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Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

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CHAPTER EIGHT

THE CEO AS FUNCTIONAL SUPERVISOR

When it comes to talent, your primary role as CEO is to be the leader of the team as a team. You have to set an example, define the culture and create alignment across the organization, from executives to marketing interns. You also have to be a “functional supervisor” of every department at your company. Each presents a unique challenge.

RULES FOR GENERAL MANAGERS

The CEO's role in leading any particular function varies greatly with the CEO's experience. What follows are instructions that apply generally to all kinds of CEOs as the general managers of their companies.

  • Supervising sales. One of your most important roles is to be a sales leader. This isn't an issue for many business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, but it's essential at business-to-business (B2B) companies. You have to know many of the customers yourself and you'll be personally involved in closing a number of key deals and maintaining customer relationships. Even if you don't have major enterprise deals, knowing your customers and visiting them from time to time is an important part of being “in-market.” For my part, I always tell our sales reps that I will go on any client call, at any time, as many times as I'm needed.
  • Supervising business development. Great salespeople can close deals, with or without the CEO, but strategic business partnerships are more nuanced. They are about executive connections and a shared vision—things that CEOs should be able to communicate ...

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