Category Archives: Planning

Great CEOs Don’t Overlook the Nuggets

CEO Training by the SBTDC

CEO Trainer

I participate in leading a program for business owners that is offered by the Delaware Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC).  The participants meet once a week for three hours over a six week period.  During that time they become engaged in a thoughtful analysis of their business and of their plan for that business.  The SBTDC calls this their Business Development Network.

This program covers the fundamentals of running and ultimately exiting a successful business.  While I was listening to Carla Holland (shown in photo) launch another six-week series recently, I made a list of the basic concepts she discussed in that first session.  They are listed below. Continue reading

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Launching

CEO decision-making can be a lot like paragliding

Jackson Hole Paragliding

Have you ever jumped off a mountain tethered to a piece of fabric? Tandem paragliding has a lot in common with business ownership.  If you have launched your own business, or have bought a business, or have made a decision to redirect, or turnaround, or chart a new course for your business, you can understand the parallel.

First off, you cannot do it alone.  Continue reading

Bringing It All Together

Recommended reading for any CEO

Handbook

What’s the most difficult job in the world?  Raise that question the next time you gather socially with friends.  Bet you get a lot of discussion.

Recommended reading for any CEO

How-To Book

The job of CEO should be at least a finalist in the discussion.  Any CEO job, large or small, presents the challenge of bringing many things together.  I’ve been reminded of this recently in my readings of The CEO Code by David Rohlander and The Alignment Factor by Allen E. Fishman.  Rohlander attempts to encompass the responsibilities of the CEO by organizing them into three broad categories: communication, execution, and operations.  Fishman’s categories are commitment, communication, culture, and collaboration.

If you are the owner and CEO of a small to midsize business, you have an appreciation of the breadth of skills required to build and sustain a successful enterprise.  More likely than not, you understand the magnetic pull of the daily urgent demands that would keep you from maintaining the long view – from developing your key employees – from identifying future opportunities and threats.  Each author takes a slightly different approach to defining the job and inviting action on the part of the reader.  Rohlander has provided what might be considered an abbreviated handbook on the role of CEO.  Fishman has focused on the strategies and actions that provide alignment of people throughout the organization.  Both works deserve your attention.

I’ll Take the Combo

A truly successful CEO is able to combine really big thinking with down and dirty execution.  I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had two bosses who worked that combination well.

I was reminded of the power of this combo a couple years ago when my son recommended a book by Howard Bloom titled, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism.  This one is filled with big ideas.  I wondered how many American CEOs were reading it.  Here are a few pithy excerpts: Continue reading

Misdiagnosis

A smart CEO consults both experts and peers when diagnosing what ails the business.A dear friend was recently told by her physician that her cancer had returned…and that she probably would not survive six months.  My friend sought a second and third opinion, after which the diagnosis was changed substantially.  While she does indeed have a recurrence of cancer, the type is significantly different from the original diagnosis.  It is treatable without harsh chemicals or radiation, and the new prognosis is for many additional years of life.  Can you imagine the emotional roller coaster she’s been on?

A misdiagnosis can be tragic in any situation, even when it applies to your business.  As CEO, how can you minimize the chance of this type of mistake?  Continue reading

A New Season

CEOs need to recognize their need for an occasional spring training and to make the most of it

A tool from my past

I’m a baseball fan and the start of a new season is always exciting.  In addition to my interest in the sport, spring training reminds me of a business parallel – a comparison to a business in the mode of re-starting, or re-engineering, or resurrection.  Two of the qualities you want to see in your baseball team during spring training are: Hunger and Health.  Likewise, if you are leading a business with the potential for improvement, it would be good if you are also both hungry and healthy. Continue reading

Unique Job, Lonely Role

CEO accountabilities are unique within the enterprise

A CEO

As CEO, or business owner, or company president, you occupy a unique and a lonely position. Not surprisingly, your job description is a one-of-a-kind, whether you have actually written it or not. You are accountable for certain high level responsibilities, because only you can perform them. It is these responsibilities that should be your guide to priorities, to how you spend your company time.

Here are the universal accountabilities for someone running a private business, regardless of the size of that business. Continue reading