Scaling Up is a tremendous business framework and process that has helped over 40,000 companies grow to new heights. If you are considering Scaling Up for your business, here are the characteristics that the most successful CEOs and their key team members possess:
1. They are continual learners: They are voracious learners with a thirst for knowledge and application. The CEOs who get the best results from the Scaling Up Program read at least 2 business books per month. Their key executives and team members are on a similar pace as them, and their middle managers reading at least a book a quarter (often as a team).
2. They are willing to invest in ongoing continuing education and professional coaching: To keep from resting on their laurels, they have invested in peer coaching like Vistage, Chief Executive Boards International, EO or YPO. Even better, they have stepped up their accountability with one-on-one professional coaching.
3. Congruent leadership: You walk your own talk. The best CEOs are extremely self-aware and realize they most likely have some leadership limitations which are holding their team back. They are willing to identify and correct these issues to become more congruent leaders.
4. They are committed to achieving goals: The best CEOs are willing to do whatever it takes—without conditions—to achieve goals as long as the actions they take are within both moral and ethical bounds.
5. They are strategic: The best CEOs seek strategic high ground from their businesses through truly differentiated strategies that cannot be easily copied by their competition. These provide an underlying 10x competitive advantage.
6. They value execution: The best CEOs embrace that “Ideas are welcomed, Execution is worshipped!” A decent strategy, brilliantly executed is 100 times better than a brilliant strategy, poorly executed.
7. They are willing to Topgrade their team to 100% A Players: The best CEOs realize they can only truly win with “the best team money can buy.” This means you fill your salary cap with absolutely the best talent at each and every position—A Players. The best CEO’s are willing to have the courage and skill to coach “up or out” B and C Players.
8. They are coachable: The best CEOs are extremely self-aware of areas of improvement and seek and take action on personal improvement opportunities. Like an elite athlete, they seek any incremental personal performance edge available to them.
9. They build systems and trust the process: The best CEOs realize that the best organizations are built over time and are not swayed by shiny objects or the latest management fad. They build processes and hold their organizations accountable to following them. They understand that processes need to be built first, and then great people are added. Technology is not a substitute for process.
10. They hold their team accountable: The best CEOs have the courage and leadership abilities to create and enforce a culture of accountability. They teach their team how to hold each other accountable in a kind, yet effective manner.
11. They are clear and timely communicators: The best CEOs have clear and timely (hours not days) communications with their direct reports and their coach. If questions arise, they drive to “closed loop” clarity, instead of making assumptions and waiting. They also do not try to be revisionists in assignments and next steps after agreements have been reached.