May 8, 2013
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
What's with the stock market? 15,000 on the Dow? Really? Well, if the market is still a leading indicator, then I'm pretty pleased. I am worried though, since all the things I'm seeing in the numbers indicate that while the economy is improving, it is a slow and steady improvement. Personally, I believe that is the healthiest way for the economy to improve - slow, steady and predictable (to some extent at least.) So it seems to me, the market is out ahead of itself. But then, I've NEVER been good at predicting the market or timing the market. So I'll just note my concern and accept the nice positive trend while hoping for the best.
So, how're your business model changes coming along? I'd say at least 80% of the folks I speak to on a regular basis have given up thinking things will ever go back to the way they were and have been looking seriously at their processes, customer facing policies and procedures and the services and/or products they are providing. A few of the remaining 20% really don't have much need to change (they have commodity on-line products anyway) but most of that 20% are still hoping that things will get back to the old way soon. My take, is it ain' t gonna happen. I explore another opportunity to shake things up in the first article where I present some ideas on how we might (should?) change our expectations, attitudes and procedures around revenue forecasts. It might not work for everyone, but it would be good to at least seriously consider how we are planning for our goals and objectives around the budget.
I'm in up to my chin on planning for the Orange County Vistage All City 2013 event. My "leadership hero" L. David Marquet is the keynote speaker and we will be spending a whole day learning about "Creating Leadership at Every Level" of the organization. I explore a bit more on that topic in the second article below.
And speaking of the All City Event, this is a great opportunity for any of you who want to do some serious branding in the OC market. Take a look at the Sponsor Package if you'd like to find out how to rub elbows with between 500 and 600 Vistage members and prospective members in Orange County. We are experimenting with an "all new" format this year and it will be much more appealing to sponsors.
In the third article, I've posted a review of Sheryl Sandberg's excellent book Lean In. I hope you enjoy both the review and her book, it's well worth the read for any person in a leadership position. Perhaps it is especially important for male leaders who recognize the need to coach and mentor their employees to be leaders themselves.
In the Nullius in verba article, I push the envelope on the concept of advertising becoming less and less efficacious. This is a point of view I've expressed before in various ways. My belief is that we need to move away from advertising to branding; a not so subtle or easy shift. But there are signs others are moving in this direction - we're seeing a significant shift in resources from sales to marketing in many companies.
As always, I hope you will visit our friends over at Executive Next Practices to see the exciting meetings they have planned.
For those of you who are coaching or wondering about coaching, visit the Professional Mentors, Advisors and Coaches (PMAC) website for meeting information.
CCE-Board Certified Coach
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Fiction or Forecast?
I'm Going to Toss This Coin, It Will Be "Heads"
“Back in the day,” I did an awful lot of spreadsheet work around forecasting. Sometimes, but not usually, I’d be asked for worst case and best case forecasts. Generally, though, any numbers I gave were reduced to only a single goal for revenue. It was vanishingly rare that someone in an executive position would present a revenue forecast that read like a weather forecast: We have a 20% chance of obtaining $200 MM in revenue in this fiscal year and an 80% chance of achieving $175 MM. Why not?
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What Do You Enable?
Control Isn't Control Until You Give It Away
When it comes to leadership, L. David Marquet likes to frame the discussion into four broad areas: Control, Competence, Clarity and Courage. With respect to courage, he often highlights the issue of the personal struggle a leader has to make to break out of the old “command and control” model or what we know as the “leader/follower” model. It’s “fun” to be in charge. It’s fun to be “the” decision maker. Yet we know, intuitively, that we cannot scale our companies to the level consumers may be demanding if we do not relinquish control at some point. Sooner or later, if we are to build sustainable and scalable organizations, we have to develop leaders who can make wise decisions and who think for themselves. Does that frighten you?
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Review: Lean In
Sheryl Sandberg on Women,Work and the Will to Lead
Presently, I have no women in my CEO group. In the past we’ve enjoyed the presence of two strong women entrepreneurs. The group agrees that for sure we had a wider view of approaches to challenges and opportunities. And that was not simply because we had different business experience at the table when these powerful women were there, it was because we had a diversity of gender views. We continue to search for that gender diversity for our group.
So I picked up Sandberg’s new book on women leaders with anticipation. I wanted to understand why there was reluctance on the part of so many women entrepreneurs to join this high performing group. Part of it is just numbers. A 2012 McKinsey survey of more than four thousand employees of leading companies found that 36 percent of the men wanted to reach the C-suite, compared to only 18 percent of the women. And of course there’s the “usual” reasons – too busy, I already belong to an industry group, I travel and can’t make monthly meetings, etc.
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Nullius in verba
Follow the bouncing eyeballs . . .
I was swiping through my Flipboard on my Nexus 7 (okay, let me interpret for some of you. Flipboard is my very cool news/blog aggregator application, that looks like an electronic magazine, running on an Android powered Nexus 7 tablet computer – a tablet other than the ubiquitous iPad) when an LA Times article caught my eye. The article spoke about how many small-town movie theaters are turning to their hometown patrons to raise the necessary funds to move to digital projection systems. They are being forced to go digital since the new movies are being distributed that way as opposed to film. A couple of swipes later, I found another article stating that economists are predicting only modest growth in advertising for the balance of 2013. The convergence of these two articles along with the realization that I was reading the content on my electronic tablet (I have not received printed newspapers for many years) started me thinking about how we have to change our business paradigms. Hence the first two articles above and the present ruminations.
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