What would it be like to lead two million people as your first CEO job, and heck your first job in leadership?

If you remember the story of Moses, that’s precisely what happened. The dude was just being normal, running his small sheep farm: Wife, house, cars, couple of kids.

Next thing you know, he’s arguing with the supreme leader of one of the richest countries in the world.  After a bit of negotiating, he takes two million people on a walkabout and finds out that he’s the default CEO. You got us here, now take us there.

If that’s not an entrepreneur’s story, I don’t know what is. Does this sound like you?

So you’ve worked at that large corporation, and after the layoff-hire-layoff merry-go-round, you decided to take one of the layoff opportunities to stop working for “the man” and work for the best boss, you.

The regular guy, all of a sudden, has people. It feels like two million with all the things you have to think about, the complaints, the situations, challenges, opportunities. The challenges …

Fourteen days in quarantine? Well … we have the big presentation next week. Sigh OK.

I have to sign a personal guarantee on the loan you want my house on it? OK.

A key player quit just because? OK.

Sometimes at the end of the day, you wonder if it’s all worth it. How will you keep this up? Will you ever get over the hump?

Moses felt that way too. He was killing himself trying to deal with all the problems inside a two-million-person organization. That’s a lot of drama.

Enter Jethro.

Jethro was Moses father in law. He came to check out his son in law’s company and was impressed. What he saw in the fancy corner tent was a spent leader who didn’t know what he didn’t know. Jethro was about to make Moses’ life better, with more margin, and focus on the important versus the urgent.

You see, Moses was doing everything himself. Jethro had seen this a thousand times when he had a company. So he became the first Executive Coach when after listening to Moses and asking many questions, he suggested a model that had worked for him in the past. Good ol’ Delegation.

“You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves.” (Exodus 18:21)

What Jethro said wasn’t brilliant or new. He didn’t give Moses a magic potion or secret sauce. He gave Moses permission to lead differently and a more significant impact and influence with those he led by allowing him to work on the organization and strategize with the board versus sweeping the floor, calling all the customers, and taking out the trash.

At Acumen, we do the same thing. Former CEOs and owners, along with a group of peers that are running the same race as you, get together to help each other know more than they did yesterday, give permission to lead for maximum impact and influence, which creates a healthy, profitable, excellent business.

Everybody needs a Jethro. Who is yours?

Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
February 5, 2021
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.