Category Archives: People and Leadership Development

Ten Ways to Break Through & Develop a Sustainable Growth Strategy for 2013

Think New Thoughts

&

Elevate

Emily Knight “Elevating!” Full Handstand

So you are leading an organization with annual revenues between $1 and $40 million and you desire to break through to the next level.       

The below recommendations assume that leadership can see growth opportunities and understands how the organization can / will finance the new growth.  Growth isn’t for everyone and sometimes it is better to optimize our existing customer mix and not grow.  If you are not sure how to finance your growth but see growth opportunities, contact us and we can determine how appropriate growth is for you financially and how / if it can be financed.  Should you see growth opportunities and know how to finance such growth, yet the organization can’t quite seize these opportunities for one reason or another, some or all of the below recommendations will likely help either in execution or how you are viewing the future.  Even if we are optimizing our existing customer mix, you may find these recommendations helpful to how you improve the performance and value of your organization.

“Think New Thoughts” was one of several “lessons learned” nuggets of advice shared by John Lewis in April of 2007 when he was the speaker for CEO Forum I.   As 2013 begins, let’s consider what new thoughts will allow us and our organization to break through!

  • Steve Blank refers to a CEO as being a conductor of a symphony. 

Embrace this! How do we prepare each person to be the best they can be for the role they play in our organization?  How do we help others become better than they ever thought they could become? How do we come together and execute like a high performing orchestra?

  • First who, then what.[i]

Develop a group of A Players & B Players; move B Players to A Players and C Players to B Players.  Remember, a leader is not to be served but to serve others helping our team grow and have a meaningful career / life.

  •  In order to achieve smart & sustainable growth, we must look at our portfolio of talent differently.

If we are going to pursue growth, we all must delegate more and prepare others to take on more responsibilities.  We don’t want to overpromote yet we want to prepare as many people as possible to take on new responsibilities and receive promotions.  If some are unable to take on responsibilities needed to execute at the next level, we will need to add new people.  When adding new people, consider their talent based on their capacity to take on not one but two promotions over, say the next two or four years. If you don’t desire to grow or see growth opportunities, obviously, one can manage this  differently yet A players and B players want to grow in their own career, requiring a growth strategy by the leadership of their employer.

  • Develop clear organizational alignment both for today and for the future. 

Develop an organizational chart that not only speaks to today’s organization but how the organization will look next year and the next.  This means for future year planning, some boxes will be empty.  This also allows others to see where promotions are possible & how we can help them “career plan” so that they can be considered for new openings as that time comes.

  • After organizational alignment, assure that one person owns every detailed task that the organization can define. 

One person should own each and every task of the company.  Another person can be on their team or be there backup but one person needs to own the responsibility.  The ownership tasks and the backup tasks can be established by detailed job descriptions with each person having primary and secondary responsibilities.

  • While impatience got us to the top, patience is now essential.  Push the organization forward, then stop and iterate[ii].

 Determine how this new push is working and modify for improved performance.  In order to innovate, we are going to make mistakes.[iii]  In order to move at a more rapid pace, we are going to “break things.”[iv]  It is part of the necessary price of progress.  Have belief and a positive attitude and give your team confidence that after a series of iterations, we will move our organizations to a new level.

  •   Conduct autopsies without blame.[v]

This is a great way to assure we are staying patient.  And it helps us get to the issues sooner and better.  Conduct these autopsies without blame and if we find during our iterations that it is more of a person or an employee issue, begin to then focus on how to help that person.  Should under-performance continue, it is sometimes best for all to invite the person to their future elsewhere optimally with dignity, respect and compensation.[vi]

  •  Consider the speed of change, the fact that someone is working right now to disrupt your market.

Moving fast to advance innovation or ways to add more value to how you serve your market has a risk / reward payoff.  The faster you move to advance your value proposition, the less impact a new competitor can have if they in fact find a way to disrupt your market.  The market will be disrupted but the impact will be less on you and your organization.

  •  Every one of us, every leader must be more positive!  And remember that if we get angry, we give our power away. 

By focusing on how we lead, focusing on ourselves, we can likely make as much or more impact on how the organization performs as anything.  As we know we are doing our very best and doing all we can to help others be there very best, we will be more comfortable in our own skin and can lead people exponentially better.

  • Contact us and see if joining a CEO Forum might be right for you and you might be right for a CEO Forum.

info@ceoforums.us   or 479-310-5570



[i] Jim Collins, Good to Great

[ii] Iteration means the act of repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal, target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an “iteration,” and the results of one iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration.

[iii] Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, Principles and Culture

[iv] John James, CEO of Acumen Brands, Speaker of the Elevate Speaker Series; “Move fast and break things!”

[v]Jim Collins, Good to Great

[vi] Jim Myers, Founder of the CEO Forum

Todd Wood Honored with 1st Annual Jim Myers Super Mentor Award

Definitions:

su·per  - Very good or pleasant; excellent

men·tor  - A trusted valued advisor

jim myers – the best super mentor known to many; founder of the CEO Forum; former CEO of two publicly held companies, partner to the wonderful Gindy Myers

todd wood – recipient of the 1st Annual Jim Myers Super Mentor Award

photo – Darin Gray, Gray Matters and CEO Forum I Alum along with Tim McFarland award Todd Wood the beautiful Crystal Award, selected and designed by Creative Awards.  Both Darin and Tim know what a great Super Mentor Todd Wood is!  As do members of CEO Forum II, Key Forum I and one can be assured, many others!

thank you – we sincerely thank you Todd Wood, for all of the value you give others every day!

cost of photo – priceless…..yet we do expect a large invoice to be received from professional photographer / Buffalo River Legend Mike Mills along with his assistant, another Arkansas Legend, Wayne Woods

Thank you all!

What Made John Lewis a Great Leader?

Please find input here from our CEOForums YouTube channel on what made John Lewis a great leader, part three, as reflected by the following people:

  • Alan Fortenberry
  • Archie Schaffer
  • Hugh Kincaid
  • Louise Schaper
  • Hayden McIlroy
  • David Lewis
  • Jay Lewis
  • Dwayne Cromwell
  • Elaine Williams
  • Mike Malone
  • and Uvalde Lindsey’s written comments
  • including how to pronouce “Feydville!”
What a great leader John Lewis was.  Thank you to each of the above for helping us with the start of defining John’s attributes of his great leadership.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=vuAMC8klxsA
http://youtube.com/user/CEOForums

 

How to Build a Great Salesperson From Scratch

Anthony Iannarino offers some excellent resources and knowledge relating to sales titled the Anthony Iannarino Sales Blog.  You may find it of value along the way.  We thought he laid this topic out very well.

In the CEO Forums, we often discuss and emphasize how important it is to try to “grow our own great people from within” vs. recruit from the outside.  Sometimes it makes sense and can even be advantageous to recruit from the outside.  Yet, we all would be better if we could grow more of our best people from scratch.  And that is why we are posting the link to this well written post.

How do we build a great sales person from scratch or for that matter a great key person from scratch?

Please review the content in Anthony’s post.  In summary,

  • hire people with the right attributes
  • combine training and experience
  • start coaching
  • give more training and greater challenges
  • give even more sales coaching
“Ongoing coaching is key to building great sales people,” Anthony states or for that matter, it is key to building great people within our organization.

The link:

http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2012/11/16/how-to-build-a-great-salesperson-from-scratch/

What are your thoughts and views on the topic?

 

7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do by Jeff Haden

For every leader or every aspiring leader, these 7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do are worth focusing on.  Stay thirsty for continuous learning as it is not only essential but makes the journey richer and keeps us humble and grounded.

7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do was found via ceo.com and was published by Jeff Haden at inc.com.   Thank you to each!  Here is the link:

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/7-unusual-things-great-bosses-do.html

 

 

The Top Five Mistakes of Unsuccessful Leaders (as found @ ceo.com)

It sure was great being with the CEO Forum I members this morning and with Sarah Fennel and Steve McBee this afternoon.  There were insights shared and peer relationships advanced meaningful to all!

As you have heard it emphasized, from the wise counsel of Jim Myers, founder of the CEO Forum, “as leaders we must work to be more positive.”  It is a categorical statement applicable, in our view, to almost every one of us.

We will strive, as a portfolio of work, to do so yet in this post, we share a topic that seems against this grain.  The list just seemed to be a list whose review by our members and those striving to lead better might benefit. So let’s spend just a little time some time over the weekend reflecting on The Top Five Mistakes of Unsuccessful Leaders found at ceo.com and written by  The Leadership Freak.

http://www.ceo.com/flink/?lnk=http%3A%2F%2Fleadershipfreak.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F11%2F01%2Fthe-top-5-mistakes-of-unsuccessful-leaders%2F

Helpful Resources for Leaders

FYI, we continue to find great value in ceo.com & thebuildnetwork.com, two of the thirty three links found at ceoforums.us under the category of “Helpful Resources for Leaders.”  If you are desiring to “elevate” your pace of learning and improve upon how you lead your enterprise or your team, other than embarking upon a 360 degree assessment or working genuinely hard to break down barriers for genuine feedback, these two resources would be great “foundational resources” from which to begin.

Giving Meaning to What We Do

One last comment, in our one-on-one session today with Founder and CEO of Restore Humanity, Sarah Fennel, we received a wonderful gift.  It was her demand that we stop and listen to her “giving thanks” to our work together and the contributions she felt we had made to her leadership effectiveness.  And I only share this to say, she found a way to do this in a genuine and special and loving way and it gave great meaning to the work we do.  It is exactly what we would like to be able to do with every person with whom we work & especially those whose responsibility to lead is ours.  If we can give more meaning to what they do, they will perform even better!  Now, let’s see if we can absorb this gift of Sarah’s and be able to perform better in the coming weeks and months.  Thank you Sarah, for your restorative gift and for restoring the humanity of the less fortunate in Kenya.  We love ya!

HBR Blogpost by a Gen Y’er – Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem

We all know that our co-workers / our people are our most valuable asset.  So learning more about how we lead them helps us better lead all of our co-workers.  At the link provided below, you will find an HBR Blogpost by a Gen Y’er, Cal Newport, that will hopefully help us understand more about Gen Y and, over time, help us better know how to lead and motivate this generation along with all others.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/09/solving_gen_ys_passion_problem.html

We would more than welcome your thoughts in comments as the collective wisdom of group input is almost always more valuable.

Leadership – The Area With Which Humans Struggle the Most

Leadership is the area with which humans struggle the most.

Much has been written about it, yet it remains hard to execute for most of us.  It is a lifelong journey that is never finished.

Please c0nsider the following framework.

This framework & these perspectives were developed over many years by Jim Myers.   Founder of the CEO Forum, Jim is the former CEO of two publicly traded companies and since starting the CEO Forum in 1989 has mentored, coached, counseled and helped hundreds of CEO’s in and around the Phoenix marketplace.

LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVES

 Leadership is the ability to bring the best out in others.

Leadership’s practice is applicable to anyone who has responsibility for impacting other people.

As we rise in organizations, the most universal struggle  people face is around Leadership.

The Challenge

As individuals perform well, we are rewarded with greater and greater responsibility. Yet….

  • The habits that get us to leadership roles may have nothing to do with the role of a CEO or a leader of any expanded responsibility.
  • We get rewarded because we performed so well ourselves.  Endless hours knock over any obstacle to get the results.  If someone isn’t getting it done, we will do it ourselves.
  • Where impatience may have gotten us here, patience may now be the virtue required as we rely and depend on others to meet increased responsibility
  • Leadership isn’t about how good we can do, we have already demonstrated this.  It is about how good we can help others be better than they have ever been.

The Opportunity

  • Leadership is about creating an environment for others that will allow them to be their best; environments that are as open, trusting, and as non-political and non-defensive as possible.
  • True leadership is about serving those being led – not about being served.
  • The most enduring attributes of a leader are positive attitude; humility and genuine delight in seeing others succeed.

Six questions that most of us have about our organization whose answers require leadership:

-        What is going on?

-        Where are we going?

-        How are we going to get there?

-        What do you want me to do?

-        Am I important here?

-        Does anyone care about me?

Leadership must provide:

-        Communication

-        Vision

-        Values

-        Clarity of people’s roles and responsibilities

-        A sense of feeling important in the process and being appreciated for what we do

Communication / Relationship

  • If leaders fail to communicate what is going on, it is subject to   gossip and rumors.
  • If I know something you don’t know I have an edge.  We want no edges.  We want our people to know the most possible information
  • Meetings for communication about what is going on do not waste time, rather they save time eliminate hesitancy, confusion and allow everyone to be on the same page for the same purpose.
  • Leadership is a responsibility, but more than that it is a privilege.
  • Leadership is a relationship between people not necessarily the property of any individual.

Thank you Jim Myers for all that you have done as you strive to bring the best out of each one of us.

We hope you find this information helpful.  Please feel free to offer your comments or input that might increase the value to the original post.