Tools I Use as a CEO for Business Management, Productivity and Learning
Being at a company’s helm requires precise, reliable tools. This article will discuss some of the tools I use as CEO that save me time and impact results. This article lifts the veil on a few of these resources, from project management to analytical insights, many are now AI-powered. These are the tools I find myself recommending or discussing almost every day.
Leaders are known for their voracious reading habits. But the question is, how do I manage to read two books a week amidst a busy schedule? Here are some effective strategies and tools I use to absorb significant content.
Transform your inbox into a superhero with Simplify for Gmail—fighting off email spy trackers and giving your dark mode obsession a nod with cool customizable features.
Outsource your calendar to Clara, an AI virtual assistant ready to play matchmaker with your meetings.
Get 10/10 on your next family holiday – human, not AI-powered.
Essential Software for CEOs
As a CEO, your task is similar to that of a circus ringmaster coordinating all elements so the show goes off without hiccups. The best way for you to be successful in this role is by having access to the right tools – and here’s what I use every day.
I love Gmail, and this makes it better. This tool simplifies managing your inbox, allowing for quick scanning, reading and composing messages with intuitive shortcuts – inbox zero is within reach. It offers a fully dark mode, and you can adjust up to 40 customisable options. It provides an extra security layer by blocking over 250 online trackers that could compromise your privacy. Written by the co-founder of Google Inbox.
Notion is an incredible platform that unites knowledge base, simplifies project management and includes to-do lists all under one roof. I have consolidated a number of individual tools into notion, including Trello and Clickup. Sharing workspaces with clients is a breeze. This is where we capture all our processes to have an onboarding programme for new starters. These combined features make this product the popular new kid at school.
Project Management Solutions
Metronome Growth Systems can be seen as an incredibly useful set of tools for scale-up business CEOs and coaches. We use it with all of our clients. It functions both as an OKRs platform and dashboard where CEOs and leaders can keep tabs on priorities, key metrics and run meetings. Its One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) template allows the creation of strategy and execution plans that will benefit any team. For those coaching businesses looking to up their game, it provides invaluable insight with customisable approaches geared towards client success!
Analytical Tools for Decision-Making
Twelve months ago, I wasn’t using generative AI on a daily basis. Now I am. ChatGPT is on subscription, and Bard comes free from Google.
Am I using ChatGPT and Bard for a variety of purposes:
- I use a Chrome plugin to get a generative AI answer to every search. Often, this is better and faster than getting to a good answer from a Google search.
- I have trained ChatGPT to write like me and use it instead of Grammarly to check spelling and grammar.
- Communication and content creation: Drafting social media posts, blog outlines and internal communications.
- Brainstorming creative ideas for marketing campaigns and presentations.
- Fantastic for working with clients to give us ideas on writing a purpose statement, core values and mission statements.
- Research and analysis: Summarising and analysing reports. It is excellent at summarising a long pdf.
- Decision-making support for formulating business strategies: Simulating different scenarios, exploring complex problems from different angles, and generating options and arguments.
Audiopen is bloody magic. It’s an extremely useful tool for note-taking. I often have a thought I want to capture while driving or out running. Grab your phone and open Audiopen. Then as well as the audio (which isn’t that useful), I have AI summariesed text. It offers a variety of features that boost productivity, allowing you to organise your thoughts. It summarises your ramblings making you sound smarter.
Scheduling and Calendar Tool
Are you still booking your own meetings? Please stop and get some help. Clara will save you a lot of time and make you look slicker. Clara, an AI virtual assistant designed to manage calendars and coordinate with other team members to arrange meetings, operates like an effective matchmaker. “She” finds suitable slots via back-and-forth email conversations (people can’t believe it is AI) before sending out invitations which get marked in every participant’s calendar. As well as serving proficiently as a scheduling assistant, Clara can automatically provide follow-ups after the meeting date has been set. Plus, she can communicate easily through natural chat interactions, making her available 24/7. People often comment that my EA never seems to sleep.
I migrated recently from Pipedrive. I wanted a tool that integrated seamlessly with LinkedIn and Gmail and was an amazing CRM. Loving it so far.
Oh, I wish this had been available when I was CMO at Peer1. Top right spot holder on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for account based marketing (ABM) technology. I recently spoke with Paul Gilhooly on The Melting Pot about how the tool works. Want to know if your prospects are looking to buy what you sell BUT they haven’t been to your website? Find any prospect (on your list or not) in the market for what you sell. Oh, and AI-based email to engage with inbound “leads” so they get worked through to booking a meeting before being passed to sales. It’s automagical.
Digital marketing success depends on having the right tools at your disposal. Salesflare and 6sense are great examples of this. They provide all necessary assistance when it comes to managing customer relationships as well as email sequences.
Travel and Expense Management Solutions
Business travel management can be difficult, but you just need David in your corner. He isn’t AI. He is a real person who books all our business and family travel. So far, my wife and children have given each of David’s trips 10/10. So now I ask his advice, pay the bills and go on holiday. He handles last-minute flight changes or rebooks me if I miss a connection whilst on business. Checks me in on flights and finds the best hotels wherever I go.
I once remortgaged the house because I was $100k behind in expense claims. Admin is not my working genius. Dext is the tool for taking care of accounting tasks quickly instead of manually inputting information all the time. Snap the receipt with your phone, and it’s in Dext and thence Xero. Dext can provide comprehensive expense reports, which makes bookkeeping simple.
Tools for business, such as global news and business insight subscriptions, are essential sources of knowledge in the corporate world. These services keep me informed on trends, market indicators and international events while also offering resources to create executive summaries or design a strategic plan. They act like my virtual libraries, constantly adding fresh content so I stay updated. These 2 have been regular companions for many years. A few of the HBR articles have changed my life, and I reference or share others weekly.
Global news and the best in business writing
I gave up listening to Radio 4, watching TV news and reading newspapers years ago. I found the constant negativity demoralising. As a leader, your role is to be a source of positivity for your team.
However, I still want to stay abreast of the latest news and developments worldwide. You need look no further than The Week magazine. All the news you need every week.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) is fabulous value at £105 per year. The magazine is the place to go if you’re looking for in-depth articles and interviews with leading business thinkers. It’s published six times a year and covers various topics, from strategy and leadership to innovation and marketing.
Mega Book Consumption
Accessing knowledge has never been easier with platforms like Audible. I start with audio; if I love it, I get it on both physical and Kindle. The physical book means I have it on hand to give someone when I feel it will help them solve a problem. Blinkist offers summaries of the most popular non-fiction titles. I use it to give me a refresher on the key points.
If I enjoy a book, I tend to own it in audio, physical and Kindle formats. The Kindle Scribe means I have it with me and can write notes on it. I use the Scribe as my default note-taking device in meetings. I can save and share the handwritten notes as a pdf or as text.
Speechify is a new addition. Before interviewing April Dunford on The Melting Pot, I needed to listen to her new book. It is another great platform for those who are always on the go – it allows me to listen to Kindle books without an audio version. It’s not perfect, but it is good enough. My tip is to reduce the text size of the kindle text to ensure smoother reading. It also means I can listen to older books that were published BA (before audible).
I found these bone conducting headphones years ago when they were rubbish, battery powered and connected to your phone via a cable. Just useful enough to keep using them. Now they are light enough to wear all day, last 8 hours per charge and are Bluetooth. I can run in them, drive in them, do calls and video meetings in them, sleep in them and shower in them (I have the waterproof ones). So with Audible and Speechify, I am never short of something to listen to.
From managing emails to scheduling meetings, marketing, and staying updated with global news, these tools and subscriptions can make the high-wire act of being a CEO a little less daunting and much more predictable.
- REFINE LEADERSHIP SKILLS
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