You’re Fired! 3 Steps to Stop Being the Chief Everything Officer and Live Into Your CEO Potential

I had to fire someone today. Working in human resources for many years, “firing,” “letting go,” “severing,” was part of the job. Now, don’t get me wrong, the first time I had to fire someone, it was difficult, upsetting; in all honesty, it made me cry.

Job dismissal notice

Today; however, it was so personal. I had knots in my stomach as I stood up, looked in the mirror and gazed at my reflection.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t need a Chief Everything Officer anymore. Thank you for all you’ve done and your dedication, but this company cannot continue with you in that role. You are fired.”

“What?! But this is my company.”

“Yes, but we have an obligation to our shareholders, family, clients, and colleagues.”

“Shareholders? What is this Wall Street? Did my husband put you up to this?”

“Well, you have done some great work, and people do like you; that is, when you actually talk with them. We do need a Chief Executive Officer. Are you up for the job? We cannot promise you anything, but you most likely will have better hours and better pay.

I was stunned; I was shocked. Then I was also relieved.

Being the Chief Everything Officer is draining. However, add being a perfectionist and feeling like you need to do everything yourself or it will not be right, and you’ve got yourself a 24/7 job.

It can also be very difficult to give up. As the Chief Everything Officer we are too busy list building, networking, building a website, preparing content, and managing the financials. The problem is when we try to do everything ourselves (and do it perfectly) we end up with a sufficient amount of incomplete work.

Worse yet, we end up doing everything EXCEPT what we must do – talk to prospects and bring in new clients (aka SELLING). We are busy, but not productive. The biggest tragedy is that we are not doing what we love to do, the whole reason we went into business in the first place.

The end result…we wind up frustrated, discouraged and falling far short in the client department. We wonder if it’s worth it; if we should just get a job. Maybe that little voice that tells us we are not good enough gets even louder and taunts us with “I told you so.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. The first step to being the Chief Executive Officer is to take some time to look at what you are doing, or at least what’s on that to do list.

Here is an exercise to get you started:

1) Make 4 columns on a piece of paper
Column 1: Love to Do, Great At It & Would Do It All Day Long
Column 2: Like to Do It, Takes Time & Energy
Column 3: Can Do It, Don’t Like to
Column 4: Dislike It, Don’t Ever Want to Do it

2) Brainstorm all the activities you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and put each one in one of the columns. I invite you to not judge yourself or the activity and just complete each of the columns.

As you complete each column, what are you noticing? Is there a theme of the type of activity in each of the columns? What would your business be like if your days were spent on the activities you placed in Column 1?

Now, I have to bring this up. If you placed Sales in Column 4 we need to have a conversation pronto. No Sales = No Revenue = No Money. It also means the people you are meant to serve aren’t hearing about you or able to find you.

3) Delegate or Drop the Activities in Column 4
The activities in the “Dislike It & Don’t Ever Want to Do It” Column are most likely things that are continuously getting carried over on your “to do list”. It’s not surprising because it is not your sweet spot. It’s the stuff you dread but the fact that is following you around week after week is keeping you from embodying your full CEO potential. Someone else will best do these activities, whether it is someone on your team, a virtual assistant or other external resource, so outsource them.

Outsourcing some of our work can be uncomfortable, even scary. What if they don’t do it right? What if it costs too much money? Here’s the thing, yes it might cost money and yes it may not be as perfect as you envision it. But, it will be done (and probably faster and better then you imagined) and the money invested here frees up your time and energy for the things you love to do, which brings in revenue.

The real question is: can you afford to keep trying to do everything yourself?