I currently coach 42 executives on a monthly basis. These executives include 30 CEOs, Presidents, business owners, and significant equity stake holders who I coach monthly in one-to-one situations from 60-90 minutes and then in a peer-group setting one day each month, and the remaining 12 executives are 'key executives' or CXOs that I coach in a group setting one day each month. Whether I am coaching the CEOs or key executives, I find that there are some 'merit' badges that must be earned that reflect core knowledge of executive practice before an executive is 'armed and dangerous' and ready to excel in business.
One of the first merit badges a CEO or Key Executive must learn is financial literacy. From understanding profit and loss (P&L) statements, balance sheets, forward-looking cashflow statements, all manners of operational and executive Key Performance Indicators (e.g., metrics that track 'what causes sales,' etc.). These seem straight forward but are not necessarily understood by many at first. For example, many executives are unaware that there is a natural rate of growth that their companies can sustain before they run out of cash. The formula for determining the natural sustainable rate of growth from internal cashflows is called: the Growth Potential Index. Not knowing your sustainable rate of growth can mean bankruptcy as a company can literally grow itself to ruin.
Another new and equally important merit badge that CEOs and key executives must earn is their SEO literacy merit badge. No, there is no particular school to earn this badge; it is rather an education on what SEO is, why SEO matters, when and where to apply the tools etc. Just this past weekend, Black Friday, the historical largest brick-and-mortar sales day of the year found a retracement; fewer people journed to the physical stores this year than last year. Rather people flocked online to the equally desirable discount sales from online retailers. I myself shopped at multiple locations online on Black Friday scooping up deals at Walmart.com, Amazon.com, RockyMountainATVMC.com, and other online retailer sites for hardgoods. If your customers cannot find you, they cannot buy from you, and increasingly customers are going online. And online means.... more information for customers.... typically lower prices.... and a more educated customer.
So it is with amazement that I find so many CEOs and Key Executives without the modern SEO merit badge. Is this you? Do you know why it is important to be nested at the #1 spot in organic search by google, bing, yahoo, and others? Paid traffic is limited, and is a must for some without gravitas in the market. However, the penultimate placement is the organic placement through merit of the market -- and it is no accident why people listed as number one, obtained their high status. Leads, new customers, purchasing, and other desirable teaming contacts all start by getting noticed; and if you have no SEO IQ, you are ill prepared for managing in this world. For CEOs and Key executives, knowing what to know, and how to become known is important if you are to survive. If this all sounds like a mystery to you, spend some time and research these things. If you are a CEO or key executive that would like to earn this merit badge or others required for responsible leadership in a modern age, please feel free to call on me to coach you.