The TOP 45 Most Effective CEO Tools

…As Picked by Presidents of 900 Mid-Sized American Companies

Compiled by Kraig W. Kramers, a frequent speaker to management groups on rapid business growth, acquisitions and business exit strategies. Please feel free to apply these tools in your business! For more information, call Kraig at (770) 389-8511.


  1. Key Customer-Impacting Jobs = Find the key jobs affecting customers, put the right people in those jobs, and really support them.
  2. The “Right” Growth Rate = Every company has a “right” growth rate; pre-determine yours.
  3. Big Audacious Goals = Results happen by reaching higher, not just by setting logical goals.
  4. CEO’s Monthly Letter = Get your message to everyone, building trust, teamwork and results.
  5. One-Page Business Plan = Create the one-page plan to plug all employees into a common direction.
  6. 12-month Company Calendar = Show future events to all employees, creating coordinated teamwork; the results will surprise you!
  7. People’s BEST Jobs = Identify key people’s best jobs and design your organization around them.
  8. Regular Recognition = Recognize people for performance on a regular, scheduled basis.
  9. Quarterly Priorities Sharing = Encourage managers to share individual goals and then help each other achieve them!
  10.  1:1 with Direct Reports = Prescheduled individual uninterruptible weekly meetings keeps your team on top!
  11.  YCDBSOYB = Regularly injecting fun into business keeps it fresh and interesting (e.g., this riddle: You Can’t Do Business Sitting on Your Butt!)
  12.  Goal Writer 101A = Teach “Verb-Noun-Date” to write a goal; simplest is “Do It Now!”
  13.  Personal Hot Button = Your key player won’t buy it for himself; match it to achieving a key goal.
  14.  Personal Notes Home = Send individual cheerleading and congratulating notes to maximize results.
  15.  Celebrate Successes = Report against key goals and regularly celebrate achievement.
  16.  Focus on Winners = Publicly cheer and celebrate the winners; say nothing about the laggards.
  17.  How CEOs Spend Time = Hit homeruns with people; spend time on customers/strategy/tracking.
  18.  Trailing 12-Month Charts = Sum of 12 prior months, charted for 3 years; especially % gross margin.
  19.  Monthly Re-Forecasting = Track actual vs. budget; re-forecast next 3 months and act to fill gaps.
  20.  Backlog Tracker = Build profits by tracking shortfalls in future backlog, then filling the gaps.
  21.  CEO’s Business Cardinals = Your written “business values” will focus your team and attract winners.
  22.  7-Step CEO Process  = This interactive process will complete the loop in your management system.
  23.  Recognition Buck$ = Employees recognize each other for positive actions; extends recognition.
  24.  35 Executive Success Traits = Use these traits to grow yourself, your team, and to place winners.
  25.  {Q1 = $1.00} = Use symbolism to communicate (e.g., #1 bill, # formulas, customer brochures).
  26.  The Choice Grid = Use this format to assure selection against critera, not emotion.
  27.  Executive Development Planner = Easy tool for leaping growth of individual managers.
  28.  Monthly Operations Report = CEO’s personal report card, builds track-record & results.
  29.  Feed the effort! = Volunteer your personal support to each person’s effort to beat goal.
  30.  Client calendar = Really focus your efforts on the customer with this Client version.
  31.  Lawnmowers vs. Beautiful Lawns = Be sure you know what your business really sells!
  32.  Communication & Trust = Understand the need to work on both to raise performance.
  33.  Trade Price for Volume = This can work great if done carefully and selectively.
  34.  Timing is Everything!  = All things go in cycles, so study your industry’s & company’s cycles.
  35. Taking it to the Street = Find every excuse to reiterate goals and direction.
  36.  Management Cycle = Plan, Lead, Organize & Measure: Work the management cycle.
  37. Top 5 Goals = Develop very specific short-term & long-term team goals.
  38. Give Customers Profit Information = Give regular information to improve your customers’ business.
  39. Simple Business Plan Outline = 75% of companies have no plan yet believe they should!
  40. Communicate Bigger = Consistency and repetitiveness will dramatically enhance effectiveness.
  41. Best Business Philosophy = Monitor details, measure results, manage process, and Lead people.
  42.  Price + Mix + Volume Formula = Tweak these to maximize market share and drive competitors crazy!
  43.  Daily Cash Report & Re-Forecast = The most important tool for any CEO!
  44.  Plan Your Exit Way in Advance = It typically takes 3 years to do an exit or company sale right, to get ready now!
  45.  TEC Membership & Resourcing = The best gifts you can give yourself – try both!


Top 45 Most Effective CEO Tools