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The Chief Executive Operating System - Guiding CEOs to the Pinnacle of Success

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

5 Star Review:

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For many leaders, becoming CEO is the ultimate career achievement. But once you get there, you haven’t summited Mount Everest—you’re only at base camp.

Now it’s up to you to learn the unique set of skills required to do the CEO job effectively. And make no mistake, they are very different from those you used in previous managerial roles.

In The Chief Executive Operating System, veteran CEO Joel Trammell and executive coach Sherif Sakr present a concise, systematic guide to being a truly great chief executive. Identifying and filling a wide gap around CEO-specific guidance in the management literature, the authors draw on decades of leadership and client work to deliver a practical CEO operating system that works. You will learn the importance of understanding people in order to work through them, how to master the five responsibilities a CEO cannot delegate, and how to implement an operating system that enables the whole organization to deliver predictable performance.

The CEO’s job is a big one, with far-reaching effects on lives, livelihoods, and the economy. But with the proven playbook contained in The Chief Executive Operating System, you don’t have to go it alone as you lead your organization toward a purposeful, profitable future.

In the vast landscape of the business world, ascending to the summit of the corporate hierarchy is akin to conquering Mount Everest. The journey to becoming a CEO is filled with challenges, sacrifices, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. However, reaching the top is just the beginning—a mere arrival at base camp. The real test lies in navigating the treacherous terrain that awaits you as the leader of an organization. It is here that Joel Trammell and Sherif Sakr's book, "The Chief Executive Operating System," becomes an indispensable guide for those seeking to master the complexities of the CEO role.

Trammell and Sakr, veterans in their respective fields of CEO leadership and executive coaching, recognize the glaring gap in the management literature when it comes to CEO-specific guidance. With their wealth of experience and deep understanding of the challenges faced by top executives, they have crafted a concise and systematic playbook that paves the way for extraordinary success in the CEO position.

One of the fundamental insights offered by Trammell and Sakr is the recognition that the skills required to thrive as a CEO are vastly different from those that propelled you through previous managerial roles. The art of leadership at this level demands a unique set of capabilities, and it is through their guidance that aspiring CEOs can cultivate these essential skills. They emphasize the significance of understanding people and working through them—a critical aspect often overlooked in the pursuit of strategic goals. By nurturing relationships, inspiring teams, and fostering collaboration, CEOs can establish an environment conducive to achievement and growth.

"The Chief Executive Operating System" goes beyond mere theoretical discourse and offers practical advice for CEOs to excel in their pivotal roles. Trammell and Sakr identify five responsibilities that a CEO cannot delegate, enlightening readers on the core areas where their focus and expertise are indispensable. By honing these responsibilities, CEOs can wield their determination to shape the destiny of their organizations and positively impact the lives of their employees and stakeholders.

Furthermore, the authors present a comprehensive operating system that empowers CEOs to drive predictable performance throughout their organizations. By implementing this framework, leaders can foster alignment, establish clear objectives, and instill a culture of accountability. This operating system serves as a compass, guiding CEOs on the path to purposeful, profitable growth, ultimately contributing to the well-being of not only their companies but also the broader economy.

Becoming a CEO is not a solitary journey; it is a shared responsibility that affects countless lives and livelihoods. Trammell and Sakr understand the weight of this role and recognize that even the most accomplished CEOs need support and guidance along the way. With "The Chief Executive Operating System," they offer a lifeline—an invaluable resource that ensures CEOs need not tread this path alone. Through their proven playbook, they empower leaders to steer their organizations toward a future of purpose and prosperity.

In conclusion, "The Chief Executive Operating System" is a beacon of knowledge for aspiring and seasoned CEOs alike. Trammell and Sakr's wisdom, distilled from their own experiences and extensive client work, shines through every page, equipping CEOs with the tools and insights necessary to reach the pinnacle of their careers. With this indispensable guide in hand, CEOs can navigate the daunting challenges they face, lead their organizations with confidence, and shape a successful future for all those who depend on them.

About the Author


Joel Trammell has spent more than thirty years serving as CEO of companies ranging from technology startups to a public company. He has twice founded and led startups to nine-figure exits. A leading CEO educator, Trammell regularly speaks at conferences and events nationwide. He has contributed to Entrepreneur, Forbes and, and has served on the boards of public, private and nonprofit organizations. He is also the owner of Texas CEO Magazine, the founder of Texas CEO Ranch, and the previous author of The CEO Tightrope and The Manager’s Playbook (with Alicia Thrasher).

Joel’s latest endeavor is American CEO, through which he offers in-person training on the CEO role to small cohorts of world-class leaders. He currently lives in Austin with his wife and their three children. In his free time, you might find him on his tennis court.


Sherif Sakr is the cofounder of American CEO, a CEO and executive training firm based in Austin, Texas. He comes from a diverse international background and a career that spans success in five industries, including business ownership. He has spent the last decade teaching and coaching individuals and CEOs to drive results while maintaining a mindful perspective to reduce stress and optimize fulfillment. Sherif is now on a mission to train and equip CEOs with tools, strategies, and systems so that their companies and employees can thrive.


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