Editor’s note: “The Angel Connection” is a regular feature in WRAL Local Tech Wire. LTW asked consultant Bill Warner to share advice for entrepreneurs seeking venture capital investment. He is chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over 100 members throughout the Southeast. The Angel Connection is published weekly.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK –
One of the very important roles in a company is that of the CEO, and investors want to see that this role is being played well.

The CEO has three fundamental roles.

First, a CEO is a leader. As a leader, the CEO establishes and directs the vision and mission of the company. In this capacity, the CEO is the source of visionary strength of the company and keeps it on a consistent track to achieving the vision.

Second, a CEO is a project manager. In this role, the CEO is responsible for directing the operational activities of the company by scheduling the utilization of the company’s resources, including people and capital equipment. In this way, the CEO gets things done through the efforts of the people in the company. The CEO is responsible for establishing and executing the company’s operating plan that is necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.

Third, a CEO is a coach, and as such picks the people for the management team and improves the performance of people through ongoing counseling. As a coach, the CEO works with people to help them become greater contributors by helping them improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

In these roles, a CEO performs several duties that are very important to the successful functioning of any management team.

The CEO puts the strategy in place to achieve the company’s vision and mission. In this capacity, the CEO works with team members to develop a strategy and plan. Then a process is put in place that will be used to execute the strategy.

The CEO gets the company organized to implement the process and guides all the project activities using the process. All the schedules are established, laying out the tasks that have to be performed to deliver the company’s product and services and assigning the necessary resources to the people on the team.

The CEO makes sure that the right people are placed in the right job assignments, and that people get further training to do their jobs.

The CEO has an important duty to delegate responsibility and accountability. In doing this, the CEO gives people a clear role and a set of responsibilities, empowers them to act, and holds them accountable for results.

The CEO has the very important role of communicator. The CEO not only communicates important information needed for people to do their jobs, but also information that is necessary for people to understand the context of their jobs.

The CEO builds relationships. The CEO’s job is to establish positive and effective working relationships both inside and outside the company. One of the value-added aspects of a CEO’s role is that the CEO knows people and can call upon their assistance to help the company achieve its goals.

The CEO establishes and supports working relationship principles by creating an environment where people can count on each other. It is important to know what one can expect from another.

The CEO establishes goals and objectives for people as a key part of being a coach. As part of the performance management process, the CEO establishes performance goals and objectives for people. This is a very formal part of the CEO’s job.

•The CEO makes sure that people are recognized for their contributions and extraordinary efforts on the job.

Finally, a CEO manages upward. That is, the CEO keeps board members and shareholders informed of the company’s progress.

This is not an exhaustive list of CEO duties, but represents some of the most important ones. These are the kinds of things that investors expect from their CEO as they play out their three roles of leader, project manager and coach.

About the author: Bill Warner is the Managing Partner of Paladin and Associates, a business consulting firm in the Research Triangle Park area of central North Carolina, and is the Chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over one hundred members throughout the southeast.