You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Is this a play on words or one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself in 2011?

Barriers to growth CEOs need to be aware of

Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits published in 2002 a compelling book that every small to mid-sized business owner, president or CEO running a company in 2011 should read. Harnish stated there are three barriers to growth:

  1. The need for the executive team to grow as leaders in their abilities to delegate and predict
  2. The need for systems and structures to handle the complexity that comes with growth
  3. The need to navigate market dynamics that mark the arrival in a larger marketplace

Delegating requires trust, trust suggests risk and that’s the challenge for us all. We would rather do it ourselves so it gets done right. Revenue and profit growth can only come from leverage, getting others to do what you once did in order to free you up to spend your time on strategic issues. Developing a monthly, quarterly performance contract with each of your direct reports is essential in predicting revenues and profits. As the leader you need to free you time up to be the leader and visionary.

Tom Venable, SVP Sales and Marketing with Rainmaker Systems focuses on keeping things simple and shared the following over dinner last week. Venable breaks down employee into three silos:

Make it

o      HR’s role is to make human capital deliver

o      Operations role is to deliver product or service to required customer expectations

Count it

o      Accounting’s role is to see that costs are a function of reverse selling

o      Warehouse and distribution take what is counted and see that it gets delivered

Sell it

o       Marketing creates leads

o      Sales creates customers

o      Outstanding performance Is driven by aptitude multiplied by attitude

Systems and structures are like the chicken and the egg, which comes first?  Most small businesses fail because they don’t find the right tools and implement them.

Malcolm Goldsmith wrote in his book What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There that there are annual known revenue barriers at 5, 20 and 50 million that will challenge even the best managed companies. In 2010 in a down market, Vistage members Eric Stumberg, CEO of TengoInternet and Cindy Richter CEO of Vanguard Fire in Austin, Texas integrated their financial, sales and marketing with expensive software in order to streamline their companies.

Improve forecasting with a predictable pipeline

Developing a predictable pipeline enables you to improve your forecasting and manage your cash flow. You must know where you are today, this month, this quarter and are you on target for this year’s goal.

Kraig Kramer, Vistage speaker focusing on KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) believes you need to have monthly snapshots both rearview and dashboard. His website has very meaningful formulas for your use.

If you are awake at 2am in the morning struggling with leadership, decision-making and isolation (or if you don’t know what you don’t know) search for a Vistage chair in your city and see if there is a peer group for you.

Have a prosperous 2011.

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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