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?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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