CEO Shoptalk: Motivation v Inspiration

One of the current topics in the scrum discussion about leadership in the job environment at the C-suite level is the issue of motivation v inspiration. It is a nuanced discussion and it is tied into our current cultural metamorphosis in the workplace including such things as Work From Home v office work.

What exactly is the difference between motivation and inspiration, Big Red Car?

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CEO Shoptalk: Deferred Compensation


With that caveat, I want to urge you to investigate how deferred compensation might be a useful tool around the C Suite as part of a well-designed compensation program offering: compensation, benefits, short term incentive compensation, long term incentive compensation, and “something special.”

Deferred compensation fits into the “something special” category.

Let’s start with the basic understanding that you are a startup founder/CEO — in part, at least — for the money. Deferred compensation is a way to manage your compensation to your personal advantage within the rules as they are written.

There are two types of deferred compensation:

 1. Qualified deferred compensation programs such as the 401(k); and,

 2. Non-qualified deferred compensation programs which are one-off, bespoke arrangements negotiated between the founder/CEO/C Suite denizen and the company. Continue reading


THE Secret to Success

Sorry for the clickbait title, but a chap called me and wanted my five keys to success for a CEO which got me thinking. He was writing an article and wanted to hear a lot of voices.

I fear I ultimately disappointed the old boy as I did not agree it could be limited to five — I will write about my list shortly. Continue reading


CEO Shoptalk – Celebrate The Winning Of Small Beginnings

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1]

In the beginning of any startup company is the crucible that is the startup world which flows from The Idea and becomes the Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, Culture.

Take a breath, a deep breath, exhale.

Then, there is the Pitch Deck, the Go-to-Market Strategy, the proforma, the Business Engine Canvas, the Dollar Weighted Org Charts, etc. etc. etc. There are Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and Shareholder Agreements.

This is all before you even begin to think about the prospect of raising money to breathe life into all of the above.

It is a bloody daunting task and I see lots of startup founders slowly drowning in the enormity of it.

Ernest Hemingway reference, The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go  bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Substitute the word “drown” for “bankrupt” and you get the picture.

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CEO Shoptalk – Talent Spotting, the Louisiana Maneuvers of September 1941

A good CEO is always hiring and a great CEO is always looking for talent — talent spotting.

General George C Marshall was hailed by none other than Winston Churchill as the “Architect of Victory” for the manner in which he planned and executed the decisive American involvement in the war.

The most important element of his work may have been his ability to spot and develop talent within the American general officer corps.

But, what exactly did Marshall do that was so significant as to earn that title? Continue reading


CEO Shoptalk — What Do You Tolerate?

In the CEOing business, we spend a lot of time discussing culture, as we should.

Culture is spawned by the founder’s values which many times are a work in progress, particularly for first time CEO/founders. Perfectly natural.

In mature startups — still growing, but growing at scale meaning they are out of the cradle and “walking” swiftly in the crawl, walk, run continuum — this becomes incredibly important as the CEO cannot have a finger in every pie and the best CEOs are excellent delegators which mandates giving up a modicum of control.

It is at this instant in time that the company, its workforce, begins to own the culture and grow it though they never abandon the founder’s values. Continue reading