New CEOs face enormous challenges as they start assembling a management team and setting a strategic direction in today’s volatile environment.
A CEO should determine and communicate the organization’s strategic direction. Until that's settled, making decisions about anything else at the business is difficult. And without this, the company is merely a collection of people pursuing individual goals, guided by their own values.
Only the CEO can perform the task of balancing resources -- the two most important ones being capital and people. The CEO must make both available in the proper quantities and at the right time for the company to succeed. Putting the right people in the right positions with the right training is probably the single most important thing a CEO can do. With the right team, all things are possible. With the wrong team, nothing else matters.
The most critical part of the culture is value: The CEO ensures that those values are applied consistently from top to bottom, across all departments. A good culture makes people feel safe and respected, enabling them to perform at their best.
Many problems require a solution that will end up affecting multiple departments, and only the CEO is empowered to take such an action. Everyone else can pass the buck from time to time, but the CEO will make the final call when no one else will or can.
Everyone agrees that the CEO is ultimately responsible for a company’s performance. To be successful, he or she must take an active role in driving that performance. This requires maintaining a keen awareness of the firm's industry and market and being in touch with the core business functions to ensure the proper execution of tasks.