We all make mistakes. We even benefit from them: as James Joyce wrote, “A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.” Unfortunately for CEOs, many of our mistakes are made in front of an audience.
Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie suggested that his epitaph read, “Here lays a man who knew how to enlist in his service better men than himself.” If Carnegie wasn’t a financial genius, he found someone (Charles Schwab) who was. If he was too conciliatory, he chose an operations manager (Henry Frick) who was not.
Success is like a flywheel. It is very hard to start, but once in motion, doesn’t take a lot to keep it going. A little tap now and then, and the wheel continues to run.
Enough about you, let’s talk about me for a while. Every company has an elevator pitch, a quick, pithy 30-second summary of who you are and what you do.
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 […]
Your company is having financial problems. Products aren’t selling. You are not keeping up with competitors, and customers are heading out the door. What do you do? Redesign your website. Sure, there’s your top priority right there. If you change your colors to something innovative-looking and add some new content, then the rest will fall […]
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. […]
“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they want to achieve.” Tom Landry (Legendary Coach of the Dallas Cowboys) In “How to Get People to Do Stuff” Dr. Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., discusses seven drivers of human motivation. Always a proponent of simplicity, though, I say, […]
There is a saying: “To err is human. To really screw up, you need a computer.” We can find any number of examples that seem to prove just that. > In April of this year, when Toronto Maple Leaf fans tried to order their playoff tickets online, “technical problems” denied them access. > A few […]
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, […]
Honeywell, Johnson&Johnson, Boeing, HP, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, Bank of America, and other corporations each employ hundreds of thousands of employees. But they are not the largest employers of American workers. The grocery stores, dry cleaners, mechanics shops, salons, and other small businesses peppering your neighborhood are. The 23 million small businesses in the US are the […]
There is no such thing as work/life balance. There used to be. At the beginning of my career, I could escape and remain disconnected from the office for whole hours at a time. Today, our personal lives are so intertwined with work that it is hard to separate. Everywhere we go we are tied into work. […]
I don’t like your attitude. You’ve got an attitude problem. You need an attitude adjustment. Stop! Your people’s attitudes are of no business of yours. Their attitude – who cares? Attitude is not a tangible item; it’s internal feelings and thoughts. When we say, “This person has a bad attitude,” that’s not what we mean at […]
Becoming a mentor is one of the best things you can do for other people – and for yourself. When one person who is seeking guidance and support connects with someone who has experience and insight to offer, the relationship that develops can become a source of inspiration for each. As a CEO, you’ve likely […]