I am always interested in the differences between someone who is a CEO of a company and someone who is an Entrepreneur/Founder. To the untrained eye they are one of the same, but on closer inspection any similarity is limited. Last evening for example I spent my time running cabling through trunking in the ceiling of the main sales floor. While nothing special it wasn’t a job I had to do and while rather disgusting (the cleaner obviously doesn’t know this area exists) I didn’t mind rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in. Reason is I have a deadline I have set myself and instead of waiting on someone else to get involved I had a spare evening and didn’t mind cracking on. It is a key difference between someone who has seen the business grow from nothing and someone who runs an existing business. People will say that is because the Founder can’t let go, but actually I would say it is more the CEO sees it as being beneath them and a job to be delegated. Who is right?
At the same time I was damaging my fingers and jeans the founder from Videonations was in the office painting the radiators black in our new demo room. We are in joint partnership on a project they have to showcase the first Lifesize video presence system in the world. Their office up in Manchester has been given the same treatment and to keep in line with their tight timescales (set by the founder!), Ian was prepared to drive down from his office to London to carry out the essential but time consuming job so the project could move forward.
I think this kind of mentality shines through to customers where the management team are still in touch with the business and are prepared to fill any gap to ensure the business continues to strive forward. It also sets a positive message to the staff and helps to demonstrate the ethos of the business. I would like to think that when I reach my goals (own a Bugatti is one of them) I’ll still be prepared to muck in and get stuff done.