A word (or two) to the first-time CEO
December 24, 2014
First time CEO? Take heed. How you behave, the image you project, the values by which you govern yourself, they're all part of the recipe for success - or failure.
My father is a wise man. He once shared an expression with me that has remained at the forefront of my thoughts with every company I join: A fish always rots from the head. In other words, whatever a company's successes, failures, or dysfunctions, they stem from the top.
Thinking of Joining an Entrepreneur-led firm? Part 1
February 5, 2014
The executive was feeling pretty good. One of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial companies in Canada wanted him to be its new Chief Operating Officer. Discussions had moved quickly with the celebrity founder himself making the case that the firm's over-burdened systems and processes desperately needed the executive's world-class operational experience. Topping it off, the word ‘successor' was even whispered at the close of one late night dinner discussion. After some heart-wrenching deliberation, the executive decided there would never be a better opportunity to catapult his career. He accepted the company's offer and resigned from his employer of twenty-three years………Six months later he was unemployed, richer only by the knowledge that his impeccable credentials had in fact been glaringly lacking of the only experience and skills that truly mattered.
Hiring for Attributes: Will That Be Motivated, Highly Motivated or Obsessed?
July 15, 2011
It was the spring of 1956 and William Shockley was finally getting the chance to do things 'his way'. With a freshly minted Nobel Prize for his contributions in inventing the transistor, Shockley launched Shockley Semiconductor is his home town of Palo Alto, California. The well-funded start-up had its choice of the finest technical minds in the world all anxious to develop and commercialize its founder's ground-breaking theories and ideas. Such was the caliber of the team put together by Shockley that one observer described it as "the greatest collection of electronic genius ever assembled". Yet despite its vast promise, Shockley Semiconductor never took flight.
The Five Mistakes Companies Make When Hiring
September 1, 2010
It was all coming together for the young start-up: innovative technology, successful customer trials, an emerging market, and now a fresh round of venture funding tucked safely in the bank. Next up was hiring a high-powered sales executive to unleash the firm into the market. It was agreed they would settle for nothing less than the 'best of the best', someone deep in their markets, with a rolodex of contacts and a track record of building successful sales organizations.
Five Rules for Working in Family Businesses
March 2, 2010
Family businesses have been employers of choice for generations of executives. They are seen as more benevolent, personal, stable and loyal than the faceless, soul-less entities that serve as their corporate or public-sector alternatives.
Hiring the Right Stuff - Greg Boyle
March 1, 2010
WHEN I THINK BACK ON THE MOVIE THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), I recall how inspirational it was covering the "race for space" that emerged during the early '50s. The stakes were high given that this was really a race between the Americans and the Russians for world dominance. The film covered the selection, training and the inevitable highs and lows of the "chosen" few, culminating with man landing on the Moon in July 1969.
Working for Family Businesses - Part 1
November 12, 2009
It is the dominant form of business structure worldwide From farmers to small mom-and-pop shops to one-third of Fortune 500 businesses, estimates are that over 80% of businesses are family-owned or controlled,. These include global icons such as Michelin, IKEA, Tata, Ford, Roche, Henkel, Heineken, Cargill, Mars, Bacardi's, Wal-Mart, Samsung, Bosch, and countless others.
Family business leaders are often the best and brightest executives in their industries. They run professional, innovative, aggressive companies that expand the horizons of innovation, productivity and efficiency. Some observers believe that family firms, with their lower leverage, long-term approach and loyalty to employees point the way to a more stable kind of capitalism in the future.
Resilience in Tough Times
July 6, 2009
Executives around the world have been caught in a storm of market collapse, corporate failures, and mass layoffs. For a great many, the forecast remains unsettled if not downright bleak. Yet if history is any guide, the majority will weather the recessionary storm. Some will actually sow the seeds of success through the adversity while a few will, unfortunately never recover...