3 Types of CEOs: Which One are You ?

Not all business CEOs are the same. They have different areas of focus, different decision-making skills, and different methods of dealing with issues in the business. It’s because of this fact that some companies fail and other succeed, some thrive and flourish while others remain at the same level for years. When you understand that three types of CEOs exist, you can learn how to use this information to improve your business.

The three types of CEOs are:

  1. Entrepreneur – the risk taker, pushes the envelope, wants the business to grow
  2. Operator – manages the business, manages the people and the systems, keeps order and control and provides good quality
  3. Artist – focuses on the quality and staying true to the original vision, all about the service or product and concerned how things are supposed to be done

None of these types are bad, and all are important. However, a successful business requires all three components. When it lacks one, it doesn’t perform at the level it is capable of.

How These Types Work

People are primarily one type of CEO. Their makeup is about 70% for the type they are born with. This type comes naturally for them. However, they also have a second type inside them, which makes up about 20% of their personality and decision-making strategy. The third type is also inherent in everyone, but only in minute amounts.

Imagine you have a business. Perhaps it’s a service-oriented business. The entrepreneur will begin looking for ways to increase revenue and expand the business. The artist will focus on staying true to the original goals of the company, while the manager will use information to determine when and how to expand while providing quality service to customers.

Discovering Which Type You Are

It’s important to understand which type of CEO is strongest in you. You also need to know the second type, so you can develop it and enable it to become stronger. However, the third type will never come naturally to you. Instead, you must hire that person to keep the other two aspects of your personality and decision making in line.

Remember the third type of CEO will not always agree with you. Their job is to counterbalance you in decisions to ensure the success of the business.

So, what does a company look like with only two of the CEO types in play? Here are a few examples:

  • Operator first, artist second – company is profitable and stable, business functions fairly well and offers great customer service, but it doesn’t grow; as the owner, you can work normal hours but never take a long vacation.
  • Artist first, operator second – company barely makes a profit or is operating in the red, provides a good product or service but doesn’t always get good customer reviews, as the owner you care about doing things right more than you care about customer service.
  • Entrepreneur first, artist second – the business has grown too fast and you don’t have good control, company is up and down on profit and results, the owner can leave for a long vacation but the place falls apart during that time

Bring in the third part and you’ll have a successful company, which is stable and successful, turning a good profit and ready for expansion. However, you’ll analyze the company and the market to determine when and how to expand rather than just jumping in as the entrepreneur would.

Whether you’re starting a brand new company, you currently have one floundering along, or your business has grown stagnant, you will benefit from this analysis. Determine which type of CEO is missing and hire that person.

For people just starting out in a new company, they may not have money to hire a person to maintain the third role. However, they can surely find someone in their life who is the missing link. It may be a spouse, a family member, or a friend, but someone will bring the decision-making skills and personality you lack.

Just remember you won’t always agree with that person, and they aren’t there to agree with you. They are part of your team to balance you out and help your business to grow.

The first step is to determine which type of CEO you are. The second step is to identify the second type and work on learning how to better utilize it. The third step is to find someone with the skills and personality of the third type and hire them for your company. With this formula in place, your business will be one that succeeds and thrives.




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