Running a startup isn't a cakewalk, but when they do work out well, the credit usually goes to the CEO. With startups on a rise, some are even proving to be a challenge for the well settled established companies. So here we look at the things that successful startup CEOs do differently than the not-so-successful ones.
"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 doesn't seem all that important or seems very risky. I used to work for a CEO who was awesome at hiring, but couldn't fire anyone. Doomed the business. Many of the best CEOs get others to follow no matter what", says Mark Suster, partner at Upfront Ventures.
"Most entrepreneurs have a healthy dose of self-interest. However, serially successful startup leaders place their stakeholders' well-being before their own personal gain. Situations inevitably arise in which key executives could covertly self-deal and enhance their financial outcomes at the expense of their fellow employees and investors. Consistent winners resist this temptation", stated John Greathouse, entrepreneur, investor and professor.
According to Daniel Rodic, co-founder of Exact Media, "Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has conviction in his ideas. From the big examples of offering people money to quit the company after training (and doubling down again offering people severance if they didn't adopt his new management system called Holocracy), to smaller examples of his choice to live in a trailer park next to the office with a pet Alpaca, despite selling Unicorn to Amazon, shows he will pursue his true beliefs and not let others get in the way of his vision."
"A CEO has to be detail-oriented, but not micro-manager(there is a difference). Building a company is all about making all the pieces fit together so the machine can deliver predictable results at scale", says Henning Moe, sales guy and entrepreneur.
"Interestingly no one has said courage. You must have the courage to even take the plunge. Thereafter, you need the courage to follow your own path when everyone around you says you're crazy, wrong, or inexperienced. You need the courage to do what you think is right regardless of conventional wisdom. And finally, you need the courage to stand out, to be extraordinary, to make enemies (if need be), to say 'no' when everyone else would have said 'yes', and to be confident enough to be yourself", muses Tolis Dimopoulos, startup attorney, Sophos Law Firm.
According to Christopher Lochhead, co-founding partner, "Legendary startup CEOs understand the game they are playing. They know that less than 1% of technology startups are ever worth $1 billion. They are not delusional about the fact that our industry produces a small number of legendary successes, handfuls of also-rans, and buckets of road kill."
"Founders are great because they can do so much. Unlimited energy, passion and time. But once the company gets to a stage where they have to delegate, many founders fail because they want to control. I call it the rule of tens. If you manage 0-10 people you can be on top of everything. If you manage 100 people (through your direct reports), then you have to delegate responsibility. Your direct reports often ask you for advice, but then act. If you manage (through your direct reports) 1000 people, then people will tell you what they did - after they did it. It takes a different skill set for each factor of ten employees", said John Backus, venture capitalist & former entrepreneur.
"You can't start your business if you can't sell your product or service. So if it's not in your nature to convince someone to come around to your way of thinking, you're not ever going to get your business off the ground", thinks Gerard Danford, academic PhD.
According to Yulichka YD, they differ in the way they not only charge their employees up, but also make them do the work as if there exists a special reward at the end of it.
Joseph Puopolo says, "You need to keep learning every day. The faster you can tighten up your feedback loops and make your organization a learning organization that can adapt and implement based upon things out in the marketplace the better off you will be."