Best Practices Archives - Blog

3 Scaling Up Fundamentals for Dedicated Growth Companies

Gene Godick has always had an entrepreneur’s heart. Even when he was at Arthur Andersen, his first job out of college, he worked in the small business practice. But it took a few more years, and a few runs as CFO at two different companies – one bootstrapped and one that went from VC backed…

Read More »

17 Inspiring Quotes about Entrepreneurship, Life, and Leadership

I was invigorated and inspired by many of the thought-leaders, authors and business leaders that spoke before the over 800 person crowd, in Denver last week at the Gazelles’ Scaling Up Summit. But I was blown away by the workshop conducted by Jeff Hoffman for our Scaling Up Coaching Community. An accomplished entrepreneur and innovator…

Read More »

3 Steps to Get “Back to the Basics”

Today, Datacolor is an eclectic mix of people and products serving a wide variety of industries ranging from textiles to photography to plastics and paints in the color management arena. Their website describes them as having an American heart, a Swiss soul and an international vision.  While they’re headquartered in Lawrenceville, New Jersey outside of…

Read More »

6 Ways to just say “NO”

How often do you say “NO”? Let me ask it a different way.  When was the last time you turned down a new business opportunity or a potential new client? A good “test’ of a great strategy is how often you say NO.  A really solid and well-thought out business strategy means that you’re saying…

Read More »

A 3 Step Cure for “Customer Amnesia”

“I continue to be struck by how few leaders make it a strategic priority to talk to their customers.”  Dave Power, President and CEO and author of “The Curve Ahead”   When was the last time you sat down, had an open and frank discussion with a customer, and asked how things were going and…

Read More »

The Power of Perseverance: A behind the scenes look at Ron Jaworski Golf

Lots of words could describe Liz and Ron Jaworski.  Competitive, enthusiastic, passionate, committed to helping others, family-oriented, motivational.  But the word that comes to my mind is Perseverance. In an industry that is plagued with negative profitability and non-existent cash flow, has seen countless golf courses closed, is not just seasonal (their six golf course…

Read More »

3 Key Strategies to Reduce Distractions, Focus your Energy and Get Things Done

I’m surrounded by people who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The men in my life – my husband of almost 26 years and my two grown sons, ages 23 and 20 – all have ADD to varying degrees. Each in his own way has had to work hard to prioritize, stay focused and not…

Read More »

5 Management Strategies to grow your Employees and Company

Many entrepreneurs want to build a growth company, but few succeed. It takes discipline, perseverance and an incredible amount of time, energy and commitment. Most of all you have to be intentional. At almost $50 Million in revenue and approaching 150 employees, Cenero has beaten the odds. For over two decades, Chris Henry, the CEO…

Read More »

Strategy to Exit: 7 Steps to Increase your Valuation and Improve your Business Too!

If you’re the owner of a privately-held company, eventually you’ll need to make a decision about the future of the company.  All things come to an end after all – including your role in your business. But have you decided what you will do? You’ve got three choices, says Rich Mander’s of Freescale Coaching, 

Read More »

A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Lessons Verne Harnish taught me about “Scaling Up”

It’s been almost a decade since I first heard Verne Harnish speak at a two-day “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” workshop in Washington D.C. about “Scaling Up” a small business. It was, to put it bluntly, engrossing, overwhelming and life-changing.

Read More »

3 Reasons Why You May be Falling Victim to Procrastination

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, December is just around the corner, and 2018 will be here before we know it! Yet many companies still don’t have a formal strategic plan on the books OR at the very least a meeting scheduled before year-end to create a plan and align their team. Sadly, as the executives of these companies…

Read More »

5 Virtues of an Enlightened Leader

“If we can’t manage ourselves well as leaders, the odds of our business doing well aren’t good either,” says Ari Weinzweig, co-Founding Partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since its founding in 1982, Ari and his partner Paul Saginaw have grown a small delicatessen to a nationally renowned company with over 10 businesses employing…

Read More »

7 Tips to make the 2nd Half a Success

What accomplishment are you most proud of as the first half of 2017 rapidly comes to a close? What’s your biggest challenge in the 2nd half?

Read More »

4 Reasons People Follow

Why do people follow? More importantly, why would people follow you? With the end of the first half of the year looming, if you haven’t asked yourself this question recently, it’s a good time to do so as you work on refining your plans. Great leadership involves many factors but one of the most important,…

Read More »

5 “Scaling Up” Lessons from the Trenches

Lisa Ridley did an amazing job at our 11th Annual Growth Strategies breakfast a week ago sharing her “Field Guide to Scaling Up” and giving our standing room only audience of CEO’s and their teams 5 critical things to consider and possibly implement as they look to grow their businesses successfully and stay “on plan” in 2017.

Read More »

3 Simple Questions for Success

One of the simple yet most profound tools that I learned in my tenure at Procter and Gamble almost 30 years ago was the Start, Stop, Continue model.  Or as I like to use it, the Continue, Stop and then Start model.

Read More »

4 Essential Tools for your “Execution Toolbox”

Great execution takes a lot of discipline but if you’ve got the right tool kit to leverage, getting things done – including your plan and your priorities – can be a lot less frustrating and significantly more rewarding.  Duct tape aside, here’s 4 essential tools to add to your kit.

Read More »

4 Reasons Why Your Employees aren’t Engaged

Why do businesses underperform? HINT: It’s not about having the right Strategy OR the right Plan. The secret, according to the study, lies in engagement and communication. And, even though the study was published almost a decade ago, the reality hasn’t changed very much, if at all.

Read More »

THE GREAT GAME of BUSINESS: Coming to Philadelphia

When I was a young engineer at Procter and Gamble, Jack Stack was already becoming a legend in the business world for what he was able to do with a traditional, blue-collar workforce.

Read More »

The Five Problems with Having a Conversation…

What’s wrong with having a conversation? 

For starters, conversations take place in real time and we can’t always control what we’re going to say.  Some can be difficult to have and can get loud and unpleasant.  Texts, emails, postings let us present the self as we want to be.  They allow us to delete and edit.  Our technology gives us control.

Read More »

How to Fly a Horse – or the “Secret” History of Creation

Creative genius is a myth.  And great flashes of inspiration are never the work of just one person, even if one person gets all the credit.

So argues author Kevin Ashton, technology pioneer and entrepreneur in his best-selling book, “How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery”.

Read More »

7 Leadership Lessons from John Ratliff

Standing room only!  That’s how popular our 10th Annual Growth Strategies Breakfast was early this month. I’m sure it was because our speaker, John Ratliff, the Founder and former CEO of Appletree Answers has broad appeal to entrepreneurs and business leaders. He’s also refreshingly honest and transparent in sharing his own successes and mistakes as a CEO.

Read More »

4 Critical Factors to Be a Better Leader (TED Talk #7)

“When you teach people about how their brains work, they become more effective managers as well as leaders.”

So says Dr. David Rock, Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and a frequent speaker on TED as well as Google Tech Talks on such topics as “How to be a Provocateur” and “The Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distractions, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day”.

Read More »

What REALLY Motivates Us to Work…TED Talk #5

As a teenager in Israel, Dan Ariely suffered life-threatening burns over 70% of his body when a magnesium flare, used to illuminate battlefields, exploded. While he was overcoming his injuries during an extremely long and painful recovery process, he began to ask questions – of himself as well as human behavior in general.

Read More »

You Can’t Be Good at Everything (“Talk” #4)

Not words that many of us want to hear – but seriously, if you’ve had enough life experience, you know that it’s true. And the ground-breaking research done over the past 40 years by the folks at Gallup backs it up.

As human beings (and managers) we each have talents, behaviors and thought processes that come to us easily, with little to no effort, what some would say are “second nature”. There are others, however, at which we will never excel, no matter how much we practice and work to improve.

Read More »

Tweak Your Style, Maximize Results

What really works if you want to communicate effectively?

It’s not necessarily what you would think, according to Adam Grant, our #3 TED Talk for our management video countdown.

Read More »

The Power of “Power Posing”

Amy Cuddy wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. Early in her college career, Cuddy suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, and doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree.

Read More »

How The Founder of BuildDirect (a $150 Million Company) Empowers His Employees

BuildDirect.com is a mid-market company that’s put together a great Growth Strategy over the past few years that’s taken them to over $150M in revenues. A student of “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits”, Jeff Booth, their CEO, has done an amazing job of developing and refining their Strategy using the tools from “Scaling Up” with his team, in particular the Seven Strata (Chapter 7 for those of you with the “Scaling Up” book) but has also created an empowered and engaged workforce in the process.

Read More »

5 Tips for Engaging and Retaining your Top Talent

You’ve just spent valuable time, energy and money over the last 90 days looking for the RIGHT Talent to fill a critical seat in your company – AND you’ve found an amazing A Player who fits the bill perfectly for what you need to grow the company.

But now that you’ve made a great hire, how do you keep them?  (HINT: It’s not about the money.)

Read More »

Is the “War for Talent” constraining your growth?

What do you do when you’re fighting from the trenches every day to find and attract the right people to your team? How are you competing with the “big guys” when it comes to offering the right opportunities to A players who can help you grow? More importantly, how do you find the time to FIND the right players and not WASTE your time with the wrong ones?

Read More »

A “Magic Wand” for building Accountability

Holding people accountable can be one of the most time-consuming and thankless jobs out there.  Maybe that’s why many leaders struggle to do it – or don’t do it as consistently and relentlessly as they should.  The payback isn’t always immediate or apparent, the conversations can be difficult and there’s way too many other priorities.

Read More »

Five “Must Reads” for 2015

My mother was a librarian.

That’s the “excuse” that I often give when my clients and other people in my circle accuse me of overloading them in the book recommendation department.

Read More »

No Fairy Godmothers – 3 Things every Leader needs to Know

How do YOU find and hire the right players for your company? That’s the question that was posed at a CEO Roundtable I attended a few weeks ago.  A challenging topic for sure. While hiring the right people can certainly difficult, especially for the small mid-market, there are methodologies and assessments out there (as well…

Read More »

3 Key Qualities of a Successful Leader

Vern Harnish once said “There are two qualities I have noticed in those who get where they want to go.  While intelligence, passion, and discipline are all useful qualities, success belongs to those who have these two attributes – an insatiable need to learn and an unquenchable penchant for action.

But there is one more missing quality that all leaders need to have – if they want to be successful.

 

Read More »

Calling all “time-starved” CEO’s and Executives….

With Quarter 4 of 2014 sneaking up on us, 2015 is just around the corner! I hope you hit all your goals for Q1 and Q2 and on your way to nailing your Rocks and achieving your key initiatives for 2014. And – if you want to get a head start on 2015 or if…

Read More »

6 Ways to just say “NO”

A good “test” of a great strategy is how often you say NO.  A really solid and well-thought out business strategy means that you’re saying NO more than you’re saying YES…to new opportunities, new people AND potential new clients.

Read More »

7 “Halftime” tips

Happy Summer!  For many of us (even the snow lovers) it definitely was a very long winter. But it’s time to take a step back from “the game”, get perspective on what’s been accomplished and plan to make the second half a game winner.

Read More »

4 Challenges and 4 “Tips” for 2014 – Part 2

So how can you stay on top of Sales and Management for 2014? (Challenges 3 and 4 cited on our Growth Strategies survey.)

If these are your challenges this year, read on here for 6 more tips and tools to help you!

Read More »

4 Challenges and 4 “Tips” for 2014 – Part 1

People, Money, Management and Sales…those were the top 4 challenges that small mid-market CEO’s cited as facing them in 2014 in our 8th Annual Growth Strategies Survey.

What’s more important is what these CEO’s are doing to overcome them.  And if they’re issues that are facing you, what are YOU doing?

Read More »

5 Things Great Companies Do…

The newly retired CEO of Wawa’s story captured the room at our Growth Strategies Breakfast this past month, his commitment to “Servant Leadership” apparent in the stories he told and his quiet yet compelling delivery.

Read More »

Four Reasons People Follow a Leader

Why do people follow? More importantly, why would people follow you? Anybody can be a leader. Really. From top-line CEO to front-line employee, anybody can be a leader in your organization. In fact, everyone in your organization should be a leader and should think like a CEO.  As authors, Tom Rath and Barry Conchie so eloquently write in Strengths Based…

Read More »

3 “How To’s” to Nail the Fundamentals

Why the fundamentals? Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Packers, was famous for saying at the start of every season, “Gentleman, this is a football.” Lombardi knew the power of fundamentals. Randy Pausch, the former Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008, also spoke to the “basics” in…

Read More »

Are you a Lead Generator…or just “Taking Orders”?

Are you a Lead Generator … or just “Taking Orders”  Before you take a complete break for the holidays, make sure to plan some “think” time to clear your head and get ready for 2014.  Your Marketing and Sales plans are just the place to start.  Take our quick 5 question quiz to help prime the pump.  Guaranteed to give you some great ideas for leveraging your time and improving your top line in the weeks and months ahead!

Read More »

The 4th Essential Execution Tool

“A lot of you may love mankind, but you hate people.”

A good understanding of the “human factor” behind great execution however is what’s missing in many companies.  While the right tool kit can help make execution a lot less frustrating, as any good craftsman knows, you can’t just have the right tools for a job; you also need to know what material you’re working with.

And in the case of business, that means people…

Read More »

4 Essential “Tools” for your “Execution” toolbox

While duct tape may be the “survival tool” of choice for the guys from “Mythbusters” – unfortunately for most business leaders, duct tape won’t do it when it comes aligning your team and driving great Execution. Great execution certainly takes a lot of discipline but if you’ve got the right tool kit to leverage, it can be a lot less frustrating and significantly more rewarding.

Read More »

The Dark Side of Success…and 3 Lessons Learned

There’s a Chinese proverb, “Failure is the Mother of Success”. Many of us work hard to achieve success, to “climb the mountain”, but in our efforts to get to where ever it is that we’re going, not only do we forget to look back and celebrate how far we’ve come – we also sometimes forget that the pinnacle can be the most dangerous part of the journey. For with great achievements can come hubris – the dark side of success.  And Phil Jaurigue has experienced that first hand.

Read More »

What’s your Forecast for 2014?

As 2014 approaches, I thought I’d share the following “forecast” about what the upcoming year could hold.

Dear Small and Mid-Market Executive –

The past few years have held their own share of challenges for companies of all sizes, but for you in the small and mid-market space they’ve been particularly stressful.

Read More »

A “cheat sheet” for “Navigating the Growth Curve”

Several years ago, James Fischer, had an ambitious goal. The co-Founder of the Origin Institutea research and consulting company out of Boulder, Colorado, wanted to understand and decipher the patterns, behaviors and the characteristics in entrepreneurial enterprises – and – develop best practices to better navigate the trials and tribulations of business growth.

Six years and over 700 CEO interviews later, Jim documented his findings in the book, “Navigating the Growth Curve: 9 Fundamentals that Build a Profit-driven, People-centered, Growth-smart Company”.

Read More »

A “Map App” for your business

Last week I spent five wonderful days touring the Douro Valley in Portugal with my husband, my sister and brother-in-law. The spa/ hotel where we stayed had terrific service and accommodations; we ate fabulous Portuguese food and took several day trips to the visit the local wineries that are ubiquitous in this part of the world.

The views were breathtakingly gorgeous as we wandered around impossibly high mountains in a tiny little Volvo, attempting to navigate unfamiliar roads in a foreign country.

Read More »

Four simple solutions if you’re “Stuck”…

“You don’t look like a chemical engineer,”another (male) chemical engineer said to me, upon being introduced as his new colleague, as if I was some strange aberration of the “species”.  (Twenty years later, I still get a laugh remembering his reaction.)

“What’s an engineer supposed to look like?”, I asked him with a smile.  It wasn’t the first time that I had heard that type of comment from a man upon introducing myself (certainly not the last) and why get angry when humor can often be the best response?

Read More »

Five Failures or Five Reminders?

Take this short quiz  (courtesy of the speakers at the Fortune Leadership Summit in Orlando a week ago) and see!

 

Read More »

A 3 Step Cure for “Customer Amnesia”

Dave Power, of Power Strategy, a former CEO and private equity guy, loves to talk about Top Line Growth – and how to get more. Some of you may remember Dave from when he came to Philly last year to talk at our Growth Strategies Summit.  He’s passionate about the subject of beating the “S” curve and I’ve learned a lot from him about staying on top of your market and NOT resting on your laurels.

Read More »

Do you have a “tsunami” goal?

If a tsunami affected your business tomorrow, would you still stay on track with your plan?

A few years ago, that exact scenario happened to one of our clients, who was implementing the “Habits”.  Thanks to the Habits, the executive team had a plan, were aligned to their priorities, and had great meeting rhythms. The whole company remained focused, despite the turbulence and they still hit most of their goals for the year.

So what’s your “tsunami” goal? If your business was affected by a major crisis tomorrow, would you be able to stay focused on your goals and deal with the disaster too?

Read More »

Have you hit “the wall”? Or are you just running in place?

Someplace between $5M and $25M, most companies hit “the wall”, and executives feel like they’re running in place – no matter what they do to try and grow their businesses.

Not a straightforward or simple task as many of you know. Predicting, delegating and managing effectively take more than having the right talent.

Read More »

How to create a Culture of Accountability…

For the fourth year in a row, “Holding key people accountable” has been in the top 2 challenges that CEO’s have cited on our Growth Strategies Survey of small and mid-market businesses throughout the region.

When one CEO in the audience, somewhat perplexed asked, “Why does that keep coming up? Aren’t you helping them to do something about it?”  I was a bit stumped for a minute. The answer seemed obvious to me – but maybe not to him.

Read More »

How to Become an Exceptional Leader

Discovering your personal mission in life is not necessarily a straightforward journey (as I wrote last week) but it is certainly a worthwhile one.

Having a clear sense of what your mission is, and being able to communicate that sense of purpose to others is an essential part of exceptional leadership – and – the basis for gaining others’ commitment to follow you.

Read More »

How to become an exceptional Leader…part II

At a CEO dinner that I attended last night, Craig Burris, the President and Founder of SmartCEO magazine, asked me a thought-provoking question that led to an intriguing dinner conversation amongst our table members. “What is your personal mission?”, he enquired. And quickly followed that up with, “And what’s your vision for your company?”

Read More »

What are the obstacles to your success?

If achieving a desired future were easy, everyone would do it – quickly and easily. Even if your vision is clear and you can articulate a detailed destiny, there are always obstacles in the path.

In our experience, we find that obstacles come in three flavors…

Wondering what your obstacles are?  Click below read more!

Read More »

How to become an exceptional Leader…part I

with leading yourself.  I’m always telling the people I meet that I’m incredibly grateful for the time that I spent at Procter and Gamble early in my career.  Not only did I get an amazing opportunity to work for one of the most-admired companies but I also received at least a $250,000 education in leadership in the process (in 2012 P&G was ranked one of the best companies for developing leaders).

Click below to read more…

Read More »

Why Follow a Path if You Don’t Know the Destination?

As we head into the last quarter of 2012, the subject of strategic planning should be on the top of your list.  In my travels, however, I’ve found that there are 3 categories companies fall into when it comes to Strategic Planning.

Read More »

Before the year gets away from you…

Summer’s winding down…at least in the northern hemisphere…and I’m starting to hear talks of annual planning for 2013 – along with lots of“strategic thinking” and “what if” conversations. Of course, there’s always the critical prioritization question given all of the things you could be doing…

Read More »

How are you holding your team – and yourself – Accountable?

 Accountability seems to be the word of choice these days in many of the business conversations that I’m having.

Read More »

Learning to say “No”…

Learning to say “NO” to opportunities for new business has been a major business lesson for me over the past few years. In the dozen years that I’ve worked in the small and small mid-market sector, I’ve noticed an intriguing but not surprising pattern… Only a very small percentage of CEO’s in this space are truly willing to adopt the discipline…

Read More »

Are you Relevant?

Even if you aren’t in a growth industry (but especially if you are)…there’s plenty of work to be done in the summer “downtime”. Remember: Complacency is not an option.* Most of the companies that I’m talking with aren’t “dying” anymore, a bunch are definitely “catching their breath” and many are back on the upswing. But they’re…

Read More »

A Five-Year Plan, One Quarter at a Time…

I heard a great quote attributed to Verne Harnish the other day.

“A five year plan is achieved One Quarter at a time.”

The second half of 2012 is fast approaching…

Are you on track with your plans for 2012 so far?  Is your Quarterly performance going to get you to your Five Year vision?

Read More »

What’s your Number?

Ed Sullivan, four-time entrepreneur and currently CEO of G2Link, has a track record with companies that might turn a few of you green with envy.     And, while he is highly creative, he is also extremely disciplined when it comes to running his businesses. At a recent lunch with him and a couple of my clients, Ed…

Read More »

How are you “Turning up the Heat” this year?

We’re two weeks into the Second Quarter of 2012…What are you doing to “turn up the heat”? Are you working on GREAT Execution – incorporating the rhythm of daily huddles and weekly tacticals to stay on top of your game and your plan? Is your focus TopGrading your Talent – defining and filling the right “strategic” position in your company which will…

Read More »

Contact

Call today for a FREE consultation! Want us to contact you? No Problem! Fill out this contact form below and we'll get back to you shortly.

 

CEO Think Tank logo


CEO Think Tank®

856-627-2773  |  877-CEO-3264