Perry Timms
2 min readMar 12, 2023

You might see what I did there.

Photo by Bilge Şeyma Kütükoğlu: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-cuneiform-carvings-8349847/

Service-of (to stick with my theme of one-word titled blog posts) and in particular the capitalisation serviCE-Of. CEO. Chief Executive Officer.

See, I think we’ve got this CEO thing all wrong. You aren’t all-powerful. You aren’t the arbitrator of all things.

You — as CEO — are in service of.

It’s in the letters there. Like some kind of Dan Brown-novel Illuminati code hidden in plain sight.

Yet there’s the allure, positional power, reputation, influence, decision-making thrills and privileges, and more in the CEO role. Which I am sure gives people the ultimate kick, rush and feel of being “in charge”.

But what about being in service of?

  • In service of the purpose, meaning and the entire reason the enterprise even exists, that you’re the CEO of.
  • In service of the people who’ve invested their time, toil and financial capital in the organisation you’re the CEO of.
  • In service of the planet, communities, and the ecosystem we are alive because of.
  • In service of your parents, family and all who helped you along the way.
  • In service of the faith you have be it ordained in a book of sorts or just what you believe in and are all about.
  • In service to yourself. Looking after your ideology, and state of mind and being the best version of you possible. Not the egoist, narcissist ogre that some think you have to be at the top. This person you’ll feel proud to have been as you enter the twilight of your life.

CEOs are in service of. It’s that simple really.

And yet we see, all the time, those who ride roughshod over decency in favour of winning; who take morals out to make more money; who do dastardly things when nobleness and honour would’ve been the right thing to do.

Not all the time. Some — Anita Roddick, Bob Chapman, Ray Anderson, Jos de Blok, Garry Ridge, Rich Sheridan, and others — get it. They are in service of. So it can be done to be in service of and still be economically, operationally and humanly successful.

And with that, we can all be the CEOs of our lives, our roles and sometimes, of an entire enterprise.

So let’s be in serviCE-Of kinda CEOs.



Perry Timms

CEO PTHR |2x TEDx speaker | Author: Transformational HR + The Energized Workplace | HR Most Influential Thinker 2017–2023 | Soulboy + Northampton Town fan