Growing a company is hard.
Especially hard for people who have more experience in making a product or selling it than they have in scaling an organization.
Imagine you’re the conductor of a symphony orchestra. You don’t play any of the instruments. You make none of the music that the audience came to hear – yet you make sure it all happens. You have to know what you should be hearing from each section of the orchestra at every moment in the piece. When should the trumpets sound most brilliant? When should they be muted and when silent? You also have to know this for the violins, the bassoons and even the little triangle. It’s your job to know what they should all sound like, and then inspire and coordinate them to produce the music beautifully.
The CEO of a business is like the conductor of an orchestra. As CEO you don’t perform any of the functions directly but you make sure they’re all working together according to the company’s strategy.
Do you know what you should be hearing from sales?
From finance? Production? HR?
How about your other departments, even the infrequent ones like facilities? You can see the analogy with the orchestra conductor.
As your company grows from one-man-band to orchestra, your role needs to change as well.
CEO Skills I have helped with…
Organizational Phase Changes
This is not just consultant-speak. A common cause of stagnation is an organizational structure that doesn’t adapt well as the company expands.
I run into companies all the time that either have no strategic process or one that is wasteful. The best plans can be seamlessly adapted to quarterly and even weekly action steps and milestones so progress thoughout the organization can be measured, coordinated, and adapted to a changing environment.
A coach is a sounding board and confidante who has no agenda other than your success. That means being a critical listener, giving encouragement when needed, and helping you focus on those things that are important but often get neglected because they are not urgent. I often say that a consultant brings expertise in from the outside, but a coach helps you maximize the expertise you already have. One other aspect of coaching is to help change behaviour in the soft skills (ie how you relate to people) to make you or your executives more effective.
Successful organizations need leaders and managers. Sometimes one person has both sets of skills – sometimes those skills reside in different people. In either case it’s critical to know the difference and to structure the organization to make it easier to both lead and manage.
Business Model Transformation
A Business Model explains how you make money. Software, for example, can be sold in a freemium model, a subscription model (SaaS), a one-time sale model, or an enterprise model where a large payment is made up front and smaller (often optional) payments are made for ongoing support and upgrades. A different company structure is needed for each model to maximize profitabiltiy. But software is not the only product or service where different models can apply. As your organization evolves often your business model needs to as well.
Where do you go to learn those skills?
A CEO of a Fortune 500 company has MBA programs to draw from. But if you run a smaller company, you’re on your own. At least that’s how I felt 30 years ago when I started my first company. There’s no CEO school for people like us. My Boot Camp consulting is a way to share things I wish someone had told me about running a growing firm. I want you to learn the skills that will help you take your company to the next stage of growth, without having to make the mistakes I did.
Want to see if this could work for you? We won’t know till we have a chat. Give me a call. +1 203-775-6676 (I’m on Eastern Time in the US – but I’ve worked with companies from The Netherlands to California). Or send an email.