08/25/17

Writing Strategy — CEO Shoptalk

How does a new CEO write Strategy? First, she gets her mind right. Here’s how.

Big Red Car here expecting Hurricane Harvey this weekend. Likely won’t get to the ATX until Tuesday. Whoa, Nellie!

Pray for those along the Gulf Coast who will be dealing with the first hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in 2008. Governor Abbott has already designated thirty Texas coastal counties as disaster areas. The Feds are already pouring into the fray. Well played, FEMA.

So, the Big Red Car is constantly talking to CEOs about their Strategy — the Strategy for their company. It is, sometimes, a confusing and disjointed talk.

We see CEOs having no problem with Vision and Mission, but the second it turns to documenting their Strategy, things go haywire.

The objective today is to get you in the right frame of mind to write your Strategy. Not to write it, but just get into the right frame of mind to be able to write it.

Continue reading

08/6/17

Heads Up — CEO Shoptalk

Heads Up, Big Red Car? Really?

Big Red Car here on a muggy Sunday morning which is a little gray. We get the cooler temps in return for the grayness. Fair trade?

So, the Big Red Car, has spent the last couple of hours removing cast iron sinks from black granite countertops in anticipation of new countertops — Carrara marble — on Wednesday!

[Big Red Car’s vision of Hell is removing cast iron sinks (weigh 400 lbs) with a plastic putty knife and spit, bare hands.]

But, that’s not what we want to talk about, is it?

No, we want to talk about a CEO with his head down working his butt off. [You may re-gender the “his” to “her” at your leisure.]

Continue reading

08/2/17

Flying Solo — For CEOs Only, CEO Shoptalk

Flying solo, Big Red Car? Where did that come from?

Big Red Car here on a cool and gray ATX day. Only getting to 88F today, downright cool. Hot tub tonight for the BRC? Hell, yes!

OK, so there are a number of analogies between flying airplanes and startups — takeoff, reaching cruise, landing. Startup, scale, exit?

One of the most apt analogies is the idea of FLYING SOLO.

Me, the Big Red Car, and the Bonanza with the cross country tip tanks hanging talking aviation v startup mojo. Yeah, I’m looking pretty damn RED.

In life, one doesn’t receive power, one TAKES power. Think about that for a second. Flying solo is about taking power.

Continue reading

07/26/17

Training — Baron von Steuben Style for CEOs

Training again, Big Red Car? Really?

OK, dear reader, we will have one last crack at training for the CEO. Promise.

Today, we discuss Baron von Steuben. You know the Baron, right? Drillmaster of Valley Forge, no?

Get this book by Paul Lockhart. Great read. Been around for some time and it is a great book to inspire a CEO.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

04/10/17

Scaling Sales — One Index Card Shop Talk

Big Red Car here talking scaling sales on a lovely — no, cloudy and gray — day in the ATX. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So, the Big Red Car comes from the school of SALES SOLVES EVERYTHING which means that CEOs need to focus on sales from the first day they start.

Any argument there? I didn’t think so.

But, once you have some sales, how does the crafty CEO scale the sales operation?

Listen up, dear reader, as the Big Red Car gives you a single index card answer. Ready?

Continue reading

03/28/17

Board of Directors

Big Red Car here waiting for Saturday and the Final Four contests. OK, but I am getting a lot of questions about all things pertinent to a Board of Directors and how to run board meetings and how to deal with board members.

We’ve talked about this before, so let me give you some frames of reference.

Know that I’ve stolen all of this from The Boss who had a lot of boards, board members, and board meetings in thirty-three years of CEOing.

Here it is for your use.

Continue reading

03/19/17

CEO — Learning To Walk

Big Red Car here in the ATX during SXSW, Texas bluebonnets, azaleas blooming, March Madness, and a bit of spring skiing? Is this a great country — Texas, I mean — or what?

IMG_1766

Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush co-existing in the Hill Country west of Fredericksburg. Peak bluebonnet is a few days away.

OK, so The Boss is talking to a youngish CEO.

“I may not be cut out to be a CEO,” says the youngish CEO. “Maybe, I’m just not CEO material.”

This CEO is actually quite brilliant but the CEO-ing gig is kicking his ass right now.

The Boss listens. A lot of dealing with momentarily troubled CEOs is letting the poison out and that requires a lot of listening. Sometimes, they need to be talked in off the ledge.

Continue reading

03/8/17

CEO Reflections

Big Red Car here in the ATX feeling a little cloudy — ooops, that’s the weather. Me, I feel marvelous. Let’s talk about the first time CEO, shall we?

So, I catch The Boss talking to a pal the other day. They were Second Lieutenants in a combat engineer unit in the Republic of Korea back in the early 1970s.

 

The Proper Young Lieutenant

The proper young lieutenant, having just landed in a rice paddy fertilized with “night soil.” If you recognize those “soiled” boots as Corcoran Jump Boots, then you have a sharp eye. Stroke of good luck, landing standing up, because of the aforenoted night soil.

 

It was a dicey time and they were both platoon leaders. Both of them would end up as Captains within 18-24 months, which was pretty damn fast even for those days.

“So, when did you first think you knew what you were doing?” asked The Boss’s compadre.

“I’ll get back to you when that happens.”

They laughed.

Continue reading