7 Tips to Being an Effective CEO

If you never had anyone teach you how to be an effective CEO, here are 7 tips to help you powerfully play that role…

Consider this list of our best practices to be an effective CEO our attempt to give you some guidance to play your critical leadership role more effectively.

1. Get clear on the big picture. CEO’s need to know the big things that will make an impact on the company, and they need to invest their best attention on improving these things.

Who are the key client relationships that matter most?

Which are your key team members who contribute most?

Which sales channels make the biggest difference?

Which cost factors most impact profitability?

Which production (product or service) factors most limit capacity?

Which factors most affect (positively and negatively) cash flow?

2. Don’t major in minor things. Now that you know which things matter most to your company, are you consistently investing your best time and attention on your major items? If not, it’s critical that you make this adjustment.

3. Your company culture and values are always major items. Culture is the invisible hand that influences your team’s behavior and decisions when no one else is looking. It impacts your ability to attract and retain great talent. It limits or leverages your ability to produce amazing results. You must invest a portion of your best attention to intentionally build the culture you want.

4. Share your vision for the company with your team. What’s your mission as a company? Your reason for being in business? How can you inspire and engage your team to fully buy into this mission so that work becomes a calling for them, not just a paycheck?

5. Craft your written quarterly plan of action – every quarter. Every CEO needs to help his or her company define its priorities and layout its strategy to progress the business. A one-page plan of action every quarter not only helps you do this, but to do it in a way that is action-oriented, which in a small to midsize company is critical.

6. Hold your company accountable to acting on its priorities, stated goals, and values. Your company only has so much time, talent, money and other resources. It needs to invest these in those fewer, better places that will make a real difference. It’s your job as CEO to consistently hold your company accountable– yourself included – to act daily in accordance with these priorities.

7. Build and groom your leadership team. Perhaps the most important job you have as CEO is to build and develop your leadership team. Who will you eventually need on your leadership team? Who do you already have on your team? Are there any glaring holes? Any people you’ll likely need to upgrade?


Obviously, there is more to being a CEO than just these 7 best practices, but they are a great place to start.

If you enjoyed the ideas we shared, then we encourage you to enroll in our Institute course, Starting a Business in Africa, where you will be able to get real-time mentorship and guidance from CEOs in our community who have successfully started, scaled and keep on running their multimillion-dollar companies all over Africa.

Send an email to [email protected] to enrol and if you feel you aren’t ready to make the leap, then you would be interested in purchasing a copy of our book, How We Made It In Africa, a book with the stories of 52 African CEOs all telling their stories on how they were able to make it in Africa. Send an email to [email protected]