Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How Do You Define Culture?

How do you define company culture. In 7 years of conducting Vistage meetings, I don’t think there are many where culture is not discussed. Despite the fact that we can talk about it, most are at a lost to define what it actually is. Vistage speaker Balaji Krishnamurti, himself a turnaround CEO offers a compelling and unique definition in this short audio clip.

PostHeaderIcon Some Thoughts for Thanksgiving…Or Any Day for That Matter

The following list was written by Regina Brett, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH.  If you meditate, or just find a quiet space every now or then, they are a good, healthy reminder about what’s important.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16… Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else..

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now.. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

PostHeaderIcon Experience Vistage on June 11 at Hacienda del Sol



Every month Tucson Vistage members give up a day at the office to spend that day with 15 of their peers? Easy? No. Invaluable? Yes. Watch to find out why. Vistage Value

On  June 11 join Tucson’s business leaders for a half day version of a Vistage CEO meeting. Enjoy a popular Vistage speaker leading you through an accelerated Strategic Planning exercise. Learn what it is like to explore a tough question or issue you are facing with the help of a room of your peers. Schedule an appointment to see if you qualify for membership in Tucson’s newest CEO Peer Advisory Group. That group is already 25 percent subscribed, including the President of one of Tucson’s largest aerospace companies.

Come as a guest. Full information here.



PostHeaderIcon Vistage Members Report Continued Slowdown in Economic Growth

More than 1600 Vistage members surveyed in the Q4 Vistage CEO Confidence Index reported a continued slowdown in the pace of economic growth and anticipated overall economic conditions would remain subdued in the first half of 2013.

On the other hand, optimism among small business owners who took the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey reversed last month’s decline as renewed economic growth offset concerns about political and economic uncertainty.

Below are some key highlights from the Q4 2012 Vistage CEO Confidence Index (all members surveyed):

  • 63% of CEOs anticipated revenue growth during the year ahead in the fourth quarter survey, down from 73% last year.
  • 49% of CEOs expected increased profits, down from 52% last quarter and 55% last year.
  • 35% of CEOs at year end reported improving economic conditions, down from 60% at the start of 2012.
  • Combined 86% of CEOs said higher sales, new orders, and an improving economy were the most important influences on increasing the likelihood of hiring new employees.
  • Planned hiring fell to 45% in the fourth quarter of 2012, down from 55% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

See the remainder of the Q4 2012 Vistage CEO Confidence Index results with this interactive tool.

Below are some key highlights from the December Vistage/Wall Street Journal Small Business CEO Survey (members leading companies in the $1 million-$20 million range):

  • 65% of small business firms expect their sale revenue to increase in the next year.
  • 51% of small business firms expect their profitability to improve in the next year.
  • 48% of small business firms say they plan to increase their hiring in the next year.
  • 27% of small business firms think U.S. economic conditions in next year will be better than they are now, up from 20% in November.

See the remainder of the Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey results with this interactive tool.

Read The Wall Street Journal article about the Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey results, featuring a Vistage member.

PostHeaderIcon Are Your Employee Evaluations Worth the Time and Paper It Takes to Do Them?

According to Denis Wilson, writing in Fast Company, annual evaluations “build up pressure and make feedback sessions feel like indictments. And most importantly, they do little to alter behavior and improve performance and productivity, which should be your goal.” If you’ve read Three Signs of a Miserable Job (if you supervise, manage, or lead—you must) by Patrick Lencioni, one of my favorite business authors, Lencioni asserts that there are three things often missing for most employees that create a great deal of dissatisfaction.

Immeasurement refers to an employee’s desire to know how their performance will be measured. It also hinders clarity regarding where to focus one’s time and attention. Irrelevance refers to an employee’s lack of understanding how their work and performance contributes to the company’s overall success. And anonymity refers to an employee’s feeling of generally not being known.

The boom-surprise-explode cycle of typical annual performance evaluations does little to alleviate these three conditions, although when done well and thoughtfully they can help. Instead, consider how you can transform an annual evaluation into an ongoing conversation that provides regular feedback on performance requirements derived directly from corporate strategy;  promotes alignment with corporate culture; and for those who manage or lead provides important feedback on their number one job—the performance of the teams they lead.

With the turning of the calendar, this is a great time to consider a change in this area. There are many tools available. Our favorite is Evaluate to Win, based on the work of Vistage Member Lee Benson in Phoenix and on the management operating systems designed by former GE CEO Jack Welch.  To read the complete Fast Company article, simply follow this link

PostHeaderIcon 10 Secrets of Successful Leadership for CEO’s

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” But, becoming a great leader isn’t easy. Successfully maneuvering a team through the ups and downs of starting a new business can be one of the greatest challenges a small-business owner faces.

John Maxwell, a favorite of several of my Tucson CEO Vistage members said, “You work hard to develop your product or service. You fight to solve your financial issues. You go out and promote your business and sell your product. But you don’t think enough about leading your own people and finding the best staff.”

Number 10 is simply “Stay Calm.” During the recent recession, one of the strategies most often ignored was simply to smile, to convey that while the world was in chaos, you had things relatively under control.

Number 9 is “Keep Your People Engaged.” Great leaders give their teams challenges and get them excited about them, says leadership expert Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Free Press, 1989). He pointed to the example of a small pizza shop in a moderate-sized town that was killing a big fast-food chain in sales. The big difference between the chain and the small pizza joint was the leader, he says.

Read the full article by  in Entrepreneur magazine here.

PostHeaderIcon Tucson CEO’s Participate in Vistage International–Wall Street Journal Small Business Leadership Survey

The WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index was 91.7 in July—down from 100, which was the baseline set in June.

Below are some key highlights from the July WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey:

  • 28% of CEOs say current economic conditions have improved compared to a year ago, down from 37% in June.
  • 62% of CEOs expect their firm’s revenues to improve during the next 12 months, down from 67% in June.
  • 46% of CEOs expect their firm’s profitability to improve during the next 12 months, down slightly from 51% in June.
  • 46% of CEOs expect their firms number of employees to increase during the next 12 months, down from 54% in June.
  • 36% of CEOs say that they are holding back on hiring because of economic uncertainty.
  • 31% of CEOs say they are unable to find applicants with relevant skills for their unfilled jobs.
  • 39% of CEOs believe job openings are holding them back from growth or expansion.
  • 36% of CEOs offer training to help prospective employees develop the required skills for their unfilled jobs.

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article about the survey results.

Also check out the related video about small businesses struggling to close the skills gap.

PostHeaderIcon Is There One Leadership Trait That Serves CEO’s Above All Others?

Is there one trait that serves others above all others? If yes, what might it be?

In the opinion of Anthony Tjan writing in a Harvard Business Review Blog, that leadership trait is self awareness. Tjan opens his piece by proposing that, “Without self-awareness, you cannot understand your strengths and weakness, your “super powers” versus your “kryptonite.” It is self-awareness that allows the best business-builders to walk the tightrope of leadership: projecting conviction while simultaneously remaining humble enough to be open to new ideas and opposing opinions”

Tjan concludes as follows.

Self-reflection and its reward of self-awareness cannot be thought of as passive exercises, new era meditation, or soft science. They’re absolutely essential. There is a reason why in rehabilitation programs the starting point is being aware enough to admit you have a problem. So, too, is the case in business leadership and personal development.

Read the complete entry here.

PostHeaderIcon When’s the Last Time Your Ego Got in Your Way

Can you remember the last time your ego got in the way of a good decision, a successful sales call, a challenging conversation with a good employee or perhaps a discussion with a spouse or child? It happens often enough that most of us certainly can.

In a recent Fast Company article by Scott Blanchard and Ken Blanchard they talk about strategies to avoid letting your ego hijack your effectiveness as a leader. It is consistent with what CEO’s in our Tucson Vistage International groups are learning from the great leadership text by Leo Thayer; Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing. In my favorite quote from my favorite book on CEO leadership, Thayer says, “In the end it all comes down to who you are.” Not what you’ve done. Not how much you have. And not what those close to you are likely to tell you.

As the Blanchards suggest, “… that’s because the combination of false pride and self-doubt created by an overactive ego gives people a distorted image of their own importance. When that happens, people see themselves as the center of the universe and they begin to put their own agenda, safety, status, and gratification ahead of those affected by their thoughts and actions.

That’s a deadly combination in today’s business environment, where organizations need people to work together collaboratively to meet the ever increasing expectations of customers.”

Follow this link to the complete article.


PostHeaderIcon Do You Know Your Company’s “Make or Break”

Dan Barnett, former COO of  Vistage International and former CEO of Van de Kamps Seafood is one of Vistage International’s most sought after resource speakers. Some time ago Dan spoke to our local Vistage CEO group on his topic of Make or Break Execution. Simply put Make or Break asks, “What is the ONE THING that you or your business needs to do to deliver on your vision?” In particular, what is that one thing your business must do that matters most to your customers. Perhaps more specifically, what’s the one thing your business must do better than your competition?

At Van de Kamps Dan discovered to his surprise that the one thing that customers valued above all when they chose their provider of frozen seafood was freshness. That’s right, freshness. In response, Van de Kamps launched an advertising campaign to educate customers about the actual freshness of frozen-at-sea products vs. products bought fresh (or at least never frozen).

Once they understood the customer preference their first step was to purchase all available capacity in the factory trawler fleet. This approach helped Dan take Van de Kamps from number three to number one, a change worth, as you would expect, millions of dollars. And it was a market position that endured.

As COO at Vistage, tasked with increasing membership, Dan came to understand the Make or Break was finding and retaining great group chairs. Put simply, great chairs attract and retain great members.

At the recent All Things Digital Conference, Apple CEO  Tim Cook was asked about the potential for Apple’s growth. In particular, the interviewer wanted to know if the growth could continue at the current rate, and if Apple could someday become the first trillion dollar company. His response was perfectly aligned with Apple’s historic approach and with Dan Barnett’s Make or Break. Cook said, “We will continue to make great products and the rest will take care of itself.”

So what is your company’s Make or Break?