From the outside looking in, the C-suite is a desirable place to work. However, the occupants of the C-suite have an enormous responsibility. Obtaining an office in the C-suite is a professional achievement that few accomplish. It takes years of hard work, dedication, and having laser focus. Once you’ve obtained an office in the C-suite, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Relish in the fact that your labor was not in vain.
But, now that you’re in the C-suite, it’s also time to get to work. One of the first things you should do is figure out which part of the organization you should focus on. Should you focus on internal issues, external issues, or both? There are many executives whose positions require them to focus on both — and there is nothing wrong with that. However, balancing the two can prove to be difficult.
Internal and external matters require different perspectives. Concerns regarding the public image of an organization (external) are totally different from improving a process in procurement (internal).
The laser focus you displayed before you arrived in the C-suite is the same focus you’ll need while in the C-suite. You cannot confuse internal issues with external issues and vice versa. If your focus is internal, then the only issues that are germane to you are internal. Likewise, if your focus is external, the only issues that are germane to you involve representing the organization and the like.
Sometimes internal and external issues overlap but for the most part they do not directly affect each other. Here are two instances where they do overlap. First, a cumbersome approval process in the marketing department can delay the rolling out of a new marketing campaign. Secondly, a negative racial perception of a company can increase the number of diversity classes it’s customer service representatives have to take.
In order to maintain laser focus, it is imperative that you hire someone who can take your place when you’re not there. Your ability to stay focused on internal or external issues depends on who’s supporting you. A position in the C-suite should be occupied by someone that is capable of handling the responsibilities that come with the position. For those of you that desire to be an occupant in the C-suite, be prepared to put in years of hard work, dedication, and laser focus.
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