CEO Skills Inventory
by Fred Gibbons


Often, when discussing companies, the question is raised, “what does it take to be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in a high tech company?”  Clearly there is no single or simple answer but after interviewing CEOs, venture capitalists, and through personal observation, two broad categories of skills emerge.  First is a set of characteristics describing the individual.  Second is a list of skills these people employ to get results.  These are of course combined in different amounts in different people.  Lastly, companies face different challenges at different points in time.  Different leadership skills are required for different challenges.  This list is not exhaustive but hopefully proves illustrative.

Analytic intelligence
Sense of urgency
Willingness to ask for help
Decision making
Ability to simplify
Creative Questioning approach
Communications skills
People empathy
Potential problem identification
Ego drive
Willingness to take unqualified responsibility
Willingness to take the lead

Market and customer knowledge
Some familiarity with technology
Articulates and champions a vision
Identifies, grows, and deploys core competencies
Establishes strategy
Focuses on profitability
Builds a team
Defines clear cut objectives
Delivers objectives
Removes obstacles for the team
Establishes and enforces a culture
Asks the right questions
Focuses on both short and long term
Early problem identification
Ability to solve a problem
Encourages continuous learning at all levels
Reinforces mobility of the team and its core competencies