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April 6, 2021 40 min

Visionary or Integrator? Startup or Maintenance CEO?

In the world of business, there is no shortage of ways to categorize your leadership style and the way you operate. But maybe in the real world, it's not quite so distinct.

I LOVE quizzes and personality tests and different ways of categorizing my personality, my skills, and how I think about things.

Sometimes these assessments are genuinely useful and can help us understand how and why we do the things we do and think the way we think - which can help us improve our weaknesses and lean into our strengths.

But, they can also sometimes create artificial boxes around us and create limitations that can keep us from growing as leaders and as individuals.

One of these dichotomies that I've repeatedly gotten stuck on, personally, is the idea that you are either a startup or a maintenance CEO.

You're either the energetic kid here to whip everyone into a frenzy of work, who changes things at the drop of a hat. Or you're the "adult" they bring in once things are rolling, so you can bring order to the chaos.

As we've been talking about maintenance mode, it seemed like a logical choice to examine whether or not all business owners can even BE in maintenance mode. What if you ARE either a startup CEO or a maintenance one? Does that mean that your business will never be able to operate like clockwork?

My guest today is Sarah Avenir, author and the CEO of &yet, a marketing and messaging agency. And she's been on both sides of this debate.

She's BEEN a startup CEO, a freelancer, an employee, and then she got tapped to become the CEO of &yet and she had to figure out how to make a team of designers, developers, and strategists come together under what she calls systems of practice.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • What Sarah thinks of the dichotomy of Start-Up CEO vs Maintenance CEO and what the term Maintenance Mode means to her
  • What the journey from being a startup CEO to a maintenance style CEO has been like for somebody who thinks in systems and who is comfortable with consistency.
  • How Sarah has found freedom through the structure and routine of systems
  • And how systems in practice incorporates being a human being and what we need to stay healthy
  • Learn more about Sarah Avenir:

  • Twitter @sarahavenir
  • Roam Research
  • People-First Growth
  • Find Your Weirdos
  • Meet Our Weirdos
  • Learn more about Susan:

  • Scalespark Dollars + Decisions Roundtable
  • Twitter @ScaleSpark
  • LinkedIn @thesusanboles
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