I think it’s easy as founders to forget that we also need to work on our own learning and development too and ought to plan for that and be held accountable to it.
Inherently, it’s hard for a CEO to mark out progression goals - in the same way that a junior engineer who aims to be a senior engineer in five years might - but what I should be doing is planning to pick up skills that I need for when the company makes progress. What do I need to learn to effectively run a company that’s 50 or 100 people? To manage a board of investors that is larger and with different interests? To run teams in different offices overseas? etc.
Most of this information has been well documented by people who’ve “been there done that” in books.
My first issue with books has always been that I tend to breeze through them quite quickly and not take enough action from them. Often they interest me but don’t influence me. I was reminded of this when I reread Ben Horowitz’s Hard Thing About Hard Things over Christmas and realised there were a lot of lessons in there that I should have learnt when I read it the first time but didn’t.
My second issue with books is that I find it increasingly hard to prioritise reading them - even though I know they contain the answers to how I can be better at my job - and dipping in and out of them has a switching cost which makes them far less impactful for the way I learn.
My goal for Q1 of this year to study five important books that I can think can help me. I know what the first three of these are:
Principles by Ray Dalio (I’ve read it but didn’t take enough from it - so want to do it properly this time)
High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil
The Great CEO Within by Matt Mochary
To do this I am going to:
Book out whole learning days where I can go out the office and completely disconnect so that I can:
Read them in one sitting, maximum two, so I have zero distractions and can really focus on studying them rather than just reading them.
Prioritise the time to make them happen.
Make notes on each so I can easily refer to them.
Circulate some of my key takeaways with the team, as a way to hold me accountable.