All Posts by Sam Roberts

Makeover Your Business

As a smart business owner, you show your clients the pretty face of your business. They never know that you are flying by the seat of your pants, your documentation is disorganized, some of your operational compliance is being neglected, and your technology is out of date.

But who can blame you? You haven’t had enough time to do everything that is urgent, let alone enough time to start improving things.

Depending on how much help you have, you can reach the point where you are too busy running to get your feet under you. You are too busy to get unbusy!
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Why Startup CEOs Fail to Become Growth CEOs

Congratulations! You’ve started a successful company. And now that you have achieved a measure of success, you’re ready to take it to the next level. Except… you keep trying, but it’s not working.

You have played the role of Startup CEO very well by selling, selling, and selling some more. But if the only growth card you play is the sales card, you soon find yourself stuck. All of the marketing, sales, partnerships, and investors in the world won’t help you succeed if your organization can’t execute, your people aren’t performing, your technology is out of date, your support processes are immature, and you can’t make or deliver the number of products or services that you have committed to sell.
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Great Organizations are Built Inside Out

Are you an organizational leader who can’t seem to move the needle on performance? Here’s a counter-intuitive suggestion: stop pushing.

The fact that you have to push should tell you something: either your people aren’t naturally willing to perform at the level you are asking (your culture is off), or they don’t have the natural capability to perform at that higher level (maturity is low).

Either way, pushing from the outside only steers your organization in a negative direction. And any performance increase that you achieve won’t last anyway. After a temporary uptick, the slight decrease in employee engagement (that resulted from your “push”) will probably result in decreased performance. The opposite of the result you were looking for!
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The Lumberjack Competition

Two logging companies with 10 people each challenged the other to a contest to see who could chop down the most trees over the course of a week. One team decided they could go faster if all 10 of them hacked at trees all day. The other team decided to surrender one team member to be their Enabling Manager with a focus on production capability. Who do you think won?
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Richard Branson on Enabling

Richard Branson shares our vision of changing the role of CEOs to be more about empowerment than control:

“How to unleash the power of intrapreneurs? The key is to enable them to pursue their vision. But people don’t always think of leaders within a company – the managers, executives, and the chief executive officer – as people who enable others.
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Who Is the New CEO?

Vineet Nayar, founder of the Sampark Foundation, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review where he discussed the changing role of CEOs in the new economy:

“In the manufacturing era, the control zone — which comprises the CEO and senior executives who set corporate strategy, policies, and quality control processes — added the most value to the business. However, value-creation has now shifted, from the control zone to the bottom of the organizational pyramid. At a time of virtually limitless competition between finely differentiated products, what you sell has become less important than how you do so. View Full Article

Why Leaders Change

There are many reasons why a CEO may choose to move to a new level of leadership. Yet while the rewards are huge, change is always difficult. It is self-empowering to take some time in the beginning to identify your own burning reasons for change before starting any leadership improvement effort.

Which of these 10 reasons are strong enough to support through the pain of change?

8 Great Reasons to Change

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What is a Chief Enabling Officer?

First, note that a Chief Enabling Officer has the same initials as a Chief Executive Officer. We need a way to differentiate, so we call the Chief Enablers “2ndCEOs”.

What is the difference between a CEO and a 2ndCEO?  A 2ndCEO leads at a deeper level.  2ndCEOs are servant leaders that put others before themselves, making themselves 2nd. They lead by serving instead of commanding; from a supportive position below rather than from a domineering position above.

CEO The typical Chief Executive Officer is focused on their execution as a leader. They seek for superior results using the help of their people.
2ndCEO A 2ndCEO is focused primarily on enabling the success of others as the foundation for results. They grow each of their people into leaders that are personally invested in helping the organization succeed.

It might be helpful to compare what they do differently:

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Are You in Your Own Way?

Naomi Simson is Founding Director of RedBalloon, an “experiential gifting” company in Australia that she started in 2001. After years of hard work mixed with extreme fun, she found her company past the startup phase and found herself in the way of further growth. Moving to a new level of leadership allowed her business to move to the next level. Here are her words:

“I knew that how we did business (our values) would determine our culture, and that if everyone was aligned, anything could be possible. I used key indicators like… BHAG to make sure that the plan was on track and that everyone was aligned. View Full Article