A few years ago I found a comment by a millionaire that at first I thought was a great idea, how do you define what a CEO is and does?
Not a bad question, right? Especially when it comes to being a startup.
Normally the CEO moniker, Chief Executive Officer, used in big Fortune 500 companies and even some startups that want the same prestige might work, but as a startup, it just doesn’t quite fit, do you see the same thing?
I have a friend that has a startup and she uses the CEO title on her business card and her web site. She’s a startup. But seeing it on her card it just sounds so old fashion and stuffy, as if “bestowed” by oneself for others to see how you want to project your image. But is that the true focus of a business? To make yourself look good?
Not so accurate.
So, here’s my attempt in our current business climate to get to the heart of what a business CEO title is about.
CEO: Cash Extraction Officer
The CEO millionaire that I heard used this definition of what a CEO is. Sorry, I just can’t get into the fact that a CEO is about extracting more money from a customer. It sounds too much like the “Greed is Good” mentality and the business wins and the customer and society loses. Is that the image that a title of CEO is to convey? Would you like that title? How would you view this from someone?
Yes, it’s about making profits and yes it’s about building a business, but using the word extraction does not give me as a startup owner a good feeling that the company is looking out for me as a customer.
CEO: Chief Executive Officer
While this is the most common definition of what a CEO is, some high profiles of Fortune 500 CEOs are getting their images tarnished by their lack of job performance and receiving high pay for their failures. It’s almost as if the Chief Executive Officer is in the same family tree as a Cash Extraction Officer, but is not considered its “evil twin.”
While I’m not against capitalists earning what they do nor am I against those that are rich (have you ever worked for a poor person?), that is not the case. It’s a matter of defining the focus of the CEO, nothing more.
CEO: Customer Experience Officer
This is what I see is the real reason for the CEO, to enhance a customer’s experience, life, and productivity. Providing value to someone else’s life and to enhance and improve it.
And if you get rich because you’re able to satisfy a customer’s needs many, even millions of times over with your product, affecting them positively, then by all means, do it.
So, do you think this is right? Am I heading in the right direction?
Add your thoughts to what I’ve said, let’s start a conversation about what a CEO’s leadership should be.
As I think about what’s ahead for 2012, this where I’m starting my thought process, to become a Customer Experience Officer.
That is a win/win for each, the customer and the business.
- 7 Startup CEO Tactics for Operational Excellence (davidcummings.org)
- #MyStartupStory: Scott Belsky, CEO and Co-founder of Behance (hiscoxusa.com)
- #MyStartupStory: Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of Mashable (hiscoxusa.com)