My passion and some people might say my obsession, is to learn as much as I can about successful CEO’s and successful companies. That being said, I was quite interested in the NY Times, Corner Office interview with John Lilly. John is a successful Venture Capitalist whose job is to evaluate CEO’s whose companies his venture firm is considering investing in.
Lilly’s quest is to understand the quality of a CEO’s thought process and how he or she interacts with him. He gets this information by asking a lot of questions to test whether the CEO can “be honest and candid and still get to a productive place”. In Lilly’s eyes business is all about deciding whose team you are on, and investing in those relationships by building rapport and spending time with them.
Lilly is in a unique position. He may look at 400 companies a year and might invest in two of them. He may even meet with several CEO’s in the same day, much less several each week. He believes that the biggest lesson he has learned in his job is to “simplify the message, and repeat it often”. Perhaps that’s also the lesson to be learned for both seasoned and aspiring CEO’s!
What do you think? I’d love to hear back from you. Once again, kudos to Veronica Rao for her insights in helping me prepare this article.