Edited by Ritch L. Sorenson
Chapter 14: Putting family in family business: the role of the chief emotional officer
CEO. What does that acronym mean to you? For me, like many, those letters, placed side by side, stand for chief executive officer. However, beyond those letters lie other words, such as leader, mentor, strength, and ambition; words that personify what that title represents. Now what if I told you that CEO, as an acronym, stood for something else, yet maintained those same characteristics? The position of chief emotional officer is one that is essential within family businesses. For clarity, I’ll utilize CEmO as the designed acronym for this role. You could use this acronym and search hundreds of company directories, yet I would be shocked if you happened upon a single find. However, if you looked at the dynamic of family businesses, the CEmO would be hard to miss. This is the person who works alongside the CEO to effectively manage the business and the family, and, as a result, is usually assumed by the CEO’s spouse. This relates to Poza and Messer’s notion that spouses play an instrumental role in the life of the family business.
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