07/31/20

Managing Primadonnas in the Real World

I struggled for the right title for this blog post. Primadonnas is not quite the right word, but maybe it is.

What I am talking about is how do you manage groups of sales people, software engineers, or research engineers who are working in a difficult to define environment. This may not be your company, but it is many companies.

What I am addressing is a pool of persons who have a similar talent or assignment, who have differing levels of experience which gives way to different outcomes.

You will recognize this if you make and sell a product; or, if you run a SaaS company which continues to develop its core product while developing a new product; or, if you are a equipment company that has an R & D or product development effort.

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07/10/20

Breathing Life Back Into A Company

If you are the CEO of a startup, a small business, or a medium business, you are currently dealing with a unique situation — how do you re-invigorate an enterprise that has been rocked by three distinct issues:

 1. COVID19 on a personal, human scale;

 2. Externally imposed economic and workplace restrictions and impacts based on COVID19; and,

 3. The public backlash from racial issues related to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I will call this last one the Black Lives Matter issue.

These things taken together are likely to have created a negative impact on your company at the individual, granular level and at a business survival level.

There are a few companies who have prospered in the COVID19 environment, but who are still impacted by the BLM impact.

I think that most CEOs would agree that there will be changes, perhaps huge changes, on the other side of these impacts. That is, of course, if y’all survive to emerge on the other side.

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05/10/20

CEO Shoptalk — Fear v Fearful

A leader is always operating on the edge. Talking to you: entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs, C-suite denizens, departmental leaders, and students of leadership.

When I was in those positions, I never thought it was lonely at the top, but when people say it is — this is what they are talking about. Being alone with your thoughts, your duties, your responsibilities, your decisions — good ones, bad ones.

Today it is perfectly fine to feel the press of fear. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel fear today. We are facing monumental changes and the fellow traveler of change is fear.

Fear is an emotion. It is an instant in time. It is fleeting. We can banish it. It does not define us.

As a leader, you can feel fear, but you cannot run your organization on it.

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05/7/20

CEO Shoptalk — Scaling Yourself, Delegation

This is a re-titled former blog post that is particularly timely today. The way a CEO scales him/herself is to learn how to effectively delegate.

In these re-opening, re-launching COVID19 days, CEOs will be up to their eyeballs in work, so being able to delegate is an important work balancing tactic. Here is exactly how you do it.

Delegation. Today we talk about delegation. Think of delegation as the means by which a CEO scales him/herself.

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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04/7/20

The Gratification Of Personal Development, CEO Transformation

There is nothing as gratifying in my CEO coaching than watching hardworking CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs blossom and develop.

Right now is a time whereat a CEO is exposed to the business friction of the COVID19 saga. In this friction, one finds the revealed strength of CEOs. Frankly, not everyone has it while everyone needs it.

When you see a CEO with whom you have worked blossom and rise to the occasion, it is extraordinarily gratifying and just makes you want to sing Hosanna!

Amongst the characteristics I see with this subset are the following:

 1. The CEOs who undergo transformation to a higher level of performance in times of crisis have done the work, day in day out over a protracted period of time. There are no overnight success stories. Sorry.

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03/14/20

CEO, Founder, Reassurer

In times of crisis in business, the military, government those for whom you have responsibility will look to you for reassurance and guidance. It is part of the job. It is one of the most important parts of the job. You, amigo, are the reassurer.

Here is the big thing: Your people will only remember 5% of what you tell them, but they will remember 95% of how you told them and how it made them feel.

This is the part of the job that is called being the Reassurer-in-Chief.

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01/13/20

Listening Until The . . . . . End

I was with a pal of mine named Charlie — no, his name is not really Charlie — and I received a call from a former CEO coaching client who is a big deal these days. BIG DEAL.

I say to Charlie, “Let me talk to this guy.” We’re sitting under a grape arbor at a restaurant drinking expensive latte that Charlie insisted on rather than good, old fashioned black coffee. Charlie has forgotten more about the CEO business than I will ever know and I was at it for 33+ years.

I start listening to the guy, the CEO — giving off the vibe of his hair on fire. Burning hair has a distinctive odor you can smell if you have 5G cell service.

“Take your time and tell me exactly what the problem is,” says I. I listen for a long time with a few “got it” type comments thrown in.

When the CEO finishes, I ask, “What else?” He remembers a few other things.

During this convo, I have whipped out my notebook and pen and taken some notes. I am sipping on my latte under the grape arbor — a pergola. The sun is on my face, a slight breeze is cooling me, I am alive and well in Austin By God Texas. Life is good. My CEO, a former client, has called me with a problem and I think I can help him. Is this a great country or what?

“What else?” I ask. He adds one last thing.

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