Ben Horowitz, a partner of the Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitz, tackles the question of the “secret” to being a successful CEO, in an insightful book called The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. As the title suggests – he believes there is no one answer. But there is one skills that stands out – the ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves. “It’s the moments where you feel most like hiding or dying that can make the biggest difference as a CEO.” His book relates his experiences at Netscape, Loudcloud and Opsware – and how he had to make tough decisions over and over again.
Every entrepreneur encounters “the struggle”: things aren’t going as planned. The company didn’t unfold as expected; you product has issues that are hard to fix, the market isn’t quote where it was supposed to be; employees are losing confidence; some have quit and others are wondering if they should stay; your running low on capital and it’s not a good time to raise more, You lose a competitive battle, a loyal customer or a great employee. Dreams feel like nightmares.
Read the book and ride with him from struggle to struggle. He gets through them, as you can too if you follow some of his advice, including:
- When things fall apart, tell it like it is
- Hire the right people and train for productivity, performance management, product quality and retention
- Recognize that there is a fine line between fear and courage; your job is to do things that you will feel awkward and incompetent about doing – but need to be done.
That’s why organizations like Vistage are so valuable. You have 17,000 CEOs and 1000 Experts who had add insights and advice as to what may or make not work based on their experiences in your struggle – and may help you get through it more easily by making better decisions.