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Monday Morning Notes
December 26, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand... 


Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—  

             A recent conversation I had with a business owner highlights the point I’ve been trying to make with this Monday Morning Note series on CEO accountability. 
             This owner (CEO) is faced with having to rebuild his business after years of decline. He understands the situation, and he knows he’s the one who will have to make it happen. Yet he’s flinching. The struggle he seems to be having is whether or not he’s up to doing the hard work and making the tough calls required to rebuild it. He understands the implications not rebuilding will have on his own financial future, as well as on the futures of his workers, especially the younger ones who are looking to build careers.
             That’s what Part IV of this series is all about—a CEO’s willingness to continually develop himself in an effort to stay ahead of his continually growing company. The jury’s still out on the CEO I talked with. Where is it with you? 


Enjoy!
Chuck

 




BELCHING AT THE TABLE, Part IV
by Chuck Violand... 

            While CEO’s are quick to recognize stalled sales growth or shrinking profit margins in their business, too often we fail to recognize that the underlying cause of problems like these could be our own stalled professional growth. This brings us to the fourth question CEO’s need to ask themselves in the quest for personal accountability.
            How much are you, the CEO growing? Are you continuing to develop your own skills to help you keep up with an ever changing workplace...or have you started to coast, figuring that since you’re the CEO nobody’s going to challenge you? It’s not unusual for many CEO’s to give up on their own professional development long before they decide to leave their positions.
            Since entrepreneurial companies typically grow at the pace their owners grow when the company’s growth begins to wane it frequently has as much to do with the lack of the owner’s professional growth as it does with external influences that might be affecting the business such as competitors, the economy, or markets. 
            If we aren’t able to attract qualified employees there’s no question that it may be due in part to low unemployment in your local market, if that is indeed a factor in your area. But it can also be influenced by the CEO’s not knowing how to attract qualified people or how to select the right ones when we do attract them. It could also have to do with the fact his company isn’t the kind of workplace that attracts high quality people.
            Having an unattractive place to work doesn’t have anything to do with the products you produce or the services you deliver. All you have to do is look at the number of companies that produce what many people would consider unsavory products and services, but seem to attract the people they need to grow them. Instead it may have to do with the culture you’ve established at your company (see Part II of this series) or with the opportunities for growth your company provides to its people (see Part III).
            Becoming better at selecting the right people for your business and creating a workplace where people are inspired to do their best aren’t skills people are born with. Rather, these are skills people can learn, and frequently these are the areas the CEO needs to focus on for his own development. The same can be said for financial acumen, communication skills, conflict resolution, thinking strategically, or working with managers. If you’re interested in a tool we at VMA use to help our clients develop their skills as the CEO of their company, let me know. I’ll be happy to send you our Executive Development Planner.
             Entrepreneurs don’t usually start their companies with the dream of being the CEO of a large business. More often than not they just end up there; a lot like a dog chasing a car. Once we catch it we’re not really sure what to do with it and the chase was a lot more fun than the catch. Frequently this leaves the CEO feeling lonely, overwhelmed, and out of control of the very company he started. In Part V of this series I’ll discuss ways to overcome these feelings, as well as explore a few of the pitfalls every CEO wants to avoid.    


C.
 

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