to help with continuous performance improvement.
CEOs Must Learn From Experience
Trammel advises CEOs to do “an official post-mortem on all the important decisions you make” by seeking out evidence that might prove you wrong. A willingness to “examine past actions for ways to improve” in the future is what sets great CEOs apart from good ones.
Attend a Training Program
To the CEO who complains he or she doesn’t have time for training or seminars, Trammell says, “From my experience the CEOs who do attend are typically the ones who are already better than most.” They learn from the training programs how to improve their skills. “If you think you don’t have time to get better at your job, then you are not doing your job properly.”
Read a Book!
Another time-consuming activity, but “CEOs who take the time to read about the experiences of other chief executives and other business leaders have an advantage.” Trammell says he almost always comes away from reading a top-rated business book “with a couple of ideas that make a difference in my businesses.”
Write Some Content
Many CEOs have other people write for them, but doing it yourself “forces you to clarify your thoughts in a way that is highly beneficial for future action.” Investing time in creating a regular email to your employees “can do a lot to improve your thinking as well as align the team with your vision.”
Meet Wise People
Part of a CEO’s job, Trammell says, is finding people outside of your business “who can bring knowledge and experience to bear on your problems.” Get to know people in your community – and other leaders in your industry – and establish relationships that can pay down the line.
How well do you know yourself – your thought patterns and the way you react to different situations? Take advantage of the different self-assessment tools available (Myers-Briggs, Marcus Buckingham, Donald O, Clifton’s strengths-based assessment, etc.) and “if you find one you like, extend it to your employees so you have a common language to address personality issues across your entire team.”
“If you’re not getting feedback about your performance, then you have a problem,” Trammell says. Actively seek feedback from both employees and your board (or other colleagues). Enable employees to provide feedback anonymously if they prefer.
Don’t be the type of CEO who makes the same mistakes over and over again. “If you are not improving your knowledge and experience, you are letting the company down.”
How do you work on continuously improving your performance?