Chief executive officers have many responsibilities. Managing an entire team and leading a company towards profitability and growth is no easy feat. They must constantly think with innovation in mind and create a culture in their workplaces that attracts the best talent. But not all CEOs are able to effectively achieve this. Some CEOs make little attempts to communicate directly with their customers, while others focus only on upper management. The best CEOs are committed to taking a hands-on approach to handling organizational responsibilities.
The following three chief executive officers do just that. And while you may know their names or the companies they work for, you don’t have to run a company with thousands of employees to be just as effective in charge. Using this information as a guide, take a tip from the rule books of the best CEOs in the world to help you navigate the waters of running a business.
Charles Phillips — Infor
Infor’s CEO Charles Phillips has been credited as running the world’s largest startup, with over 70,000 customers in more than 150 countries. When Phillips took the reins in 2010, he focused on intrapreneurship (the process of using entrepreneurial startup tactics in established business) to help grow the company. His first order of business was to hire 6,000 employees, including 600 engineers. This would allow the company to build better products that truly answered to market needs, rather than focus on getting more sales.
Additionally, Phillips organized an outreach strategy that involved sending out more than 250,000 emails to customers listing direct contact information for several top executives in the company. It’s not often that customers get such high-level service, or that they can even reach the CEO of a business without passing through several safeguards. Phillips made it his personal goal to respond directly to every email he received, regardless of the customer.
Jeff Bezos — Amazon
Jeff Bezos and Amazon has become synonymous with customer service. One look at Amazon’s mission statement clearly shows Bezos’ stance on customer service. The statement reads, “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” And Bezos takes that statement very seriously.
As previously mentioned, very few CEOs spend their work or personal time interacting with their customers on a daily basis. Bezos is known for allowing customers to email him directly. Depending on the situation, he’ll escalate the issue and forward it the appropriate person.The recipient then has a few hours to investigate the situation and provide a response detailing how the issue occurred and how it was resolved. According to Bloomberg, this is his way of allowing his customers to be heard.
He takes this a step further by believing every Amazon employee should be able to handle the call center. During annual training sessions, he asks hundreds of managers to participate in two days of call center training, and he participates in these customer training programs himself. Bezos believes this is the core of ensuring that Amazon employees not only know what the mission statement is, but are able to understand and embody it.
Larry Page — Google
Since Larry page was appointed the CEO of Google, he has been the epitome of “all hands on deck.” He allowed his operational expertise to shine by cutting products that cluttered Google’s lineup, while focusing on perfecting other areas is the Google suite, like Search, Ads, Apps, and YouTube. He also put an emphasis on mobile user-friendliness, capturing mobile trends years before predictions could come true.
Page is also well-known for asking his employees how they perform their jobs, both to better understand ways of making the company better, and to better understand the staff themselves. At the Fortune Global Forum, Page told listeners that he would frequently talk to staff that ran data centers, asking questions from an entrepreneurial and business perspective, and looking for new opportunities that benefit everyone.
These type of questions would vary. They might include: How could their jobs be made easier? What needs to be done to enhance the customer experience? These are the types of questions that Page would normally ask to gain a better understanding of what’s happening in departments he doesn’t see every day. And while you might assume that this type of questioning would be overbearing, Page is frequently cited as one of the best CEOs to work for because of his friendly approach to business practices.