#Statements Every CEO Should Make – I Am Responsible for the Success of the Organization

The greatest asset of any leader is their ability to deliver consistent results. Leaders should consider carefully that the organization will only rise to the level of the responsibility of the leader. Unfortunately, many leaders never lead at the highest level because they can never bring themselves to make the statement, “I am responsible for the success of this organization.” Yet, this is the statement that every employee of the organization must hear from the leader.

Great leaders see themselves as responsible for the organization. Max Depree, the former CEO of Herman Miller once wrote that “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” Max Depree understood that great leaders are responsible leaders.

4.5 Areas Leaders Are Responsible To The Organization

1. CEOs are responsible for the level of happiness of those in the organization.

People do not leave organizations; people leave bad managers and leaders. Companies cannot get better until the leader takes responsibility for the happiness of those in the organization. The leader sets the culture of the organization period. When the leader neglects the happiness of their team, the organization always suffers. Leaders must be tenacious in discerning the level of happiness in the organization. They must also take responsibility to do everything that they can to make their people happy. A happy culture will translate into happy customers.

Coaching Question: What one thing could you do as the leader of the organization to make your people happier?

2. CEOs are responsible for the lasting results of the organization.

Harry Truman understood this principle when he had a sign on his desk that stated about the decisions of his organization which read “The Buck Stops Here.” In short, every leader is responsible for the results of their organization. If the people are not producing, it is because the leader has not inspired well. If the customers are not responding, it is because the leader has lost focus. If the organization is in chaos, it is because the leader has not set the agenda. Great leaders take ownership of the organization and the results of the organizations. When organizations fail, it is because the leader has failed.

Coaching Question: Where do you need to lead your organization better?

3. CEOs are responsible for their mistakes and how they manage the mistakes of their team.

One mistake that many leaders make is not accepting their own mistakes. When a leader runs from their errors, it has a compounding effect in the organization. A leader who cannot admit their mistakes loses credibility, trust, and the right to lead. When a mistake in an organization happens, the leader should be quick to admit the error and to ensure their team that they will not keep making the same mistakes.

Coaching Question: What mistake in your organization have you made and need to accept responsibility to move your organization forward? 

4. CEOs are responsible for the vision and the direction of the organization.

The leader sets the vision for what’s next in the organization. Every leader must accept responsibility for the clarity of the vision and how that vision is carried out in the organization. When a leader’s message is unclear, it leads to uncertainty and confusion. Every leader must assess which direction their organization is going.

  • If the organization is moving forward, the leader should seize the momentum and continue to push forward.
  • If the organization is moving backward, the leader should stop the changes and create a plan to turn the organization around with the help of their people.
  • If the organization is moving sideways, the leader should shoulder responsibility for confusion and realign the team to new goals and objectives.
  • If the organization is moving slowly, the leader should serve more boldly by setting the example and giving confidence to its people.
  • If the organization is not moving, the leader should spot an opportunity to gain success and start a forward push.

Whichever direction the organization is moving, the leader must take responsibility. Leaders who neglect the direction of their organization do so at their own peril.

Coaching Question: What direction is your organization moving and what do you need to take responsibility for at this moment?

4.5 CEOs are responsible for the talent that is on the team.

Responsible CEOs understand the need for good talent around them. They do not try to be the smartest person in the room. They use the tools and abilities of their team to bring about the best results. The CEO must work with people to bring about their best ideas and innovations. When a CEO thinks more about the organization than they do their people, the organization is doomed to fail. Jack Welch stated it this way, “Talent management deserves as much focus as financial capital management in corporations.”

Coaching Question: What one action could you take this month to better develop your team?

The voice of the leader is important. The statements that they make have significance. One statement that every CEO should make is, “I am responsible for the Success of the organization.” If you make these statements, you will become a better leader, and you will lead a better organization.


Ken Gosnell serves leader by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations. He has worked with hundreds of CEOS and their leadership teams to enhance their strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an experileader, author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. You can connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kengosnell/

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