Originally posted on Fortune Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine:
The venture capitalist offers advice in his new book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. FORTUNE — In his new book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No…
Originally posted on Fortune Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine:
I thought this DILBERT cartoon was appropriate to share after the launch of my new company Khorus a few weeks ago.
Why do so many people think the sole purpose of an operations meeting is to discuss the sales forecast? Focus on every part of the business and require forward-looking data from all.
Ironically, it’s one question that vexes CEOs, because they cannot get the information they need to answer it.
Originally posted on Shockwave Innovations:
You’ve just completed a great investor pitch with heads nodding and good interaction. You’re about to ask “Does this opportunity interest you enough to explore an investment?” when instead you get a final question: “One final question. What is your exit strategy?”. Oops, the last two times you got this question…
We officially launched my new company Khorus today. The software product is a business management system for CEOs to answer the one question that concerns every chief executive: “How likely is my company to meet its corporate goals?”
I follow the new car and truck market quite closely. It is a very competitive worldwide market that must balance form and function. I have been a big fan of the work that Alan Mulally has done at Ford, but this latest move is a whole other level. Switching from steel to aluminum for a vehicle that is not only your best seller but also the best-selling vehicle in America is a huge gamble. It is the type of move that companies don’t usually make unless they feel they are on death’s door and have no other option. The “safe” play from one perspective would be to stay with steel, and if you wanted to try aluminum do it in a low-volume, higher-end model. The fact that Mulally could make this move shows a leader who has the confidence of his team and is providing real leadership. My guess is that it will be a homerun for Ford and in my mind cement Mulally as CEO of the decade.
Entrepreneur.com just published an article I wrote titled “How Leaders Can Find Their Mojo.” Whether they admit it or not, many chief executives feel powerless in their organizations. Oh sure, they have power: They can hire and fire, acquire companies, reorganize whole divisions, change the company strategy, etc. But once an organization gets beyond 20 […]
I’ve done a couple of Webinars recently to show CEOs and other executives how to set goals for their organizations. This is one of the keys to success in any company. The bigger your organization gets, the more disconnected your employees will become from the big picture strategy if you don’t do something formally to […]
OfficeVibe has created this infographic about employee engagement based on a bunch of stats that support what I’ve been saying on this blog for awhile: Employee engagement is low in general across U.S. companies, money is not a chief motivator if you pay market value, people leave bosses not companies, engaged employees perform better, etc. For CEOs, ensuring that your employees are engaged should be one of your top priorities. One way to do this is to own the vision and make sure that everyone in the company – from entry level to executives – understands the corporate goals and how their day-to-day activities contribute to those goals.
Infographic crafted by Officevibe, the corporate team building and employee engagement platform.
In my last post, I wrote about some red flags when choosing board members for early stage companies. Understanding the function of private company boards will help CEOs select the right members as well as help those board members to offer the right value. Here are the three roles that I think board members serve […]
My latest Forbes post focuses on this graphic we created at my company Khorus to show how CEOs are bombarded with mostly tactical, outdated metrics from department silos. The result is a fruit salad mess that chief executives cannot make sense of or use to move the business forward. In the full piece I give some advice about how CEOs, who are usually to blame, can remedy this. Check it out here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joeltrammell/2014/01/24/why-fruit-salad-management-is-rotten-for-ceos/
This is a great article written by Margaret Heffernan for CBS Moneywatch. She discusses how CEOs are not prepared for the role and therefore don’t know what to do when they achieve it (my mantra for this blog). As I’ve written about before, most CEOs have gotten the job because they were superstar performers in their careers, meaning they have specialized knowledge in marketing, sales, engineering or another function. But the CEO role entails a unique set of responsibilities. As Heffernan says, “But once they assume senior executive positions, they need entirely different skills: networking, knowledge-gathering, consensus building, listening. They should be good at this – so why aren’t they?”
Thanks to “The million dollar hire” I wrote about late last year, BridgingApps has won the $700,000 prize in the Verizon Powerful Answers Awards education category, which was just announced at CES! This is an outstanding achievement that will further this great organization’s mission to bridge the gap between technology and people with disabilities. A […]
I have always tried to build relationships with CEOs of other companies to learn as much as possible from their experience. In my early days of being a CEO, I would go to many events around Austin to hear speakers and network with other chief executives. I often saw one CEO at these events who […]
In case you missed them, here are my most-viewed blog posts of 2013:
- Support oddballs in your company culture
- Texas vs. California: Texas Wins
- CEOs: Employee engagement matters
- How executives hire: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on finding motivated employees
- The million dollar hire
- 5 Responsibilities of a CEO: Own the Vision
- When do you hire for job experience vs. raw talent?
- 10 Steps to a Nine Figure+ Exit
- The No Asshole Policy and Company Culture
- 5 Responsibilities of a CEO: Make Good Decisions
Happy New Year to all! In the midst of people sharing their best business books of 2013, I wanted call out one I read this year that I think should be on every CEO’s reading list: “The Art of Action” by Stephen Bungay. The book was published in 2011, but I don’t think it got […]
I’ll be hosting a live Webinar this Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST for ExecSense on “Best Practices for Establishing 2014 Goals for Your Management Team.” The content is tailored to CEOs who want to start the year off right by setting corporate goals that drive company priorities, adapt to changing business conditions, and engage employees. The Webinar will be available to ExecSense subscribers on demand after Friday. Check it out and join me! I will continue to make effectively setting and tracking goals a focus of this blog throughout the year.
The idea of a CEO for Obamacare is so obvious that it is hard to believe there could be any disagreement. The Affordable Care Act is a huge endeavor that would test even the best CEO. The resistance from the administration as outlined in this Business Insider article reminds me of a startup CEO who won’t give up any control to his team. When this happens in a 50-person startup, it often causes serious issues that threaten the viability of the company. When it happens in an entity the size of the federal government, it is a recipe for disaster.
Originally posted on HBR Blog Network – Harvard Business Review:
Our first accomplishments as professionals are usually rooted in our skill as individual contributors. In most fields we add value in the early stages of our careers by getting things done. We’re fast, we’re efficient, and we do high-quality work. In a word, we’re doers.…
One of the interesting things about the CEO job is that almost every employee has a strong opinion about the CEO’s performance. They may not be able to tell you much about the VP of Sales or Marketing unless they work in that group, but everyone has an opinion about their leaders. This is because […]
How many CEOs are first-time CEOs? I think it’s the majority (we found as high as 73%), and that’s a real problem. This is the subject of my newest article for Forbes: Why Virgin CEOs Are At A Distinct Competitive Disadvantage Bottom line: Most new CEOs do not have the preparation or the management systems to […]
A little change of pace on the blog today. Like many of you I have spent a fair amount of time on the road during my career, and I am often surprised by what I find in hotel rooms. Specifically, I’m usually confronted with a set of minor annoyances that make spending time on the […]
I don’t agree with the pretext of this CNN article that “of course all presidents lie” and that it is necessary for the job. Since I believe strongly that credibility is a key part of leadership, I think it is dangerous to make claims that lying is integral to the job. Credibility is a binary judgment […]
Today is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. As you may know, Lincoln was not the keynote speaker that day: Edward Everett, an orator from Massachusetts, spoke for more than two hours immediately before Lincoln. This was not unusual for the time, and Everett was considered a great speaker. Yet his involvement in the […]
Microsoft has finally abandoned its ill-conceived performance review system that pitted employee against employee. It would be easy to conclude from this that rating employees is a bad idea. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem at Microsoft is that performance ratings were tied directly to pay. So when the manager was saying […]
I was recently reminded of how important a single personnel decision can be. I traveled to San Francisco to make a presentation on behalf of a non-profit organization I’ve worked with for a couple of years. With non-profits, just as in for-profits, it is critical to get the right people in the right places. While […]
On this Veteran’s Day I am reminded that my first exposure to a really good leader was in the U.S. Navy. I accepted an officer commission to the Navy while still in college, which committed me to spending four years teaching at Naval Nuclear Power School (NPS). The commanding officer of NPS was always a Captain […]
Governor Chris Christie, R-N.J., was re-elected as New Jersey governor in a landslide victory last night. His crossover appeal to independents and Democrats has lessons for CEOs. An article in Business Insider titled DEAR REPUBLICANS: Here’s How To Not Be Hated By Minority Voters listed four reasons for his popularity: “They like and trust him […]
I found this article from Aileen Lee fascinating: Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups. She looks at the 39 U.S.-based tech companies founded since January 2003 that have reached at least a billion dollar valuation in either the private or public markets. While the whole article has many interesting points, I want […]
In the summer of 1984 I was lucky enough to participate in a church youth group trip to Rome where Mother Theresa was scheduled speak to an assembly of all the youth groups from the U.S. At the time I was 18 and while I had certainly heard of Mother Theresa, I didn’t know that […]
“Learning is not compulsory but neither is survival.” W. Edwards Deming
Whether the result of ignorance, hubris or both, it is easy as a CEO to get trapped into thinking that you should have all the answers. But that’s a sure way to stagnation. It is critical to your long-term success to build a cycle of continuous improvement into your corporate and personal development. In my newest Forbes article today I provide a list of 10 ways CEOs can continuously improve their performance.
Some of the items may seem simple – read some books, write some content, gather feedback – but you’d be surprised how many CEOs do not make the time for these things. Special thanks to my friend Mike Hawkins at www.alpinelink.com, where I got the basis for this list.
With so many things on a CEO’s plate, how do you find the time to get better? The real question is: How can you afford not to?
I know a senior manager at a large company who did not meet his direct manager for 18 months due to a travel ban. Finally, the ban was lifted and he made the trek to corporate headquarters to meet his boss. One hour after meeting with him an announcement came out reorganizing the senior manager […]
As I mentioned in my most recent post – The budget is set so no brilliant ideas until next year – in many companies budgets are often the only strategic, tangible plans that lower-level managers and employees are exposed to by management. While the company may have some lofty mission or vision statement, those platitudes are […]
In his latest column - “Starting and Finishing” - Fred Wilson writes about the different skill sets needed to found a company and then to build the business. Many times the founder is not the person to take the company to the finish line. As Fred says, “The skills that get you from idea, through initial product, past product […]
The subject of my latest article for Forbes.com is what CEOs should study outside of traditional business education that will help them succeed on the job. I started this blog because I believe there is a lack of training and development to help people prepare for the specific challenges of the CEO role. I think focused […]
Monkey See, Monkey Doomed One day a researcher put five monkeys in a cage. In the middle of the cage he placed a ladder that provided access to a string of bananas he had tied to the top of the cage. The monkeys quickly realized the only way to reach the bananas was the ladder. […]