5 Leadership Lessons from a Founder CEO Turned Faith-Based CRO
In life's journey, we often find ourselves wearing different hats, taking on various roles, and learning profound ...
In life's journey, we often find ourselves wearing different hats, taking on various roles, and learning profound lessons along the way. As a two-time Founder CEO who transitioned into the role of a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), I have accumulated a wealth of experiences and insights. I've discovered that it's one thing to claim a title, especially as a founder, but it's quite another to earn that title and wield its power for good. In this blog, I will share the top five lessons I learned during my time as a Founder CEO and how I continue to apply them as a CRO and a faith-based leader.
Lesson 1: The Power of Influence
In my early days as a Founder CEO, I had yet to grasp the true extent of the power and influence that came with my title. Despite our flat organizational structure, my team didn't perceive me as a peer or friend. Instead, the CEO title unintentionally created fear, anxiety, and intimidation among them. As someone who values meaningful connections and has a big heart, this was disheartening.
Through reflection, I realized that my role required me to embrace this power responsibly. I made a conscious effort to approach every conversation with calmness and curiosity, creating a safe space for open dialogue. I understood that how I showed up could profoundly affect my team's day and, subsequently, how they interacted with others.
In the book of Proverbs 15:1, it says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." This verse reminds us of the importance of responding to others with grace and patience.
As a CRO, I have maintained an open-door policy, welcoming all conversations. My approach remains centered on love, light, and curiosity, ensuring that I respond with the right strategy or tactics to help move us forward. Seeking to understand others is not just a pragmatic approach; it aligns with biblical principles of empathy and respect for our fellow humans.
Lesson 2: Avoiding Title Inflation
As a startup Founder CEO, it's tempting to bestow impressive titles on team members as a way to compensate for limited compensation packages and benefits early on. However, these inflated titles come with a price tag: inflated egos, misalignment with responsibilities, and future challenges in hiring higher-level team members as the company grows.
I've learned to refrain from granting C-level and VP titles until team members have earned them through a combination of experience and proven accomplishments. Transparency in compensation and clear career progression plans are vital. This approach aligns with the biblical principle of fairness and justice.
Proverbs 16:11 tells us, "Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making." Ensuring that roles and responsibilities are fairly balanced is not only good business practice but also an embodiment of God's justice.
As a CRO, I have maintained consistency in outlining roles, pay scales, expectations, and career advancement paths. Providing clarity and alignment on performance metrics is crucial for our success.
Lesson 3: Seasons of Service
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that team members may only serve me for a season, not a lifetime. In the beginning, I was deeply affected by employee resignations, feeling like I had failed to provide long-term opportunities for them. Over time, I accepted that everyone eventually moves on, but I can still create a positive experience while they're here and continue to support them in their new endeavors.
This realization turned into a company-wide practice of celebrating team members who "graduated" to new opportunities. My commitment to serving people didn't change after they left, embodying the Christian principle of unconditional love and support.
In the book of Philippians 2:3-4, it says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your interests but each of you to the interests of the others." This verse underscores the importance of serving and supporting others, even when their paths diverge from ours.
As a CRO, I've been fortunate that my team has remained intact, but I'm prepared for the day when someone decides to move on. My hope is that I will have played a part in preparing them for exciting new opportunities.
Lesson 4: The Power of Choice
In the world of entrepreneurship, everything is a choice. The challenges I faced as a CEO were often overwhelming, ranging from euphoria to utter devastation. However, I learned not to take challenges too seriously and not to react emotionally. I chose to believe that God works everything together for our good, even when it seems impossible.
In life, we make choices that shape our destiny. As a CEO, I chose how my calendar was blocked, how I prioritized tasks, which clients we partnered with, who we employed, and how I responded to adversity. I chose to show up powerfully, from a place of love and light. My belief was that our time on Earth is temporary, but the way we interact with people leaves a lasting legacy.
In the book of Joshua 24:15, it states, "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve." This verse reminds us of the importance of choosing the path that aligns with our values and principles.
As a CRO, I am in a unique position to lead effectively because of the hardships I faced as a CEO. Those difficulties helped shape me into the leader I am today, allowing me to lead from a place of wisdom and compassion.
Lesson 5: It's Not About Me
In the early days of my CEO journey, the title fed my ego, making me proud. However, I soon realized that the true measure of success lay in my team's accomplishments and my client's success. Shifting the emphasis from me to them resulted in significant growth and profitability.
Diminishing the need for immediate gratification and stepping out of the spotlight allowed me to focus on what truly matters: serving and propelling people forward in life.
In the book of Philippians 2:4, it reminds us to "look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." This biblical principle reinforces the value of selflessness and serving others.
As a CRO, I understand that my impact and power lie in my ability to serve and empower those around me. It is a privilege I do not take lightly, and I am committed to using it for the greater good.
Transitioning from a Founder CEO to a faith-based CRO has been a transformative journey, filled with valuable lessons. Embracing the power of influence, avoiding title inflation, recognizing the seasons of service, making choices, and shifting the focus from self to others have been pivotal in my leadership evolution. By incorporating these lessons into my leadership style, I hope to inspire and lead with faith, empathy, and integrity, always mindful of the biblical principles that guide me.