Fundamentals to success

In preparation for authoring a new book, I have spent the last several months interviewing top CEOs from around the world. As I stepped back and looked across the hundreds of pages of notes, a clear pattern has emerged of what the best CEOs focus on to build a world-class company. As with many of the ideas I put forward, these are not complex concepts. Instead, these are fundamental to success in any organization regardless of size or industry. Here are the four areas, in priority order.

Employees First

Every one of the CEOs understood that the success of their organization was completely dependent on the quality of the people that they could get, grow and keep on their team. Their hiring practices were rigorous, their onboarding process robust, and they focused obsessively on building a strong positive culture. Hubert Joly, the former CEO of Best Buy, said his number one priority was “unleashing human magic.”

Some leaders think that culture is too ephemeral, or that it’s just something that naturally arises within the organization. This is not correct. Culture must be designed, managed and nurtured. To get buy-in from the rest of the organization, the entire senior leadership team, and especially the CEO, must be a living example of the culture they want to create in the business.

 

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