Would You Hire Yourself to be CEO?
There’s a huge difference between being an entrepreneur and being a CEO. The drives are different, the needs of the business are different, and the skills are different. As an entrepreneur, you have to take risks, seize any opportunity, and build your business up from the roots. As a CEO, you have to have a stronger grasp of process, accountability, and scheduling. You have to have the business knowledge to know when an opportunity isn’t going to have enough return to really succeed, and you have to balance risk-taking with stabilizing the foundation of a company for long-term growth.
As CEO of Restaurants on the Run, I had an organization of 600 people across 10 markets that were trying to feed over 10,000 people every day at lunchtime. We needed the right metrics, and we needed accountability in place in order to measure people and understand how well they were performing. As an entrepreneur, I’d been on top of the world. But as a CEO – I had a lot to learn.
When you hire someone, you ask what their skills are, how those skills are applicable to the most important parts of the job, and why should they hire you, specifically? What are your accomplishments, your philosophies, and what have you learned from any defeats you’ve faced? Entrepreneurial optimism only goes so far. But how do you apply entrepreneurial victories and fresh-faced optimism to the long-term job of leading a growing and evolving organization?
The bottom line is, when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building a company from scratch. Your optimism and your passion can really get a company started, but once it’s moving, you have to shift into a different phase. As a CEO, you’ll need different skill sets, a different understanding of business, different goals and strategies in order to scale the business and ultimately sell it.
Entrepreneurs need to be good at working alone, or with a small number of people. They have to do everything, and they take on responsibilities from every aspect of their growing company. A CEO needs to hire others who specialize in different business functions, and then back off and let them do their jobs. CEO’s need to create a strategy to keep the company strong, while rallying multiple leaders behind the vision of a positive and growing future.
CEOs need to understand the concepts of communication and accountability. If you want to connect your strategy and vision to the future of the company, you need to know your customers. You need to be able to communicate to your executive team what the company should be doing, and why. Accountability and communication are a CEO’s keys to success.
Take a look at your resume of skills, and see how you would answer the question. Would you hire yourself to be CEO?