The Four Tasks of the CEO

Another great HBR article by P&Gs CEO on what the four essential tasks of the CEO are. Kind of interesting as I agree there are specific things which only the CEO is in a unique position to do, much the same way that corporate headquarters end up being uniquely positioned to do things the individual offices can’t.

  1. Defining the Meaningful Outside
  2. Deciding What Business You Are In
  3. Balancing the Present and Future
  4. Shaping Values and Standards

In a sense, I’d almost paraphrase them as dividing into

  1. priorities
  2. strategy
  3. planning, and
  4. culture

which is a little easier to digest. Interesting read, even if I didn’t agree with everything in it.

I definitely agree with the number two, though. I can think of at least three examples of places I’ve been where the business has suffered deeply from the executive not knowing what business they were actually in (and even more importantly, what business we weren’t in).