“What does it take to be CEO?” Reflections a year after leaving.

President Lincoln had a nice business card.

The question caught me off guard. My interviews after resigning in October ‘16 were split between pure startups (IoT, Industrial, Fiber and Filtration related mostly), where having had the CEO title was enough, and bigger companies / past customers (mostly in engineered fabrics and manufacturing) stayed away from ‘personal’ questions because of our past relationship.

“What does it take to be CEO?”  This should be an easy question – it surprised me I didn’t have an answer ready to go.

The past year has been a whirlwind. Career shifts aren’t predictable. We’d planned on hanging out in RTP and having a long job search – but given the opportunities that arose, it became quickly apparent that the plan was changing.

I love working in manufacturing. Commercializing new technologies and processes requires many different skills, working with bright people, and fostering trust across diverse cultures. The right sectors can be lucrative. It fulfills a social need around employment that is important to me. Bringing entrepreneurial and lean thinking to industry enables new products and materials to be built and societal problems to be solved more quickly.

The colleague who asked is a total rockstar with great runway. They’ve got a deep education background, solid understanding of operations, a balanced personal life and are fun to hang out with. Even though we were shutting down for Christmas, the question required consideration – to do so it was split in two:

  1. What skills were required to become CEO?
  2. What does it take to be a good CEO?

About flybrand1976

Find me on twitter @flybrand.
This entry was posted in Business, Methods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.