Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lilia. Lilia Wonders, “What is a CEO, and what does he or she do?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lilia!
What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question you probably get asked from time to time. So what's your answer? A fireman? A doctor? A scientist? A teacher?
All of those are good careers, and it's easy for kids to understand what those people do. But what about a very important position that not many kids list when asked what they want to be when they grow up? We're talking about the CEO.
CEO stands for chief executive officer. A CEO is the boss — the top dog, the big cheese, the top banana, the big kahuna — of a company. Whether leading a small local company or a humongous multinational corporation, CEOs sit at the top of the organizational pyramid.
But what exactly does a CEO do on a day-to-day basis? Does she work on the factory floor making widgets? Perhaps he spends his time thinking up clever advertising slogans? Could she spend most of her time on the phone selling products to people?
Those types of tasks are necessary, but they're performed by the various workers companies employ. The CEO's job isn't easy to summarize, because it doesn't fit neatly into a specific category.
While most company employees have very specific tasks they're responsible for, a CEO is responsible for the company as a whole. As a result, she must oversee a broad variety of people and tasks on a daily basis.
The CEO is responsible for determining, communicating, and executing a company's strategic direction. This includes making the final decisions about how the company's resources, including people, will be used to produce products that will generate income and increase the value of the company.
CEOs must be great at delegating authority. To be successful, they must hire people to manage each major aspect of the business. In most companies, it's impractical for a CEO to meet with each employee on a regular basis. Instead, CEOs meet with a smaller group of managers that report to the CEO about a particular part of the company.
Experts estimate that CEOs spend more than 80% of their time interacting with other people. That means they spend most of their day in meetings, whether in the form of face-to-face meetings or telephone conference calls.
These meetings are usually with other employees of the company. However, they can also involve interactions with others, such as investors, shareholders, members of the board of directors, or representatives of other companies. In fact, the CEO is the main point of communication between the company and its board of directors.
CEOs may also spend a lot of time traveling. If a company has locations around the world, it may be necessary for a CEO to travel to other locations on a regular basis to meet with employees.
Communication is a key responsibility for a CEO. When not in meetings, CEOs spend a lot of time returning phone calls and responding to emails. A CEO may receive hundreds of emails each day, many of which require a response.
Does this sound like a lot of work? It is! CEOs often make large salaries, because they bear considerable responsibility and work very long hours. Most CEOs work weekends and are never truly on vacation, even when they take time off.
So what do you think? Could you be a future CEO? If you're a strategic thinker with great vision, superb leadership, and excellent communication skills, then the title of chief executive officer might be in your future!