I invite you to read the attached article from Strategy & Business.
Strategy or Execution: Which Is More Important?
Bottom line, whether Big corporate business or Small entrepreneurs, the argument is the same. The impact however can be felt so much quicker & harder in the smaller company. The larger company will ultimately feel the pain too, but the turning radius on such a big unit can be painful & cumbersome.
The last 18 months I have been consulting with smaller privately held companies. It has been a huge eye opener. Some have great services/products, some are swimming in the red ocean, some are in the blue ocean. They are all passionate, generally hard workers, very controlling, but not sophisticated nor open minded… (Sorry!)
90% of these entrepreneurs have the same 2 common flaws …
1) No true Strategy for Implementation – Owners say “I know this product / market better than anyone, I know what I’m doing” (so Trust me!) Ouch!
2) No Exit Strategy – They can’t honestly answer ‘Why are we in business?’ Easy question, but real thought provoking answer required.
No wonder the failure rate for so many small businesses across the United States eclipse 70% with in the first 10 years. If you think that’s a good run, I beg to differ – broke is broke, especially with no Exit strategy on your own terms.
There are so many analogies to illustrate the frustration so clearly seen from afar. These are so called ‘leaders’ who folks are counting on, who have either a great idea, charisma or passion that shines through…
– I think of Custer’s last stand… Charge!!!
– How about a star running back in football, saying “just give me the ball” Not telling / knowing his teammates blocking scheme. Tackled for a loss!
– Consider a Chef (or short order cook), who ‘makes due’ with what s/he has to bake a cake, instead of having all the needed ingredients. Chopped!
Sometimes folks get lucky, but the majority of the time they fail. All too often they think they know the problem too… “We just need more sales. My cash flow is so poor.” “Hello McFly” -Those are ‘effects’ not the ’causes’.
You can have ‘mediocre’ Execution without Strategy, (more luck than skill in most cases.) Is that why you’re in business – for mediocre results??
For cleaner, more efficient, more robust & beneficial Results, (Execution), Strategy planning, development & implementation is required – & you shouldn’t do it yourself. Seek expert advise. The up front investment will be well worth the Execution / Results for the long term!
By the way this is a key difference between a CFO versus a Controller. A large part of a CFO’s role is strategic. The Controller is more of a scorekeeper & provides reports on the execution, good or bad. While the Controller lives in the black & white – following the rules; the CFO needs to think ‘outside the box’… what are the acceptable shades of gray, pushing the limit both internally & externally to grow the company’s top & bottom line as well as cash position with the short & long term positions balanced.
Your Strategic CFO/COO should be…
– Your Right-hand man.
– A Devils advocate, challenging you.
– Your Editor, helping you perfect your product’s cost & pricing.
– A Watchdog, protecting you from: yourself, mitigating risk, appealing deals fiscally questionable.
– A Conductor, making sure all depts & disciplines, vendors, lenders & executives are all on the same train headed toward your goal.
Big corporation or small family owned business – Benefical Execution requires Real Strategy.
“Your Trusted Alternative to a Full time CFO/COO”
A very dear friend sent me the pictures below. I don’t know where it started but I liked it & wanted to share with you! There are 2 subjects in play here…
Two weeks ago at a Men’s Fellowship meeting that I lead, we were discussing ‘Servant Leadership’. One of main tenets/principles underlying this philosophy is Communication & the ability to Listen. Our discussion moved from Church to Community to Business to Family. We all agreed much of this needs to start at the family level. We need to bring the family attitude, loyalty & concern to these other areas, BUT – Technology can often get in our way.
See below & ask yourself what can you do to set the example moving forward. We don’t like smoking at restaurants or at the dinner table. Can we apply the same manners to technology? It starts with You & Me. Plant the seed & start a forest.
In many ways it is just like saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. It all starts with You & Me! You are not offending anyone by offering them well wishes or a prayer you offer to your God for them. Merry Christmas!
The day that Albert Einstein feared has finally arrived.
Having coffee with friends.
A day at the beach.
Cheering on your team.
Having dinner out with your friends.
Out on an intimate date.
Having a conversation with your BFF
A visit to the museum
Enjoying the sights
It is bad enough that we allow others to take “Christ” out of Christmas. This season why not make some time to really connect with your friends & loved ones. Send a Card, Call or Visit!
Continued Blessings! & Merry Christmas!
Executive Director – Fellowship In Business
Principal / Owner – ProCFO4U
Just 1 day after the election, my brothers in Christ Renews His Parish, (CRHP), met to continue our planning for our next renewal. This is a 26 week process where we get to truly know each other in terms of our history & faith journey. The atmosphere was somber. In the end however, we woke up.
The Scripture selection was so appropriate (Sirach 2:1-6), in so many ways from both a personal & political perspective given the roads we have traveled over our lives & the impact of this election. While we all do not share the same political views, I was happy to see we shared agreement that we need to come together, continue to put our trust & faith in God FIRST & strive to view the glass half full.
Focus on the Family is a wonderful Christian organization that aims at living by its ‘name’. Jim Daly’s blog attached helps us to gain a new hopeful perspective & challenge… even in the face of disappointment for so many Catholics that could be critically compromised in the future. We continue to Pray, & support our government, trusting in God FIRST. It’s not for us to know, but to Trust in HIM.
As one of my brothers commented, – It is on our currency, maybe we ought to say it & demonstrate it more often publicly – “IN GOD WE TRUST” … easier said than done. This brought to mind another timely scripture verse… James 2:26 – You can look it up yourself. Pick up that dusty bible. It will be well worth it!
SFS Men’s Fellowship Coordinator
Executive Director – Fellowship In Business
President & ‘Your CFO’
“Your Trusted Alternative to a full time CFO”
Can we agree that Leadership & Management are totally different concepts.
Management is positional. Authority is positional, Control is most often positional. Just because you are a CEO or Quarterback, a Pastor or even the Owner of a company, that does not make you a Leader. You are a Manager however.
There are many types of managers. Micro-managers, Hands-on managers, Managers who prefer to delegate, Managers who use Fear & positional power to achieve results, Managers who use the carrot in lieu of the stick. There are Managers who will deflect and blame others, and other Managers will accept responsibility for the work of their employees. Some Managers endorse training & mentoring, while others believe in ‘sink or swim’ mentality, on the job training, drink from a fire hose.
Some Managers are also Leaders, but the fact is there are far more Managers than there are Leaders. People often confuse titles with ‘assumed Leadership’. The Pastor of your church is the assumed leader of his congregation. The Quarterback of a Team is expected to be one of the leaders. The President of a company, union or association all have the positional power & ‘opportunity’ to become Leaders. Owners of small businesses often consider themselves the Leaders in their company.
Machiavelli said “The most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictator.” Regardless of this fact, self-imposed rule is rarely the foundation of Great Leaders. Why do so many small businesses fail? Why is there such heavy turnover in some businesses? You can blame the economy, or competition, but the core reason is most often Poor Management, and a Lack of True Leadership.
People yearn for Great Leaders. Unfortunately, they often only get Good Managers. I know a Pastor that is a great administrator, but not a leader in any way, shape or form. He does the minimum required to interact with his flock, while hiding behind his rules and the many administrative tasks he chooses not to delegate keeping himself busy. He is a Great administrator! That however is not what people need. A Leader is proactive. They involve people & strive to create shared values.
A Pastor for example has a great ‘pulpit’ to take advantage of his position to drive change and create shared values to earn the trust of the congregation. If he preaches one thing, but doesn’t walk the talk or personally get involved, people will readily see through his hollow words. The same applies to our Politicians. They have a great opportunity to drive shared values and purpose, but if they don’t live it, they will ultimately be undone. People want to give their trust to a Leader, but can grow weary and suspect if their ‘Leader of choice’ doesn’t continually demonstrate through their actions.
In your career, I am sure you have come across Great Leaders & Great Managers. Odds are you have also come across Poor Managers. I am not sure if you can really call someone a Poor Leader.
- There are Great Leaders, let’s give them an “A+” grade.
- There are Good Leaders, let’s grade them a “B”.
- I’m sure we could somehow quantify a “C” level Leader too. Maybe they are ‘up & coming’?!
- But to call someone a Poor Leader, is equivalent to an “F” grade. I contend, if “F” is failing, then they are Not a Leader at all!
When we went to school, teachers generally graded our performance. We may on occasion correct our own homework, but when we are tested, we are graded by others. In the same vain, if someone asked you: “Are you a Leader?,” what would you say? What kind of grade would you give yourself? The fact is you can’t fairly grade yourself. A leader needs to believe in him/herself, but they need others to have faith in them. A Leader of 1 is merely a dreamer. Folks are essentially grading a leader highly by their willingness to follow them.
There have been countless books and articles written on the traits of a Leader, and what makes a Leader great?
- Service to others,
- Action oriented,
- Strong communication skills (listening & speaking).
You can add your own definition to this list. All the traits noted above are Learned or God Given. The thing of it is… having all these attributes doesn’t necessarily make you a Leader.
Leadership is a gift, earned but never assumed. Other people call you a Leader. Some folks are thrust into such positions, others long to reach that pinnacle. I believe the Best Leaders, like cream, ultimately rise to the top. People recognize these traits and give their Leaders one very special gift. People put their “Trust” in them. People offer their allegiance, become followers, supporters.
There is nothing worse than being betrayed, to have your trust broken. So Leaders are constantly being judged, and questioned. How we view or grade our leaders over time can be harsh, romantic, idealistic, but what are they doing for us today?
Winners write the history books. Sometimes we put our trust in the wrong people. Some Great Leaders, simply have the wrong platform or lead in the wrong direction. So is a Poor Leader someone that leads their followers to defeat? Was Robert E. Lee at Poor Leader? I think not! I don’t want to confuse, Poor Leadership with Evil or just Bad self-obsessed people – think Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon.
People who are worried about their legacy, egos and personal accomplishments or what others will think about them in the future don’t score high in my leadership grading curve. People who call themselves Leaders also need to take a step back. It is okay to want to lead. It is fine & admirable to push an agenda or policy, but Leadership is only achieved when others give you the gift of their Trust and Respect.
I know a man who is well positioned to become a Leader, but I truly doubt he will ever achieve the trust & personal respect of others. This fellow is a great manager, but not a Leader.
- He unfortunately, already considers himself a Leader. Strike 1!
- We were speaking about an opportunity to favorably impact his organization & the community. His reaction was, ‘”We do enough now. Our support is ‘Sufficient’.” Strike 2!
- He said, “There are other priorities and administrative matters that require his time and energy.” Strike 3!
Some positions come with control & authority. There is a ‘level of positional Respect’ that others must show to the person in said position. In the military, you must show respect for your superior. The same applies in business. You can respect the position but you don’t need to respect the person. That is a key differentiator between a manager & a leader.
- Management is positional.
- Control & Authority are also largely positional.
- Trust & Respect are conditional.
- Positional Respect is assumed.
- Personal Respect is earned.
- Leadership is a Gift, earned but never assumed.
- Trust is also a Gift, earned but never assumed.
Both Trust & Leadership must constantly be earned. It is not a 1 time event. Great responsibility & accountability come with these gifts. There are other benefits including control, power, access that also accompany Leadership. Be careful not to abuse them. We are all human. We all fall down on occasion, even our Leaders. That is why a Great manager is a far easier to find compared to a Great Leader.
So are you a Leader or a Manager? Did you learn anything?
President – ProCFO4U
“Your Trusted Alternative to a full time CFO”
Remember Richard Dawson and the myriad of other hosts on the TV game show ‘Family Feud’? Suppose there were 2 family owned private businesses competing on this show. The question is… What is the greatest challenge for a Small Business?
I have little doubt that the top answers would most likely be… & the survey says…
• Cash Flow – X
• Driving Sales – XX
• Profits – XXX
I contend these might be the most popular answers but not the correct / accurate answer. This largely explains why the average failure rate is so significant for small businesses. California has the highest failure rate at nearly 70%.
In my limited exposure over the past year assessing and working with a significant number of small business owners, across multiple industries, the biggest challenge, problem, obstacle is the “Owner’s mindset.”
Far too many have a great idea or start a business after years of experience in a specific craft or job. This does not qualify them to run a business. They like control to put it mildly. Many don’t have a business plan, ‘exit strategy’ are foreign words, and they have egos larger than some of the Fortune 500 CEOs.
In FDR’s first Inaugural Address, he said; “The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”. Entrepreneurs can grow their small business to a point, but then become paralyzed by fear and inability to make timely decisions. Proactive posture is virtually non-existent. The biggest fear is that of ‘change’. A great majority of my work comes long after I assess a business. Business owners are afraid to take proactive action. I get calls 3-6 months later when these small businesses are in much deeper trouble. I can point out the problems & opportunities, but only the Owner can decide on their personal sense of urgency.
The Biggest Challenge is the ‘Owners Mindset’. You can’t treat requested help & expertise as an “Expense”. Change is not an expense, Change is an “Investment!” This is a great example of:
• Short term versus Long term,
• Constant reactive posture versus Proactive planning,
• Control mentality versus Business savvy.
• Do it yourself versus Delegating and utilizing experts (trust issues)
• Needing to be the smartest in the room versus Leveraging talent.
Over 90% of small businesses not only can’t afford ‘strategic’ consulting expertise, but what they really want is ‘tactical’ support for short term impact now. These small business owners don’t want to pay and probably can’t afford that kind of money.
Too many small business owners also think they know what the problem is. This is the biggest difference / reason small businesses stay small or ultimately fail. Far too many entrepreneurs need to be right and in control. They don’t know how to delegate, leverage talent, (internal & external) and leading is a challenge too. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard small business owners tell me… “I know what the problem is, we just need more sales.”
Cause & Effect! Cash Flow, Driving Sales, Profitability … these are all effects, not root causes. The economy admittedly can be both a cause and effect but should never be used as the excuse or crutch. The biggest reason small businesses fail and feel the “effects of poor cash flow, no profitability & limited sales”, is caused by the Owner’s inability to change their Mindset.
An open mind, long term approach and not being afraid of ‘change’ will help small businesses weather most any storm. This will definitely support improved long term health for their small business!
There are great independent strategic and tactical consultants out there to help, myself included. We are here to help. We are an investment, not an expense. Dream Big! Take Action now! Embrace Change before it is too late!
President & ‘Your CFO”
“Your Trusted Alternative to a full time CFO”
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Far too many professionals live with what I choose to call an “Uncomfortable Dichotomy”
Most people are good and mean well.
Yet business can be cut throat, “Survival of the fittest!”
Too many of us bring business home with us. Not enough of us bring faith & family values to work.
There is a better way!
With the support of Fellowship, You & I can influence “Doing Business for the Right Reasons.”
Capitalism & Faith can co-exist & thrive with a balance. A genuine leader cares for their people. They thrive at filling themselves up & sharing the abundance as it continually overflows. This can relate to both faith & profits! It is the basis of what Servant Leadership is truly all about.
What are the “Right Reasons”?
Faith – Regardless of our religion, The ‘Golden Rule’ has universal commonality. It needs to be at the core of our actions, regardless of our religious affiliation. The mere word “Fellowship” can put folks on edge. “Is this a Christian thing?” Not for me. I proudly stand in front of my Religious faith, but I also believe – “Don’t let Religion get in the way of your relationship with God.” Some of my dearest friends are not Christian, but they do more for their employees & the community than even most pastors talk about. I have had my Spiritual Marker & I firmly believe in Actions speak louder than words. To paraphrase… James 2:26 – Faith is hollow without Actions.
Family – We want to take care of our loved ones. Are we working for them? Or because of them? Have we asked them what they want from us? We use our family as a crutch, an excuse to work longer & buy more things. It took me a long time to figure out the errors of my ways.
Work – Whether you run your own company, or answer to a boss or shareholders, is there a ‘win-win’ strategy for you & your team? It isn’t always about the money. Recognition, security, trust, training – we set the standard. Everyone makes mistakes. Do we learn from ours but penalize others? Why are we in business? What is the purpose of your business? To make a Profit to exist? To Exist to make profits? To serve a need/want/satify the customer? To Satify a personal need of fulfillment & accomplishment? You have your own reasons. I challenge you to think deeply about it. What are the means. (or tools) & what are the end results/goals? The fact is these all are linked & weaved together. One can NOT exist without the other. Far too many managers, owners & workers forget this. Some of them are misguided leaders, that the crowd blindly follows.
Community – A strong village and network benefits your business. Share your abundance & blessings. I am not a Hillary Clinton fan. I won’t delve into my political slantings, but I do agree in the axiom – “It takes a village …” not only to raise a child, but support & care for the common good of your neighbor, coworker, & family & relatives. This is merely a restatement of the “Golden Rule”. You will reap what you sow.
Time – We can’t turn back the clock, but we can favorably impact today & tomorrow to benefit all the other balls we are juggling above. Do you know your children? Do you know your employees? Really?!
Money – It is the root of all evil, & so too… is the lack of money. The problems start when money is the only ball we watch and drop all the others.
Proper Perspective – The challenge of juggling Faith, Work, Family, Time & Money.
Our drive, competitiveness & pressures keep us out of balance.
This is a true challenge. I have struggled with it for quite some time. I fall off the horse & need to get back on. Thankfully I have an awesome wife & a kids that tolerate me, & give me the occassional ‘dope slap’ to wake me up.
I know we can make a difference with a “Fellowship In Business”
This is still in the development stages… but I can tell you what I envision what “We are & are not” …
• Not Life Coaches. ($10k/yr)
• Not Vistage or Renaissance. ($7k yr)
• Not Convene or C12 Group. ($10k/yr)
- Faith based & believe in a higher power & calling.
- Willing to extend a hand & share with other like-minded leaders to help grow an abundance in our work & share the overflow with charities in the community.
- Brothers & sisters, united as a Fellowship In Business.
Fellowship In Business presents an opportunity for successful executives to create Synergies and Share:
- Your history and faith basis Life Lessons, (success & failures)
- Opportunities to “play it forward”
- High-lighting best practices & Improvement opportunities for your business
- Outreach to Charities Confidentiality and
- Friendship Servant Leadership by example
Share your faith, ideals, dreams & challenges with fellow successful executives in confidence to make a difference!
Companies have professional board of directors.
As an Executive, do you have a “personal board of advisors” that you can trust for guidance, support, expertise & challenges as you navigate work & life issues?
Join us – with Faith, Hope & Charity & Profitability. We stand united, trusting and holding each other accountable.
You can help set the standard for other local companies in your community to follow!
In the coming months our Website will go live & locally you can help make a difference!