What am I meant to like about being CEO?

Dear Aunty B,

I have been running my own business for eight years and I loved it until about six years ago.


What happened then is that I put in place a team of people who ran the business and my job became working out where the hell we were going, working out what went wrong and putting out fires. I do almost nothing of the job that led me to start the business in the first place and which I loved. Now I look around and I want to be doing the job that my staff are doing.

Except I am not sure I am qualified anymore. They hired a staff member the other day to do something that I didn’t even understand. Ha. How is that for a laugh? It just occurred to me I mightn’t even be qualified to do my own job any more. Can you possibly tell me what it is I am meant to like about being a CEO?

Sick to death of it,

Dear Sick to death of it,

Look, you are just in a bad mood because the economy is slow, the world is depressed and everyone is whining. There is a lot to like about being a CEO because it means you run the show. And you know what that means? You get to do what you like.

Point one: Make sure you have the right leadership team in place. Why are you spending your day putting out fires? Are you sure you have not encouraged that dependency? You may still be stuck in the old model where you are the centre of the company and everyone fans out from you in a wheel hub model. The problem with that is just what you described. You spend your day with people running into your office to get you to put out fires. Think of this. You had the vision. The vision creates the culture. The leadership team makes sure that all the highly skilled staff know the vision and are part of the culture. That means the staff make 70% of the decisions without needing anyone to sign off. Now the leadership team is there as their back-up. That means 99% of decisions are made by your team who also put out the fires.

Point two: Why aren’t you still doing a bit of what you love? My chairman gets cross that I still write. You know what? It keeps my head sane and my hand in. Make sure you are still doing a bit of what you love.

Point three: Don’t do what you hate. Remember? You’re the boss. Get someone else to do it. But wouldn’t do it well anyway.

Point four: Have a holiday. CEOs need a holiday every quarter. Even if it is just a long, long weekend. And you have to go away, ie. from your home. Even if you do live in Queensland. Go to Asia or Iceland. Somewhere different and outside your comfort zone.

Come on. Get on with it. You have a company to run.

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

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