Cracking the CEO Code: Strategies for Success in the Toughest Exec Role - Mark MacLeod

August 15, 2023 - Mark MacLeod

Cracking the CEO Code: Strategies for Success in the Toughest Exec Role

The only way to prepare to be a CEO is by being one.

There is no school or university degree. You can’t get a Bachelor of CEOdom.

Every other leadership role is based on specific functional expertise and has a gradual path to get there.

For example, I started as an accountant, then was a controller, Director of Finance, and VP, Finance. By the time I got the CFO title, I was ready. I had finished my apprenticeship.

The CEO role, in contrast, spans every aspect of the company vs. one functional area. And there is no gradual path to get there. You incorporate the company and you’re CEO!

So, what does this mean?

Well, it’s the toughest role out there. So you need to arm yourself for success:

Every day is a school day – the only way to stay on top of every aspect of the business and grow faster than your business is to become a learning machine. The most successful CEOs read voraciously.

Connect with peers – this role is tough, lonely and complicated. Connecting with peers is incredibly helpful. Fellow CEOs will get what you are going through.

Build your support team around you – what do you need to thrive? An exec assistant? Chief of Staff? Coach? Therapist?

Whatever you need, get it. Professional athletes have teams to help them perform. You need the same.

Take care of yourself – The expectations are high. The odds of success are low. Great things take time. You won’t get to the finish line by sprinting.

Prioritize self-care. Eat real, whole foods. Exercise regularly. Get at least 7 hours sleep every night.

Give thanks – while it is the toughest role by far, there is nothing like creating something out of nothing and mobilizing people to turn your vision into reality. Be grateful that you get to do this!

Photo by Yogi Purnama on Unsplash

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