10 Life Lessons From CEOs
But how CEOs handle success, adversity and all manner of corporate curveballs does offer some insight for the working men and women who may never be household names.
The following are 10 chief executives and the lessons their leadership can offer the average business owner, employee or entrepreneur:
Lesson: Know your limitations; keep your ego in check.
Silicon Valley is filled with companies that suffered because their brain trust failed to realize that being a technology genius doesn't necessarily equate with business savvy.
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google(GOOG) , the two had the foresight to realize their skill set was not necessarily in line with the value a top-notch CEO could bring. So they brought in tech veteran Eric Schmidt to provide the "adult supervision" needed to make Google the corporate powerhouse it is today.
In January, Schmidt tweeted that his supervision "was no longer needed" and that Page would reassume the top post. All involved, as well as the company itself, are better off for these ego-suppressing decisions -- including the possibility Schmidt was made to recognize his own limitations after a series of public gaffes started creeping people out a bit .
Lesson: Think long term, not immediate gratification.
Despite what we just wrote about the bouncing of the CEO mantle between Google's Page and Schmidt, Facebook is an example where the founder has made some risky decisions that paid off.
The jury may be out as to whether Zuckerberg is a brilliant, forward-thinking mastermind or a petulant punk who got lucky, but this much is clear -- in resisting the temptation for quick cash, he, the company and everyone around him has prospered.
There have been numerous times Zuckerberg could have turned a quick buck by selling his social media monster to eager suitors. Throughout the life of the site, he has turned down private equity offers and shooed away inquiries and bids from the likes of Friendster, Google, Viacom(VIA) , News Corp. (NWSA) , Microsoft(MSFT) , NBC, Yahoo(YHOO) and AOL(AOL) (the latter two plunking $1 billion on the table as their ante).
Most as young as Zuckerberg would probably have signed quickly on the dotted line. He held out, believing the future held even bigger and better potential. He was right. Amid the most recent round of IPO rumors, numerous analysts have pegged Facebook's valuation as high as $100 billion.
CEO, News Corp.
Lesson: Keep an eye on the kids.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument and fairness, Rupert Murdoch had no idea his British newspapers, in particular the scandal-hungry News of the World , were bribing public officials and hacking into voice mail accounts (going so far as to delete messages left on the line of a missing teen).