About three months ago I blogged about my evolution as CEO of Three Pillar. I cataloged the growth that is probably fairly typical for an entrepreneur and outlined four steps I had gone through – producer, manager, growth agent (sales), and strategist (and orchestrator). I have noticed over the past three weeks or so that my role has, once again, evolved.
I speculated, back in November (of 2010), that I would continue to play three critical roles – Sales, Strategist, and Orchestrator. While you could argue that those are still important aspects of my job, they are not the top three that I outlined in a conversation yesterday and believe are my core responsibilities. Currently, I would describe my responsibilities like this:
- Define the strategy – Defining our corporate strategy (how we are going to attain our primary objectives while simultaneously living our core ideology) is essential. I’m no longer responsible for implementing it, planning against it, or the execution. My role is to run six months ahead, know where the market is heading, and ensure that the company navigates appropriately. I define the strategy, begin to communicate the strategy, and get out of the way for others to implement the strategy and develop lower-level strategies.
- Make capital decisions – This is a new one for me. Obviously, I have always been responsible for ensuring our business is properly financed and determining what investments we make. Lately, and I have been told from here forward, this will be a continual, and absolutely critical, part of my role. The capital decisions you make as a $20mm company may include a noteworthy acquisition, investing in a new vertical, or expanding to a new geographic market. To finance these, you need to ensure you have access to the appropriate capital – weighing at all times the appropriate mix of cash, debt, and equity financing.
- Set the culture – Culture has always been important to me, but I have noticed that osmosis only works for small startups. I have become much more deliberate, in the past several months, about ensuring that others understand the importance of culture and help foster, growth, and refine ours.
Obviously, there are other roles that I continue to play, secondarily. For example, right now we are really investing in formal Marketing for the first time. While I have a wonderful staff and exceptional advisor driving this effort, I am personally involved in making sure that our first foray into this area not only goes well but that what is produced reflects who we are. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t intense involvement – probably no more than 30 minutes a week – but it is important involvement. A second example would be the sales role I mentioned in my earlier post. While I’m shocked at how little I am doing these days, I do still help with occasional efforts.
So, there you have it. The continual evolution of my role. Do you deliberately and actively evolve your role as I do? Are you aware of the changes that you’re required to make as your business grows? I’d be curious to hear other’s stories of professional development.