06/2/19

CEO Shoptalk — Mistake Amnesia

One of the first things I do when I take on a new CEO client is to ask, “What percentage of your decisions are good?”

I get two answers: forty-five percent or ninety percent. [True.]

I ask the same question of the same CEOs some time after we’ve been working together.

I get two answers:

 1. The former 90%-ers now say, “Forty-five percent.”

 2. The former 45%-ers now say, “About the same, maybe 50%, but now I know why.”

In making decisions, CEOs are going to make a lot of bad ones. If you follow the math above, more bad decisions than good decisions.

How do you get rid of the overhang of bad decisions? Mistake Amnesia!

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05/28/19

CEO Shoptalk — Perspective

Rains are coming because it’s the end of May and it’s Austin By God Texas. Like a bit of rain.

So, two CEOs are talking and we get into a chat about the difference between young/first time CEOs and experienced/serial CEOs.

I hazard the following, “Think it’s perspective.” There are a few other thoughts, but we keep circling back to perspective.

Serial CEOs know what is important — and they are better at it — because they have done it before. They made the mistakes, paid full tuition for the education.

On the heels of the Memorial Day post yesterday, I got a few emails from CEOs (former clients) who said the same thing, essentially, paraphrasing: “You were doing very different things than we were doing at the same age — early to mid-twenties. I assume it gave you a different perspective on things.”

Old lions and new lions are lions, but they have a different perspective on things.

Please note this is a nuclear lion family. They live in Llano, Texas. What is each of the lions thinking about.

Daddy lion is thinking about the checklist for the board meeting (he read the Checkist Manifesto as a cub and knows it works) and making sure the meeting docs are in the DropBox. He’s also thinking he needs to talk to those tigers in marketing to make damn sure they are following the agreed to process.

Momma lion is pondering whether Insta or FB is the way to go on marketing. She’s thinking about whether to have another cub, but is worried about the dilution if she has to raise capital.

Cub lion is thinking — “Wow, that looks cool. Maybe I should re-do my logo? Or become a B Corporation, cause that’s way cool. A blog — maybe start writing a blog.”

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03/30/19

Managing Expectations and Messaging

I wish I were not using President Donald J Trump as an exemplar for part of my blog post, as it is not intended for a political discussion, but rather for the CEO and his/her slice of capitalism.

As a CEO, two of the elements of your company that can be (must be?) managed are expectations and messaging. They are intimately related.

As a CEO, you are converting a Vision into a Mission and creating Strategy, Tactics, Objectives in a framework of Values which define a Culture.

Click on this graphic to see it at larger scale. It shows how these things are related. There is both structure and process at work here.

I often find that CEOs are comforted when they are able to see how all of these concepts are related and work together. It proves up the structural elements of your rapidly evolving process.

 

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10/21/18

Jeff Bezos on Decisionmaking

Big Red Car here with the skies clear and the sun shining. Let’s see how long that holds. We need to dry out here in the ATX and the Texas Hill Country.

So, your Big Red Car has always been keen on the science of making decisions. This is a topic first explored when in the Army and watching the decisionmaking techniques and practices of battalions, brigades, and divisions. Only once was I exposed to how a corps (3-5 divisions) makes decisions.

Today, we discuss the wisdom of the Bezos Style of Decisionmaking. He is a wildly successful founder and executive, so we should pay attention to how he suggests things might be done.

Image result for images jeff bezos

Jeff Bezos has strong and “different” views on the subject.

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10/9/18

CEO Shoptalk – Mistakes

Rainy day in paradise, so we talk about mistakes today.

If you are a CEO for more than twenty minutes, you will make a mistake. Sorry. Truth.

Mistakes fall into four general categories:

 1. Foot faults, like using the wrong fork with shellfish;

 2. Minimal consequences to someone on the team faux pas;

 3. Adverse consequences to a client or critical stakeholder; and,

 4. Burn the house down mistakes.

So what do you do?

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10/2/18

CEO Shoptalk – Time Allocation

Time allocation is a critical consideration for the CEO of any size enterprise, but particularly for CEOs of small businesses and startups.

Big Red Car here. Been in Savannah spending time with My Perfect Granddaughter offspring of My Perfect Daughter, the red head.

So, when I am there, I get into a convo with a young C-suite type guy and we are discussing how a startup or small company CEO should allocate his time.

It is a conversation I’ve had with a million CEOs. It is a universal problem faced by all CEOs.

How does one allocate their time as the company is faced with growth in a crawl, walk, run scenario?

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08/2/18

CEO Shoptalk – Traits of Leaders

Big Red Car here on a beautiful, sunny Thursday. Ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.

So, I’m at church on Sunday listening to the sermon – I love and desperately need a good sermon – and it inspires me to think about some of the traits of great leaders – not “good” GREAT!

I come up with four traits which seem to separate the great from the good and the mediocre.

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07/28/18

Respect the Process

Respect the process? WTF are you talking about, Big Red?

Big Red Car here supervising the plumbers. Saturday plumbers always require a lot of supervision, but, hey, so what?

There is a new soaking tub going in and the plumbing change is quite extensive. They are doing work below the second floor and above the first floor ceiling – makes me a little nervous.

So, I’m melding a lot of recent conversations with CEO clients. They are all smart and hardworking, but, sometimes, not often, but, sometimes, they don’t stick to their knitting.

They don’t respect the process.

Did NOT RESPECT THE PROCESS

This creates problems which they then fix consuming twice as much time as if they had just respected the process in the first place.

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05/17/18

Experience, Addressable Experience

What is addressable experience? Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on another glorious Thursday in the ATX in which the sun shines, the breeze blows, and life flourishes. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.

So, I’m visiting with a gray haired eminence former CEO who is an old pal. We get on the issue of experience.

How much is enough?

How much is too much?

How much is relevant?

How much is addressable?

It was an interesting conversation. Between the two of us, we have more than seventy years of CEO-ing. That is a lot of time, a lot of experience.

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