How to take your business to the next level.



After the two years of historic disruptions, CEOs now face a complex, uncertain, and rapidly changing future. CEOs must directly lead their organizations effectively, boldly, and wisely, more than ever before.

According to the Conference Board’s C-Suite Outlook 20,22, less than 40% of CEOs think they are prepared to face significant inflation, cybersecurity and supply chain disruptions, or climate change crises. How can CEOs adapt to this environment and take their business to the next level?

Today’s CEOs need to focus on six principles of effectiveness: communication, time management, focus, strengths, priorities, decision-making, and prioritization. Peter Drucker established these practices in 1970, but their implementation has been much more complex over the 50 years. Let’s look at each one and discuss a powerful and often overlooked solution.

These are the Top Six Challenges CEOs Face Today

From my experience working with top executives, the most difficult of these six practices is understanding and protecting the CEO’s time. McKinsey & Company found that only 9% of executives are satisfied with how they spend their time. Other effective practices will suffer if time is not used effectively.

For example, the CEO may not be spending enough time on strategy and spend too much time on lower-level tasks. They may also be being directed by the organization and pulled into areas that may lack leadership. Organizational problems that are difficult to focus on tend to be focused on output rather than outcomes. The CEO is often too busy and neglects to focus on priorities and results.

This is partly due to a failure to recognize the strengths of the CEO. The executive’s greatest assets are not being developed as leaders but poorly managed. The result is an organization not focused on its top goals but the wrong or insufficient priorities. The CEO and others make decisions without understanding the “north star” of the organization, which leads to stagnation rather than constant growth.

Not surprisingly, the sixth area of organizational challenges runs through the first five: poor communication. Although the CEO might believe communication should be from the top, they may not often communicate or only after changes.

The challenges of implementing the six principles of effectiveness in a complex and fast-paced business environment can seem overwhelming. Many CEOs feel unprepared to face the increasing complexity and speed of change. However, I have found improvements in all of these practices. Executives should not be expected to make these improvements without the proper support.

How the Chief of Staff addresses Executive Challenges

You can learn effectiveness by taking deliberate actions. Although learning any practice starts with an individual, others can also help. Executive coaches, board members, peers, and others can all help improve organizational effectiveness. A Chief of Staff is perhaps the most direct person to do this.

Although this position is more common in a political or military context, Chiefs of Staff can be found in all industries and sectors today. These positions often act as the ultimate protectors for an executive’s time. Even though they are efficient with their time, CEOs can be ineffective in other areas. Therefore, a skilled Chief of staff works to improve performance in these six effective practices.

A Chief of Staff will help the CEO manage his time better by re-allocating tasks and delegating, deferring, or dropping work that isn’t strategic. They communicate with key stakeholders about where the CEO should spend his time. The Chief of Staff ensures that executive attention is directed to the right areas and reorients the team and administrative office towards results, not output.

The Chief of Staff can help the executive see the bigger picture by providing diverse skills that complement the executive’s strengths. This could include assessing leadership strengths to understand better the team’s abilities and how best to manage them.

The Chief of Staff assists the CEO in focusing on the most critical priorities. They prepare and facilitate the executive’s strategic planning process. They can also co-lead or lead strategic initiatives, such as developing and implementing a framework for accountability.

These initiatives make executive decision-making easier. The Chief of Staff can get additional perspectives from the team and help the executive make better decisions.

The Chief of Staff can facilitate team communication and collaboration, leading to better knowledge sharing. They make sure that all levels of the organization receive direction and messages.

Finding the Right Chief of Staff

Our Company has assisted many companies in every industry to assess the viability and define the Chief of Staff position. We also help them find exceptional talent to fill these “right-hand” positions. We also provide coaching and onboarding programs to develop Chiefs of Staff for long-term success and sustainable support.

This experience has taught me that there is no magic bullet for improving executive effectiveness. The Chief of Staff position is a great way to drive more effective performance. This is a benefit that many CEOs might want to consider, given the increasing number of challenges organizations face.


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