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What is a CEO?

A CEO is a specialized type of Chief Executive. Also known as: Executive Officer, Chief Executive Officer.

A CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is the highest ranking executive and head of an organization or corporation. A CEO's duties will vary slightly from company to company, but for the most part they run the company, and are responsible for the vision, mission, direction, and the formulation and implementation of a strategic plan to make a company successful.

In the case of a startup, the CEO's responsibilities include everything; hiring, firing, operations, marketing & sales, public relations, fund-raising, forming partnerships, strategic planning, company culture, team building, bookkeeping, taxes, human resources, and the delegation of work and responsibilities within the company (which are in constant motion).

What does a CEO do?

A CEO is a very focused leader that has the ability to constantly guide, direct (or re-direct) and evaluate a company's roadmap and direction. They are a combination of an entrepreneur (ideas person) and a hands-on person. They are ultimately responsible and accountable for the success or failure of a company, always digging into the details until things are perfect. They must be aware of any external competitors, as well as have the insight to take advantage of any opportunities that come along that can accelerate company growth. They also need to be aware of any new industry developments and standards that may need to be implemented, always keeping at the forefront the needs of the customer.

A CEO will formulate and establish a strategic plan that will give the company direction, and may solicit advice and guidance from the board of directors, or advisors, if needed. Demonstrating great leadership qualities and being able to garner respect is imperative. By providing the company with great company culture, clear vision, purpose and direction, the CEO will create a positive atmosphere and workplace which will result in growth and success.

One of the most crucial responsibilities of a CEO is to have a clear vision of where the company is headed. This vision can often be five to ten years out. If the vision is set too low, and the CEO's achievement acceptance is more on the mediocre side, the company's growth will be limited as a result. Performance benchmarks need to be put in place in order to have a highly successful company, and this can be done by having a CEO that is constantly learning and growing both on a personal and professional level. By keeping up to date and understanding what the best CEO's in the world are doing better, a CEO can then figure out what they can do to measure up, reach that level, and eventually surpass it.

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What is the workplace of a CEO like?

A CEO will typically work in an office environment, and will often travel in order to meet with clients or potential partners and investors. Their hours are not on a typical nine-to-five workweek schedule, especially if running their own start-up. Most CEO's work long days, sometimes 12 to 16 hours, and their workweek often extends into the weekend.

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Further Reading

  • What Does a Chief Executive Officer Do? www.wisegeek.org

    A chief executive officer (CEO) manages the organization that he or she administers, usually at a high or corporate level.

  • What Do CEO's Do? A CEO Job Description. www.steverrobbins.com

    CEO is one of the most coveted, and least understood, jobs in a company. Everyone believes that CEOs can do whatever they want, are all powerful, and are magically competent. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

  • What CEOs Do, and How They Can Do it Better hbswk.hbs.edu

    A CEO's schedule is especially important to a firm's financial success, which raises a few questions: What do they do all day? Can they be more efficient time managers?

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