Six hats of the CEO: Engineer

CEO roles and responsibilities
English: Yellow hard hat. Studio photography.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The engineer hat – the fourth in my series about the six roles of the CEO – is about “the methodology you use to deliver value to clients.” This is according to Jim Schleckser, CEO and managing partner of the Inc. CEO Project and creator of the “five hats of the CEO.” He says that early in an organization’s founding you make up for the lack of processes and systems with talent, but that does not scale. As the company grows, you need to make investments to run more efficiently and reinforce your value proposition. This gives you a true competitive advantage. On the other hand, failure to have more mature systems and processes will inhibit your growth.

Engineers use analytical approaches to solve problems, and that’s just what you will do when wearing the engineer hat. The engineering process involves defining a goal, creating metrics related to the goal, analyzing those metrics, and improving the process. This continuous cycle of improvement is critical to building a high-performance business and culture.

Wearing the engineer hat, you will work closely with your management team to identify the key processes in each area of the business and then undertake a systematic process to improve each one. Some companies will have a Chief Operations Officer who may take primary responsibility for tracking this across the organization. If you don’t have a COO, the CEO should spend time on a weekly basis reviewing metrics and focusing on the processes that make the biggest difference to the business. In upcoming posts, I’ll be writing about what I believe are the best metrics for judging performance across an organization.

In this short YouTube video, Jim describes the engineer hat:

The next hat in the series is the learner hat.

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