Enlightened Executives 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…

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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…

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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, 

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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.

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10 Picks for late Summer Reading

There’s plenty of time for summer reading…almost half of August is left and of course Labor Day weekend – whatever these final weeks might hold in store for you.  If you haven’t had a chance to “catch up” on your pile of shame, I’ll add to your list with these 10 enlightening authors.  🙂  With…

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

 

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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Cash is Queen…

People are the life blood of a business – but getting them engaged and committed can seem like a daunting task at times…

  1. What are you doing to foster engagement in your company?
  2. How are you getting people on the same page and pulling in the same direction?
  3. How much time do you spend reinforcing what’s important AND what are the consequences of not performing?

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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…

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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.

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So what did you miss in Atlanta?

If you weren’t able to be there last week at the Fortune Leadership conference in Atlanta, you really missed a treat. Jim Collins did another fabulous and inspiring job as the keynote speaker on Tuesday morning.  This is the second time I’ve heard him “live” and I continue to be impressed with: his insights about the role of leaders…

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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…

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And the Survey Says…

Well the results are in from our Sixth Annual Growth Strategies surveyof the CEO’s of small and mid-market companies in the Greater Philly region and for those of you who haven’t seen the results yet, they’re very encouraging. Some of the key highlights… Businesses that survived the downmarket are now investing and growing Finding, developing and keeping good people…

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So what about those “practical” examples?

As I shared with you last week, the companies that are successful at long-term growth are the ones that find a new “S” curve for their business, according to Dave Power of Power Strategy, the speaker at our upcoming Growth Strategies Breakfast next Friday, the 16th.  Whether it’s a new product, a new way of doing things, a new…

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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…

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2012 is Right Around the Corner…

What can you learn from other CEO’s mistakes? One of the biggest “lessons learned” in the stories that I’ve been sharing with you the past few months is making darn sure that your company has a clear Strategy – what it is and sometimes more importantly – what it isn’t. The CEO’s that I spoke with also consistently emphasized how critical…

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Sometimes Life catches Up with You…

In what will continue to be challenging economic times, how do you grow and sustain your company? Strategy and People That’s the message that came through loud and clear two weeks ago at the Fortune Growth Summit in Phoenix.  My biggest takeway? The companies that will weather the storm in the next few years will do so…

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Save the “Ides of May”…and still looking for your votes!

I’m headed off this weekend to Tucson, Arizona for the Fortune Gazelles Growth conference.  It promises to be a great event with a number of thought—provoking speakers including Dan Pink, author of “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” and the CEO and Founder of Go Daddy, Bob Parsons. As always, I’ll be blogging about my biggest learnings so stay tuned! BUT…

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Two exciting “launches” to announce…and a REMINDER…

Along with our upcoming Rockefeller Habits workshop on December 8th – for more information or to sign up click here – and our first ROARingvideo workshop on November 2nd… I’m pleased to announce the launch of Ballantree Consulting’s new website… www.BallantreeConsulting.com and our new Habits video! Would love to hear your reviews and comments! (And vote for your favorite character on the video…

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What did the recession teach you?

“[As an entrepreneur], you should be terrified of your success.”  Jim Collins Celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year, CBI Group has had their share of successes and some struggles too.  They’re back on an upward trajectory, but like many businesses, the recession hit them (and their industry – human resource consulting, staffing and recruiting) hard. Chris Burkhard, the CEO…

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Coming this Fall…and Congrats to our Inc 5000 Winners!

Whether you’re working to align your team for profitable growth in 2012 or positioning your company for success on the web, we’ve got two great opportunities for you this Fall!  (And some congratulations to offer as well!) FIRST – Plan on joining us on Thursday, December 8th for our One Day “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” Four Decisions Executive workshop in Princeton, NJ and come…

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There are always a few bumps…

Jeff Backal and Merrick Rosenberg have been partners in Team Builders Plus for twenty years.  Over that time their team of trainers and facilitators has worked with thousands of businesses including over 60 of the current Fortune 100 as well as smaller mid-market companies. They’ve had lots of successes with their clients as well as being named aPhilly…

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We can’t change the past…

Wil Reynolds has made mistakes – like every business person whom I’ve met. But he’s also learned from them – and created a profitable and highly successful Internet Marketing company in the process. Seer Interactive was started by Wil almost a decade ago, in 2002. The company is now a national leader among SEO companies, has a…

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Jim Collins: “It Really Matters that You Have Core Values”.

“One of the crucial findings from Built To Last research…was that a key underlying factor that allows a company to go from Good to Great…and stay there (not just get there)…is that they have an underlying set of Core Values that DO NOT change.”  Jim Collins A few weeks ago I wrote about  Performance Controls‘ focus on strengthening their Core…

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Why should you care about Core Values?

From its inception nearly 30 years ago PERFORMANCE CONTROLS, INC.® (PCI), has had the same mission: To design, manufacture, sell, and service high bandwidth, low noise electronics for precision applications  in the medical, government, and industrial markets. Perry Walraven has been the CEO for the past eight years and has seen the company grow 300% in that time,…

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The mistakes CEO’s make…

A few months back (April to be precise), the Harvard Business Review did an entire issue on Failures. Appropriately named, the “FAILURE” issue : How to Understand it, Learn from it, and Recover from it – the issue featured all sorts of articles about learning from failure, recovering from failure and even the need to study success – which…

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Before you completely settle into the summer…what do you need to “tweak”?

NOW is a great time to take a “time out”, schedule some “think time” for yourself (even if it’s only an hour or two), reflect on your year-to-date performance and consider these 5 Must Do’s – my Takeaways from the Fortune Leadership Conference. How are you doing with your goals and plans?  Did you get everything…

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The odds are not in your favor…but things may be looking up!

Only 4 out of 10 businesses will make it to $1Million.  And only 4% of those businesses will make it to $10Million.  The numbers decline from there. The odds are not in your favor as an entrepreneur and as a CEO trying to grow – and there are lots of ways that you can fail. …

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Off to Houston…and Three More Reasons (Hint: Opportunities) to subscribe…

The Fortune Leadership Summit takes place this week in Houston, Texas…with a great line up of speakers and opportunities for “enlightened executives” to grow themselves, as well as their businesses. Access to “thought-provoking” leaders is just one of the other reasons that I appreciate the “Habits” and Verne Harnish’s work. So – in honor of the summit, and our upcoming Four Decisions Executive Workshop on May…

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

I’ve spent the last six months or so telling stories about leaders who have achieved success by implementing the Rockefeller Habitsand the Four Decisions in their companies.  There’s tens of thousands of them BTW – world-wide. Given our upcoming Rockefeller Habits Four Decisions Executive Workshop (Link does not work) on May 18th in Philadelphia – an amazing bargain for those of you ready to get serious…

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How do you create and sustain a Great Strategy…?

Over 50% of the small business CEO’s that we surveyed in our most recent Growth Strategies Survey have used the “opportunity” posed by the aftermath of the recession to re-evaluate their strategies and their business models – not a surprising finding I imagine for many of you. Many CEO’s also shared that they now recognize…

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Leadership, Execution and the Power of Two “Simple” Tools

“Our vision has always been good, our strategy has always been solid but execution – that’s where we sometimes fall short….I’m still learning, but I do know that I’m not good at execution.  I’m a good visionary but execution has been our challenge for a long time.” So says Nissen Isakov, Founder and President of LCR Electronics,…

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What’s one of the biggest mistakes that a CEO can make…

So what’s one of the biggest mistakes that a CEO can make when he or she decides to expand overseas? “Not spending enough time – yourself – ‘in country’.” That’s a key insight of Lucinda Holt’s after spending time with over thirty other executives and leaders from around the world and traveling overseas as part of a year-long Eisenhower Fellowship….

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Before you get your first cup of coffee tomorrow morning…

Take advantage of these three opportunities to grow yourself and your team in the next few months…. On Wednesday, March 30th spend two hours at The Rockefeller Habits — Four Decisions Breakfast Briefing (Link does not work) — atValley Green Bank at their new offices at 2000 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia. Find out the Four Key Decisions every CEO and business owner needs…

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“So what is an Eisenhower Fellowship and why did you apply?”

According to their website, “Eisenhower Fellowships engage emerging leaders from around the world to enhance their professional capabilities, broaden their contacts, deepen their perspectives, and unite them in a diverse, global community – a network where dialogue, understanding, and collaboration lead to a more prosperous, just, and peaceful world.” Lucinda hadn’t heard about the program until…

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Every great poem contains a line from another…

Lucinda Holt has led a number of successful companies as CEO over the past decade.  She’s also won numerous awards including E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in Philadelphia. But it’s one of her most recent experiences – being one of the emerging leaders selected to participate in an Eisenhower Fellowship last year – which really inspired and engaged her.  And…

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Four Critical Steps on the “Journey to Excellence”…

For those of you who know the Rockefeller Habits – you know that one of the critical components  of    the  planning process is using Themes – either quarterly or annual to get people in the organization engaged and on board. And that’s what the folks at Superior Tube knew as well.  Last week I blogged about their annual theme of “Journey to…

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A THEME to beat all THEMES….and a PLAN to get everyone engaged…

Tony Jost and Dawne Wentzel of Superior Tube are definitely “Scaling Up” fans.  Tony and his team have been using the Habits and the Four Decisions in their planning process for over a year now with great results. “It’s been a business lifestyle change for us,” shares Tony, the CEO and President for the past five years. “And having the management team…

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3 “Must Do’s” to move into the “Modern” age…

So what did Diane Connor and her business partner, Kevin, decide were their 3 Must Do’s in 2011 to maintain their forward momentum? 1)       “Have Faith In Yourself – and Your Customers”.  Initially when Diane ran into the problem I wrote about last week with a major client she said, “I thought that we had failed.  But we were responsive and…

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Four strategies to make it through tough times…and three “must do’s” for 2011…

Diane Connor is a fierce competitor – although you may not realize that when you first meet her.  She’s warm and outgoing and thoughtful – and always willing to lend an ear and share her perspective.  But – she’s also a dedicated and avid runner who competes actively around the region, most recently in the Philadelphia Marathon this last November. It’s…

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