Management teams say a lot about any company. Effective leaders surround themselves with great people. Such leaders understand their weaknesses and know how to augment those inadequacies by hiring accordingly. Real leaders are not afraid to hire people who will challenge them intellectually.
An effective CEO also knows when someone on his/her management team will not make the team better, and does something about it decisively. Inaction often has as much, if not more, consequences than making an ineffective decision with the right intentions.
When building an executive team and personalities are involved, a young CEO and entrepreneur may not be able to decipher who on the management team is effective and who is not. Other times, he/she do understand the shortcomings of the team but is too inexperience or immature to move quickly to fix the problem.
I’ve met with a lot of young companies and their management teams. I can usually tell within a couple of minutes whether the team has the right chemistry or not, whether the individuals push each other constructively, or whether the team is dysfunctional.
In one company, many made excuses for one of the top executives before I even met him. That was not an effective management team. Recently, I met another management team where everyone comfortably contributed to a meeting. No one person dominated, including the top executive. I knew right away that this group headed for success.
Be honest now, how effective is your management team? Are you making excuses?
Read Full Post »
An entrepreneur can be the visionary, janitor, salesman and office manager all at the same time. The hands-on requirements of a startup appeal to most entrepreneurs. However, all successful people need to have that “strategic time” — the quadrant two (not urgent, but important) in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey).
This quadrant involves activities such as prevention, relationship building, recognizing new opportunities, planning, among others.
I learned a while back that I could easily be sucked into day-to-day crisis management. While I felt productive solving urgent problems, whenever I looked up from my situation, I realized that I wasn’t making much progress. It was only after I started scheduling quadrant two time into my days that I could map a more effective and bigger plan for my companies. After all, it is my relationships and vision that is difficult for others to replicate. The day-to-day execution can be done by others, some of whom are more capable in this regard.
Beware, the noise of both urgent and important activities (crisis, pressing problems, deadline-driven projects), can be compelling. They need to be covered from an organizational standpoint. But if they are the more than 75% of the top executive’s focus of any-sized company, that company is most likely running in place.
Want to take your company to a bigger place? Then,spend the time thinking BIG.
Read Full Post »
Company building is a unique experience. An entrepreneur can experience a huge gyrations of emotions in any given day: ‘Wow, we’re going to do this!’ ’Oh, we’re going to crash and burn’. ’My employees hate me’. ’My customers love me’…
With experience, however, you come to expect these twists and turns. In fact, you kind of get some enjoyment out of it. Despite these varying emotions, certain principles are generally true. Growth, for example, is almost never represented by the infamous hockey stick graph.
Growth for a startup usually happens in stair steps. A startup moves along a horizontal line (with some variances) until hitting a wall. That wall represents the barrier to the next plateau for the company. It could be that a startup has launched and found some anchor clients. The principles in the business are so occupied by the demands of the anchor clients that they cannot focus on business management. Yet, the word of mouth effect from servicing those clients is putting some pressure to expand. Well, you’ve just hit that wall leading to the next plateau. The company can only take the next step in growth by addressing these pending issues. Once resolved and perched on the next plateau, the same pattern will most likely be repeated with a new set of challenges — the next level of company development.
Understanding the ‘stair step’ pattern of growth will help start-up companies understand why everyone seems to be running faster but the company is not still growing properly.
I’m always wary of business plans that have a linear growth projections. That sounds logical in a business school classroom or it looks good on a spreadsheet, but I haven’t really experienced such growth in my past. Things are difficult to start, then you get in a rhythm with your first customers. Eventually the business beat changes. There are new and unfamiliar pressures on the business. It takes leadership at that point to scale to the next level and return to a comfortable (but more sophisticated) rhythm.
Read Full Post »