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Ivan Seidenberg

What It Takes to Be a Real CEO

Never before in history have people been so divided about what it means to be a chief executive officer. As three letter acronyms go, CEO has got to be the most polarizing. And not just two poles, either. I count at least three: disdain, jealousy, and respect.Let's start with jealousy. Lots of people have CEO envy these days. Everyone with a website and a Twitter account thinks he's a CEO. A CEO of one. But here's the thing. Calling yourself a CEO doesn't make you a CEO. It's just a title. It doesn't mean anything, except that you're maybe a little too self-important.  Then there are those who think CEOs are the pinnacle of capitalistic gluttony, privileged white males who somehow inherited the title or magically dropped out of the sky into cushy corner office chairs. It's actually become quite popular to demonize top executives, to despise them. Strange but true.That brings us to those who respect CEOs. They respect CEOs because they respect business and how companies are run. They kn...

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