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In boxing, you get knocked out if you don’t do something counterintuitive (step with your rear foot first).

Smart, capable people become first time CEOs/managers and end up knocked out because they ONLY do intuitive things.

10 essential counter-intuitive CEO skills:
1. Eliminate sympathy and double down on empathy.

Your employees will have problems, but these can’t become your problems and they are not yours to solve.

You should, however, empathize with the challenge of performing at an elite level (which you need) while life happens.
2. Don’t make spending decisions one at a time, ad hoc.

It is easy to say yes to new hires and spending when you are moving fast and there are never enough resources.

The pros make a budget and stick to it. NO MATTER WHAT.
3. Don’t give big titles when you are small.

Making someone COO of a 10 person company is meaningless, but they will become attached to the title and expect the compensation of a COO.

Make them Operations Manager instead.
4. It is impossible to do it by yourself.

But you can’t always speak openly about your challenges to anyone on your team.

You need a peer support group of fellow CEOs. This can be formal (like YPO) or informal (like a mastermind).
5. Don’t take direction from your investors.

They are not running the business, you are. Get clear on your strategy and be willing to stand up and execute it.

Ask for their input, engage them in the process, and tell them the strategy (and budget) you believe in.
6. Nearly everything is negotiable.

Are you diluted down to nothing? Propose new stock grants. Can’t make loan payments? Talk to the bank about a restructuring plan. Can’t raise money? Talk about a recapitalization with your board.

I have seen some crazy stuff.
7. Cut deeper than you think you need to.

When you do have to cut expenses, you will be surprised how deeply you can cut and still serve your customers.

You also eliminate the bottom X%, who are the typically most management intensive employees.
8. Tell your shareholders/investors the bad news right away.

You build way more trust by being transparent and in regular communication than pretending that everything is going perfectly.
9. Don’t protect your employees emotions.

Be real with your team about the biggest challenges in the company.

People want to be part of David v Goliath. If anyone is scared by the adversity enough to quit, they are in the wrong job. A little fear is a great motivator.
10. Have insanely high expectations.

You are trying to build a championship team in the Olympics of capitalism.

You should expect everyone to be an absolute star at their role and not accept anything less.

This typically means slow to hire, quick to fire.
Hope this was helpful! Give me a follow at @XavierHelgesen

Tagging @businessbarista because he inspired this thread by kindly saying I write good content on how to be a CEO.

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Really enjoyed this read. Novel!