Tag Archive: ceo

Women CEO Panel Takeaways

January 2nd, 2020

As an advisory board member of the School of Business and Public Management of the University of LaVerne, I participated with the annual Women CEO Forum. I always am inspired listening to the powerful stories of these CEOs, and the hardships they overcame on their journey to success. Do you get away to listen to speakers like these? I am always surprised how energizing it can be.  I always gain a nugget or insight to take our performance to another level. As my consulting mentor says, if you improve 1% a day, in 70 days you are twice as good. Now that is imminently achievable and impressive!

 

The key takeaways from the Women CEO Forum included the following:

  • Determination – It is without a doubt the reason for my success.  It shouldn’t be surprising that it is true for others. Are you undervaluing how important it is to “keep going” and find ways around, over or through obstacles?
  • Fail Forward – A powerful insight from one of the panelists. As I always say in speeches on innovation, you have to fail to be successful in innovation. Do we see our failures as ‘failing forward’? Or do we hide under a rock?
  • Pivot – Have you thought about when you should pivot and change direction/ strategy? The most successful people have multiple pivots in their careers. Nothing stays the same….the world, our industries, our colleagues. Do you know when it is time to pivot? Surround yourself with people and advisors who will help you!
  • Reinvention – If the pivot is when you should change course, reinvention is how you change course deliberately. The most successful people reinvent as a normal course of action. Have you thought about whether what you are doing is just what you’ve always done or if it is the best approach in today’s business environment?

Take a few minutes to think about your takeaways from your career to date. What is responsible for your success? How does it stack up with these insights? Figure out what works for you, GO for it and don’t let obstacles get in your way!

 



Why Join A CEO Group?

December 6th, 2019

We recognized Ron Penland as our 2019 LMA Advocate. Ron has added value to our business in many ways over the years ranging from insights on what’s relevant to manufacturers and distributors and their bottom line to valued connections. Since Ron runs CEO groups, I thought it made for a good segue to discuss the value of interacting with peers. Are you drinking your own Kool-Aid or do you get push back when you need it?

You might want to consider the unpleasant idea of gaining input even when you don’t want to hear it. The proof is in the pudding. Certainly, Ron’s CEOs have been FAR more successful than even the average CEO group as his CEOs get 2 to 3 times the multiples for the sale of their businesses when compared to the industry averages. That alone is noteworthy. I joined one of his groups simply to better understand what is on our clients’ minds. Of course they tell me what relates to our project but if I understand more about the broad spectrum of issues, I can ensure LMA provides an even more powerful return. That is an important win-win – the more value we help our clients create, the better for both of us!

Do you have any venues for interacting with top notch peers? After all, just interacting with someone in a peer position willing to talk to you could be even worse than being a hermit! Kash Gokli, head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing practice and Director of their clinic program and I gather CEOs a few times a year to help foster a community of executives and to discuss timely topics in our Harvey Mudd executive roundtables. Of course, we don’t go into depth and specifics of company performance like you do in a CEO group. Yet, it can add definite value. Contact us if you are interested in joining us.

There are other options as well for building these invaluable connections. Think about volunteering for a community benefit to provide expertise. In the Inland Empire and surrounding areas of Southern CA, we are starting a consortium for advanced manufacturing and supply chain success. We are currently looking for manufacturers and exporters who would be interested in being involved from the ground up in an advisory capacity. Please contact the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) or me if interested. And a local manufacturing executive asked me to participate in CAIEDEC which is an organization supporting export. CEOs are involved in both of these initiatives and these groups are the first to pop to mind.

There are plenty of opportunities to gain ideas, insights and push back. Are you seeking them out? If not, why not? Wouldn’t you like to exceed corporate objectives to fast-track your career or sell your company for double the industry average? Pick just one item to test this month, and results will follow.



Strategy Isn’t Long Term!

September 6th, 2019

As I meet with countless CEOs and P&L leaders at clients, via connections, at speeches, etc., I pay attention to what is top of mind. Strategy is always top of mind for the most successful business leaders! After all, if a CEO makes in the millions (the top 10 paid CEOs from 2018 made between $66 million and >$500 million), he/she is being paid for more than just executing the plan. Certainly, strategy is integral to the future success of the organization.

Yet, I see a lot of confusion about strategy. It isn’t complex. Strategy is figuring out the ‘what’. Whereas, tactics is the ‘how’. Strategy isn’t necessarily long-term. Who says ‘what’ should be long-term? In fact, some of the most successful CEOs are now focusing on rapid and agile strategy. Isn’t that what we need to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted, rapidly changing business environment?

Focusing on the ‘what’ focuses on the outcomes and goals. In essence, where should your business end up? As Peter Drucker would say, strategy is “doing the right things”; whereas tactics is “doing things right”. Take a step back and think about his profound thinking. It is easy to spend all your time “doing things right”, isn’t it? It certainly is for me, and I am an expert in strategy!

What do you think Jeff Bezos is thinking? How to execute the best logistics plan or how to control the logistics landscape, just like a chess game? Of course, strategists need managers who are good at both strategy and tactics to make any strategy come true. And it is also true that strategies rarely fail in composition. Yet, more often than not, they fail in execution. Thus, it seems we must have both! We better know which is which and not be thinking strategy and tactics are long-term vs. short-term, or we will go the way of Sears and Toys R’ Us. (Quite sad as I still remember going to Toys R’ Us as a child around Christmas to explore all the possibilities. It was truly an experience!)

Have you thought about your strategy lately? If not, you better get on it before the next Amazon passes you by. And, let’s not get cocky, Sears used to be the Amazon in my lifetime. You never know who the next Amazon will be. If you are interested in a strategic assessment, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

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UGG Founder, the Amazon Effect in Healthcare & Why Demand is Key

February 8th, 2019

In listening to the UGG founder, Brian Smith talk through his trials and tribulations in developing the amazing UGG brand, a few themes emerged.

  1. Resilience in finding pivot points when obstacles emerged played a vital role in creating the UGG brand.  
  2. The benefit is what matters; not the product.
  3. Creating demand goes back to being a leader in the category when the market shifts.

What a great story!

Next, related to the demand theme, I spoke to the Professional Women in Healthcare (PWH) Orange County group about the Amazon Effect. As a former Executive of a healthcare manufacturer, it was fun to have an interactive discussion with these leaders. Interestingly, healthcare manufacturers and distributors are experiencing the same issues as aerospace, building products and food & beverage. How to keep up with demand (or preferably get ahead of it) while increasing profit and accelerating cash flow (not having a bunch of inventory tied up for no benefit) is the topic on everyone’s mind. Aligning demand and supply and related parties is the trick!

Demand emerges as a common theme. Therefore, I’d like to invite you to an executive lunch centered on the topic, “Increase Demand“. I am speaking on a panel of experts on driving demand in your business. Use early bird promo V25 for a 25% discount. Hope you’ll join us there.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Every client has a focus on demand. Typically, they are thinking about how to grow the business in a scalable, profitable way, which leads to a mountain of questions about forecasting and how to get in front of demand.

Interestingly, it ALL goes back to one place, the customer. Do you have a passion for your customers and creating a superior customer experience? If so, demand will grow. If not, it won’t. In watching countless organizations over the last 14 years in consulting, I’ve yet to see one that succeeded long-term without this essential ingredient. Have you?

If you have a passion for the customer as the CEO or General Manager, that is a great place to start. However, it is not enough. Your sales team is relevant but the most successful clients view the entire organization as the sales team with a passion for the customer. Ask a trusted colleague to visit your facility. They will be able to ‘feel’ whether there is a passion for the customer or not. Ask them.

If the most successful executives have a focus on demand, it is worth noting. Are you providing lip service to the customer or are you creating this view within your organization? There is also a tremendous amount of focus going into understanding demand with forecasting tools, analytics, artificial intelligence, and more. Do you have a clear path forward as it relates to demand? Of course, this topic also relates strongly to creating a resilient supply chain. Only the most successful companies predict and proactively engage customers to get ahead of demand.

To learn more about these strategies, check out our new series:



Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable, Growth Strategies & Idea Velocity

October 19th, 2018

 

Kash Gokli, Director of Clinic Programs and Head of the Manufacturing Practice at Harvey Mudd and I recently led our 13th Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable.  We had some engaging discussions on growth strategies from multiple vantage points – small and medium-sized, closely held businesses, non-profit business, large complex, global organizations and private-equity backed companies.  It is amazing how much we had in common – no matter the industry, company size or footprint, every executive was concerned about culture and its impact on growth strategy.

I found one CEO’s comment especially intriguing – he mentioned the concept of “idea velocity“.  This topic has increased in importance in my business recently.

It turns out that the “be all, end all” in success for consulting comes down to “idea velocity”.  What are you doing to stimulate ideas? I think this is essential no matter the industry. What executive or company will be successful in today’s Amazonian marketplace if short on ideas?  Not many!

One tip to implement this week:
Don’t despair if you aren’t an idea factory.  First, undoubtedly, you have more ideas in you than you think.  The key is to help them make their way to the surface.

For example, when I interviewed for my promotion to VP of Operations and Supply Chain (as it required an interview by our new private equity backers), although I knew I could get results, I wasn’t too sure about my creative idea generation abilities because I viewed it as “developing the new sticky pad (3M)”.  It turns out that it’s all about repackaging and recombining of key information, products and services. We all have the ability to do that! However, you do not have to do it alone. That’s the point of having a team, colleagues, advisors and supply chain partners who can help spur ideas.

With that said, I recently was in an idea rut even though I surround myself with all of these resources – and more.  I didn’t realize it at the time but not enough was bubbling to the surface. What turned that around was expanding my circle of influencers  (a bit of diversity goes a long way) and realizing that not all idea collaborators are created the same (for each person and what works for him/her).  Finding that right combination “worked”.

Instead of groaning when “assigned to a team with someone you are less than thrilled to be paired with”, see it as an opportunity.  You never know who will spur an interesting idea or who is particularly good at brainstorming with you. Some exciting new ideas might just jump to the surface.  

Put yourself out there and it will happen.