We hear this often from our small and medium sized clients quite often. They have been so busy "in" the business they haven't had time to work "on" it. When they do look up they find their business is 'stuck' and they are not quite sure what to do about it. 'Stuck' can look like many things, it could be rapid growth, a big project/contract, lack of consistent processes, the wrong people in the wrong seats (or the right people in the wrong seats), lack of a clear vision or plan for the future, not having everyone on the same page, a lack of data to make solid decisions... the list is endless.
What we see are CEOs and Executive Teams finding themselves in a quandary and not sure how to get out of it. I've been there and understand it completely and looked around to find the right kind of solution myself. I am a natural skeptic so I want tried and true, proven but easy-to-use tools and systems to get things done. I was attending a multi-day certification program and sitting at lunch when my table-mate sitting next to me shared Gino Wickman's book, "Traction" with me. I flipped through it that night and poked around the website that evening and was convinced that I had found a great solution to my issues. The concepts were simple, the tools are straightforward, and the methodology is tried and very sound.
Years later I find myself offering the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to our own clients because it is just such an elegantly simple methodology and toolbox...and it works!
EOS helps entrepreneurs get what they want from their business.
EOS does three things we call Vision, Traction, Healthy:
Want to learn more, you can hear directly from Gino Wickman in the quick YouTube video below and check out our website: http://www.hcm2020.com/learn-more-about-eos.html to learn more about how we can facilitate the EOS process for your organization.
"Indeed, companies spend more than $2 trillion on acquisitions every year. Yet study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%." Harvard Business Review
2013 has proven to be quite the year for re-evaluation and assessment of where current business stands. Whether it is a part of a growth or exit strategy, many entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives have had the conversation "what do we do next" and the concept of a merger or acquisition most certainly crosses the minds of most. But, are you ready for it?
It is common knowledge to recognize the importance of the legal and financial aspects of a merger or acquisition but few consider the third piece of this puzzle, the people. If your business value is based on the output of the knowledge, talent and skills of your people for its success then this third leg of the M&A stool has to be not only considered but needs to be a major focus of your efforts.
People and Culture. This is the third leg of the M&A stool that wasn't factored into industrial age acquisition plans for M&A advisory firms. The result is the 70-90% M&A failure rate of the 21st century. The reality is, in 2014 and beyond, the knowledge economy is a very different beast and requires a savvy and wise approach to the entire M&A process, a fundamental shift in how mergers and acquisitions have been done in the past.
Here are five things to consider assuming the finance and legal aspects have been addressed:
In the end, successful mergers and acquisitions need solid legal and financial advice but they ALSO need a strong (and real) evaluation of your people and culture to be a part of the 30%. Best of luck!
It's that time of year where we start thinking about 2014 and what we want to accomplish during the 365 days that make up 2014. But before you get to that, start with the "What I'm NOT Doing in 2014" list.
Why, you ask? Try this 10 minute exercise and you'll see why this could be the breakthrough to your productivity and happiness in 2014.
The 4 Steps to Creating a Better 2014
Your Q1 Action Plan
If you really want 2014 to be a transformational year for you, try this approach.
ACTION #1: Spend 60% of your time in January & February delegating/outsourcing all of the items in #4 above. Once those are delegated/outsourced move to the next step.
ACTION #2: Spend 50% of your time in February & March transitioning items from #3 above. Once those are delegated/outsourced move to the next step.
ACTION #3: Spend one day in March (typically in the 3rd week) completely away from the office and away from all distractions to plan your activities for Q2 of 2014 focusing on nothing but your strengths identified in step #2 above.
Watch for more posts on this Q2 planning session and how to make 2014 enormously successful for you and your executive team!
Regardless of whether you are a large or small organization, a company or non-profit, here is a list of 6 things executive teams should be focused on in 2014 in order to help you grow, scale up, and prosper in 2014 and beyond.
One of the big questions we get from our CEO clients is as the business grows what is the real role of a CEO? What should they really be focused on to take the organization to new levels, because most are focused on the day-to-day aspects of the business.
A great conversation was started in the association community by Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor to Associations Now. His post "A Better Job Description for CEOs" asks the question, what should CEO's be focus on. The question is a really good one and I think the bigger question is what should the roles be for the Executive Team, the Integrator (#2 of an organization) and the Visionary (#1/CEO).
My friend and colleague Jamie Notter posted his top four for the CEO as Culture, Strategy, People, and Business Model, but this is still too much for a CEO to focus on. I also believe it muddies the role of the Integrator and the Executive team with the true role of a CEO who wants to scale and grow the organization.
Here are my thoughts on the roles of the Executive Team, the #2 (COO/Integrator), and the #1 (CEO/Executive Director/Visionary).
The Executive Team of any organization needs to be focusing on six core aspects of the "business" which we call Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction.
1. VISION: Getting everyone in the organization 100% clear about where you're going with the organization.
2. PEOPLE: Surrounding yourself with great people because you can't achieve a great vision without great people.
3. DATA: This means cutting through all the feelings, personalities, opinions and egos and boiling your organization down to a handful of objective numbers that give you an absolute pulse on where things are.
4. ISSUES: With 1-3 above addressed and clear it makes it much easier to identify and tackle the real issues within an organization and make them go away.
5. PROCESS: This is the secret ingredient in any organization. This means “systemizing” the organization by identifying and documenting the core processes that define your way to run your organization – getting everyone on the same page with what the essential procedural steps are in your core processes and then getting everyone to follow them so you create consistency and scalability in your organization.
6. TRACTION: This means bringing discipline and accountability into the organization – becoming great at execution – taking the vision down to the ground and making it real.
The Executive Team focuses on these six core components of an organization. By strengthening all six of those core areas, organizations can become more efficient and scalable.
The #2 person in the organization we call the “Integrator” but their job titles vary (COO, Executive VP of Administration, etc.). This person’s focus is ensuring that the Executive Team has all of the resources it needs to tackle those six components. The Integrator is also responsible for executive of the Business Plan and P&L (but this is not the CFO).
This leaves the “Visionary” or CEO/Executive Director owning and guiding the Vision and long-term growth of the organization. To grow the organization, the CEO should be focused on:
1. Ensuring the Executive Team, Board, Staff, and Members are clear on the vision of the organization. This means continually working with these teams and individuals to ensure what they are doing is clearly aligning with where the organization is going.
2. Developing and deepening the Key Relationships of the organization. This does not mean others are not involved but it does mean taking an active role in the identified "Key" relationships for the organization.
3. Emulates the Culture that supports the Vision. One of the biggest issues we hear about most often is the perception that the leaders of an organization are saying one thing but doing another. The CEO needs to be the one keeping a pulse on this.
What we we see too often is that the “Integrator” and “Visionary” are trying to mix and match their roles instead of letting each do what they do best. The profile of a successful Integrator (one who likes being in the weeds) is very different than that of an Visionary (one guiding the future of the organization). And many times others have the expectation that the CEO needs to do both. Yes, the CEO needs to know what’s going on in the organization with regards to operations, but the CEO should not be responsible for its day-to-day work if the organization is going to scale and grow. They CEO needs to focus on the Vision, Key Relationships and Culture in order to take the organization to new heights.
Amy Riccardi is the Chief People Officer and Founder of HCM2020. She's a guest lecturer at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and works with executive teams and CEOs to help scale and grow their business.