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How do you evaluate a CEO?

I am not a big fan of management books, I believe more in following my gut feeling when running a company than in reading and implementing all kinds of theories. Does that make me a good CEO? Difficult to say, because how do you evaluate a CEO? Based on his behavior? Or based on his results? Probably more the latter than the former, but then the next question is against what to measure the results: what were the objectives and were they the correct objectives?

Today I saw a link on Twitter (forgot who sent it, I clicked on it but did not read the article until after I finished my working day) to an article by Ben Horowitz on how his VC fund evaluates CEOs. Even though I normally don’t read too much about management theories, I found the subject interesting and decided to read the article anyway. I was quite impressed and I recognized a lot of what I see in day-to-day business life. If you’re a CEO (or plan to be one) it’s an excellent read. You don’t often come across VCs that blog openly on how they measure a CEO’s performance.

Ben asks himself 3 questions:

  1. Does the CEO know what to do?
  2. Can the CEO get the company to do what she knows?
  3. Did the CEO achieve the desired results against

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  1. Could not agree more; and if you haven’t delved further into Ben’s blog, you should do it, because most of his posts are very enlightening. Fresh and quality content.

  2. Good article! I love the Baidu story!

    Marc, any steakhouse(s) to recommend in shanghai?

  3. @Pengfei Moon’s (in Xintiandi) has excellent steaks, but my favorite is the steak menu at M1NT

  4. Thanks, Marc!

    I’m Chinese, but I have to say I’ve learned a lot about China from your blog and the book you contributed, China Entrepreneur. I moved to Shanghai recently, so hopefully I will get a chance to say thankyou in person some day.