You know that scene in The Social Network. The one where Sean Parker tells Mark Zuckerberg to have business cards printed up saying, “I’m CEO, bitch.”
Well, that should be your attitude. You’re the CEO, bitch.
There are no rules that say you can officially call yourself the CEO when you get to twenty employees. That’s not how it should work.
The only question is, “Are you the leader of your company?”
If you’re the leader then you’re the CEO, bitch.
Every day you don’t take control and become CEO is another day your company suffers.
It may sound like a small thing, but it’s not. You don’t have a leader if there’s no CEO in the company. And a company that doesn’t have a leader is a company destined for problems.
You see, there’s a vacuum when no one becomes the CEO. It isn’t about ego. Someone needs to fill the vacuum.
The decision of who will be a CEO is a non-issue most of the time. There is a clear and obvious choice for who will be CEO.
However, there is one scenario where who becomes CEO is an issue:
Choosing a CEO can be problematic when you have a group of founders that consider themselves peers.
You may have more than one person that wants to be CEO. And usually one of the prospective CEOs ends up leaving the company eventually when that happens.
Take the story of the founding of Advanced Micro Devices, better known as AMD. AMD’s CEO for over thirty years was the legendary, larger than life Jerry Sanders.
But did you know that the person that believed he was AMD’s CEO (Jack Gifford) brought Sanders in to help run sales.
“He (Gifford) thought I was the sales guy, and I said, ‘No I’m the President.’” Jerry Sanders (1).
Now Sanders could do something that Gifford was unable to do in 1969, and that was raise money. And the tie breaker is usually the person that can raise the money.
The bottom line was that Sanders could raise money and Gifford couldn’t raise money, so Sanders became CEO.
Then Sanders fired Gifford.
It’s difficult choosing a CEO when the founders are peers.
So go for it if you really want to be CEO. Present your case to your fellow founders, and then assume the position.
But understand you likely will end up leaving the company if you lose the fight to be CEO.
But maybe you’ll end up like Jack Gifford. Gifford wound up founding one of the most profitable companies ever in the chip business, Maxim Integrated Products.
For more, read: www.brettjfox.