The Three Types of CEOs: Which One Are You?

Arman Sadeghi

The Three Types of CEOs: Which One Are You?

You may think of yourself as another CEO or president but each individual falls into one of three categories. The key is that while every CEO has all of these three people living inside of them, there is always one that is dominant, one that is in development and one that is almost completely ignored.

The Entrepreneur:

This type of CEO is a person who likes to take risks, who is constantly trying to create change and to have innovation. He or she likes to push the limits and does not value the certainty in knowing that their business works.  Instead, they value the excitement and energy of knowing what could be in the future.  The entrepreneur is the one who takes his or her money and throws it into the business, without being dead-set on having a well thought-out plan on how exactly the business is going to make profits.

The Operator:

This type of CEO, on the other hand, is the one who thinks about how things are going to be done, creates the plans to get them done, and wants to make sure the right people are in the right places within the organization to ensure results are there.  Not only are results there, but they can be consistently kept in the long term.  The operator is the one who looks at the financial budgets for next month, next quarter, and next year, and makes sure that the business does not take on too much risk.  He or she wants to ensure that whatever is happening in the business, it is sustainable for the future.

While the entrepreneur is pushing the limits of what is in hopes of what could be, the operator is looking at what is and ensuring that it can continue in the long term. The operator ensures that success is not only a short-term reward, but also something that can be sustained in the long term.

The Artist/Technician:

This type of CEO is the one who is not in it because of the entrepreneurial desire to conquer and is not in it because of the operator’s desire to create a perfect system that works in harmony with everything else and creates a certain future.  Instead, the artist does what he or she does because of a burning passion for the business.  When an artist is at the helm of a company, you see the company innovate and create incredible services and products that are true to the artist’s form.  The artist ensures that whatever product or service is being created is always delivered at the highest possible quality, ensuring that quality is never sacrificed for profits or systems.

While the Entrepreneur is looking at what sells and the operator is looking at the systems that create consistent results, the artist puts things in the hands of those who can deliver very high quality, even if there is no system and there are no profits.

The Positives & Negatives:

While all three have advantages, they also carry negative qualities.  The artist/technician often stays true to the art for too long at the risk of customers not being interested in the product being offered.  They limit themselves in the marketplace to only those who agree with them and their style of doing things. Additionally, artists rarely build procedures that others can easily follow because they see what they do as an art form that cannot be replaced with a system. While the artist is the one who allows the business to thrive early in the lifecycle, he or she is also the one who often impedes the growth of the company.

The operator often stays the course for too long, and in the case of many large companies that control their sector one day and are bankrupt the next, it is almost always the operators at the top of the company who felt they could keep the business going in exactly the same way and did not see the changing of the tides.  Or, perhaps they saw the change and because there wasn’t enough entrepreneurship at the top, they did not recognize or feel the need to make drastic changes.

Entrepreneurs are the ones who people credit for most of the businesses that take off, but in reality, entrepreneurs are far and few between and they are not necessarily the most successful ones in the business world.  While some entrepreneurs do succeed, many spend most of their careers growing businesses but then watching them quickly crash because they pushed the envelope too far, spent too much money and took too much risk.

Regardless of what you are at the core, to succeed, you must surround yourself with at least one or more people who bring the missing pieces to the table.  One you have successfully hired or partnered with the missing pieces, the key is to truly treat them like a confidant or partner, instead of an employee. Allow them to rein you in from time to time so you are not always running the business your way but you are running it the most intelligent way.

In the end, the answer is not that you should abandon whatever your natural self is and change to something else.  In reality, CEO, president, or person at the top of a company is going to have a small piece of all three of these styles with them.  Everyone is an entrepreneur, operator, or artist/technician.  But everyone favors one of those three and has a second one that is medium in terms of development and a third one that is often quite undeveloped.  The most successful CEOs in the world are those who embrace what they are best at and know what they are best at, while also understanding and admitting the piece that they have the least of inside of them.

If you are an artist and lack the entrepreneur, then perhaps you can find an entrepreneur that can come into your business and help you push the limits and meet the demands of the customer, even when those demands don’t directly meet your art. 

Perhaps you are an operator and you need to bring on that artist or that entrepreneur who brings in the missing piece.  Either way, regardless of what you are at your core, find the piece that you have the least of and bring that individual into your organization.  Work to develop the parts of you that are less developed so that you can be more of a well-rounded CEO.

About the Author

Arman Sadeghi is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and coach dedicated to sharing the tools that allow individuals to attain high level success on a consistent basis while enjoying daily fulfillment and happiness. He has spent 22 years crafting his Titanium Success Method, which has helped thousands of people reach peak performance. He attended 2 years at Harvard Medical School, and has a degree in Neuroscience and Molecular & Cell Biology from University of California Berkeley. Sadeghi has established and grown twelve companies in various industries and currently plays an active role in five; one of which, All Green Electronics Recycling, has over 120 employees and was recently ranked as the 366th fastest growing company in the United States by Inc. Magazine. In August, 2015, he will host his highly anticipated annual event, Titanium Live, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

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