Is the CEO the best engineer in a company?

Usually not.

Is she the best salesperson in the company? The best marketer? The best in finance?

Usually not.

If you look at the CEO and her top direct reports, she’s usually less technically competent in sales, marketing, finance, and engineering than the executives that report to her.

So what then makes a CEO… well, a CEO?

The role of the CEO can be boiled down into two main functions:

1) Deciding what to do;
2) Deciding who is going to do it.

Stated in a slightly different way, the CEO’s two key skills are strategy and people. If you get the strategy right and have the right people executing it, good things happen.

If you get either of those two areas wrong, you fail. Good strategy with no people to execute it ends up in failure. Great people with a flawed strategy results in excellent execution to nowhere in particular.

Strategy and People. That’s what being a CEO is in a nutshell.

Now how does this relate to you even if you aren’t yet a CEO?


The more you can think like a CEO and present your ideas in a CEO-friendly way, the more you will get noticed in your organization.

Whether you present directly to your CEO or your work gets summarized through your boss (or your boss’s boss) — the more CEO-ready your work is, the more it gets noticed.

Either the CEO notices your work directly, or your boss gets the approval for projects you lead because your work is packaged in a way that makes it easy for a CEO to say “yes.”

To learn more about how to think like a CEO and to communicate in a CEO-friendly way, just complete the form below to indicate your interest, and you will be notified when I release articles or resources on this topic.

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