Posts Tagged ‘CEO’

Forecasting is a Learned Skill

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by Troy Schrock

Forecasting is a learned skill, and as such, it can be taught and improved over time.  It also will never be perfect.  Yet, I often see CEOs and executives giving the financial staff a terrible time when actual results differ from the forecast.  I have also seen many financial personnel terrified to provide a forecast to the executive team because it is built on assumptions rather than “facts.”  By nature, financial personnel tend to be more averse to making mistakes than others.  They want their numbers to be right, but forecasts are never “right” in precisely matching actual results.  No one can absolutely predict the future.  A forecast can only provide a directional view based on the best knowledge available.

Forecasting is not limited to financial numbers.  Every discipline has some kind of key activity or metric to forecast, so CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, COOs, and any other kind of business leader ought to be able to understand the uncertainty and apprehension involved in forecasting.

You can only become excellent at forecasting by working on it.  Mistakes will be made.  Through practice, you will gain a better understanding of the drivers of the key activities which are drivers for the financial results.  Not only will the accuracy of your forecasts improve over time, but you will also gain a deeper understanding of your business (which is the greatest value of forecasting).

For more insight on financial forecasting, consider reading Before You Hire a CFO


Emotional Intelligence is Key to a Culture of Collaboration

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Susan Diehl

The very first CEO for whom I worked consistently referred to the importance of the “Shadow of the Leader.”  His demeanor spoke of modesty and humility–no corporate jets, no extravagant cars or homes, and graciousness to all whom he encountered. Was he perfect? No, in fact he had tendencies towards micromanagement and, under stress, his graciousness bordered on paternalism. So, the emotional intelligence disciplines he practiced and the leadership characteristics he demonstrated created an organizational culture that encouraged respectfulness towards others, pursuit of a shared vision and high standards, but it stopped short of a high performance organization.

Why? Because emotional intelligence does not alone guarantee that an organization will exhibit collaborative behaviors. In this company, collaboration was sporadic and conflict frequent due to a lack of trust and transparency, perhaps caused by the leader’s micromanagement. Indeed, there was often in-fighting between departments (silo mentality), and frequent break downs in communication. 

Despite this, having emotional intelligent leaders is vital for a sustainable collaborative culture to exist. The valuable lessons I learned from this CEO (both positive and negative) really crystallized when I had the opportunity to contrast his style with other leaders. It was then that I came to understand that while emotional intelligence does not ensure collaboration, it is key to facilitate it. More importantly, the absence of emotional intelligence can destroy a culture of collaboration. Like a blast of dynamite crushing rock that took years to form, a collaborative culture can take years to develop and a single act to destroy.


Ford CEO Seems to Get It

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 by Troy Schrock

Hedgehog.  Envisioned future.  “Corny” BHAG.  Everyone aligned around a simplified strategic plan.  A CEO more interested in serving his organization than promoting himself.  It’s all there in this article about Ford CEO Alan Mulally.  It certainly appears he has the right disciplines in place.  Could this be the beginning of a new “Good to Great” scenario?


One Client’s “Secret” to Healthy Growth

Thursday, July 8th, 2010 by Troy Schrock

We all love stories.  We especially love true stories, particularly when they teach or reinforce an important principle.  I’d like to share one such story with you from a recent client session.

The leaders of this business are visionary and have created a disciplined company with which I have had the pleasure of working for years.  Put simply, they get strategy execution, and they do it very well.  Their CEO told me how he recently participated on a panel at a national gathering of executives from their industry.  2009 saw the first time in twenty years that this industry did not grown, yet this particular business  client continues to enjoy strong growth.  The other CEOs asked my client, “How are you doing what you’re doing?”

In response, he explained the importance of a quarterly meeting rhythm to his company’s strategy execution.  Their strategies used to get lost in binders on the shelf, but since they’ve focused on a quarterly strategy calibration, they’re actually getting things done.  He grinned as he told me how the audience was impressed with this “new idea.”

Of course, it’s not a “new idea.”  It’s an age-old principle that seems too simple to be effective.  But it is effective, and it’s fundamental to a culture of strategy execution.  It’s too bad that more CEOs don’t engage their executive teams in this discipline.  How much effort is wasted each year by excitedly drawing up strategic plans only to lose them in big binders, rarely reviewing them – much less implementing them? 

Learn more about implementing a quarterly rhythm in your organization and download a free guide to creating a culture of strategy execution.