The most successful people in the world – whatever their mission may be – they are the Chief Evangelist Officer (CEO). This is not the Chief Executive Officer, though they may hold that title. I myself hold the title of CEO, but I do not view my job as being the Chief Executive Officer. First and foremost, I view my job as being the Chief Evangelist Officer. When you’re a leader and leading a specific cause, vision, or mission, you have to know what you stand for. You have to know what your values are, and you have to constantly be evangelizing those values, culture and that vision.
Some of the most brilliant business professionals in the world – like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet are the Chief Evangelist Officers. That is their primary focus. You can see this in some of the world’s greatest leaders, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus Christ, and the Dalai Lama. You see it in head coaches and presidents of universities. The number one priority is focusing on the organization’s main goal.
CEO also stands for Chief Enthusiasm Officer. You have to have enthusiasm to continue working on your cause. You have to be excited about what you’re doing. You have to be passionate, and you have to be able to convey that passion to your employees or coworkers and your enthusiasm should be contagious.
CEO also stands for Chief Executive Optimist. Again, you have to be excited about what you’re doing. You also have to believe in what you’re doing. You have to be optimistic that you’re going to achieve your goals and the results you’re striving for.
CEO also stands for Chief Energizing Officer. You have to be energetic about your cause. More importantly, you have to be able to energize the people around you and make them excited about the cause.
CEO also stands for Chief Empowering Officer. You have to work to empower others. Help the people around you accomplish their goals and objectives. Give them responsibilities and latitude to achieve their goals.
CEO also stands for Cultural Executive Officer. Leadership is not only about building a culture, but about keeping a culture. Building is one thing, but after that you have to make decisions that can affect the culture. That’s when you need a core set of values to base your decisions upon so that you can maintain what you have established.
CEO can stand for a number of things, but it all starts with evangelizing; the executive stuff is secondary.
The actual CEO of a company definitely needs to play all of these roles, but what about other people in the company? Can someone who is just starting out in their career be a different kind of CEO? Yes, they have to be. Everyone has to be the CEO of Me, Inc. Everybody has to have that mindset. You have to think of it this way, you are a business. You have honed your skill set to this particular organization. They are paying me to do this, but this organization is my customer. You only have one customer because only one person is paying you, but you’re running your own business.
For example, if you are an IT technician for a company, you have to think of your job this way: I have my own IT Company, and I just happen to be hired by my one client, ABC, Inc. Therefore, I have to provide the best service possible, because if not, ABC, Inc. may decide that they don’t need my services anymore.
If you’re a business owner and you lose 1 client, it’s not a big deal as long as you have done a good job of diversifying and you have 100 clients. If you only have 1 client and you lose that client, that’s a big deal. You’ve just lost your revenue. So I think that it’s even more important for people who do not have the title of CEO, adopt the mindset of being a Chief Evangelist Officer.
We are all Chief Evangelist Officers no matter where we are in our careers or where we are in life. It’s just about specializing and realizing our passions. That’s where it starts. It’s easy to be an evangelist when you’re excited about something. What if someone isn’t excited? What if it’s their first job out of school and they’re working at a fast food restaurant or waiting tables? What if they’ve been at a job for ten years and they can’t evangelize because they just don’t like it? What do those people do?
Those individuals need to realize that the role they are currently in is only a means to an end. I had jobs throughout high school and college to get myself through school. I mowed lawns, I painted houses, and I waited tables. Of course, those jobs were not my lifelong passion, but I was passionate about getting my degree and going into my desired field, and those jobs helped me pay for that. Remember that those jobs are a stepping stone. What keeps you energized is knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout college, I knew that I did not have to mow lawns or paint houses or wait tables for the rest of my life because that was not my passion. Short term, I had to stay focused and do a great job for the people I was serving, because that’s what winners do. That’s what successful people do. No job is irrelevant. Whatever you do, do it with excellence.
You wake up, and even though you may not be super excited about the job you’re going to today, you have to remember that it’s just a means to an end. You have to do the very best you can, because otherwise you might start heading down a slippery slope. If you start forming bad habits in your part time job that you aren’t excited about, those bad habits will carry over to other things. So do the best you can in every job. You pick up that paint brush and paint the wall and make it look fantastic, even though two years from now you will never want to even see a paint brush again.
You can choose to be an evangelist for anyone you interact with, because you don’t know where you can end up if you act as an evangelist. People gravitate toward that. Imagine that someone walks up to you and says, “Wow, it looks like you’re working really hard flipping those burgers. Why do you work so hard?” You can tell them that the reason you work so hard flipping burgers is not because you love doing it, but because you’re paying your way through law school and you envision yourself as a world-class trial attorney one day. That defines you. People observe those good habits, and your mindset carries through in everything that you do.