17 Traits of top Startup CEOs
fm Biz Insider.com 3/14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
The Challenge. Three out of four Startups fail in the first 5 years. In fact, a full 90% in the Tech sector don’t survive. The startups that become successful typically require exceptional leadership — and a little luck.
What? In a recent “thread”, users answered the question, “What separates the top startup CEOs from the rest?” A lot of people replied to share some or their thoughts. We’ll look at some of the key Leadership Traits here.
1. Is good at both Hiring & Firing. Whenever you find a really great CEO you find someone who has a knack for hiring. That means selling other people on your dream or your business. Especially when it seems very risky. I used to work for a CEO who was awesome at hiring, but couldn’t fire anyone. Weeding out those that don’t fit increases your effectiveness & promotes good morale.
2. Builds a Culture, not just a Company. The best CEOs build a culture that get everyone to buy into the mission & vision and inspire them to be more creative & productive.
3. Listens, then Acts. Many CEOs want to tell you what they are doing, but the best ones listen to feedback, and do something with that feedback. The best CEOs give credit back to the originator in front of the other employees – which provides recognition & motivates others to contribute.
4. Is Persistent. AirBnB took 1,000 days for its business to start working. Imagine if they gave up on day 999? The best CEOs find a way to dig in and keep going – even when it seems everything is going against them. They keep there eyes on the long-term goals. In fact, they . . .
5. Have a Vision. If you have the Vision to build a product that matters, then no one will forget your company. Does it make a contribution, change the world? Is it “Better, Faster, Cheaper”. Then it will get a lot of attention and a good market share.
6. Stays Focused. A friend who worked for Steve Jobs told me that what really made him different is that Jobs wouldn’t let teams stray from their tasks until they were completely finished with them.
7. Speaks persuasively. A great CEO is clear, crisp, concise. Even quotable. Good CEOS can tell a story in a way that’s easy to remember. The best are awesome at this. Since it’s the CEO’s job to tell the company’s story, it’s extremely important that this person be able to clearly tell a story about the company and the product.
8. Is a Customer Advocate. The best CEOs understand deeply what customers want and tries to give it to them. If they cant as is, they negotiate with the customer, until both are satisfied.
9. Is good at Convincing other people. CEOs have to deal with conflicting interest groups. Customers often want something investors don’t. So, a good CEO is really great at convincing other people to get on board, even at changing people’s opinions – when they need to.
10. Pays “Attention to detail”. Someone in charge of an early stage business needs to be :hands-on” in every aspect of the business, from the fun design side, to the boring financial side.
11. Is skilled at Adapting to change. The best entrepreneurs are able to adjust their product & business model to unexpected changes in the market and consumer demand.
12. Can make Decisions quickly. Executives of corporations often have the benefits of time & extensive analysis before making a business decision. But entrepreneurs need to deal with a flood of choices every day.
13. Is intensely Competitive. A startup CEOs wants to win major deals, acquire the best employees, and sign up every partner possible — all at the expense of the competition
14. Is Courageous. Every entrepreneur needs to have at least some significant amount of courage to start a business, but the best ones are brave enough to stand out, make enemies (if they have to), and make unpopular decisions.
15. Doesn’t Micro-manage. While great entrepreneurs influence every aspect of their companies, they find ways to build delegate & build systems that can deliver results without them constantly there.
16. Never strays from the Vision. Startup CEOs shouldn’t trust that others will stay true to their vision without their constant influence, at least for the company’s first few years.
17. Is Caring. People will be more willing to help startup CEOs who have track records of taking care of employees, partners, vendors, & clients + giving back to the community.
Comments: Are there any other Traits you feel are needed for a good CEO?