When President Lincoln was choosing his Cabinet, he turned to his three fiercest Republican rivals – people against whom he’d run! – and top Democrats. Lincoln virtually assured that every meeting would erupt in conflict. And that’s exactly what he wanted. Author Doris Kearns Goodwin writes, “His Cabinet sessions were fiery affairs, but they provided […]
If a basketball coach stocks his bench with 7-footers, he’s not giving his team an advantage. He’s leveling the playing field, or the playing court, in this case. Business has never been a game for the timid and it’s only getting tougher. Everyone’s getting more competitive; markets are becoming commoditized; the players are bigger, stronger, […]
Running a business is like rowing a boat upstream. Once you stop rowing, you start to slip backwards. When the company is growing, owners have to be rowing furiously to get the next deal, to sign the next contract, to hire the next A player. If they let go of their focus on the future, […]
What’s the difference between an investment and an expense? If you’re not sure, ask your spouse. He or she will tell you that, no; a 75-inch plasma screen TV is not an investment, no matter how good the Super Bowl will look. In business, ideally, you don’t have expenses. Just good investments. The difference is […]
Why do people wake up in the morning, fix their coffee, and go to their jobs? Maybe they’re passionate about their work; maybe they believe in what they’re doing; maybe they’re learning and developing before moving on to new opportunities. But likely, they have to pay their mortgage, put their kids through college, and save […]
When I was an Army officer, there were three things that you had to make sure you never screwed up for your soldiers: their pay, their food, and their mail. Why? It was, as they say, the very least you could do for them. As an employer, what do you absolutely have to get right […]
There’s an old joke that a camel is a horse designed by committee. As much as we say we value collaboration, the group still gets bad press. In the New York Times, for instance, Susan Cain talks about the “Rise of New Groupthink,” and the dearth of creativity in group conditions. She suggests that the […]
When you’re operating under high-pressure, small erroneous details become nightmares. Late reports, print errors, and customer problems might feel like the end of the world. In these situations, every move matters – and that includes your reactions to these slip-ups, mistakes, and problems.
Intuition isn’t a mystical force; it’s the culmination of experience, and a valuable tool that allows leaders to make wise decisions in a jam. It is not the same thing as fear. Fear is a powerful, reactive emotion that also compels people to make decisions quickly; however, these decisions are much less likely to be […]
A common pattern that emerges among top CEOs is the hour at which they rise. Executives from Jack Dorsey and Marissa Mayer to Donald Trump and Indra Nooyi are notorious early birds; AOL’s Tim Armstrong says he leaps out of bed because “life is too exciting to sleep.” Successful CEOs tend to take the same […]
No one should ever doubt that the free market system is a wonderful mechanism that creates wealth, jobs, and goods. It is not some artificial device created by a smoke-filled room full of devious bankers. Instead, it developed and evolved naturally over thousands of years through the incessant desire of human beings to seek personal […]
As a CEO, you never want to be surprised by a situation, or be in the dark about a challenge facing your business. At the same time, you could drown in all of the internal reports and paperwork that are generated in any given company.
How many inefficient meetings have you attended in the past year? How many have you attended where everyone’s voice was heard? How many were too long, wandered too far off topic, and accomplished too little?
There is only one thing that proves a brilliant strategy: brilliant results. Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase, said, “I’d rather have a first-rate execution and second-rate strategy any time than a brilliant idea and mediocre management.”
Strategic planning is essential because, as Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will wind up somewhere else.” A sound strategy delineates the specific steps, initiatives, and deliverables that enable an organization to realize its vision. The final strategy should be a dynamic guide for the company; the process of creating […]
In economic terms, the Value Chain describes the process by which a company receives raw materials, modifies them to add value, and delivers a final product to the market. While optimizing this process is essential in any company, there’s another kind of “value chain” that leaders need to monitor: the internal value chain. What does […]
It is easy to be seduced by a tool that will solve your most pressing problems. Weak sales, shrinking margins, inability to keep up with the competition and more, can be solved with this software program or that new sales force management tool. “If I have that tool,” the CEO thinks, “I’ll have what I […]
What is the value of your company? CEOs and C-level executives tend to think of their company’s value in terms of profitability and revenue. It is a simple mathematical equation. But when people are looking for opportunities to acquire, merge, or partner with a company, there are several other factors to consider. Leaders that keep […]
Help Wanted: CEO Description: You report to no one, you are the CEO. You are passionate about doing chief executive officer stuff like making decisions, having a vision, and being the head boss person. In June 2013, athletic apparel giant Lululemon posted a help wanted ad soliciting a candidate to replace outgoing CEO Christine Day. […]
The hard part about hiring for a sales position is that even mediocre salespeople do a terrific job selling themselves. Resumes and interviews are full of promises, record growth, and past quota-breaking heroics. On-the-job reality, though, is too often a very different story. Delayed deals, prospects dropping out of the pipeline, money and time wasted, […]