The Chief Paranoia Officer

As a company grows, so does your responsibility as an owner. Eventually, you realize that you can offload some of your responsibility and worry by hiring managers and others to help lead.

However, as the CEO of the company, it’s always your job to manage the vision and mission of the company; to keep an eye on the horizon, the market, and the competition; and to be the voice of the company. And while you may be able to delegate many of your responsibilities (and you SHOULD delegate), you should always have a sixth sense for where deficiencies, problems, and threats to the company are coming from. You need to have this sense in order to identify these problems, solve them, and delegate. However, there’s another name for this type of constant worry about threats at your back: “paranoia.”

We don’t talk about it much, but usually the CEO is also the Chief Paranoia Officer — in charge of anxiety for the entire company.

There is a stereotype of CEOs as high-energy thrill-seeking type-A personalities who do extreme sports, jumping out of airplanes and thriving on the adrenaline rush of what most people would call “fear.” But maybe this is a way of inoculating themselves. After all, a few near death experiences really put any anxiety about choosing a new office location in perspective.

But this isn’t the only way to be a CEO. CEOs can be empathetic and down to earth. They can be vulnerable and collaborative and open about their feelings — including worry and fear. But acknowledging this responsibility as Chief Paranoia Officer is also a bit of an inoculation. It allows you to laugh about this difficult position and responsibility. It allows you to identify that feeling that sometimes makes it hard to get a good night’s sleep. It allows you to fully do your job and lead your company.

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Jeff Robbins is a business coach, mentor, and virtual business partner who works one-on-one with company owners and leaders to help them build vision and direction for their companies while building productivity, stability, and happiness for their employees and themselves. You can work with him too. Reach out to set up a free consultation session.

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Jeff Robbins

Cofounder at @Lullabot. Executive Coach at @jjeff. Rockstar at @Orbitband.