One of the most interesting responses we had at the Young Entrepreneurs Society Panel last Tuesday was to the question “What does a startup CEO actually do?”
The explanation is simple. The CEO is responsible for doing everything and must be willing to do it all (this includes taking out the trash). In reality, a CEO does not have the time to do anything at all. A CEO’s job is to hire people to do different tasks, tell them what to do and make sure they get it done. Once that is done, the CEO has run out of hours in the day.
This is not only true with startups but also with organizations and pretty much any leadership structure.
What keeps the CEO from going crazy and doing everything themselves? One word: Trust! A CEO must be able to trust their subordinates to get their part done. The moment an employee loses the trust of his superior, it’s going to be hard for everyone. The CEO has to micromanage the person (which he doesn’t have the time for) and the person gets annoyed by having someone micromanage them.
Rules of thumb:
- If you say you are going to do something, do it!
- If you need help, ask as far in advance as possible!
- Make sure not to lose someones trust, it isn’t easy to get back!
Those are my rules, what are yours?