HOFFMAN:​ CEOs are often encouraged to focus only on the problems that are urgently hurtingthe business – like revenue loss or customer attrition. A feeling of sadness might not seemurgent. But in truth, it’s only ‘not urgent’ for now. The head of a company that feels disconnected from the body is a problem that will manifest down the road.

SHIH:​ I’ll never forget, one day our employee number one, his name is Chris, he’s still at the company, Chris set up time to have a one-on-one with me. I don’t even know how he brought it up but it was so candid. He basically said that he felt that he could tell that I wanted to be part of the company and be really integrated, but he said that I was doing things and acting in ways that made me come across as not being authentic.

HOFFMAN:​ Even coming from Employee One, that kind of message can be a tough pill to swallow. But Clara listened.

SHIH: ​He talked about how I wasn’t bringing my whole self to work. And he also contrasted me to my co-founder, Steve, who on paper, if you look at Steve and our experience, we look very similar if not identical. But how Chris observed that at every step along the way, like getting to Stanford, majoring in CS, getting into the Mayfield Fellows Program, Chris wondered out loud whether maybe that was presumed for Steve.But that for me it was the opposite.And so, Chris is like: “Look, Clara, you have fought your way to doing all these things,but now you did it. You’re the CEO. Put your elbows down. We’re all on your team.” And that was firstly very brave of him to say, and secondly it was life-changing for me to hear that.

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