What Kind of CEO Do You Want to Be?
The co-founders of a growing startup set out to decide what sort of CEOs they want to be and uncover some great advice… and a couple of horror stories.
By Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg (Co-founders, theSkimm)
2014 is already a big deal at Skimm HQ. We will have our first office and our first employees start (today!) and the two-(wo)man team known as Skimm HQ will be no more. We’ve been preparing ourselves for what it means to grow a team and create a company culture. And have been thinking a LOT about what type of CEOs we want to be.
We’ve heard horror stories. Like the time we went to one office where all the employees had to wear black flat shoes because the CEO liked to be the only one in bright high-heeled shoes. Or the one where the co-founders would only take meetings while they were on their TrekDesk.
We’ve been compiling some of the best advice we’ve gotten over the years from our former bosses and managers, our current mentors, and fellow business owners. Below are some of our favs.
- The best CEOs respond to email themselves. Quickly.
- There is a known balance between work and life. Find it. Hold onto it.
- There is also a known balance between when a boss is a friend and when a boss is a boss.
- Be a leader — an organized one
- Know what your team does on a daily basis
- Put a name next to each task you want done
- Be a mama bear when it comes to protecting your team
- Look out for the future. It’s coming.
- Focus. Focus. Focus. So others can as well.
- Make sure your office is inviting. No one wants to wake up and go work some place that makes them sad.
- Incentivize your team by thinking long term
- Read “The Secret” — again. You’ve got to see success to be a success. Or something like that.
- Say ‘thank you’
- Your team needs to believe in you and see you are confident. If you don’t know an answer to something, come up with one
- No one will care about your company more than you. But try and make them.
We’ll let you know how our transition goes this year. We are currently looking into having a long table instead of a TrekDesk and making Friday meetings BYOB. Thoughts?
What advice would you add to this list?
About the bloggers: theSkimm was co-founded in 2012 by Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin. Danielle was an associate producer for MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and previously worked for NBC’s “Nightly News.” Carly was an associate producer for NBC’s Peacock Productions. Prior to that she worked on MSNBC documentaries.