Gini Dietrich

CEO Leadership Skills: What Does It Take to Be Level 5?

By: Gini Dietrich | August 4, 2009 | 
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I think most of you know I’m a Vistage member. My Chair was here on Friday for our monthly one-to-one meeting. During that meeting he said to me, “It’s time for you to stop being an entrepreneur and become a level 5 CEO.”

As is natural for me, I internalized his comments and have been thinking about it since then. What does a level 5 CEO mean? What kinds of traits, skills, and knowledge do I need to become a leve 5 CEO? Do I need to be a Jack Welch or Steve Jobs? If yes, what does that look like? Beside Bill Gates and Michael Dell, who are some great level 5 CEOs? And what makes them so?

These are all of the questions I asked myself this morning as I rode 30 miles alone.

And, I’m really nowhere near the answer, but this is what I think right now:

* Surround myself with super smart people

* Let the super smart people with whom I already work to do their jobs and then some

* Stop feeling guilty about delegating

* Give up control

* Coach, coach, coach…and don’t get flustered or frustrated when someone doesn’t “get” it initially

* Hire slowly…and spend a lot of time making the decision to be sure everyone fits our culture and is willing to drink the vision kool-aid

* Stop doing things that don’t make the company money

* Stop feeling guilty for arriving to work 15 minutes late on the mornings that I have long rides

* Lead and inspire people by leading by example, even when I’m not talking

* Develop and grow people to take over my job someday

* Spend time daily thinking, being creative, and reading

* Spend more time outside of the office marketing the firm and being our own brand ambassador

* Make it rain every day!

* Communicate the vision every day

* Hold people accountable

* Position the company for organic growth and client retention

What else would you add to this list? What does it take to be a level 5 CEO?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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