Austin Business Owners Need to Take a Deeper Dive

Learn how to move your leadership team to 2.0

Jim Collins, 20 years ago in 2001 wrote “Good to Great” with his focus on getting the right people on the bus in the right seats. In his new book, BE 2.0, he takes a deeper dive into turning your business into an Enduring Great Company. As we all know, it starts with you the CEO, Business Owner or Senior Executive.

Here’s my #1 Question for May (since I am reading Jim Collins BE 2.0) that my Vistage members and coaching clients are into taking a deeper dive.

“What percentage of your “key seats” in your company are filled with the right people for those seats?”

Question for member leaders in May 2021

Collins says if less than 90% then that should be your #1 priority in 2021.

Here’s the rest of the story…

What makes a “key seat” on a leadership team?

  1. The person in that seat has the power to make significant people decisions
  2. Failure in that seat could expose the entire company to significant risk
  3. Success in the seat would have a significant impact on the company success

Hear a little more from Jim in his introduction of the book.

Which of the following two categories of mistakes have you more frequently made?

Category 1. In retrospect, you waited too long before you acted to move the person out of the key seat.

Category 2. In retrospect, you acted to quickly and you should have been more patient.

Making leadership changes requires reflection & discussion

How do you know when you’ve crossed the demarcation line, when it’s time to make the shift from “develop to “replace” for a key seat?

  1. Are you beginning to lose other people by keeping this person in the seat?
  2. Do you have a values problem, a will problem or a skills problem?
  3. What’s the person’s relationship to the window and the mirror?
  4. Does the person seek work as a job or a responsibility?
  5. Has your confidence in the person gone uip or down in the past year?
  6. Do you have a bus problem or a seat problem?

Moving from your 1.0 to 2.0 is your 2021 focus … imagine that there’s a 3.0 and a 4.0 for some of you. What if you could…

  1. Learn how to hire great people and meld them into a cohesive team
  2. Learn than culture does not merely support strategy, culture is strategy
  3. Learn how to hire for values and temperament not just smarts and experience
  4. Learn how and when to delegate and when not to
  5. Learn how to hold your unit leaders accountable for keeping culture vibrant
  6. Learn how to make wise decisions that reduce short-term profits for the sake of long-term greatness
  7. Learn how to stay calm and mitigate your impulse to take control from your people when things go wrong
  8. Learned how to confront organizational threats by moving outside the company to cultivate mentors

Vistage Peer Advisory Groups have this purpose in mind.

We bring accountability, ownership, honestly, caring, growth, challenge and work/life balance into your lives.

Find yourself a coach and have your coach make you the best you can be.

Econ Recon: Strategy for Austin CEOs & Business Owners


The Sugar High Economy:   “Mix extremely loose monetary policy, a federal government cutting checks like it’s going out of style, and extensive roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines, and what do you get?

Answer: Some really strong economic data.  The problem is that this rapid growth, like a “sugar high,” is not going to last.”  So begins a one page recap of the major drivers of the economy by economist Dr. Brian Wesbury with a warning that the economy has much further to go to reach a full recovery.´ Check out his thoughts on “The Sugar High Economy.”

New!! Economic Recovery Tracker:    It’s been that said the “liars will figure but figures don’t lie.”  The 24 news cycle creates a lot of negative noise regarding the economy which clouds the meaning of what little data they actually provide. Dr. Brian Wesbury has begun offering a one page recap featuring several metrics that provide data about the post Covid economy.  Check out his Recovery Tracker.

“Plan with Confidence”  Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics reminds us “The consumer drives the economy.” The consumer is strong currently and  Mr. Beaulieu believes the data shows there’s “dry powder” in the form of savings that will continue to drive it going forward. 

Check out his recent blog post Surging Sales.  which Mr. Beaulieu feels should allow you to “Plan with Confidence.”

And if you need to talk about your business outlook, let’s connect over coffee.

Making Sustainable Scalable

Have you noticed that traffic is back on the Austin roads, more and more restaurants have wait times for dinner again, and business leaders are preparing for a return to the office this summer.  Many of us have our vaccine shots now, and our sales and marketing reps need to start traveling again. It feels liberating that the isolation is behind us.  So what are you doing to make sustainable scalable (MSS) in the 2nd half of 2021?

Grade or scorecard your organization in MSS with a 1 to 10 ranking. Whatever the number you select, ask yourself why wasn’t it one less than what you wrote down. Simon Sinek shared this years ago at a Vistage Chair conference in Dallas about his teenage daughter and her willingness to clean her bedroom. When asked from a scale of 1 to 10 what was her willingness to clean her room, she said a 3. When Simon asked why wasn’t it a 2, his daughter shared several beliefs that became the benchmark or baseline in moving from a 3 to a 5 to 7 over the summer months.

Measuring scale as a leadership team

What conversations have you and your leadership team had around MSS? Are you looking into new products, new services, adding another branch, expanding your geography? Money is cheap and if you aren’t growing, you are dying. Do you know your ratio’s and how your banker views your company and will measure/evaluate you when you ask for an increase in your LOC or a loan. For the above to have traction, you most likely looking into additional talent.

Build performance results by starting with culture

When interviewing potential new employees, my business owner members lead with culture (who we are, why we are who we are and our successes because of who we are). Some even share who we are not, with the hope that those who don’t see my member as a fit for them move on.

Do you have a structured Onboarding Process?  Mostly like you are scheduling 1st week, 2nd week maybe even 1st month, that said what about writing a personal letter to the spouse or sending a gift box to the family that arrives the first day the new employee reports for work. When onboarding new hires, do you assign one of your BOBs (best of best) to be the mentor. Do you let the mentee and the mentor know that whatever is asked, discussed or shared stays between them. Do you make it safe for the new hire to have someone they can count on to assist them in becoming the best they can be?

Accountability: a key benchmark for business performance

Accountability is a key component in MSS, the benchmark for year-in and year-out performance. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. Whether KPI’s (key performance indicators) or OKR’s (objectives and key results) each employee from the CEO to the janitorial service reps should have measurable behavior that is accountable to the overall success of the company. Behavior and habits are what matters most. What are your key metrics, both rear-view and forward windshield view of what could we possibly become?  What’s working and what’s not. What’s critical and time sensitive? Are you growing equal to or greater than your rivals, competition, industry?  ROC (rate of change) 3/12 and 12/12 will be a key metric now. Does your association provide YOY data?

Many companies have been focused on defense, managing your fixed costs, RIF’s if needed and securing PPP funds to assist in keeping your BOBs on the payroll. By now you should have gotten rid of your C employees. Now behind us, we should be looking around the corner, focusing on offense and looking for that next opportunity, thus making the sustainable scalable. I wish you all new successes.

Now go take on your day!