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Six great ways to stay at the top of your game


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I have a client who runs a mid-size global firm with many pressures and a jammed schedule. This CEO is very talented and successful, and he's growing his business faster than the market. His profitability is well above his industry's norm. He's on top of his game. I offer this so you might give a hard look to the below list (reprinted with permission), which is posted in his office as a daily reminder of his priorities. The questions are his, the comments are mine.

1. Have you talked to the board today? This can be a challenging relationship for CEOs. If you don't develop trust and open communication, you'll never get the benefit from the board that you should, nor will they have the level of faith required for long-term success.

2. Have you reviewed the numbers today? Having a dashboard in place to monitor your business and address critical issues can eliminate surprises and help you take corrective action before small problems become real problems.

3. Have you walked the hallways today? In this CEO's world, he literally means walking the hallways to make sure he interacts with his co-workers. He understands that visibility is important for leadership. If your "hallways" are distant, take this metaphorically and think about your interaction with your team.

4. Have you talked to a customer today? Too many CEOs insulate themselves from the people who really matter: their customers. Stay "on" the business rather than just "in" the business by getting unvarnished information. As a friend of mine says, "If you're constantly facing inward, your butt is facing the customer!"

5. Did you read today? Constantly educate yourself.

6. Did you think about the future today? This CEO's industry has some pending changes that might radically alter how they do business. Yours probably does as well. You can't isolate thinking about the future to a two-day planning event every year. Continually question the vision to develop a clear, compelling picture of the future to make effective decisions and align the organization.

Does he do it all every day? No. It does, however, keep him centered. What's your daily list? If you don't have a structured way to stay focused, you won't.

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Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

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