Founders ask me often how they should act as CEO.
Well what exactly Is a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?
According to investopedia for example, the CEO is the highest-ranking executive in a company. His primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, acting as the main point of communication between the board and corporate operations. In many cases, the CEO serves as the public face of the company.
Sometimes it’s just a mascot.
So far the official and heavily influenced view (and behaviour) of CEOs from large corporates.
This role varies from one company to another depending on the company’s size, culture, and corporate structure.
In large corporations, CEOs typically deal only with very high-level strategic decisions and those that direct the company’s overall growth.
While in smaller companies, CEOs often are more hands-on and involved with day-to-day functions.
But this does not really help to understand the role from a starting point of view.
And honestly, I disagree with this role description.
It reduces the main role to being just a number cruncher, someone who deals with numbers, facts and figures. It makes this important position boring and only profit oriented.
Have you ever seen a speech from Herbert Diess? The exCEO of Volkswagen?
CEO of a global car manufacturer who stumbles over his words while speaking.
These guys cannot say anything that was not approved by PR and legal.
It became a golden cage, an idealisation and finally a horrible job.
The danger is then to mutate into a Chef Ego Officer…
In the FAQ for founders I had a part about THE TEAM. About the solopreneurs, about control freaks.
About the necessary trust in your co-founders, advisors and mentors.
About defining responsibilities.
The world is full of CEOs.
Do you want to be just an additional one? FIND your role. You can be anything you want. The Chief Dreamer (aka CEO), the Architect (aka CTO, CIO, CDO). The people whisperer (aka HR, CMO).
Anything, as long you stay authentic.
Truth hurts, so read again.
If you love the product, if you love to code or to build… Maybe you should be the Architect. One of the tech roles, hands-on.
If you love to sell, to negotiate… Marketing, PR
If you love ppl go to HR. Not Human Resources… Human Relationship.
But as the head, the mastermind.
As a CEO you have to focus on three things and three things only!
No 1. Describe the vision of how you plan and will change the world. Make it crystal clear. No misunderstandings, no blurring.
No 2. Find the best people in the world to execute that vision and sell them for that vision. They have to get excited about what you are making a reality.
No 3. Give them all the resources to do their job better than anyone else in the world…
…and then get the hell out of their way because otherwise you will mess it up if you get in each other’s way.