CEOs, Determine Your “Make or Break” and get going on it!

My 2011 Vistage Speaker Series starts on January 20th.

We will have an amazing speaker, former Vistage COO, Dan Barnett conduct his “Make or Break” workshop in the afternoon. His message focuses on the power of execution in business.

How does he know this you ask?

If you are a business owner of a 5 million annual revenue company and looking for tips and techniques on great execution, come see for yourself. Be part of a group of 13 to 15 where the collective wisdom exceeds 200 leadership years.

We talk a lot about Productivity and getting more with less using technology. Technology is only an enabler however once you have a compelling vision. The true catalyst for great productivity is having a clear outcome and plan for your business and life.

What is the ONE THING that you or your business needs to do to deliver on your vision?

For Vistage COO, Dan Barnett, it was “membership growth.” He focused all his staff on that and painted a picture for them of what it would look like. Everything they did was focused around the “Make or Break.” Every week he reviewed a dashboard with his staff.  Now this is not your typical dashboard with financial numbers on it.  Sure those are there, but Dan makes the case that financial indicators only give you a picture of the past and does not give you an opportunity to correct quickly.  His dashboard included a picture of the progress.

Are you able to predict your future? Dan and his team did for 5 years….

Consider Giving this a try and let me know your progress.

  • Practical steps for the CEO (of your business or your life!)
  • Write down your vision AND the ONE THING that you need to do to be great at it.
  • Create a dashboard to monitor those activities that get you closer to that ONE THING.
  • Make sure your staff has the tools needed to get their jobs done, including technology and helpdesk services that add value.
  • Execute!  Make the ONE thing your FIRST thing every day!

Call or email me and see if there is room for you at our conference room table on the afternoon of January 20th.

CEO Confidence Soars

The Q4 2010 Vistage CEO Confidence Index member survey has been tabulated and with over 1700 CEOs responding suggests many if not most business owners and CEOs are looking forward to a very strong growth year. There were 22 questions and when asked at question #17 “Will business in 2011 be better than in was in 2010?” 73% responded it would be better!

Survey Highlights were:

  • 58% of CEOs stated that, compared to a year ago, overall economic conditions of the U.S. have improved.
  • 46% of CEOs surveyed said they pledged personal assets or invested cash to help their companies weather the economic downturn.
  • Only 20% of CEOs stated that it’s easier to obtain credit today than six months ago, while 38% responded that it’s not easier.
  • 39% of CEOs stated that they are currently marketing their sustainability or “green practices” to their clients or customers.
  • Only 15% of CEOs believe that current immigration laws are hampering their ability to hire skilled workers..

 Dr. Richard Curtin, Director of Surveys and Consumers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Vistage consultant for the Confidence Index notes, “This was the most favorable outlook for economic growth since the start of 2004.”

Here’s the link to the survey

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.