Checking the Day’s Skiing Performance Stats
Does your management team share common behaviors and talents? Should they?
I recently had the good fortune to spend three days and four nights with five other adult males skiing in Colorado. Lots of guy talk and guy smells and guy consumption of unhealthy foods along with a small amount of alcoholic beverages.
I took the photograph shown here during an afternoon après-ski gathering. My friend of some forty years is in the process of studying his day’s skiing statistics (number of runs, vertical feet skied, top speed) through slightly bloodshot eyes. Every day, he and one other from our group (who has the same ski app on his cellphone) compared data, mainly to determine who skied the fastest. Some really lively dialog ensued regarding who posted the top rate of descent. (Clarifying note: Only two of the six in our group kept the stats and competed for the land speed record among six old farts.)
As I listened to the third day of competitive comparisons, I snapped this photo as a reminder that it’s OK when personal behavioral differences exist among cooperating groups of humans. The freaks who compete on skiing speeds are no righter or wronger than the freaks who are slightly anal making sure we show up on time for a dinner reservation. Our group comes together annually for a few days of skiing and camaraderie, and we certainly have some common values and interests; but we’re far from clones when it comes to behavioral styles or attitudes. Is there ever friction? Sure. Is it a more effective “team” because of some differences? I think so.
As CEO, have you intentionally put together a leadership team with very similar styles? How about similar perspectives? Common behaviors and values normally lead to increased harmony. But ask yourself whether your business has a greater need right now for harmony or for great strategy and execution.
Assembling and working with a “team of differents” can be taxing. Every time Kevin becomes confrontational, Laurie shuts down. Mike is so laid back and slow to react that it drives Julie nuts. Emmet looks at everything from a return-on-investment perspective, while Jules is committed to providing jobs and support for the local community at almost any cost. Blending this type of team together for weekly staff meetings or quarterly strategic reviews is exhausting. But is it likely to produce a stronger business than a “team of similars”?
I’m sure you have some thoughts on this. Let me know where you stand on the traits of a strong management team.
(By the way, the top speed recorded this ski trip was just over 50 mph.)
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
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.
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.
Oscar Celebrates Independence Day
Let me first wish you a Happy Holiday, whether or not you’re reading this on July 4th. But I want to use this space to share a very brief reflection on the different interpretations of that word “independence”. Specifically, through the eyes of the one who does not own a business, followed by the perspective of the business owner. Here goes.
The independence of owning a business means… Continue reading
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
Trust on the National Level
In Michael K. Farr’s book, Restoring Our American Dream, he spends a good deal of print on the importance of trust. He drives home his point by exploring how trust is eroded and the challenge of earning trust, especially after it has eroded. In specific, he addresses what went wrong with the financial meltdown of 2008 and what is needed to get the U.S. financially back on track.
His macro lessons are applicable to any organization, any business, any CEO. Have you considered the importance of owning the trust of your organization? Without it, your business is crippled, not capable of achieving anything near its potential. So, if you have lost the trust of key employees, what can you do? Continue reading
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 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
Eric Taylor, CEO and Candidate
As CEO, you create business plans that acknowledge both the changeable and the unchangeable. You analyze your current situation, compare it to where you want to take the company, and plan your strategy accordingly. In addition, you pay attention to the unchangeable – those external areas like Government and the Economy – over which you have no control but which do impact your business.
It occurred to me during this past election season that CEOs run the risk Continue reading
Future CEO Consuming BBQ Ribs
Read the classic management books on strategic planning. The process sounds so logical and clean. Same thing for human resource management tomes. You set up the processes and everyone plays well in your sandbox. Likewise for financial management. You track the numbers and make adjustments along the way as required. No muss, no fuss. So, for you as a private business owner, why is the work so messy? Continue reading