CEOs are not what you think about as corporate professionals who intimidate you when they step in the meeting hall. In fact, it’s the other way around.

The problem with this assumption is that we perceive the personalities of CEOs, keeping the image of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and other notable characters in mind.  For the rest of this post, forget about them. They all possessed unique abilities which defined them individually as extremely good CEOs.

Take a look at startup founders now. The entire foundation of the company is left for them to build. And whatever the company becomes later, it will be based on that.  So, these founders have a chance to define what they want their company to be like, and what they want their employees to perceive them as.


 1.Building a culture –

This is sort of a cliche now. But cliches exist for a reason; and more importantly, regardless of the cliche, it’s up to the potential rockstar CEO to build a good culture in the company that all the employees love to follow. Little things matter the most. Wearing shorts and tees to work, having a ping-pong competition at the end of the month, the social network style hackathon; all these little things define you, and your company.


2. Having vision –

CEOs by their work description have to envision their product/service, and how it can scale. Sometimes, your own employees, and other people won’t know how your product matters to them. That’s when you step in.   It is your job to make the people realize that your product is something they need.

Did you think computers were a trending market when Steve Jobs started Apple ? Absolutely not.  It is your vision and ability to see things in the future that defines your company now. Dream big. It’s all you have to do.

The best part is that if you think that you don’t have the ability to be a visionary, then this can be developed. We’ll talk about this particular topic in later posts.


3. Communication –

Alright, so you can envision how your product/service shapes up, and you have a kickass culture at your company. The next big thing for you to do is communicate all of this to your partners and employees clearly, and concisely.

If they don’t understand your vision, and your mission, they will never truly work for your company and be motivated to. If I told you that my company could change people’s lives for the better, and that it makes everyone’s lives easier, and all this can be achieved by ONE of our products, then chances are that you’ll feel good about working with us. You’ll come up with ideas of your own to scale our business.

That takes real communication skills. To bring out ideas from other people, simply by clearly communicating  your vision is a skill which you can learn. Here’s an article that can help you with this.  Becoming a great speaker.


4. Being good at negotiation, and convincing people –

Again, this is a given. A cliche.  CEOs do business, and to do business, they have to get the best deal for their company. The problem is that every CEO tries to get the best deal for his/her company. So, we have to negotiate well enough that we don’t lose out on this race. Take a look at the 3rd point in this article.  Business lessons.

The other point here is to convince people to get things done, or change their opinions. There will be a lot situations where you’ll have two groups to side with, but you know that one of them is thinking optimally. It becomes your job to convince the other group to change their opinion. This practically defines a good leader too.


5. Focus –

As a visionary, and being surrounded by visionaries (hopefully), you will be bombarded by a lot of new ideas and ways to scale your business. It’s left to you to prioritize that list, and focus on the most needed idea. Even if those things are the little ones.

I know I keep bringing Steve Jobs back into the picture even after I asked you to forget about him throughout this post; but back up for a second.  He gave the highest priority to the font families in a word processor, and the visual design when it seemed trivial to the rest of his team. Design and UI mattered the most to him, which was the key selling point of his products.

He envisioned it, and he convinced his team that that was important, and made everyone focus on that aspect too. See how every point I mentioned is co-existing in one of the greatest visionaries ? These are the common traits that every leader has. These are what makes a great CEO.


The following is an article I wrote about what business lessons you must know in order to thrive, and it’s based on a great TV show. Go ahead and give it a read.  10 ruthless business lessons from Frank Underwood.

Also, here is an article you should read before you start your own business – 10 things you should know before setting up your own business.

In the meantime, tell us what you think defines a great CEO. There are a lot of other aspects which I haven’t spoken about yet. Go ahead and leave a comment.