@JeremyBloom11
"2 types of people..Leaders and Victims. Leaders figure out ways to solve issues/problems while victims look 2 place blame."
April 10, 2012

It’s your startup. You’re the person in charge. Congratulations... now don’t blow it! Do NOT morph into every manager and executive you’ve ever hated. Do NOT become the type of “leader” who gets ahead in the traditional corporate world by enshrining mediocrity and exterminating talent. A burning entrepreneur must be a new type of CEO and demand similar innovation from the core team. (BTW, org charts make great kindling for your flame!)

The Who gave us one of the saddest and truest lyrics in rock history: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” However, the burning entrepreneur won’t get fooled again!

Having a CEO’s command begins even before you become one, becoming a category of behavior throughout your career. Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, riffed on the phrase “be the CEO of your job” in a board meeting a year or so ago. It stuck with me and I’ve thought about it many times since.


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 @JeremyBloom11
"2 types of people..Leaders and Victims. Leaders figure out ways to solve issues/problems while victims look 2 place blame."
April 10, 2012

It’s your startup. You’re the person in charge. Congratulations... now don’t blow it! Do NOT morph into every manager and executive you’ve ever hated. Do NOT become the type of “leader” who gets ahead in the traditional corporate world by enshrining mediocrity and exterminating talent. A burning entrepreneur must be a new type of CEO and demand similar innovation from the core team. (BTW, org charts make great kindling for your flame!)

The Who gave us one of the saddest and truest lyrics in rock history: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” However, the burning entrepreneur won’t get fooled again!

Having a CEO’s command begins even before you become one, becoming a category of behavior throughout your career. Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, riffed on the phrase “be the CEO of your job” in a board meeting a year or so ago. It stuck with me and I’ve thought about it many times since.

The NY Times did a great “corner office” interview with Mark titled “Are You a C.E.O. of Something?Among other things it explored the idea of being the CEO of your job. Fred Wilson, also an investor in Zynga, wrote a post in 2010 titled “Empowering Your Team” that talks about one aspect of this. But Fred left out a great example from one of Mark’s earlier companies, Support.com, which really nails this concept.

“We had this really motivated, smart receptionist. She was young. We kept outgrowing our phone systems, and she kept coming back and saying, “Mark, we’ve got to buy a whole new phone system.” And I said: “I don’t want to hear about it. Just buy it. Go figure it out.” She spent a week or two meeting every vendor and figuring it out. She was so motivated by that. I think that was a big lesson for me because what I realized was that if you give people really big jobs to the point that they’re scared, they have way more fun and they improve their game much faster. She ended up running our whole office.”

Instead of spending a lot of his time solving the problem, or setting up a committee to spend a month figuring out the phone system, or asking someone more senior to the receptionist to figure it out, he gave her the responsibility of solving the entire problem. He anointed her “CEO of her job.” As the receptionist, she was the one who felt the most pain from the inadequate phone system and was probably in the best position to figure out a solution.

I work with CEOs every day. So I’m naturally wired to encourage them to be CEO of their own job. While this is pretty meta, it’s an important starting point as I already think this way all the time. I’m certainly not perfect and have moments where I just jump in and try to solve a specific problem, but most of the time I let the CEOs be CEO. However, when I contemplate that type of managing-the-details behavior, I realize I haven’t done a good job of encouraging the CEOs to make everyone in their organization CEO of the job. Some CEOs do this naturally and, not surprisingly, these are generally the highest-achieving companies.

Applying these practices to your situation, consider the following questions: If you are the CEO of an entrepreneurial organization, do you encourage everyone in the company to be CEO of their job? Is this culturally (and functionally) acceptable? Do they get rewarded for taking risks and succeeding (or failing) like you do? If not, would they be more effective if they did?

Finally, if you applied the lens of “be the CEO of your job” not just to your techniques in managing others, but to your own job, would you behave any differently?

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