10/27/19

Experience v Logic — Who Wins?

I have a former client — full disclosure he is one of two clients I have ever fired. I fired him because he was not diligent in keeping our appointments.

He paid well. He was always apologetic. He always had an excuse. He was and is a very good CEO, the kind you enjoy working with because he does the work and he was a nice person. Hard worker.

A couple of years later, he wrote me a lovely letter apologizing for his behavior that I promised him I would burn.

Recently, he calls me and asks, “Can you give me some help? I’m trying to hire a CEO coach.”

I look at the phone, stifle a laugh, and say, “Absolutely.”

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05/17/19

Fountain of Youth v Fountain of Wisdom/Experience — For CEOs Only

Grayish, cool day in the ATX which gets me thinking about the journey a startup CEO makes from ignorance to wisdom — OK, you do know that’s the journey, right?

As a young leader, I knew next to nothing about everything — so I thought, but I did have an advantage as I’d been in the Army for five years and had run largish outfits. My last command was 600 men in a unit that should have been 186 (The Army was contracting form Vietnam War levels and discharging a lot of draftees. I housed, fed, trained, disciplined them until their magic date arrived — a wild bunch. What a nightmare.).

Truly, everything I ever needed to know to be a CEO I learned in that assignment, but I just didn’t know it. I was 25.

I was young and dumb. I was drinking from the Fountain of Youth and Inexperience. There was a long line to get a cup of that stuff.

Some thirty-three years later, I was filled to overflowing with wisdom and experience, so much so that today I advise startup CEOs and assist venture capitalists prying their fully funded oxen out of ditches.

I can’t quite put my finger on when I stopped bathing in the Fountain of Youth and took up station in the Fountain of Wisdom and Experience. I just know I did.

OK, it was probably five years until I even knew there was such a thing.

Read your Malcolm Gladwall Outliers to learn why it takes five years.

Outliers: The Story of Success by [Gladwell, Malcolm]

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10/26/18

Typical CEO Coaching Process

CEO coaching, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a grayish morning. I wonder if the guy who has been praying for rain is happy yet?

Hey, stop praying for rain.

So, the Big Red Car gets a longish email from a pal who gives him a hard time about his subject matter on The Musings of the Big Red Car. Says he wants to hear what a typical coaching process looks like.

To get rid of him, I promise to do that.

I hang out a shingle under the name of The Wisdom of the Campfire because I like the picture of sitting next to a campfire and absorbing wisdom from others gathered next to it. It’s an easy picture as I lived it in places like the DMZ in South Korea or Grafenwohr in Bavaria when I was a young Army officer.

The Wisdom of the Campfire is the imagery of what I do. I want to be that guy at the edge of the campfire, with 33 years of CEO-ing, who can talk you through the process based not on theory, but on real world experience.

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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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08/6/17

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.]

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07/31/17

Accumulate Then Share

We strivers are Heaven bent on securing wealth and wisdom. No or yes?

Big Red Car here still under the glow of an excellent sermon yesterday at church. The sermon giver (not the regular guy) was dynamic and entertaining. He left me with a very good lesson — which is why I go to church in the first place, right?

So, here it is — in the game of life, there is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, wisdom. We are supposed to do just that. With me so far?

What is also true is that we are supposed to share it thereafter. That’s it. All there is. Right there.

First, we accumulate wealth and wisdom.

Then, we share it with our families and the world.

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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.

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03/23/17

The Power of Monkey See – Monkey Do — For CEOs Only

Monkey See, Monkey Do — Big Red Car, have you lost our mind?

Big Red Car here on another spectacular Texas day in the making. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all. [Does that irritate you?]

So, The Boss is talking to a newish CEO and they get on the subject of performance appraisals. The Boss was a CEO for 33 years and in that time period appraised a lot of performances.

The subject isn’t really about performance appraisals. The subject is about using easy tools to do most of the work. To find things that work and mimic the Hell out of them. To stop re-inventing the wheel. Sheesh!

[Normally, the Big Red Car will say, “Your generation didn’t invent sex or business, dear reader.” But, today, I will not.]

Performance appraisal is one of those subjects that rears its ugly head every few years and somebody adds a twist (360-degree performance, full moon appraisals being one of the most recent) which is supposed to make already sliced bread even better. [Big Red Car, a lot of tired ass cliches today. WTF?]

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