11/4/21

CEO Shoptalk – Signal V Noise In A Hurry

The only real equality in the world is time. We each get 24 hours a day. The rest of equality notions are lies, headfakes, just opiates for the masses — except for time.

Time is an absolute and nobody gets one more minute in an hour than all of us do. When it comes to time, you are as rich as Elon Musk.

Which beings me to the subject of how we use our time and the friction that life imposes on us and thereby shoplifts our time. Continue reading

10/27/21

The Common Touch And Other Real World Issues

Eight years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled: “Tone And The Common Touch (5-8-2013)” wherein I laid out case for ensuring that your — assuming you to be a CEO or C-suite denizen — tone and the way you dealt with your subordinates was a critical element in how they perceived you and, thus, how they followed your lead.

Tone And The Common Touch

Therein, I said: “Keep the common touch.  The grounded view of the world from which you launched your enterprise.  The humble, lean, agile, nimble startup and success story that you always intended to create.” Continue reading

10/24/21

CEO Shoptalk — Persuasion

If you are a CEO, a manager, a leader you will of necessity order persons who are your subordinates to do things that need to be done. It is the nature of a senior-subordinate relationship, an employer-employee relationship. It is an every day action in the workplace.

How can you ensure that these things you require to be done are, in fact, done?

There are essentially three ways:

 1. You can mandate that they be done under pain of punishment. Discipline in the work place is always lurking just below the surface.

Taken to an extreme, if you fail to follow the mandate, you will be fired.

In 33 years as a CEO and 5 years an Army officer, I never had anyone defy my orders or found it necessary to discipline anybody for willfully not following my direction.

I had plenty of times when someone did not do something I had ordered to be done well, but that is not what we are talking of today.

 2. You can reward persons for the accomplishment of the task.

Whatever behaviors you reward will be observed by others and duplicated.

Feed the good angels; starve the bad angels. Get more good angels. Money talks.

 3. You can persuade them of the necessity and wisdom that the thing be done.

Persuasion requires education, communication, salesmanship, a bit of cajolery, and the willingness to engage in calm debate wherein the titular power of the CEO is put aside for a second as he/she deploys the power of logic. Continue reading

10/12/21

CEO Shoptalk — Not Cleared In Hot

When you are calling in CAS (close air support — might be Snakes, Warthogs, fast movers, Puff the Magic Dragon — I know, dating myself) you will tell the flyboys they are “cleared hot” meaning they can bring their special brand of firepower and turn it loose on the target and that the friendlies are out of the line of fire. You are also assuring them that if you had guns firing that the gun-target line is clear.

When you are a CEO, you can never, ever clear yourself in hot when disciplining employees. Continue reading

08/23/21

CEO Shoptalk – Executive Decision-making

One of the things that strikes new CEOs is how bloody many decisions there are to make to run a startup and a fledgling business to say nothing of one that survives the trip from the cradle to the marketplace.

I have read that a CEO makes more decisions in a day than CEOs did in prior times in a month — prior times being defined as pre-personal computer and Internet.

I was in business before the PC and the Internet and I totally agree with that assessment. No big surprise there, right?

Continue reading

09/27/20

CEO Shoptalk — All Risk Is Not Created Equal

If you are an entrepreneur, founder, CEO, you swim in a sea of risk, alternating amongst the butterfly, the backstroke, the breaststroke, and the crawl. You must do it all.

In the early days, you are a minnow (or a little mullet if you are feeling salty) and the dangerous waters of startup land are populated by voracious, big-toothed sharks, vicious sharks, all of whom want to devour you.

In these early, formative days every risk can eat you (kill you, destroy your company). [Worse, you don’t yet know the nature of risk. You are in that classic posture of not knowing what you don’t know.]

As you exit the size 2 Pampers, the list of things that can kill you begins to thin, but you add to it — you begin to take risk.

You visit risk upon yourself as you sharp elbow your way upward in the food chain. [Soon, you may become a shark.]

The big question is this — Do you understand the nature of the risks you are taking?

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09/24/20

Accounting — That Bedeviling Black Art

I took a few accounting courses in grad school. I once knew my debits versus my credits. Knew all about original issue discounts, goodwill impairment, and other such trivia.

Knew GAAP and FASB. Just showing off now.

I ran businesses for 33 years. I needed to know more about accounting so I hired good accountants, retained good accounting firms, hired a good Chief Financial Officer, got second opinions, and I studied the subject on the mean streets of the business world.

CEOs and founders need to know some accounting — financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax accounting. What I knew saved me a lot of money.

One of my interests is the progression of ratios in a graphical manner — pick a financial ratio and graph it such that you can see the trend at the bat of an eye. That tells me something.

Continue reading