It’s time to talk about decision-making as a CEO.
Should you be making all the decisions for your business, or is it time to start sharing that responsibility?
The problem with holding on to all the decision-making is that it doesn’t leave enough time for you to make the strategic, high-level decisions that move your business forward.
This is something I struggled with early in my business, and I’ve come to realize that a lot of other business owners struggle with it too. Transitioning from an entrepreneur running the business day-to-day to a CEO who delegates day-to-day tasks is challenging but super important if you want your business to continue to grow.
Let’s get into it.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why it’s so hard to hand over decision-making
- What decisions you should hand off to other team members
- The importance of trust in your team members
- How to avoid micromanaging
- The type of decisions that a CEO is in charge of
- Why you need to make time for strategic, high-level decision-making
- What you should be focusing on as a CEO
- How to decide what decisions to delegate
- How to empower your team to take ownership and make decisions
- Why you need to set clear expectations and deadlines
Links & Resources:
- The Art of Online Business website
- DM me on Instagram
- Visit my YouTube channel
- The Art of Online Business clips on YouTube
- Full episodes of The Art of Online Business Podcast on YouTube
- The Art of Online Business Podcast website
- Check out my Accelerator coaching program
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All right. What's up, my friends? Welcome to today's episode of The Art of Online Business podcast. Rick Mulready here today, I want to talk to you about decision making as the CEO. This is a question that came up recently, and this is another question that I thought would be really, really useful to chat with all of you here on the podcast. Early on in my business, I really struggled with this. I made kind of a recovering control freak, and the more people I talked to who are business owners, this is a very common thing. It's really, really difficult when we transition from what I like to say that day to day entrepreneur to the CEO level, it's really hard for us to give up control over decision making or how something is done because other people are going to be doing things on your team. Because we can't scale our business, we can't have a bigger impact just by ourselves.
We need help. We need a team. And the cool thing is, is that as the CEO, we don't need to make all of the decisions. And that's what I want to break down here for you today and where this comes from and some some helpful tips for you. And think about it like this. If you've ever been into a, you know, like kind of like a fine dining restaurant and you look in the kitchen and you see like the head chef back there or I don't know, you call it master chef or what have you, assuming that you as the CEO need to make all the decisions would be equivalent to expecting that chef, that master or head chef to personally themselves select every ingredient, chop all of the things that go into a dish, you know, the vegetables and so forth, and also cook every single dish themselves.
That's impossible. Like, that's not going to happen in a busy restaurant. Right. Rather that that chef's role is to create the menu, create the vision for what the restaurant is serving, and then oversee the quality that is being delivered to the customers, the patrons of the restaurant, while people on their staff, you know, the cooks and the people who are doing the chopping of the vegetables and so forth, they're trusting them to do their job and to execute the dish that they're preparing with the vision that the master chef there or the head chef has, has laid out. Right. It's the same thing as for us as CEOs.
We set the strategy. We set the overall vision for the business and our expectations. But we're not doing all of this stuff or we shouldn't be doing all this stuff. We are empowering team members just like that. Chef is empowering their cooks and the people chopping. I don't know. I don't know what they're called. They're empowering them to to follow the vision, follow what is being created based on the direction of the chef or based on the direction of you as the CEO.
You know, you should be empowering team members on your team to make decisions and take ownership of things. Take ownership of results, which is something I talk a lot about here on the podcast. And so that's what this is all about. You can't do this all yourself. As I mentioned, if you want to scale your business, if you want to have a bigger impact, you are going to need more people on your team. And now what I'm not saying is have a 15 person team. You can have as big or as small a team as you want, but you are going to need some sort of help and you have to learn how to go beyond just assigning tasks to people to box checkers.
You know, among many other things, this is going to allow you to be freed up to do the things that you should be doing as the CEO, which we'll talk more about here in just a second. Okay. And so I think that there is a misconception out there that the CEO needs to be making all the decisions or some CEO's, you know, we feel that we have to make all the decisions because we have a hard time with letting go of control or we don't trust the people on our team to do a good enough job, which is a whole other problem that could exist.
Because when we don't trust people on our team or when we are not wanting to give up control, then we become a micromanager. And nobody working for you wants a micromanager that is going to kill morale really quickly, that is going to demotivate people on your team. And you know they're not going to want to take initiative. They're not going to want to think outside the box and come up with creative ideas, etcetera. If, you know, you're sitting over their their shoulder making sure that they're doing things the right way, the way that you want them to be done. I'll tell you, oftentimes when you have somebody else responsible for something that you've been doing for a long time, they're going to do a better job.
But we often think that, no, no, no, we have to do it because we're the only one that can do it, which is simply not true. And so when you are effectively delegating things to your team and what I'm not saying is I mean, in some instances you're delegating tasks, right? But as we're going to talk about here a little bit more, we should be delegating ownership of results. That's where the decision making comes in with the people that you are delegating to that ownership of the results. So as the CEO, you have some big responsibilities, obviously. So I'm not saying you're not making any decisions. Quite the contrary. You are definitely making decisions. But it's it's learning the type of decisions that you're making as the CEO, like you're setting the vision, you're setting the direction of the company.
Why are you in business? Why did you start the business in the first place? What are you trying to accomplish? You want to be focused on high level strategic decision making. And I did a quick tip episode, I don't know, a few months ago here on the podcast, all about, you know, as the CEO, what are the things that you quote unquote should be responsible for and doing? And so, like I said, overall, long term, short term vision mission, strategic direction of the business, right? What are those things that need to happen in order to get there? And so you're responsible for the organizational structure.
Now, if you have an integrator on your team, like it's your right hand person, you are as the CEO, regardless of whether you have an integrator or not, you're the what and the why person. What needs to be done and why Whatever you're saying that needs to be done, why is that important? Where does it fit into the overall vision of your business? Again, this goes back to giving context to what you're wanting the team to do. Why is it important? Why should they care about it? Where does it fit in? Et cetera. And so you can be responsible for creating that organizational structure. But I would say if you have an integrator, you're doing that to a point because the integrator can be doing that, too.
Like, all right, what do we need here on the team? What kind of roles do we need to accomplish the vision that you as the CEO have set you as the CEO are also looking ahead to see what potential challenges might be ahead and then coming up with plans to avert those challenges if necessary. And you're also helping solve any big problems that are going on in the business. Right. So again, this is decision making, but hopefully you're seeing like it's at a much higher level, right? You're making those high level decisions, you're setting and driving the values of the business. You're creating the culture in the company and driving that forward. You're making strategic decisions based on data analysis. So the data that you get from your team, you're analyzing that and making some decisions.
Hopefully you've got somebody on your team who's also looking at that data, who's coming to you proactively with recommendations on what to do based on that data. You know, you're the face of the company. Oftentimes you're building relationships with other people in the space. You're developing a leadership team, meaning you're coaching them to be the best that they can be in their job while also helping them achieve their goals both inside and outside the company. Now, obviously, for that one there, if you have a certain level of business, you might not even want to get to that level, which I totally hear you.
And that's certainly not an all inclusive list, but hopefully you get a sense of the types of things that as the CEO you are focusing on, right? Notice we're not focusing on, Hey, did this podcast episode actually get up and managing that whole process? Just a simple example. Notice the difference between that and creating a culture in your business and driving that forward. Coming up with the values and driving those values forward. Very, very different. So how do you determine which decisions that you want to be delegating to your team? Well, first of all, you take that list that I just went through, for example. You write down all the things that you are responsible for as the CEO and then really like everything else that is not on that list, that is not the things that are only you as a CEO can be doing and which as an example is like recording this episode, like recording this podcast episode for me, Like that's something that I do now. Could other people do it on my team? For sure, absolutely. And I know a lot of people who do that, but that's just something that I've chosen, like I do this. So once you've got your list of what you as a CEO were responsible for and the things that only you can be doing, hopefully everything else gets off your plate and your team takes responsibility for those other things.
Now, if you have never done this before, it's not like it's going to happen overnight. There's a process to it, right? And so things like what resources are needed for a specific project, these are examples of what your team can be responsible for, like they can do hiring for a project. They can come up with a strategy, they can be solving problems. But yet so often I see quite the opposite that we as the CEO are jumping into these things and saying, No, no, no, no, we need to do it this way. Well, cool. That is a way to do it. But it is very, you know, demotivating or unmotivating to your team or stifling creativity and taking initiative.
Like I mentioned before, when we step in and say, oh, no, no, we got to do this first and then this is how we do it. So I really want to encourage you to be thinking about as we are empowering our team to make decisions. We're giving them ownership of areas of the business. So for example, marketing the marketing side of your business, somebody on your team could be owning the marketing side of your business. Somebody on your team could be owning lead generation for your business. And so, for example, if you've got somebody owning the lead generation part of your business, they have a goal like, okay, your goal is we want 5000 new leads to join our email list over the next quarter.
Okay, cool. So then they have a goal that they're going after and how you get there or how that person gets to that goal is up to them. You know, they might say to you, Hey, Rick, I need 12 podcast episodes over this time. I need 12 videos that we can use. I need you to shoot some whatever, TikTok style videos. I'm just making this up. So you're almost at that point the dynamic kind of shifts and you're almost working for them for that specific project because they're owning it and they're letting you know what they need from you in order to accomplish that goal.
Now, notice they're just giving you the things that only you can be doing in this example here, right? If you might have somebody on your team who does the videos for you or he's on camera for you, great. But my point is, is that they own the project. They own the result. And so they're the ones who are making the decision, not you. And they're letting you know what they need from you in order to accomplish the goal that you've set. Because when you empower your team like this to make the decisions, they feel like they're being trusted, like you're trusting them. That goes a long way. It's very motivating to the people on your team. They're oftentimes going to come up with better ideas than you and oftentimes do a better job than you and a lot of different things.
So there's a ton of benefits to empowering those team members to make the decisions themselves. Now, a big piece of this is you have to create the culture in your business of what we're talking about here, of trust, of ownership, of results. Because if there's a culture of micromanagement, if there's a culture of, you know, just assigning of tasks, that's what's going to happen. So we have to take responsibility, me as the CEO, to create that culture of trust and of ownership. And this is probably the hardest part, is we have to be okay with our team making mistakes. They're going to make mistakes. We are all making mistakes.
I mean, we're just humans, but they can't feel like you're going to yell at them or something like that, right? If they make a mistake. Because again, I mean, how demotivating is that then they're afraid to do anything that is outside the box or take initiative because they think that they might mess it up. And, you know, they're learning the consequences of that. And so we have to as the CEO, we have to create a culture of that ownership, of that trust, of empowering them to get things done and to own results. And so I'd really think about that, how you're doing that in your business. Okay. Now, as we are delegating these things to our team and the decision making, one really helpful tool that you can use is called RACI.
It stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. And I first learned about this concept like years and years ago from my friend Amber McCue. And Amber is brilliant with operations and that side of the business. And so why is this a good tool? And granted, there's tons of tools out there that will help you with the delegation, with the decision making process. I mean, you can have a one sheeter for projects that outline what the project is like. What is this project look like when it's complete, right? Who are the people that are involved in this project? Who's the decision maker? Right? When is it due?
What are the milestones? Et cetera. And like a full description of the project, the context of the project that can all be a one sheeter, for example, that is posted in Slack or your project management tool or what have you, where everybody can look at that. So the entire thing is very clear on what's being accomplished. Okay. So that RACI tool example or it's not really a tool, but just it's a way of methodology for getting things done. So responsible is who's responsible for doing the actual work of the project, right. So for example, going back to if somebody on our team has ownership over marketing and lead generation and getting, you know, 5000 leads in 90 days, Okay, great. Who is actually doing the work? Another thing might be like, well, who's responsible for coming up with the strategy? Right.
And then the accountability factor. So A, in RACI, who's accountable for the success of the task and is the decision maker right now, typically this is the person who is owning that result. Okay. Consulted is the C in RACI who needs to be consulted for details and additional information on requirements or if questions come up, that sort of thing. And typically the person that will be consulted on that is whomever is the expert in that area. Right. Oftentimes, if a question comes up on I don't know if you're responsible for getting 5000 leads, maybe you have an ads person, maybe you have an organic marketing specialist. So like those people would be asked about specific questions that come up and then the AI is informed. So who needs to be kept informed of major updates? The major progress along the way. Typically it's you as the CEO and the person leading up this initiative.
So this is just one tool. But when I learned about this from Amber years and years ago, I thought it was really I liked it a lot because it's super clear. And the big thing about how it relates to what we're talking about today is the accountability factor. The A in RACI, right? Who's accountable for the success of this task and is the decision maker. Well, we don't want to have is the entire team making decisions? I mean, yeah, they're making decisions within the things that they're doing individually, but from a project standpoint, from an ownership of the result, there's one decision maker.
Notice I'm not saying you as the CEO are the decision maker. And so as I wrap up here, one thing that we cannot forget and I did this for years and I see this happening a lot right now, the more conversations I have with our coaching members, it's also is setting clear expectations for our team. And along with that is giving deadlines. I used to I used to always forget. I used to just say, Hey, can we do this? And they'd be like, Yep, cool. And then like Friday would come around and I'd be like, Where is this? They're not done yet. And I used to get really upset because or not upset, but I was frustrated because it wasn't done.
I'm like, Wait a minute. Looking at myself like I didn't even give a deadline for this. So that's on you as a CEO to let the appropriate people know when something is due. Like, all right, we have 5000 leads, for example. That is our goal for the next 90 days. Well, 90 days is what date? Be specific and maybe you have milestone dates within those 90 days. You want to be very specific. You want to set clear expectations right up front. And open communication is key to all this. So as you can see here, you as the CEO do not need to be making all the decisions in your business.
But at the same time, if this is a new thing for you, if this is a new, you know, you're the CEO and you have a couple people on your team, but you're continuing to grow, it's hard. This is this is one of the harder things to do when we go from that as a as I call the day to day entrepreneur to the CEO is giving up more control to members of your team and empowering them to make the decisions because this is our baby, right? Like we are holding so much control. We want to hold so much control when in fact the opposite is needed as we begin to grow.
And we have to be able to trust our team to make decisions to own results. So that mean we as CEO do not need to be making all the decisions when we are doing those things because we certainly have enough to worry about. As the CEO of our business and the things that we should be spending our time on. So I hope this was helpful for you. Again, this is a process, right? This is not something that happens like, all right, I'm going to start doing this on Monday and boom, by Friday, I'm good. Now, this is a constant learning and a shift in how you run your business so that you as a CEO can be focusing on the most important high level activities that you as the CEO should be focusing on, and then trusting your team to make the appropriate decisions with clear expectations.
All right, my friend, If you found value in this and you know somebody who would also find value in this, please share this with them. Send them a link or a screenshot it on on your phone and post it on your socials tag people. If you do that, tag me, by the way, at Rick Mulready. I'd love to see it. Thank you in advance for doing that. I'd love to get this word out to as many people who can benefit from this. And if you've not already done so, by the way, it is still really helpful to leave a quick rating and review for the show. Over on Apple Podcasts, I do read all of those reviews. You can also just leave a rating if you want. It takes like ten seconds to do and is really helpful for the show here. Also, make sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to the show here so that you don't miss any episodes. Thank you, my friend, for listening. Appreciate it for coming to hang out with me today, taking the time out of your day and giving me your attention here for the last 25 minutes or so. Until next time, my friend, be well. I'll talk to you soon.