In this book, I intend to create a summarized text on lessons for CEOs based on my own life experiences. The lessons provided here are lessons that I learned through other leaders. You may ask why a CEO would need these lessons. Well, they are lessons that I have learned from the age of 12 that provided crazy results in everything that I have done in business. Therefore, the CEO who gets a hold of this book expects and is hungry for such results by following one or more of the lessons presented in the book. It is guaranteed that you will attain these crazy results if you follow the lessons in this book. The lessons will be broken down into nine chapters to give a condensed look into my experience over the years. By co-authoring this book with my wife, we intend to present what you can achieve as a CEO if you learn to work with teams in a positive way to produce positive results. Also included will be the tactics that a CEO uses when working with the team productively, ensuring positive results by being a part of the team. My wife and I work as one unit where we are both CEOs of our business but make decisions as one, this makes for better results as will be portrayed in the book.
My story as a CEO begins at the tender age of 12 years old. This is the story of Mr. Loker My first CEO mentor. This was when I began my first business that entailed cutting grass in the neighborhood. Initially, that was all that it was, a small business. However, as you will find out from the lessons I learned from a CEO at this age, vision, and hunger for growth is essential for you the CEO.
I had a very simple pitch “My name is Franklin, I will cut, edge, and blow your grass for $20; I see that it is overgrown, I can start right now”. This was a lot of money in the 1980s. I used to call companies and offer my service for sale owners and for rent owners in the neighborhood. I realized that there was and hidden opportunity aside from my small grass cutting business.
It is important to note here that it was just a small business to gain some money but all this changed when I met Mr. Loker. I was in the process of making my calls when Mr. Locker answered my call and after listening to my pitch said: “Son I like you and I will let you cut all my grass”. This was a great opportunity as Mr. Loker was a CEO and a real estate investor. I was excited and overwhelmed because of this opportunity. The reason being, it made realize that there are many opportunities that are around and nobody takes advantage of them. Here were my lessons during this time from Mr. Loker.
Lesson 1: There is opportunity everywhere and you need to see this opportunity you also need to be resourceful. For instance, professional landscapers had the opportunity to call the “for rent” or “for sale” signs but they did not as they did see the opportunity and seize it as a business opportunity. I did seize this opportunity and made a great business out of this.
Lesson 2: Allow people to see the potential in you and also take action to prove that potential. Potential is only a word until you take action.
Lesson 3: Have integrity and do the right thing even when the lights are off. For example, I worked for Mr. Loker for almost 2 years off and on and found that he was a good example to the community even when the lights were off or nobody was looking.
The above lessons are critical to the CEO as they help realize and seize the opportunity that nobody else sees. The lessons also show that it is not just important to show people that you have potential, you have to actually prove your potential. Lastly, the CEO needs to be a person of integrity and do the right thing even when nobody is looking. These lessons in my formative years may seem basic; however, as will be shown in the coming chapters, these lessons helped me even when I got into mainstream employment and running my own business.
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Lessons I learned from a CEO Army General that ran a Billion Dollar Budget
This second story happens when I went to operation Iraqi freedom in 2003. For a very short period of time, I was an aid to a 2 Star General in the Military who was in charge of the armed forces in the Army at that time. We worked closely with General Franks and General Abudze. I worked with my general very closely and I came to learn that a general if very similar to a CEO running a billion-dollar budget. There is no difference is that you call him a General in the Military and not a CEO. However, when you look at the authority has in the army and the resources that he has to utilize during any operation; it is similar to a CEO running a Company.
What I learned from him during the operation Iraqi freedom in 2003 are characteristics I take on even today. Here are the lessons I learned from him.
Lesson 1: Even in Public, you are always the CEO and the General
Lesson 2: Mission first family last: for General Franks, it was always about the mission first. This is because; he knew that he was helping more people than just your internal family. You, therefore, have to look at the bigger purpose and thing like a General when you are the CEO.
How I see it is that if your mission is really big, you have to get other people to help you fulfill this mission.
Lesson 3: Be present and always be humble: General Franks was humble in everything he did. However, he was always the General and the CEO in public. We all knew that as there was a way he carried himself and looked a certain way. Essentially, he was the image of what a leader be it General or CEO should look like.
Therefore, using these lessons, consider your role as a CEO similar to that of a general leading an army on a mission. Use the army to help you attain your mission and always keep the mission first before anything else. You will attain crazy results as a CEO if you view your role in the same manner as would a General or someone in a similar capacity taking on a mission. Your mission as a CEO is your company and when you utilize the resources provided to you, you will attain the results that you require for your company.
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