I didn’t get to “know” Pippi until I was actually an adult. I moved to Sweden from Romania when I was 11, and at that age all other kids had had their Pippi phase. Now since I have 2 kids of my own, I have become a big Pippi fan too.
Having worked for a handful of companies I have had the great pleasure to work with some very amazing CEOs, and some less talented ones. Since I also have a couple of businesses of my own, I of course think about the day when we will have to hire a CEO, and what that position means. What are the essential characteristics for a successful, motivational and inspiring CEO?
From reading amazing Astrid Lindgren’s books about Pippi, I have drawn some inspiration to how my ideal CEO should be.
This is why I think Pippi is so fantastic and the connections to my dream CEO:
Pippi has an independent mind.
To steer the ship in the right way, the CEO needs to have a clear vision for the company. Of course he/she consults with the board, colleagues, mentors but eventually, he/she is the CEO and needs to take some big decisions by him/herself.
Pippi is not only a very strong girl, she is the strongest person in the world.
Everybody has a superpower. Hopefully a CEOs superpower is to spread the passion he/she has for the product/business/market/end consumer. Also how great would it be if every employee got asked at work to state their superpower, I dare to say it would be easier to work with each other and people would know metaphorically what their colleagues are good at. I’m also sure a couple of good jokes would come out of that.
Pippi is curious.
A CEO needs to stay openminded and curious about all aspects of the business and know the “product”. It’s also vital to stay informed on what’s going on in other domains than the small niche that the business is in.
Pippi is never afraid to try new things.
Most of businesses have ups and downs. In the downs it’s either the weather’s fault, or the currency, or the competitors come to market with something amazing etc. That’s when a great leader looks out for new opportunities and dares to try them out. Gets the information needed, involves the team and gets right on it. There is no point in digging the head in the sand and hope for the storm to pass, to be brave and try something new might give the business the swing back up again.
Pippi shares everything she has, with other.
I believe the best leaders are as little leaders as possible. They bring others up and support them instead of putting themselves on a pedestal.
Pippi is aways helpful.
To feel the pulse in a company, the best thing to do is to sense the employees. A CEO needs to walk the round and talk to people, eat lunch together, go for a run together, LISTEN and be interested. That is the only way he/she will know how the company is feeling and if he/she doesn’t know the problems they wont be able to fix them.
Pippi is fair to everybody.
Just because the CEO has the highest position it doesn’t mean he/she is more important than anyone else in the company. All positions are equally worth and everybody in their positions are doing their best. It’s a machinery, and it would not work if a cog was missing …
Through teamwork and accountability everybody will have a chance of giving their all.
Pippi has the wildest imagination and an enviable fantasy.
Here I’m gonna quote the Apple think different campaign text:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Pippi has a good and warm heart.
Employees are humans. And CEOs are humans. No one is a robot and everybody has feelings. To get the best out of people it’s important to stay humble, show empathy, give praise and say Thank You.
Pippi dares to always say what she thinks.
Communication in a company is key. And the more everybody knows the better. It’s really shitty when things happen and people don’t fell they have been informed properly. The trust is gonna go out the window and bye bye for that CEOs credibility. It’s better to tell it as it is, always the truth, the employees will appreciate it.
Pippi is free.
The best thing about being a CEO is that he/she is the person in charge. He/she needs to stay true to themselves, and their ideas. No need to look in the rear mirror and see what the previous person has done. It’s up to the individual to set a clear vision, get the best people on board to help the company get to that vision, and stay focused on the essentials.
Pippi has fun!
The fun culture in a company usually comes from the up, down. It’s pretty hard to implement it the other way around. If employees have fun at work they will love their job and they will give more at work. It doesn’t cost that much to have after works or a summer or christmas party. The effect is that the employees will get to know each other better in a more relaxed way and they will work better in the future. Who doesn’t like to have fun? It’s a given must!
Pippi has the coolest freckles on her face.
I’m not gonna say that the ideal CEO should have freckles on his/her face, it would look adorable though. No, I’m saying that a person that is comfortable and secure in his/her own skin, is way cooler. Let the characteristics and the real persona shine through.
Now you see why Pippi is my inspiration for the ideal CEO.