Peacetime CEO knows that proper protocol leads to winning. Wartime CEO violates protocol in order to win.
Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture and empowers her people to make detailed decisions. Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive.
Peacetime CEO builds scalable, high-volume recruiting machines. Wartime CEO does that, but also builds HR organizations that can execute layoffs.
Peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture. Wartime CEO lets the war define the culture.
Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.
Peacetime CEO knows what to do with a big advantage. Wartime CEO is paranoid.
Peacetime CEO strives not to use profanity. Wartime CEO sometimes uses profanity purposefully.
Peacetime CEO thinks of the competition as other ships in a big ocean that may never engage. Wartime CEO thinks the competition is sneaking into her house and trying to kidnap her children.
Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market. Wartime CEO aims to win the market.
Peacetime CEO strives to tolerate deviations from the plan when coupled with effort and creativity. Wartime CEO is completely intolerant.
Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice. Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone.
Peacetime CEO works to minimize conflict. Wartime CEO heightens the contradictions.
Peacetime CEO strives for broad-based buy-in. Wartime CEO neither indulges consensus building nor tolerates disagreements.
Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy, audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.
Peacetime CEO trains her employees to ensure satisfaction and career development. Wartime CEO trains her employees so they don’t get their asses shot off in the battle.
Peacetime CEO has rules like “We’re going to exit all businesses where we’re not number one or two.” Wartime CEO often has no businesses that are number one or two and therefore does not have the luxury of following that rule.
From The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz