COO vs. CEO | RevThink

Are you more excited about today or tomorrow?

Last night during our London QOHORT mastermind at SoHo House, one of the owners shared his struggle with wearing the title of CEO:

“I’m not even really sure what that title means…”

Upon hearing this our featured guest Blair Enns (of Win Without Pitching fame) encouraged this owner with a dynamite gem (which I’ve paraphrased here):

“A COO works on the present, while a CEO works in the future.”

The simplicity of this idea riveted me.

As this intimate group of creative entrepreneurs chimed in with their opinions and experiences, I jotted down Blair’s words so I could share them with you.

Later as I reflected on the evening, I felt compelled to compare his words against my own experience.

Back when I was running my hybrid agency / production company, I was always obsessed with the next project in our pipeline. But then as soon as we would be awarded the project — I’ll admit it — I would be saddened, or even bored, by all the work that had to be done.

For years I was ashamed of this (after all, I was the one promising our clients we would produce amazing results for them!) until one day when I discovered a peculiar aspect of my Genius, and that is, how I much prefer:

Working in the future…

Instead of worrying about the present.

As I fully understood this dimension of my Genius, the discovery led me to decide that I would never be a great creative.

Instead, my calling was to be a CEO running a great creative business.

How? I focused on my top three Genius activities: biz dev, marketing, and being the buck-stops-here-final-decision-maker.

And although it was very difficult to let go of day-to-day creative, I delegated that to my amazing CDs.

Creative may not have been my Genius, but it was definitely theirs.

Then about a month later — for the first time ever — I hired a smart lady to handle day-to-day “operations.” In other words, I hired a COO.

It was thrilling to watch my new COO joyfully tackle all the IT, facilities, HR, legal, taxes, and other myriad headaches that I hated! How could she possibly love dealing with all those messes?

It didn’t matter. What mattered was having a team where each person operated in their Genius. The era that followed was my studio’s heyday.

What about you and your Genius? Should you be a COO focused on day-to-day, or a CEO focused on the future?



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