Working for a passionate entrepreneurial CEO

Posted by David Meerman Scott 05:00 AM on August 09, 2013

No boss is perfect. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve found there is a great difference between hired CEOs and founder CEOs. I’ve worked for both. The choice of which one to work for is an important career consideration.

Entrepreneurial founder CEOs

Founder CEOs are people who are incredibly passionate about the companies they are building.

I have a deep respect for anybody who is able to create a vibrant enterprise out of nothing. Imagine the feeling of success in building an organization that supports 100 or 1,000 families and whose products and services benefit many more? Wow!

I’ve learned a great deal by working for founder CEOs and highly recommend that you can learn a lot too.

What an entrepreneurial boss expects from you

Founder CEOs work long hours and expect the same from those who work for them. They have an incredible passion for their enterprise and expect the same from those they employ.

Working for a founder CEO is usually different than working for an established enterprise with a CEO who is a hired, professional manager.

As Seth Godin says in his blog post today Choosing to be formidable: "No one has all the answers. No, we want someone who is magic about to happen." Founders have already proven they can make magic and we are gravitated to them.

While being a part of that magic can be an amazing experience for an employee, there is a downside. Many founder CEOs believe their opinion is right for every business decision. Many are reluctant to delegate or to take the opinion of others in the organization.

People who build large enterprises from scratch are like parents raising a child. The founder sees the enterprise from the very first day grow into a living, breathing, thriving enterprise that can stand on its own. What an accomplishment! But it is tough to let go.

Some parents call their kids at college every day and make decisions for them well into their kids’ adult years. The same happens with entrepreneurial CEOs who look over your shoulder at every decision and second guess every choice you make.

That’s why so many venture capitalists and or boards must eventually replace founders with a hired CEO to continue the growth of companies.

By all means grab that opportunity to work in a growing enterprise run by a founder CEO. But if you are smothered and unable to make decisions on your own, you might need to move on.

David Meerman Scott

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