Are You a CEO? Is Your Boss a CEO? Are They The Right CEO for Your Company?
There are those who work as the CEO and those that don’t. The trick is in knowing which one you are.
Are you a CEO? Are you the right CEO for your company? This seems like a silly question at first, but one of the most important for a startup foundation team. In most one-person startups by default the founder is CEO; it’s difficult to resist the temptation of the title. But not all founders do this.
If the CEO not the optimal choice but doesn’t want to admit it, beware, your startup could become an exercise in ego instead of a successful growth/job machine. There’s no formula or perfect background for the “perfect” CEO, and there are many degrees of success; in the end the proof is in the pudding. No one would have guessed Gates or Zuck would have been so successful, but they made it happen. Jerry Yang had many of the right ingredients, but somehow can’t make it as Yahoos CEO. Terry Semel was a great studio head but not a tech CEO. Meg Whitman got slammed trying to run for governor but she was and is a great CEO.
I see many non-CEOs trying to be one in my consulting work. This problem has to be fixed early in the life of a company once it becomes “real”. The first momentum a company has must be nutured like water in the desert;
The purpose if creating a startup is to create something that didn’t exist before – something out of nothing, and thereby create wealth, new money that can be distributed within and outside the company. Even in a non-profit this is true. That goal doesn’t work with the wrong leader at the top. How do you know? Usually you’ll feel it, from the people inside and outside the company. I often play “Shadow CEO” for early stage CEOs, which bridges the gap in experience for many leaders who lack experience but have the skillset. The difficulty comes when the current CEO just isn’t right to scale the business but wants to hang in, often for some very good reasons, but still the wrong choice.
It takes courage to remove yourself as a CEO, but I’ve seen and assisted in the process a dozen times to goos results. Please contact me if you know of any of these situations; they (usually) fascinate me.