Being a competent CEO requires great knowledge: knowledge of the products, the people, the market, and the competition. Acquiring this type of knowledge can be both grueling and humbling. It does not exist in boardrooms, executive off-sites or high-level customer meetings. It lives at the bottom of the company’s hierarchy where the work gets done. It lives in the code base, the individual contributors and customers who directly use the products. Most previously successful CEOs attempt to cheat this process by quickly assembling a team of people to tend to the details.
It essentially points out that “getting there” as a CEO takes hard work. You have to hear from customers, listen to feedback, deal with personal and roadmap issues, dig into competition and understand your space, all while balancing both short term goals of the company with the longterm outlook and strategy of the business.
I love this mentality because it shows you have to dig in and really understand all the moving parts. Its hard work and there is no getting around it. Its posts like these that bring out the true side of being the chief executive of an organization and focus less on the big wins and megadeals that paint a rosie picture of perfection and happiness at all times.
Its also after you have dug in and shown that you can get your hands dirty, in addition to leading the charge for the company as a whole can you get the fully respect of your organization. I am lucky enough to say that I have been a part of that a few times in my career and foursquare is no exception.
Ben Horowitz, Leadership, Management