It sometimes seems that the primary role of a CEO is fire-fighting – but this is wrong. CEOs should be Fire Prevention Officers.

Fighting fires is all very well and often necessary, but it does mean much wasted time and energy if you are not taking measures, and learning the lessons, to prevent the fires in the first place.

Clear documentation on all processes and procedures is essential in any well-run business: it means new staff members can get productive more quickly, allows for more decentralised decision-making, frees management time and improves overall governance and, through this, company value.

With such clear documentation, when a new issue arises it is much quicker to resolve and implement by amending or adding to the documented processes to cater for the situation. And, of course, when potential situations are discussed strategy sessions, the processes can similarly be updated in advance of the situation arising – fire prevention, in effect.

CEOs adopting this approach free up considerable time and allow themselves to focus on leading the business and so creating value rather than spending inordinate amounts of time fighting everyday fires.


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