Even though you're interested in CEO jobs and may even be actively looking for jobs for CEOs, you may have stopped to wonder a time or two about what it is that a CEO actually does. In fact, it's not that unusual of a quandary. The news is full of stories about CEOs being hired, fired, and blamed for everything that goes wrong in a company, but no one in the news ever explains what's contained in the average CEO job description. So read on for a look inside this high-powered corporate job title and to see what goes on behind the office door.
Jobs of a CEO
Most people already know that CEO stands for ''chief executive officer,'' and that that means the individual is someone who is meant to run the entire company. These are the folks almost everyone else has to answer to when something goes wrong. In fact, the only people the CEO has to answer to are the board of directors and the stockholders. Of course, no one would say that's an easy position to be in, but CEOs are at the top of the corporate ladder, the apex of the pyramid.
If you could get your hands on the job descriptions for the CEO jobs available in the world today, you might be surprised by how little information you can glean from them. Most such descriptions are written in complex corporate jargon. However, one thing you can pick up from such descriptions is that the CEO is responsible for guiding the company the way a captain guides a ship. Just as the captain is ultimately responsible for the fate of his crew and his passengers, so is the CEO.
Part of that challenge is determining the main goals and vision of the company and then finding ways to pursue those interests effectively. For example, if a car company has a goal to become the leader in fuel-efficient vehicles by the year 2020, then the CEO must oversee the plans on how to achieve that goal. He or she may not have to plan the steps alone, but he or she must take responsibility for approving the plan used to attempt to reach that goal. Plus, the CEO must step in when it becomes clear that a chosen course of action is not achieving the desired results or if the company is not meeting its required milestones.
These can be difficult tasks, because making tough decisions that affect an entire corporation, including thousands of employees and stockholders, puts a great deal of pressure on a person. However, that is the only one of the more unpleasant responsibilities for CEOs.
Other CEO Functions
While the CEO is primarily responsible for the major decision-making in a company, he or she will also have other goals as well. For one, CEOs shape the work culture in their companies. If a CEO who believes in having a workforce that is more involved in the development of ideas and strategies helms a business, the culture of that business is going to be very different than one run by a CEO who wants no employee input.
In addition, the CEO is going to need to build the company's team. No matter how much everyone in a company wants to believe that their jobs are independent of everyone else's, that is simply not the case. The effectiveness of everyone depends, in part, on how well each person fulfills his or her responsibilities. That's why viewing the company as a team is so important. Management should also be a team, with each person feeling they can contribute ideas or bring concerns to the table. When members of management work together, they're more likely to find viable solutions. However, this can only be done when the CEO sets the right tone and example for solid teamwork.
Additionally, the CEO must determine the budgets for the company. Sometimes this is done in concert with the CFO, or chief financial officer. Again, though, the ramifications of the budget will rest solely on the CEO's shoulders. Basically, the budget's purpose is to look at how much capital is present within the company and then to decide how best to use that existing capital to move closer to the primary goals of the business. With the above example, the CEO might choose to invest a great deal of capital into research on how to improve fuel efficiency.
Finally, the CEO is the face of the company. When the company is mentioned, the CEO is the person mentioned along with it, for good or bad. While most CEOs have public relations staff available who handle the way their images are seen by the media, most of these PR people also know that they must step in to help the CEO when problems within the company arise or even when the CEO's personal problems make news. As the leader of a corporation, the chief executive officer is no longer given the luxury of complete privacy and anonymity. His actions are watched by the press, by consumers, and by the board of directors.
Despite all of these heavy responsibilities, CEOs do have some of the most exciting and influential roles in all of business.