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10 Things a CEO Ought to Embrace

10 Things a CEO Ought to Embrace

CEO is not just a job. It is a responsibility. It is a promise to stakeholders. It is also a burden to some.... no.... not some.... but large extent. I am an Accountant like many CEOs in this country. Not sure why but I guess people trust Accountants to handle money. Little do they know that Accountants are also ranked high in syphoning money. Anyway, my term as a CEO is coming to an end soon and a renewal, if any, is at the mercy of the shareholders. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for me to share my thoughts on how or what a CEO should be.

A conversation I had with an Architect today provides the conducive mindset for me to start that thinking process. The Architect asked me today, "Architects make great CEOs. Why do people always think Accountants make good CEOs?"

To be honest, anyone can be a CEO. All you need, to be an effective CEO, are:

1. Don't be calculative about your reward. Just do the damn job.

2. You do not need to be a genius. You need to get the geniuses to work for you. Be resourceful in managing your team. You are just a remote control. Your team is the motherboard with circuits and semiconductors.

3. Hide your emotions. Keep a smile on the face. Plan your plan of attack in your head. Then attack with no mercy when people least expect it.... still with a smile on your face.

4. When you talk, talk as if you know it all. People will actually think you know it all. Then go home and research on those matters you just realised that you do not know. You will only learn if you know the areas that you are weak at, which you need to learn.

5. Time is money. The more time you take to gather information and assess a situation, the more informed will your decision be. However, there is a point of diminishing return where extra work will be inelastic to the quality of decision. At that point, cut the crap and just decide. Wrong or right will be the consequence you will need to face, but at least it is more effective than sitting on your ass farting with no guts to make any decision.

6. Humility is not just a virtue, it is a strategy. Some may say you are a hypocrite but know this for a fact - Humility wins everytime you put it against Arrogance.

7. Train those around you to the extent that you are not indispensable. The day you can delegate 100% is the day you graduate from being a CEO and start doing some oil painting on the shores of Langkawi. Your 1st day of being a CEO is also your first day of succession planning. Have you heard of the slogan for Rolex? Or was it Patek Philippe? Whatever.... anyway.... it says, " You do not own a ______ , You merely look after it for the next generation". Go figure.

8. It is lonely at the top. No one said it will be a cheerful life. Embrace that loneliness. Accept it as a personal space. Use it to read. Read everyday without fail - even if it is 1 page of a thick and boring book. Who knows that 1 page has the answer for the sphere on Atlas' shoulders? In that loneliness, one day a staff will come by your room and invite you to lunch. That moment will be a joyous moment. No pain, no gain.

9. In whatever crisis, the first reaction suggested by the grey matter between your 2 ears is the Devil himself talking. Take a step back, break the monotonuous habits, escape your mind from the myopia of the crisis. Fly like a bird and view the issue as if a pilot is appreciating the semicircle horizon of the Planet Earth. You will see a more encompassing and robust solution that may not be the right one for a particular issue but a fair and balanced one for the sake of the organisation as a whole.... like an amber dawn enveloping that blue semi circle.

10. Drink coffee and eat oats for breakfast.

After going through the 10 points above, I see no reason why only Accountants (or Architects) can be good CEOs. In fact, last month I met a CEO who had no proper education and had years and years of experience as a fruit seller. Enough said.

Johan Ishak
CEO of MyCreative Ventures