Whatever your size and growth pattern, here is a quick summary of some of the most critical functions of an executive or founder.

From a McKinsey interview with Richard Bracken, CEO of HCA:
“I’m not fond of trying to sum up something as nuanced as leadership skills, but if I had to say what are some of the fundamental attributes of leadership that matter to me, the following would be high on my list.

First, the attitude of the organization toward change is established by the tone set at the top. For me, that means a continued statement, restatement, communication, and validation of the company’s mission and values, which includes reinforcing its culture. This is the CEO’s first and most important job and a clear requirement of leadership. As leaders, we must not only determine the appropriate strategic course but also define how we, as individuals and as an organization, will conduct ourselves.

Second, and most obvious, leaders must ensure the development and execution of a clear, well-communicated, and appropriately measured operating plan.

Third, effective leaders ensure that the right team, with the right values, is in place to execute the plan and can pivot appropriately when factors change.

Fourth, effective leaders show an intellectual flexibility that recognizes there are different ways to achieve goals and objectives within different environments. To me, it is important that environmental and market changes do not modify the company’s, or the executive’s, basic values.

And finally, I think a good leader is a problem solver. How an organization deals with problems, failures, and missed opportunities clearly defines an important aspect of its culture.”

Read the entire interview at http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Health_systems_and_services/Leading_in_the_21st_century_An_interview_with_HCA_CEO_Richard_Bracken