Aug 10 2005

Counter Cliche: It's Fun at the Top

Counter Cliche:  It’s Fun at the Top!

Fred’s VC cliche this week is a good one — that CEOs have the weight of the company on their shoulders, otherwise known as "it’s lonely at the top."  He’s right in a lot of ways, and his two suggestions for dealing with it are good.  To those, I’d add a third suggestion, which is to create a peer group of other CEOs that gets together periodically to talk, share ideas, and blow off steam.  It doesn’t need to be something formal like YPO or YEO — just have a quarterly dinner roundtable with a handful of other local CEOs you know and respect, whether from your industry or not. 

But the counter to Fred’s cliche is that while yes, it can be lonely at the top, it can also be a ton of fun.  Having the weight of the company on one’s shoulders also means having the ability to do some exciting things:

– Being social and interacting with people all across the organization, at all levels, to really understand what’s going on

– Being multi-disciplinary and working on projects with all departments to make sure things are in sync

– Periodically getting out of the organization and understanding what’s happening in the outside world, with customers, suppliers, partners, and investors

I’m sure there are others, and I’m certainly lucky to have an investor who has sympathy for the "weight of the company" problem — but there are many days where the weight is completely overshadowed by the fun!