[NEWSFLASH] Not all Entrepreneurs make great CEOs and not all CEOs are great Entrepreneurs. People confuse the two titles a lot because in the small business and even in the middle market world the CEO and the Entrepreneur (Founder) are one in the same – but it’s a tricky and often tumultuous road.
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In fact, most Entrepreneurs don’t make great CEO’s unless they have a dynamic #2 working side by side with them. Alfred (CEO) to their Batman (Entrepreneur).
Here’s why: Most Entrepreneurs are visionaries, big picture, quick thinkers and are often shiny object people with a huge instant gratification trigger that leads to easy boredom. Entrepreneurs lead by vision and inspiration.
Take me, I’m a classic entrepreneur (right now I’m also the CEO but thank GOD I’ve got my version of an Alfred in Jenn). I love launching new businesses. It’s the thrill of it all. I love the plotting and planning, the dream of what could be and the launch. After about a year in, it becomes a rote process and I get bored and I want to build something new. Fortunate for me Red Barn Consulting allows me to do a TON of creative things and launch programs within the company. I’m no dummy – I’ve learned how to control my launch impulses so I can give my company time to mature, and I have a #2.
Effective CEO’s are also visionaries and big picture, quick thinkers BUT they have staying power and lead by inspiration AND process. The process part is HUGE. They are leaders with acute management skills. They can see the operational process mapped out in their brain and know how to put the right people in the right seats, protect the bottom line, and strategically take the company to the next level. Most CEO’s are more risk averse than entrepreneurs – they need to be.
Although I’m very good at mapping operational processes out for my clients and even for Red Barn, I’m one of the first offenders at not following the process. Just ask Jenn, she will tell you. Entrepreneurs aren’t the easiest to work for. We tend to get hyper focused on something and won’t let it go until we get what we want – strength and weakness btw. We also have a hard time with minute details, finishing tasks that bore us… the list goes on, but you can see where I’m going. Without a powerful #2, your business becomes a #hotmess quickly. Been there, done that.
Great CEO’s are deep thinkers, are fine with minute details and can stick it out for the long haul. Jenn is classic CEO material, I’m classic wild and wooly Entrepreneur. Neither one trumps the other, because both are needed for a business to launch, scale, and succeed.
If you are new to the entrepreneur world, and you relate more to me than Jenn, realize early on that you will need someone to run the ship. Find your Alfred.