08/22/19

CEO Criticism — Responding To Criticism

As a CEO, you will be the beneficiary of a wonderful phenomenon — the whole world will tell you about your shortcomings, what they would do differently, and the fact that you’re, well, a bum. They may question your intellect and opine that your mother dresses you funny.

It comes with the job.

Run a public company and deal with thousands of shareholders and the criticism is broader, deeper, and more pointed. Shareholders will even make fun of your dog. What kind of person makes fun of a man’s dog?

You will be tempted to respond, which will generate more criticism another response until the cycle becomes entrenched and begins to sap your energy.

This guy, who had a few critics in his day, is reputed to have said:

Image result for images of churchill

“You will never reach your destination if you stop

and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

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07/10/19

The Whine Line Protocol

The Whine Line Procotol, Big Red Car? Do tell.

So, your Big Red Car was engaged in a bit of  discussion and blog reading in which the subject of how to deal with problem hires or heretics — do not dig that word in this context — was bandied about.

A couple of things came to light, but the most important is this — dealing with employees both good and not so good is a normal part of CEOing.

Your generation did not invent sex or business; dealing with less than perfect employees is not a problem unique to your outfit. It is just a normal part of CEOing, and you got that gig.

Employees are dynamic. Your star marketing person may become your challenge and vice versa. Here are you and the employees on good days.

It is all just part of running a team, a company, CEOing. It is normal and you don’t need to be firing people for a little whining. The challenge is to keep the whining within a tolerable level.

That requires you to develop your own personal Whine Line Protocol.

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04/9/19

CEO — What Does a CEO Do?

An obnoxious friend of mine is constantly asking me: “What does a CEO actually do?” He does it on the page on the website whereat one may ask a question.

He then sends me irritating emails saying, “Big Red Car, you never answered my question. Do you even know the answer?”

He is a pest, but he is right I never answer him. Now, I will, but only because he has promised to buy me a steak at a restaurant of my choice — Capital Grille or Eddie V’s.

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12/10/18

I Did the Best I Could

Big Red Car here on a cold, sunny day in the ATX. Brrrr, 58F.

So, I’m in conversation with a trio of CEOs who have in common that they tried to fix something and didn’t quite get it fixed correctly the first time.

They came back with a longer rope and a bigger hammer and fixed it.

They were distraught that they hadn’t gotten it right on the first try.

To which your Big Red Car asked, “Did you do the best you could?”

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05/16/18

CEO Shoptalk — Great Startup CEO

Are you a great startup CEO?

OK, so the Big Red Car gets asked often, “Tell me, wise and red Big Red Car, what makes a great startup CEO?”

Like most things in the startup world, there is not a single, correct answer, plus the Big Red Car is lazy and doesn’t want to do the work.

But, now somebody asked the question in a way I cannot dodge. So, here goes.

What makes a great startup CEO, Big Red Car? Tell me.

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04/16/18

Making the Right Decisions v Making Decisions Right

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Are you making decisions right? Are you taking the right decisions?

OK, y’all, Big Red Car here on a crisp, sunny Texas spring day. On Earth as it is in Texas!

Today, I am pondering a conversation I had last week with a seasoned CEO who I have known for several years. We worked together and I watched him become an extraordinary CEO. It was a wonder to behold.

Early in our relationship, I sent him my standard “beginning a relationship” questions. It’s called the Startup Company and Small Company Checklist.

The way it works is I want the CEO to read the questions to see whether he can answer them. Not to assign homework, but to give him an idea of how others view the framework of a startup. It is always illuminating to have the first discussion after they read that document.

You can find it and other useful stuff here: FREE STUFF

Just scan it, don’t answer it.

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10/23/17

Leadership Changes — CEO Shoptalk

Leadership changes can effect policy which can alter outcomes. Leadership changes are critical to outcomes.

Big Red Car here on a glorious Texas, Austin By God Texas, day. Ahh, on Earth as it is in Texas!

One of the easiest ways to change outcomes is to change leadership. I say this in the context of business leadership (startups, in particular), but the example I will use has to do with the Middle East and ISIS. Hello, America!

If you have been following the unending war in Iraq and Syria, you will note several interesting things.

ISIS is kaput and it is only a matter of time before its leadership is dead, and its footprints disappear.

Let’s explore how this happened.

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10/11/17

Layoffs — CEO Shoptalk

Layoffs are never fun. Here’s how to think about and do it.

So, it is gorgeous in the ATX — high 0f 78F, currently sunny and 67F. On Earth as it is in Texas! A day to eat outside.

So, we spoke earlier about firing folks for cause, remember?

Firing People — CEO Shoptalk

Today, we follow up on that by talking about layoffs. Layoffs are “not for cause” terminations, while firing people is “for cause.” Know the distinction. Either way, it is a hard day at Slippery Rock when you have to fire or layoff folks.

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10/4/17

Firing People — CEO Shoptalk

Firing people and laying folks off is a hard day. Here are some thoughts on how to do it.

Big Red Car here on a cloudy, but soon to be sunny, day in the ATX, God’s country. On Earth as it is in Texas! Muggy today.

So, a CEO has a series of things she struggles with. We talked about that right here:

CEOs — Doing Tough Things Shoptalk

One of those things is terminating employment either by firing someone (for cause) or laying someone off (not for cause).

They are both difficult to do. Here’s some thoughts on the subject.

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07/23/17

Training — like the Rangers, training for the startup

Training table for the Big Red Car today — looking forward to a nice steak with a 10W40 mushroom sauce.  We are talking training today for both the Rangers and the startup.

So, in the continuum of crawl, walk, run — somewhere about the walk to run transformation, the startup should start thinking about training.

If you look at this picture of these sharp Rangers, the difference between them and the rest of the straight leg Army is the quality of their training. They train to their mission.

U.S. Army Rangers with the 75th Ranger Regiment make up the “honor platoon” in a funeral procession to the gravesite of Gen. (retired) Wayne A. Downing during his internment service at West Point, NY, Sept. 27, 2007.

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07/21/17

Risk — A Four Letter Word, CEO Shoptalk

Today, we talk RISK, y’all. It is a four letter word and it can be profane, if you let it.

Big Red Car here on a sunny, Texas day which will give rise to a 103F temperature during which the BRC will be hanging in the pool, floating.

OK, so today we talk about risk. Risk is what drives startups. When you overcome a risk, you wander into the Winner’s Circle and collect your winnings at the mythical PAYWINDOW.

But, what is risk? Risk is different to different people. If you are a green, first time founder/CEO, then everything is risky after you have tied your shoes (the reason why new CEOs should wear slip-ons).

If you are a fifth time, serial entrepreneur, then your view of risk is different.

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04/26/17

Leadership Style — CEO Shop Talk

Leadership style or cattle today? Hmmm, which one?

Big Red Car here on one of those Texas days that makes you want to get on a horse and herd cattle up the trail, cross the Red River into the Indian Territory, and kick up your heels at a dance hall in Abilene, Kansas.

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Listen, Big Red Car, I am not going to Abilene, Kansas. I like it right here. Go away, Big Red Car. Notice the lovely earrings. Cattle are controlled by numbers and they are assets on the hoof.

Maybe not.

OK, so I wrote a blog post a while ago about finding your “authentic” leadership style. I was talking to some CEOs (me, the Big Red Car, not that other guy, The Boss) and we got on the subject of leadership style. Everybody got hung up on the word “authentic.” Haha, it was funny.

Finding Your Authentic Leadership Style <<< read this

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03/26/17

Deadlines — Moving the Goalpost (CEOs Only)

Deadlines, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a spectacular Sunday morning. The Boss is enroute to church, so I can finally use the damn computer.

So, here it is, y’all. We are going to talk about deadlines.

You will recall I ragged you pretty good about creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Constrained) goals.

OK, so you see the part about “time constrained?” That is the deadline, the goal post.

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02/12/17

Problems and Owning Them — CEOs Only

Big Red Car here on a listless Sunday afternoon. Been to church for a good sermon, wondering if the minister was talking directly to or about ME. That hurts. I think he wastalking about me.

So, The Boss is talking to a lot of new client CEOs and there is a troubling new development bubbling up. Not really troubling, but noteworthy.

You must own your problems if you are going to deal with and overcome them. This is different than saying, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

Go read: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys — Advice for CEOs << link 

The Boss is always reminded of a time when he was in the Army when a pal of his, in a moment of extremis, said, “Hold my beer. I’ve got to deal with this.”

“This” was a couple of long-haired-ruffians of the City of Brotherly Love bar fight scene who did not like soldiers, a common enough occurrence at the time. The odds were a little out of balance — two of them, one soldier. The Boss was available as a reinforcement, but his pal said, “I own this problem and I’ll fix it.”

There was some theorem of calculus or quantum physics which gave rise to the clash of ideas. I can’t remember exactly. In the end, the soldier (a Ranger School grad) handled the problem quite nicely though The Boss did drink his beer. Bought him another one.

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01/26/17

Employee Retention, It Can Be Easy — CEOs Only

Employee retention, Big Red Car? Sounds boring, BRC.

Big Red Car here touring the great state of Florida — not me, The Boss. Come home, Boss. Get back to work.

So, The Boss is talking to a bunch of his CEOs — brilliant all — and the subject is key employee retention, which The Boss says is just employee retention, key and otherwise.

All of the CEOs say, “I’m a great CEO. Always looking, always scouting for talent, always hiring.”

“What,” asks The Boss, “does that have to do with keeping your people? Employee retention?”

They agree on the answer, “Nothing. It’s just another thing good CEOs are doing — talent spotting. Has nothing to do with keeping the people you already have.”

In 33 years of CEO-ing, you will learn a few things because if you can’t keep your people, you won’t be a CEO for very long. Boom!

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09/5/16

Delegation — For CEOs Only

Delegation. Today we talk about delegation.

But, first, a weather report. It is a perfect day in the ATX because the Texas Longhorns beat the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame last night in a fabulous game decided in two overtimes. Go Horns! It is the start of the Shane Buechele era in Longhorn football but it was a great win all around. OK, that’s enough. Sorry. Hook ’em, Horns!

The ability of a CEO to delegate tasks effectively is a force multiplier and one of the most important skills a CEO can develop. It is a mechanical skill and today the Big Red Car is going to help you learn how to do it. It’s like being able to fly fish. A bit of local knowledge plus a ten-to-two cast and you are eating smoked trout whenever you want. Listen.

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04/23/16

Decisions Better Ones – For CEOs

Big Red Car here. Decisions, y’all. Decisions.

This is a post redux from the The Characteristics Traits and Skills of the Successful CEO — Decisionmaking post from some time earlier. I am running it again because I continue to see a number of CEOs who are struggling with forming and making decisions.

CEOs have a hard job which entails making a lot of decisions many of which they are making for the first time. Sorry, that’s the job you’ve chosen.

But it doesn’t have to be as hard as you make it. You can streamline it by taking a process approach to how you frame and make decisions. A better methodology will end up with better decisions and you will expend less energy and create less angst by having such a process at your fingertips.

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04/12/16

Changing CEOs — What Is The Process?

Big Red Car here in the ATX waiting on another dawn and another great day cause this is Austin by God Texas. On Earth as it is in Texas!

So, today, we chat about the orderly change of command when you get a new CEO. This is really targeted on current CEOs and to be new CEOs.

Nobody ever talks about how CEOs hand companies over to new CEOs because it is often accomplished at the end of a plank when a CEO is unceremoniously deleted — no, I meant “fired” or “terminated” or sent to “pursue other interests.” No, I meant fired. Sorry.

It happens.

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03/4/16

The Voices in Your Head — For CEOs Only

Big Red Car here on a glorious and unusually sunny day in the ATX. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So The Boss is engaged in a convo with a brilliant CEO about a month ago and it resonates in his head until it finally makes its way to his brain — oh, oh that may not be too diplomatic, Big Red Car?

A CEO has voices in his head which she must learn to ignore and some that the same CEO needs to embrace. Do tell, Big Red Car? [Those keeping score at home, the “he” and “she” were on purpose. OK, now back to our regular programming.}

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