【How-To】What does startup CEO need to do? How to be a better and stronger startup CEO?

Regardless of what reason brought you to this article, whether if you and your co-founder are deciding who should be the CEO or if you are working for a startup and trying to assess how you can help your team or your CEO or you simply want to become a better and stronger startup CEO, this article shares some of the great thoughts and learning from success and failing experience mentioned in some of the great blogs and Youtube video.

What Does Startup CEO do? (NFX.COM)

According to the great article “what makes a strong startup CEO” (https://www.nfx.com/post/strong-startup-ceo/) from nfx.com, the CEO needs to learn both roles: CEO as a leader and CEO as a manager. Moreover, the article points out that “leadership is harder to master than management”. Not only need to lead the startup company, but also lead your own self.

Here is a quick list, and for a detailed explanation, please click on the original article to read through it well.

  • CEO as a manager
    • defining a strategy
    • recruiting the right team
    • assisting where needed
    • monitoring progress
  • CEO as a leader
    • People: spend time with people / listen to your team
    • Vision: a clear why, that is clear and powerful
    • Culture: set the done for your culture (encourage collaboration / push communication & transparency / fight complacency / promote self-awareness / be optimistic)

Who Should Be Startup CEO? (Garry Tan, VC, and Entrepreneur)

The amazing talk from Garry Tan, a VC and startup founder, shared the mistake that he should have taken the decision to become the CEO. Being a CEO is very different than an individual contributor, instead, he/she needs to acquire the following skill, manifest and fix all issues on deck. So is your CEO doing the following? Or do you have the courage to take on the leadership role?

According to Garry, here is a list of skillsets a CEO needs to learn and manifest! It is not an easy job, but something that needs to be done!

  • Get people to follow you
  • Hire and manage people
  • Fundraise
  • Drive the vision
  • Conduct the magic symphony

 

What Are The 3 Phases Of Focus Startup Founder Needs To Lead? (Ali from Y Combinator)

One of the world’s top-performing accelerators and VC, Y Combinator, shares the 3 key phases of building a startup and where the startup CEO needs to lead and focus on in the article “What’s the Second Job of a Startup CEO?” (https://www.ycombinator.com/library/3k-what-s-the-second-job-of-a-startup-ceo )

Here are the 3 phases according to  Ali from Y Combinator

  1. Phase 1: Build a product users love
  2. Phase 2: Build a company to maximize the opportunity that the product has surfaced
  3. Phase 3: Harvest the profits of the core business to invest in transformative new product ideas.
The key challenge of moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is to quickly transform, according to the author of the article, from “Doer-In-Chief” to “Company-Builder-In-Chief”.  New skills that need to be learned are the ability to “delegate” and “lead”.
Ali, the author, further points out that there are 3 tasks CEOs can not delegate
  1. need to hire a leadership team and to make sure they work well together
  2. need to create purpose and alignment
  3. need to nurturing company culture

So what does iiiNNO share with our founder CEO?

    1. Share your vulnerability (The power of vulnerability by Brene Brown, a TED talk) https://youtu.be/0hrLUnKa4L8
    2. Leading thoughts by Simon Sinek
      • lead your team beyond simply manging by asking “how I can help”
      • focus on making progress consistently, and success will come. Do not simply just focusing on achievement events (e.g. getting on the press, fundraising, winning award) as the goals of the company
      • know your why / how / what (The golden circle by Simon Sinek, a TED Talk) https://youtu.be/sZw8a8y85BU
    3. Build a movement and help others to succeed

Conclusion:

building a startup is extremely hard, and the founding team at the initial stage of a company building is so critical. I personally have failed 2 times, and now moving on my 3rd attempt in building an international startup launchpad/acceleration program. The degrees of learning, self-discipline, and self-drive is beyond what I think is needed, even until these days. Sometimes I do regret not empathizing with the people who led me with the amount of effort and courage in facing the mistake and take on big challenges.

Hopefully, this article brings out some points which may save you from destroying or throwing away what you have or knowing the possible pitfall you can steer yourself away. We may not know exactly the formula to succeed, but definitely know what it takes to build startup companies that flushes can help and avoid the unnecessary mistakes.

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