by Afek Shusterman
Leon Lerman is the CEO and co-founder of Cynerio, a company that protects medical devices from cyber attacks, and gives accurate data on a patient's progress.
What is the hardest thing about being a CEO?
Everyone says that the top of the mountain feels lonely. All the pressure is on you and at the end of the day, the buck stops with you. It's your job to solve problems and give a clear direction to your organization.
Every decision you make will affect your business. It's important to keep that in mind because if you do not, you'll lose direction.
You need to make quality decisions that will drive the company forward.
What do you mean when you say quality decisions?
I'll describe it with an example inside our company.
We had a situation where we needed a good VP of sales.
As a CEO, it isn't feasible to speak with every potential candidate during a hiring process. However, in this case, I felt that this particular decision was vital to the future of the company. I took the time to sit down with him to ensure that we were making the right hiring decision.
A good CEO understands the weight of his decisions and is adept as making decisive quality decisions while leaving much else up to the rest of the workforce. You need to give freedom to your employees to do the work to maintain a good, healthy environment by letting them make their own decisions.
In your mind, what is company culture?
To me, culture is rules that you act by inside the environment you're in.
At Cynerio, we have 4 core values:
- We put the Customer in the Center
- We Constantly Learn and Improve
- It's Nice to be Nice
- We Walk the Extra Mile
We follow our core values. This gives our team a sense of community and organization.
Focus on making as few core values as possible so it will be easier to operate and you create a more free environment for your team to work in.
What are some factors that help dictate a hiring decision?
When you hire the top of the team, you set the direction of the future. It's important to fill these positions with qualified leaders dedicated to moving the company forward, both from a strategy and culture perspective.
When our team hires, we look for people we love. We're very focused on fit because these hirings are going to be working closely with us every day. We need to be sure that a candidate will be a good fit behaviorally and character-wise, not simply from a business standpoint.
That's how we're able to maintain the hiring process and keep a healthy environment.
If you were an investor, what characteristics would you look for when you invest?
First, I want to double my investment.
Second, I'll look for people that will solve a problem that they relate to.
Passion is important to me. I am interested in companies who care deeply about their work. These are the ones who will continuously make tireless effort to improve and troubleshoot when getting their company off the ground.
Starting a company is one of the most difficult things to do in business. It's the leaders with creativity, tenacity, and energy who have the highest chance of succeeding. Seeking out those qualities when investing makes a significant impact on your decision.
What lesson can you share with us as an entrepreneur trying to raise money?
It's all about your story. Entrepreneurs are selling themselves just as much as their products. What makes you special? Why would an investor believe in you?
Second, don't ever fall in love with what you have. You'll change it again and again until you get it right.
Take every validation you get and try to think about what you can do to do better. Complacency can be a dangerous poison to a thriving business. Positive feedback is nice, but it's even more crucial to discover work on ways to improve.