I was stubborn. Now I am persistent. I was self-centric and self-serving. Now I value equality and mutual respect. I was a day dreamer. Now I can envision things and think creatively about strategy. CEOs are not born; they are made – by themselves and by people around them.

Focus is not what you do, but what you choose not to do. Startup CEO Kristo Ovaska learned the hard way to say “No”. He now declines long meetings, non-vital emails, external press requests, speaking engagements, and investor contacts that are not yet needed. This has brought about an entirely new level of productiveness.

Culture and values are a top responsibility for CEOs of both start-up companies and large corporations. A company with a strong and consistent culture requires less command-and-control management and empowers employees to take initiative, innovate, and serve customers well, says Fadi Ghandour.