Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
– The Who (Won’t Get Fooled Again)
In the past few months, I’ve been getting asked about whether it’s strange to work for a female CEO and move out of the CEO role for my second company. Back in June when Kegan asked me to start this company with her, neither of these potential issues even entered my mind. After a few months of operation, and tons reflection, I’ve got a much better understanding of both issues.
Let’s start with the easiest issue, working with a female CEO. Kegan is a badass whether you compare her to other girls or to guys. I don’t see any specific traits that make her better or worse at being a CEO because of her gender. Maybe her ability to deliver hard messages with compassion is one, but that’s it, and I’m sure many guys have that skill too. The biggest change seems to be the differentiation we automatically get and the outsized interest from press.
On the issue of not being the CEO, it’s really not a big deal. As co-founders, we’ve shared major decision making worked towards a decision through debate and influence and have resisted striving for compromise. We’re both really willing to see different perspectives and go with what makes the most sense. There has only been one decision where we just disagreed and she made the final call. Technically I’m working for Kegan, but it doesn’t feel that way and importantly that’s the point. It’s not management by consensus or autocracy, it’s a culture built on management by influence.
So basically, not being the CEO is fine because of our culture and management style and a female CEO is no different than a male CEO except we get more attention.