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BuyerSteps Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Paul Simmons, Emily Jackson, Mehdi Daoudi, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

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Bare Bones CEO: Linking the Outside World to the Inside

What are the bare bones minimum tasks that only a CEO should do?

What are the bare bones minimum tasks that only a CEO should do?

That question was raised by Procter & Gamble's CEO A.G. Lafley (pictured) in Harvard Business Review. Ultimately, he says the job that ONLY a CEO can do is to link the outside world to the inside.

Lafley talked about how as CEO of P&G, he zeroed in on four areas that enabled him to make the outside to inside link. But if we really examine Lafley's critical tasks, they form a solid foundation for any type of leader in any type of organization.

Here is a repeat of Lafley's CEO mindset:

1. Define the meaningful outside: Determine which external constituency matters most. Not surprisingly, at P&G, the consumer is king. For some leaders, this might mean their partner community or a subset of customers, or a specific vertical or industry. Sharpen your sights and prioritize your most important base.

2. Decide what business you’re in: For example, what are your core businesses, and which of them will you grow? In 2000, P&G decided to target low-income consumers and developing markets. In today's challenging economy (and keeping an eye for the upturn), where might you refocus your organization or team efforts?

3. Balance present and future: Ensure that stakeholders’ near-term interests don’t overshadow your company’s long-term future. Sometimes in the heat of an initiative or economic event, we lose sight of long-term strategy. Keep your eye on long-term goals, and don't have knee-jerk reactions to the vagaries of short-term economics.

4. Shape values and standards: For instance, Proctor and Gamble defined trust as consumers’ trust in its brands. What's the value or principle that will guide your organization for the next 3 to 5 years? What is the emotional legacy you want to be remembered for?

These are insights into the mindset of one of American's top CEOs. No matter what your leadership position, from team manager to CXO, Lafley's advice is solid bare bones thinking to add to your arsenal of leadership strategies.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Core Ideas

Loraine Antrim is co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a communications consulting agency focused on presentation development and media training for C-suite executives. Core Ideas enables executives to package and communicate relevant and compelling messages in their presentations and interviews. Loraine's expertise is killing butterflies. You know, butterflies: the feeling in your stomach before you have to present or speak in public. Loraine works with executives to create a powerful story, memorable messages and an authentic delivery style. Confidence kicks in, and butterflies scatter. Nice work killing butterflies! You can contact Loraine at: manager at

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