There are different types of CEOs. Some CEOs are deep domain experts (e.g., engineer CEOs), some are generalist operators, and some are sales gurus. While there is not a right or wrong type of CEO, it’s important that the CEO’s skill-set aligns well with the role of a CEO in a given company.
For example, if the CEO of a startup is very product oriented and or is selling to a technical customer base, being the domain expert is often a great fit. In contrast, if the company sells to businesses and the customers are non-technical, a sales CEO will likely be a better match.
This alignment usually happens naturally as Founder CEOs usually build companies that they understand how to operate. They build a role that suits their skill set.
If you’re a Founder and CEO and find that your skill set is not aligned with the company, don’t fret. You can fill in your gaps by expanding your team with people that have complementary skills. In the end, this might leave you more diluted early on, but that may simply be the price of doing business.
If you’re thinking about starting a company (and would expect to be CEO), it’s worthwhile to take an honest inventory of skills and add to your founding team to fill in your own skill gaps.
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