10 Habits of Highly Successful CEOs

In our work with high performing CEOs of fast-growth companies, one thing is abundantly clear: Building a highly-successful company is the result of some fairly predictable executive habits. Consistent and regular habits in the C-Suite are essential in “modeling” the kind of company and culture that you want to build.

According to Noam Wasserman, the author of “The Founder’s Dilemma,” the corollary is also true: 65% of startups fail due to ineffective management and leadership practices, not product or marketing problems.That’s right, Founder…it really is all about the habits and effectiveness of you and your team. 

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Edward Sullivan
The Emotional Side of Entrepreneurship

Silicon Valley has a problem that not enough people are talking about. Great companies are flaming out or being embroiled in scandals because founders aren’t asking for help when they need it.

Why?

Because asking for help is feared to be a sign of weakness. And that hurts founders, their companies, and the entire start-up ecosystem. VCs often sense these problems but find it difficult to even begin the conversation. As the main people founders look to for guidance, VCs should make it their jobs to kill the culture of “killing it.”

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Edward Sullivan
Why Great Companies Fail: How to Halt the Series B Crunch

While there are many reasons companies fail, the most painful one to watch is when a great product can’t achieve customer traction during the crucial “go-to-market” phase. We call this critical period in the company’s maturity lifecycle “The Traction Gap.” We’ve analyzed these companies and found many of them suffered some combination of small failures associated with product/market fit, team dynamic, revenue model, internal systems or a combination of these.

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Edward Sullivan
Build a Tribe of Followers, not just Customers: Ten Proven Practices

We all know the best companies have tribes of followers, not simply happy customers. But how? Our coaches have spent the last few months talking to some of the best founders and CEOs in the business about this and other strategies, tactics and tools for success. We’re releasing the results of our research throughout the year in a series of events in collaboration with Wildcat Ventures and the Traction Gap Institute.

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Edward Sullivan
Start-Up CEOs Don’t Need More Time — They Need More Focus

All early stage CEOs lament not having enough time each day to get everything done. So, they invest countless cycles looking into tactical productivity hacks and time-saving shortcuts, many of which are effective at helping them save a few minutes here and there.But as a company grows past having 20 or more people, the CEO’s real challenge becomes focus — strategically deciding what to do, not just how to do everything more efficiently.

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Edward Sullivan
CEOs: Don’t Let the Imposter Syndrome Keep You from Growing into the Role

The ability of the CEO/Founder to adapt, learn and grow is one of the most critical factors in the company scaling to the next level. The Imposter Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like: feeling like you are undeserving or ill-suited for the role you are in. Most first time CEOs experience this to some degree, especially when things start heading in the right direction and they raise money and hire on lots of new staff.

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Edward Sullivan
The Three Roles of a Funded Startup CEO

As the CEO of a fast growing startup, there normally comes a time when you transition from wearing too many hats to wearing just the right hats. It’s that moment when you go from being the “Chief Everything Officer” to being the CEO who is trying to scale an organization by hiring top experienced talent and delegating more.

You know you’re ready to move beyond the “two guys or gals in a garage” stage of start-up development when have some amount of market validation and you’ve most likely raised some real money. Suddenly, your time is “too valuable” for certain tasks.

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Edward Sullivan