As per Ben, there are two types of CEOs: those that are good strategically and those that are good functionally. The first kind has no problem with decisions but isn't great at execution; the second one is great at execution but suffers from analysis paralyis. A good CEO needs both skills and has to teach himself to be competent in the other area.
Two of the criteria Ben uses to evaluate CEOs are—
- Do they know what to do?
- Can they get the company to do it?
In order for a CEO to succeed at these, he has to set the strategy and vision for the company. Ben explains that to do this well, CEOs have to give this context via story, which will explain the why behind everything the company is doing and why staff should go along with this.
The CEO then needs to hire the right people and build a culture where people can do their work. If staff know that good things will happen to them and the company if they do their work well, they will want to keep coming back. On the other hand, if they have to worry about politics or other barriers to getting work done, then the CEO has failed.
Although the above may seem harsh, I totally agree that a company's culture stems from the top, so it really is the CEO's responsibility to ensure that staff are happy and able to do their work.
As Ben clearly demonstrates, being a CEO is a tough and lonely job and not for the weak of heart or will.
What other characteristics do you think make a successful CEO?