Ten lessons learnt about the job of the CEO

Waldemar Schmidt: After having held CEO positions for 30 years and as chairman working with CEOs for 20 years, I have put together my ten most important learnings to inspire ambitious fellow Linkedin Members:

  1. “THE JOB OF THE CEO is a wonderful job, if you master it. But if you do not master the CEO job, it is very stressful!”
  2. “THE JOB OF THE CEO is a high reward/high risk job with an average tenure of 3–5 years!”
  3. “THE JOB OF THE CEO is very hard to get. But it is even harder to keep it!”
  4. “If you lose your CEO job once you should try again. But if you lose 2 or more CEO jobs you are better advised to reorient your career!”
  5. “CEOs are rightly judged on the results they achieve. But HOW they achieve their results is also important. We therefore believe that CEOs should be judged on WHAT they achieve (80%) and on HOW they achieve it (20%)!”
  6. “Knowing your numbers is essential, but not enough. Knowing your products and services is essential, but not enough. Knowing you customers is essential, but it is not enough. If you want to be a successful CEO over a very long period, you must know and be interested in your numbers, your products and services, your customers; and all other key stakeholders!”
  7. “Great leaders act like playing coaches with their teams. They do not stand on the side-line shouting and giving orders to their players. Or as a close friend expressed it: “You don’t command people to good a good job. You inspire people to do a good job”!”
  8. “Arrogance is the worst enemy of great leadership whether you are born arrogant or whether you have become arrogant as a result of your success!”
  9. “The CEO job and the pre-CEO jobs are 24/7 jobs with 3,000 working hours per year!”
  10. “The big work-life question at all times during your career is, whether you can have a long and successful CEO career and at the same time have a happy family life? The answer is YES! But only if you and your spouse plan your work-life balance in the same diligent manner as you plan your job and career; and only if you master your CEO job. We argue that it is very difficult or perhaps even impossible to have a long and successful CEO career without also having a happy family life!”

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