CEO customers, employees, THEN owners

In china business by Michael Michelini7 Comments

while yes, i am a ceo in some way, i still like to think of myself as an entrepreneur and small business owner. Ceo is too official and formal, plus in my eyes, ceo is a worker/ staff for the owners, while a business owner is the one who hires the ceo to manage his/ her business. So i prefer business owner over ceo if we get into titles.

Anyway, i have blogged in the past about ceo representing the 3 groups of a company

C = customers
E = employees
O = owners

And not only does this represent the 3 main parts of any business, it is also in the correct order!!!!!!

ceo order

So many businesspeople i meet seem to put CEO in a different order. Like OCE, where they put the owners….or the end profits, ahead of the interests of the customers and employees…..i could not disagree more. While yes, a business is created to make profit and cashflow for its owners and investors, to have any long term business sustainability, you have to build qualty relations with your customers and your employees.

On the other extreme, it may be OEC , or even EOC (but this one seems rare), but both of these put the customer LAST! That is simply insane, because its the customer that is the whole reason the company is established! Listening to and adapting to the needs of your customer is the only way a business can grow and thrive for generations.

Maybe some will disagree with this post, but i think we all should consider keeping the CEO , customer, employee, and owner, in this order. reminding yourself and your team of this priority should also keep everyone on track

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Hi Mike!
Your are a good leader.
In China we say” A person who is toleran is great,it’s just as the sea accepts the rivers from all directions. “


In China we say”The sea can hold the water from thousands of rivers, it’s big because of its capacity.
A person is great when he can be tolerant and forgiving to many other people.”

Larry Marshall

For me, I tend to like the title of CEO even as a small to medium sized business owner. Typically the idea of hiring a CEO type employee is really only part of large companies. From a marketing standpoint, having the title of CEO helps to indicate your company seems larger than it might actually be which can help snuff out your competitors. If you look like a small fish in the pond, then the big fish (your competitors) will eat you alive. Whereas if you make yourself look like a bigger fish, then the big fish tend to leave… Read more »


[…] I said during the Digital Filipino e-commerce summit, CEO is not Chief Executive Officer, its Customers, Employees, Owners – in that […]