We Need To Talk About The CEO

Andrew Weaver
April 19, 2022

Much of our working life is wrapped up in having to manage the CEO:CTO dynamic and that’s not without its challenges because, whilst wanting to avoid too many cliches about the kind of profile that classically fits these roles, it’s not always a natural fit.

So we reached out to our global community of CTO`s and asked them ….

What in your experience makes a good or bad CEO?
What do you ideally need from the CEO and how should you be best supporting them?

Here is a snapshot of what they said …

“A good CEO is willing to invest in people as much the commercial success of the business. They recognise that a successful company needs a great culture.

Whilst a bad CEO often has a fixed mindset, fails to appreciate other peoples time and measures the success of their company only by financial performance”

“We need ‘trust’ from our CEOs, trust that everything that can be done is being done to achieve success. On the other hand the c-suite needs to act as one and defend the CEO (flaws and all) when challenged on the direction they want to take the company”

“A good CEO is one that listens, asks tough questions and challenges the c-suite to be their best. But ultimately they respect and trust the expertise around the table. Whilst respect is a reasonable expectation from Day 1, trust needs to be earned”

“A CTO can support the CEO by presenting a united front to the technical team, sometimes translating the CEO message to a sometimes skeptical/cynical technical team. Solving problems rather than presenting problems alongside protecting the CEO on the technical front by staying one step ahead on the technical needs of the company”


“The CEO should provide general direction for the company and a big picture vision. It’s up to the people to execute his vision. He needs to trust they’re doing their best, while at the same time challenging them to raise the bar”

“The CEO should ask the CTO what they want them to achieve, and trust them to do so, instead of micromanaging. When a CTO is allowed to lead, they will lead but having a CEO who is interested in every tiny detail breaks the trust, demotivates and is often counterproductive”

“The CTO should translate business objectives into technical deliverables. A CTO needs to understand the business side of things as much as they understand the technical side of things, because they’re the only link between the business and technical side of things. That’s what he brings to the table and needs to do to support the CEO”

Coming soon …. Some views from the CEO perspective

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