BY ROBIN GHOSH
( FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST, BENGAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY)
KOLKATA, 4 AUGUST 2022
Fundamentally, if you are leading the startup pack, you have to answer this question. Are you fit to be a CEO? Do you possess the CEO skills ? What ranking will you get as CEO?
Having been involved in entrepreneurship development for more than three decades, I noticed that in most of the business startups, the role of the CEO, by default, is assumed by the prime mover of the project. The initiator of the project is the CEO.
But, a substantive question remains whether the accidental CEO has the right credentials to lead a startup. Does he qualify ? Does he have what is referred to as CEO skills?
What are CEO skills? Many case studies and many academic papers describe the CEO skills and attributes.
The list of skills are configured by business school professors. Having limited experience of running a business, the skill sets defined by the professors are more academic than practical.
Research conducted on the basis of interviews with practicing CEOs, it is found that following six skills are fundamental. Basic qualities that the CEOs should possess to lead a business startup.
Essential CEO skills are as under :
1. Designing the direction of the startup ( vision, strategy, resource allocation)
2 . Designing the organizational structure ( culture , organization design and talent management)
3. Mobilizing an effective team ( teamwork, team leader, operating rhythm)
4. Engagement and liaison with the board ( relationship, meetings)
5 .Building relationships with stakeholders (social purpose, interaction with employees to vendors to distributors)
6 . Effective Leadership and commitment (time and energy, leadership model, future perspectives)
What I have described just now, is essentially the mindset of a CEO. To find a leader who has all the qualities earmarked is a mirage. But at the same time, the skill sets required for a CEO is indicative of the required endowments.
Skill sets are benchmarked.
At the end, to summarize what comprises CEO skills is an attitude of resilience and at the same time bravado. Managing short term vs long term. Minimizing cost vs maximizing profit. Incentivising Individual vs team spirit. Stern discipline vs empathy. Cohesive planning vs disruption. Focus today vs future.