Menu Close

Are you flamboyant enough to be a CEO?

It takes more than skill, determination and actually holding the title to be a real CEO.

One December, I was at a company Christmas party, and more specifically I was at the urinal. I had a chat to the bloke next to me (because I’m always looking for networking opportunities) and almost immediately forgot most things about him (because I’m like Shark Tank but I call it Trouser Eel Tank – you have between 20 and 80 seconds to impress me, depending how many beers I’ve had between visits).

Anyway, you can probably guess from the title of this thing that the unimpressive bloke was the company CEO, and it’s not a massive leap to realise he was given the A soon after. Sorry – he moved on to pursue new opportunities of a dynamic nature soon after. His garden looked incredible.

If you’re imagining yourself in the big chair of a major organisation, that’s already a problem. Because real CEOs are already in that bespoke Eames furniture, and they don’t have to do any imagining because there’s a wall-sized mirror directly in front of them, and they’re flanked by rival portraits of themselves in that same chair.

See – you’re not thinking flamboyant enough. Think about every CEO you admire. Even if they’re terrible at business, they have a flair for the dramatic that makes people want to buy their books about how they’ve done so well because they’ve never been afraid to take a gamble on an untested idea and also organise photoshoots involving giant cheques, bikini babes and/or a jetski.

Either that or they’re headbutting cars on a production line to make a bizarre point about the tyranny of safety procedures.

That urinal bloke wasn’t fit for office because, while he might have been a steady hand on the tiller and known a lot about spreadsheets (I assume), he didn’t have mastery of eyebrow management, emotional leakage and giving underlings that inspirational EEE sensation – stop pretending you knew that stands for ‘easy, effortless and enjoyable’.

I mean, he wasn’t even wearing an instantly recognisable ensemble of clothes that he refused to vary day to day, and he didn’t open our conversation with a brusque question about why he shouldn’t fire me on the spot. If you’re my CEO and we cross swords, the least I expect is that you’ll pronounce, without preamble, that we’re taking this organisation to Mars before offering your lightly dripping hand for me to shake as a test of my mettle and loyalty.

Extra points if you’re a woman.

Leave a Reply