Correct Links for Thursday Webinars – Planning and Topgrading
October 16, 2012
5 ways to find extraordinary employees
October 23, 2012

Top 40; Most Unnatural; Nasty Sandwich; Tough Decision

"…keeping you great"


Top 40 under 40 – Fortune's latest list is out and topping the pack is Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, leapfrogging Mark Zuckerberg and taking the #1 slot for the first time. Reasons: Google owns over 95% of mobile ad revenues (wow); Android powers half of all smart phones sold in the US; and the stock is at an all-time high. Read what else he's accomplished in his first full year as CEO – impressive – and glance at the rest of the list. Seems Eric Schmidt has coached Page well.

Speaking of New CEOs — once again, Ben Horowitz's blog, entitled "Making Yourself a CEO", is a must read for ALL leaders. First, learn what the most unnatural move a boxer must make – great cocktail trivia. And then glance into what Ben considers the most unnatural move CEOs must make – giving feedback – and lots of it.

Better than a Sh#t Sandwich — Horowitz first explains what doesn't really work – the proverbial sh#t sandwich approach. He then outlines six keys to giving effective feedback (read his blog to get the details):

  • Be Authentic
  • Come From the Right Place
  • Don't Get Personal
  • Don't Clown People in Front of Their Peers
  • Feedback is not One Size Fits All
  • Be Direct but not Mean

And I can attest that none of this comes natural, at least to me (sorry team)!!

Give Lots of FeedbackOK, I mentioned this already, but note's Horowitz, in what is likely his most debatable point, "As CEO, you should have an opinion on absolutely everything. You should have an opinion on every forecast, every product plan, every presentation and even every comment. Let people know what you think." Again, it's worth two minutes to read his blog and see his rationale. Liz Wiseman (Multiplier fame), if you're reading this, please weigh in.

Tough Decision — firing an employee is always a tough call; firing a customer can be even tougher. Notes Vernon Menard, COO of Choice Translating, "On Monday this week Michelle (CEO) and I terminated a contract with a large healthcare network after providing services to them for over 15 years. After years of roller-coaster rides with them, we made the decision based on our realization that the client just did not share any of our core values or our culture of respect for clients and suppliers."

Tough Call Results — continues Menard, "This misalignment manifested in many ways, but in the end Michelle and I realized we were unwise to continue investing in a client we could not trust as far as we could throw a piano. We will forego plenty of revenue but not much profit, after we count all hassles involved. Our team was energized by the decision and is focusing now on profile clients and prospects whose values and culture align with ours." Again, many things leaders must do come unnaturally, to Horowitz's point, and must be learned over time.

The Right #2 — in response to my mentioning the importance of CEOs hiring the right #2, NK Tong, CEO of Malaysia-based Bukit Kiara Properties (BKP), replied "In 2005 you challenged me that I needed a no. 2 so that I could carry on with the 'visioning' as an entrepreneur. I still remember the 4 options you outlined (in order): 1) promote from within, 2) hire someone I had known for a long time, a friend, an ex-employee, etc., 3) get in a change consultant for 6 months, and if he did well, bring him in, and 4) least preferred, use a head hunter."

#2 Hiring Results — shared NK, "Coincidentally, I did hire a COO in 2005 using step 1), from within, and 5 years later, when he retired, used step 2) in 2010, and hired a former employee from 13 years before (known him 17 years by then). Both transitions worked out perfectly!" Love when suggestions turn out good!"

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.