Article Number Title Quick Summary
1.010101 Introduction to CxO-Atlas Web Site CxO-Atlas is a free web site that contains hundreds of articles on a wide variety of business issues.
1.010102 Frequently Asked Questions The content, use, and genesis of the site are described in FAQ format.
1.010103 Target Audience This site contains information that can help the 100 million managers in business today.
1.010104 Site Content and Organization The content in this site is arranged by subject and company stage for quick and easy access.
1.010105 How to Use this Site Multiple, simple search methods provide access to all content quickly.
1.010201 Site Genesis This collection captures many of the good, bad, and ugly business experiences from the past.
1.010202 Site Name Meaning The site helps to relieve the weight of issues on managers by identifying solution routes.
1.010203 Content Availability Site content is believed to be original except as noted with more content planned to be added.
1.020101 Introduction to Volume 1 Overview Volume 1 provides a description of the intent, scope, and use of the CxO-Atlas web site.
1.030101 Thinking of Starting a Business Thinking of starting a business requires answering some tough questions objectively.
1.030102 Committed to Starting a Business Making the commitment to start a business needs to be a conscious, objective decision.
1.030103 Working Full Time in a New Business Carefully deciding what does not have to be done now, is the key to a successful start.
1.030104 Has a Demo Product or Service The ability to demonstrate a new offering represents only 10% of the total effort required.
1.030105 Needs to Raise Money Many steps must be taken before a company should attempt to raise money.
1.030106 Has Some Customers The commitments from customers are exciting but it starts an entire new set of challenges.
1.030107 Ready to Expand Internal expansion to address increased customer demand requires careful planning.
1.030108 Having Some Operational Issues Planning for the unexpected is an effective method of dealing with operational issues beforehand.
1.030109 Pursuing Revenue The continuous receipt of revenue is the life blood of every enterprise.
2.010001 Introduction to Seven Principles Establishing specific guidelines of behavior is critical for every organization.
2.010101 Description of the Seven Business Principles Vision and mission statements need to be augmented by operational tenants embraced by all.
2.010102 Summary of the Seven Business Principles Continuous exposure to the Seven Principles will heighten awareness and compliance.
2.020101 Overview Chapter 2.02 Principle One Business survival is the exception, not the norm. Usually through a self-inflicted wound.
2.020102 Introduction to Principle One Business failure, not success, is the norm for businesses of all sizes and stages.
2.020103 Someone Will Put You Out of Business If your business fails, it was probably caused by your unwillingness to act upon likely events.
2.020104 Avoid the Slippery Slope “Faking it just this once” leads to faking it for the long-term as well, with disastrous results.
2.020105 Staying in Business by Staying Out of Some Businesses Give as much thought to product and market extensions as was given to the original business.
2.030101 Overview Chapter 2.03: Principle Two Treating people with dignity and respect must be applied to all internal and external relationships.
2.030102 Introduction to Principle Two The Golden Rule is right on the money and should be followed by everyone, all of the time.
2.030201 All Individuals Means Everyone You play like you practice, be consistent when treating all others with dignity and respect.
2.030202 Trust: The Dignity and Respect Lynchpin Trust is built by first making and then keeping commitments consistently.
2.030203 There are only Two Kinds of People Based on circumstances, people will fall into one of two categories: critics or creators.
2.030204 What is Success? Each of us may define success differently; think about the other person’s point of view.
2.030205 It is Hard to Hate People that You Know There is no substitute for real time, interactive dialogue to avoid accidental misinterpretations.
2.030206 The Not So Subtle Threat We cannot tolerate those who ignore respecting others for their beliefs or positions.
2.040101 Overview Chapter 2.04: Principle Three There are four categories of investors; employees, business partners, customers, and financial.
2.040102 Introduction to Principle Three Defining an acceptable return will vary from one investor group to another.
2.040201 Keep Different Score Cards Each investor group will define success differently, ask each of them what they feel is important.
2.040202 Write to Know As events occur, take time to keep investors informed with an interpretation of the information.
2.040203 Expectations versus Excuses Discussing possible variations beforehand helps set proper expectations.
2.040301 Overview Employee Investors Of the four investor categories, employees are the most important.
2.040302 You Can't Do It Alone You must learn to rely on others and give them responsibility and authority to grow.
2.040303 Employees Want to be Successful Clearly establish both goals and responsibilities for everyone to avoid both cracks and overlaps.
2.040304 Take Time for People It is easy to get caught up with tactical business issues and forget that employees are human.
2.040401 Overview Business Partner Investors Relying on the core competence of partners significantly helps the chances of success.
2.040402 Business Partner Investors Introduction Working with other companies that have unique core competencies is required for success.
2.040403 Partner Secret Sauce Ingredients Partners need to share similar characteristics to maintain a successful relationship.
2.040404 Partnerships: The Beginning, Not the End Once a partnership arrangement is finalized, the real work begins to make it successful.
2.040405 Why Are You Interested in Each Other Mutual Goal Assessment, Understanding Goals, Goal Alignment
2.040501 Overview Customer Investors Customers make financial investments in the company by purchasing their goods and services.
2.040502 Customer Investors Introduction Customers, through continued purchases, are the key element for long-term company success.
2.040503 Customer Investor Trust Customers invest in a company by making purchases based on trust which offsets risk.
2.040601 Overview Financial Investors Financial investor commitments provide objective validation of a company’s future value.
2.040602 Financial Investors Introduction All investors expect at least an acceptable return on their investment as they define it.
2.040603 CEO and Financial Investor Interaction Financial investors do not have the time or skills to manage a company, they rely on the CEO.
2.040604 Updating Financial Investors Investors cannot continuously focus on each company; CEO’s must update them regularly.
2.050101 Overview Chapter 2:05: Principle Four Merely satisfying customers is no longer adequate to maintain or increase market share.
2.050102 Introduction to Principle Four Exceeding customer expectations has become table stakes to retain customers.
2.050201 Customer Satisfaction Levels There are nine general levels of customer satisfaction that range from amazed to dismissive.
2.050202 Don't Survey Your Customers Talk to your customers; don’t survey them to find out how they really feel.
2.050203 Developing a Customer Satisfaction Strategy Develop a company-wide customer service strategy while developing your offering, not later.
2.050204 Customer Expectations You can only set the stage; the customer will form their own expectations.
2.050205 A Simple Definition of a Defect Accept all customer complaints as valid, and objectively determine an appropriate response.
2.050206 Don't Focus on the Customer Many customers have customers; understand what your customer’s customer wants.
2.060101 Overview Chapter 2.06: Principle Five Metrics are the cornerstone to improvements and need to be embraced across the organization.
2.060102 Introduction to Principle Five Customer demands are ever increasing; metrics allow measurement of progress.
2.060201 Measure Everything That Matters Many individuals resist being measured, but it is essential to improving performance.
2.060202 Metrics are the First Step Begin by asking everyone in determining how to measure performance to meet established goals.
2.060203 Manage like You Drive Measure constantly, making incremental changes as required; immediately.
2.060204 Making Metrics Work Metrics reviews need to be part of the normal course of business not reviewed only monthly.
2.060205 Cycle Time: A Universal Metric? Work In Process, Obsolescence, Re-Start Time, Inefficiencies, Multitasking
2.070101 Overview Chapter 2.07: Principle Six Change is constant and must be embraced by all companies and employees.
2.070102 Introduction to Principle Six Technology, customers, and competition are constantly changing, responding is mandatory.
2.070201 No Time to Rest Change by definition, causes disruption, the knee-jerk reaction is that there is no time for it.
2.070202 Five Number One Priorities Re-prioritizing activities based on the latest seemingly crisis situation is rarely appropriate.
2.070203 It's Not Fun Anymore It is natural to be fearful of the unknown future and look back at the “good old times.”
2.070204 Change Needs Constant Attention Proposed changes need more than an initial, enthusiastic push out of the starting gate.
2.070205 Rumors, Fridays, and Trust Quickly inform others of proposed changes to minimize the ever-present negative rumor mill.
2.080101 Overview Chapter 2.08: Principle Seven Companies depend on the communities in which they operate and need to payback accordingly.
2.080102 Introduction to Principle Seven There is always enough time; take it to help in the community.
2.080201 Start But Don't Lead The CEO can start but employees need to embrace community involvement programs.
2.080202 What Can You Do? CEOs should lead the discussion regarding which activities to support and then get out of the way.
2.080203 Payback for Paying it Forward Cross-organizational involvement in community activities leads to the formation of tight bonds.
2.080204 Individual Efforts Count Too Recognizing individual efforts in supporting community-wide activities will inspire others.
3.010001 Introduction to Starting a Company From the idea stage to the on-going operations period, challenges are everywhere.
3.010002 A Quick Blink Test Focus on what customers are likely to do not what you want them to do.
3.010003 Tidbits of Advice for Early Stage Companies There are a handful of key issues an entrepreneur should keep in mind.
3.010101 Introduction to Opportunity Identification Ask a few basis questions before you start and answer them objectively.
3.010102 Works for Non-Profits Too Sound business practices should be followed by both for-profit and non-profit organizations.
3.010201 What is Your Goal for the Business Do you want to run or sell your business in the long term?
3.010202 Just Because You Can Many creative ideas should not be pursued.
3.010203 Are You the Right Person There are different skill sets required for an entrepreneur and a CEO.
3.010204 Can the Business Ever Scale, Should It? Doing more of the same is usually not an effective method to grow a business.
3.010205 Show Your Commitment First Employees and investors need total confidence in you.
3.010301 CEO Means Chief Everything Officer There are many roles that an entrepreneur must fulfill before becoming a Chief Executive Officer.
3.010302 Is It a Feature, Product, or a Company Before you start a business, ask yourself what is next.
3.010303 Misplaced Encouragement Truthful feedback, even if it hurts other’s feelings, may be appropriate in the long run.
3.010304 It is Tough to Get Real Step back and take a practical look at your business’s potential from the customer’s perspective.
3.010305 Firing Your Brother-In-Law Hire only people that you need and not friends and relatives that you may have to terminate.
3.010306 What Does the Customer Really Want Your perception of what the customer wants may be very different than the customer’s.
3.010401 Business Variables are the Same Planning ahead to address all of the elements required for the company to be successful is crucial.
3.010402 Always Dance the Investor Dance Carefully build a business plan that can stand up to the evaluation of independent investors.
3.010403 Everything is Easy Until You Start It is easy to envision the future, but it is hard to reach.
3.010404 Start Before You Start Divorce yourself from your new idea and ask some fundamental questions before you commit.
3.010405 Starting Versus Beginning The real issues only appear after you actually begin to develop a product or service offering.
3.020101 Introduction to Chapter 3.02 Focusing on raising money at the start is the wrong approach.
3.020201 You Can't Raise Money with an Idea Demonstrable market acceptance is the key to raising money; not a good idea.
3.020202 Asking for Money or Advice Solicit candid opinions from seasoned startup veterans to avoid quick rejections from investors.
3.020203 Wait as Long as You Can to Raise Money Focus on minimizing the market and product risk before seeking investment.
3.020204 Bootstrap Wisely Focus on the core competencies of your business and seek outside help for other tasks.
3.020301 Company Success Versus Investor Returns Investors invest to make money, which may not be the same motivation as the entrepreneur.
3.020302 All Money is Not Equal Investors can offer significantly different kinds of expertise in addition to their financial support.
3.020303 Investment Instruments There are a number of different types of investment instruments that should be considered.
3.020304 Investor Categories: A Baker's Dozen There are more investor options than angel or venture capital investors that are available.
3.020305 Select Investors Before They (De)Select You Focus on specific investor categories that fit your model and long-term goals.
3.020306 The Three R's for Investors Establishing a mutual satisfactory relationship between the company and their investors is critical.
3.020401 Because the Model Says So In reality, business models accurately predict what most likely will not happen.
3.020402 Business Plans Are For You Business Plans should be thought of as your internal reference guide to validate your plan.
3.020403 Creating the Financial Model: The First Step Identify the key elements and variables before you begin to build the financial model.
3.020404 Building the Financial Model: The Second Step Your financial model will grow and become more complex; initially build in flexibility.
3.020405 The Numbers Do Not Speak for Themselves You cannot expect investors to study your financial model; provide summary conclusions.
3.020406 The Three Most Important Forecast Numbers The time and cash it requires to break even and the revenue growth are the key metrics.
3.020407 Use or Misuse of Funds Develop a clear planned use of funds for the investors; include amounts, timing, and milestones.
3.020408 Forecasting Market Share: Too Big or Too Litte Set realistic expectations about gaining market share in a large, expanding market.
3.020501 Evaluation and Valuation are Very Different The valuation of a private company is an opinion that may or may not be based on an evaluation.
3.020502 The Valuation Trap A private company’s valuation are nothing more than a person’s opinion and may vary widely.
3.020503 Shark Tank: Entertainment and Reality What television viewers see is only a fraction of the investor-entrepreneur interaction.
3.020504 A Framework for Evaluating a Company Emotional biases can easily occur; develop an objective method to evaluate a company.
3.020505 Company Evaluation Suggested Factors There are many factors that can be used to evaluate a company, here is one such list.
3.030101 Introduction to Pitching the Opportunity Focus on what investors want to hear, not what you want to say.
3.030201 Elevator Pitches Should Work in Two Story Buildings Be concise to be memorable. Investors are busy and memories are short.
3.030202 Design Before You Build Clearly define the desired end message before you start creating your investor pitch slides.
3.030203 No Competiton? Really? If you believe you have no competition, there probably is no market.
3.030204 Don't Have Your First Meeting Be more than skin deep; be ready to provide detailed data to potential investors quickly.
3.030205 Consistency Through FAQs Document answers common questions to provide consistency across the board.
3.030301 Getting to NO Before Getting to KNOW People naturally eliminate the bad before focusing on the good.
3.030302 One Goal for Your First Investor Meeting Nothing happens until investors get excited about a potential investment opportunity.
3.030303 Passion: The Fuel for your Business Engine Be passionate, not emotional to show you can make logical business decisions.
3.030304 Focus on What You Provide Focus on what you do for the customer and what it means to them, not how you do it.
3.030305 The Biggest Word I Know is Delicatessen Use term of art words and abbreviations only when absolutely necessary.
3.030306 When and What to Say Saying too many things may communicate nothing; less is more.
3.030307 Why You Will Win What makes you think a competitor will not or cannot close the gap between you and them?
3.030308 Don't Have All the Answers Even If You Do Some people ask questions to show you what they know or to try to trick you.
3.030309 Be Ready for Left Field Questions Expect unexpected questions and do not get flustered; it’s all about handling pressure.
3.030310 Hand Waving: A Smile or a Frown Investors are interested in specific, verifiable facts, not generalizations.
3.030311 First Mover Advantage or Disadvantage Being first also means being the first to make mistakes.
3.030401 It's Old Hat to You It’s tough getting repeatedly rejected, but that one “yes” can make it all worthwhile.
3.030402 How Did You do? An Investor Quiz Pretend you are the investor; ask yourself a series of questions that they might ask.
3.030403 Don't Share Your Presentation Presentation slides without narration can lead to erroneous conclusions.
3.030404 Why Did They Say "No" Ask for candid feedback if investors say no to you, do not argue or defend.
3.030405 What If They Say "Yes" Follow the Boy Scout Motto: “Be Prepared” for the next investor meeting the next morning.
3.030406 The Term Sheet is Only the Beginning A term sheet is like the beginning of a wedding engagement with many issues to discuss.
3.040101 Introduction to Chapter 3.04 Beginning Execution In hindsight, usually carefully developed definitive plans document what did not happen.
3.040201 Revenue: The Wonder Drug A continuous, growing supply of profitable revenue is all that matters.
3.040202 Three Kinds of Revenue Revenue develops in stages; understand where you are and what you want.
3.040203 Referenceable Revenue: What Others Do It is not what you say that counts; it is what paying customers say to others.
3.040204 Scalable Revenue: Repeatedly Sold by Other After initial orders are received, scaling may require significant changes.
3.040205 Profitable Revenue: More Than Margin Positive gross margin is only the first element in determining profitable sales.
3.040206 Distribution is the Only Thing that Matters : Identifying prospects and turning them into customers on a large scale can be quite difficult.
3.040207 Find a Popcorn Business Build a recurring revenue base through anonymous sales that occur without direct engagements.
3.040301 When Things Go Wrong Do not try to control situations; instead choose how to respond and not react.
3.040302 The Could Versus Should Trap Creeping feature requests can easily add undue complexity and lengthen the time to market.
3.040303 Time: Is It a Friend or Foe Break up serial events and address them in parallel to minimize overall cycle time.
3.040304 Who is Not in the Room With today’s fast pace, it is easy to inadvertently leave people out of critical discussions.
3.040305 Tiny Goals for Maximum Performance Define and focus on very short, easily attainable goals, following the adage of one step at a time.
3.040306 Ask Someone Who Doesn't Know As they say, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”; ask an outsider for help.
3.040307 Quick and Easy Seldom Is Don’t replace thoughtfulness with speed; rework is always time consuming and expensive.
3.040401 Selective Scalability As you grow, focus on investing in your core competence and outsource everything else.
3.040402 Focus and Time: The Two Almost Unavoidable Landmines It always seems to take longer to receive orders, especially if you are not focused.
3.040403 Patents: The Reality Patents take time and money; it might be better to focus on other things.
3.040404 Legal Counsel: Necessary or Evil Attorneys sell their time, buy it wisely and only when necessary.
3.040405 Prepare for an Exit When You Start Create and use a document archiving process on day one to avoid lost time searches later.
4.010001 Introduction to Managing a Company Virtually every article in this collection is about management, this volume only skims the surface.
4.010101 Introduction to Growing Pains Company and business expansion invariably leads to growing pains and uneasiness at all levels.
4.010201 It's Different Now Change is constant, often moving us out of our comfort zone. We all must get used to it.
4.010202 Changing Attitudes Changes cause disruptions and can result in negative attitudes that left unchecked can spread.
4.010203 Emergence of Rigidity New employees, without the benefit of past experiences, can quickly become rules based.
4.010204 Silo is a Four-Letter Word As organizations grow, more specialization occurs, and communications can become ineffective.
4.010301 Frustration with Colleagues Individual and department goals vary which cause a seemingly purposeful non-cooperation.
4.010302 Employee Departures Changing expectations by the company or the employee is a major cause of employee turnover.
4.010303 Dealing with Growing Pains Open individual and group two-way dialogue is the most effective way to combat growing pains.
4.010304 Bi-Directional Frustration CEOs must provide a “brain drain” to new employees, especially sales reps.
4.020101 Introduction to Responding versus Reacting Near instant access to events causes many of us to react instead of respond to it.
4.020201 What's the Difference We often react without considering factors; when we do, we are more likely to respond.
4.020202 Responding or Reacting: How Do You Know? Reacting can become addictive and inappropriate; can you ignore your cell phone for an hour?
4.020203 Interrupt Driven Impacts Jumping from one activity to another is inefficient; there is really no such thing as multitasking.
4.020301 Stop, Look, and Listen Taking a deep breath implies stopping for a moment to think, not filling up the lungs to scream.
4.020302 Fast But Thoughtful Many times, speedy responses are made without reasonable deliberation of facts.
4.020303 Is Culture the Problem? Practice makes permanent; consistent reactive behaviors can become the norm.
4.020304 Deliver Bad News Quickly When the answer is clearly known, in most cases it should be delivered quickly.
4.020401 Response Formulation Take the time to ask a few others to help you develop a reasonable response.
4.020402 Jog Don't Sprint Slow and deliberate may be much faster than quick if it avoids false starts.
4.020403 The Root Cause and the Route Find the route that led to the root cause and eliminate it.
4.030101 Introduction to Chapter 4.03: Human Capital Management Every manager in every organization is responsible for the proper management of all employees.
4.030202 Employee's Point of View Management needs to be aware of how employees judge the company’s overall actions.
4.030202 Three Words: Almost the Same but Different Employee morale can be significantly impacted by what is considered to be acceptable behavior.
4.030203 Be Human Consciously take time to show employees that you care about them as people.
4.030204 Be Friendly As organizations grow, they, naturally, can become less friendly unless simple actions are taken.
4.030205 Everyone is Important Avoid actions or segmentation that can inadvertently divide the employee population.
4.030206 Perceptions Are What Count Other’s perceptions not company or management intentions determine morale.
4.030301 Org Chart Messages Organization charts can easily send some inadvertent negative messages.
4.030302 The Walls Speak The use of walls or open spaces and other environment factors can have significant impacts.
4.030303 Accountability Company success is determined by the performance of individuals who must be held accountable.
4.030401 Open Dialogue, Really? Effective communications require that the sender insures the receiver hears and understands.
4.030402 Issue Identification Exercise Providing a non-threatening, open environment to identify business impediments is easy.
4.030403 Communicate Consistently and Regularly Management must go out of their way to keep all employees informed of events as they occur.
4.030404 Consistency Through FAQs Written FAQs documents dramatically help insure what was heard aligns with what was said.
4.030405 Are the Doors Really Open? Open door policies only work if employees truly feel that managers are approachable.
4.030406 Communications Effectiveness Texting and emails are only appropriate for certain types of communications. Be careful.
4.030407 Emails: Disconnected Dialgoue Emails are convenient, but often simplistic communication tools with negative consequences.
4.030408 No Joke Jokes Humor to some may be offensive to others; establish company norms accordingly.
4.030501 Whom to Hire Thoroughly developing and documenting the expectations for a new hire are critical to success.
4.030502 When to Hire Often, if you wait to hire people when you need them, it is too late. Plan accordingly.
4.030503 Finding People Referrals, internships, job boards, and retained searches need to be considered when recruiting.
4.030504 The Big Day Plan the candidate interview day considering the wants and needs of the candidate.
4.030505 Recruiting the Family Companies need to understand that a candidate’s loved ones will influence their decision.
4.030506 Thunder in the Distance There are advantages and pitfalls in recruiting individuals with vastly different work experiences.
4.030601 The First Day New Hire Orientation, New Hire Introductions
4.030602 Check Early and Often New employee managers need to provide special help and attention well past the first day.
4.030603 Tame the Fire Hose Ask newly hired employees to develop their own training material as they learn it.
4.030604 Delay Setting Goals Goals for new hires should only be established when the employee can meaningfully participate.
4.040101 Introduction to Chapter 4.04: Employee Recognition Showing others you appreciate their efforts will return significant rewards for everyone involved.
4.040201 Unexpected Thanks Taking time for people and saying thank you can have instant and dramatic positive impacts.
4.040202 Peer Thanks A peer recognition program can be a powerful motivator that can impact the entire organization.
4.040203 Five to Eight Activities Company support of employee involvement in outside organizations benefits everyone.
4.040204 Victories Lost in the Noise Positive events happen every day; take the time to capture and share them.
4.040301 Compensation Overview Determining the appropriate level of compensation involves far more than salaries.
4.040302 Keep it Personal Announcing salary adjustments individually rather than collectively is a major motivation factor.
4.040303 Make it a Family Affair Buy a memory with part of the salary increase or bonus you receive.
4.040304 Fair versus Equal Treating people fairly is often more difficult, but it is more important than treating them equally.
4.040305 Variable Compensation Alternatives Supplementing salaries with variable, performance-based programs provides substantial benefits.
4.040306 Sales Commission Programs Paying sales reps for achieving sales targets is an accepted practice that requires careful design.
4.040307 MBO Overview Goals in an MBO program can be crafted for individuals at every level to reward performance.
4.040308 MBO Goal Comments Effectiveness of an MBO program is dependent on the establishment of mutual acceptable goals.
4.040309 MBO Goal Grading Example Goal performance grading should be a simple exercise to help motivate participants.
4.040310 MBO Program Mechanics Implementing and managing an MBO program requires the use of a well-defined process.
4.040401 Effective Performance Reviews: Hmmmm Provide timely feedback, both positive and negative, to employees as events occur.
4.040402 Performance Review Comments Make performance reviews a continuous, thoughtful process for everyone’s benefit.
4.040403 Performance Reviews Contents Using a standard template for performance reviews can greatly improve its effectiveness.
4.040501 Don't Plant Poison Ivy by Mistake Employee perks today can become problems tomorrow as an organization grows.
4.040502 Put the Fire Out Early Management needs to quickly address performance issues as soon as they become aware.
4.040503 Scratch the Itch Address disappointing results with others in a nonconfrontational way to help resolve the issue.
4.040504 Duck Out of Water New positions usually require the use of different skill sets to accommodate the new setting.
4.040505 Sugarcoating Causes Cavities Telling people what they like to hear instead of the truth can create damaging misconceptions.
4.040506 Disagreement versus Contrarian Views Discussing disagreements leads to effective decisions while contrarian views can be destructive.
4.040507 Cutting the Cord Minimize the time between the announcement and the departure of an employee.
4.050101 Overview Chapter 4.05: You, The CEO Only a select number of people in business get the opportunity to run an organization.
4.050109 Throw Away Your Notes Find individuals that you can ask to do something, confidently knowing it will get done.
4.050201 The Buck Starts Here Focus on vision, strategy, and tone to move the organization in the desired direction.
4.050202 You Wear Two Hats : Leading and managing are two different activities that the CEO must perform simultaneously.
4.050203 Always on Stage An audience is always present, filled with supporters and critics that interpret your every action.
4.050204 What Others Think Performance consistency, compliance, and longevity are critical elements for meeting all goals.
4.050205 Your Balancing Challenge A CEO must balance the needs of employees, partners, customers, and financial investors.
4.050206 Your Top Priority Spending the right amount of time on the right things must be every CEO’s top priority.
4.050207 Be Visible and Approachable Take time for people instead filling your time with activities that are not truly important.
4.050208 They Are Not You As the CEO, you have a unique perspective on the business. Do not expect others to share it.
4.050210 Look in the Mirror Companies at different stages require different leadership and management skills.
4.050301 Set the Tone Lead by example, showing the attributes that you believe in, and need to be embraced by all.
4.050302 Be the Sage Focus on asking questions to allow others to discover answers on their own.
4.050303 Parachuting In Joining an existing company as the new CEO always involves responding to incredible demands.
4.050401 Culture Just Happens Culture develops on its own over time, but takes its direction and nurturing from the CEO.
4.050402 Politics is Not a Dirty Word We are constantly deluged with persuasive ideas that we have to decide to embrace or not.
4.050403 Fair versus Equal Treating everything the same or equal can result in unfair and resentful feelings and behaviors.
4.050404 Consensus versus Confrontation A recognized, repeatable process for decision making is critical to a company’s success.
4.050405 With or Without You Does your company run on cruise control, or do you have to constantly be behind the wheel?
4.060101 Introduction to Management The term “management” is an all-encompassing word that touches every aspect of our lives.
4.060201 Why Are We Here? Establishing clear meeting expectations can dramatically improve meeting effectiveness.
4.060202 Make Meetings Work Establishing simple meeting “Rules of the Road” is the best way to make meetings effective.
4.060203 Managing Meeting Time Implementing some common meeting process techniques will improve meeting effectiveness.
4.060204 Reports -- Ugh! The need for reports seems to grow without bound in an organization; are they necessary?
4.060301 Ground Rules View problems as opportunity and make sure the Seven Business Principles are applied to decisions.
4.060302 Not Too Wide Angle Views Too many points of view can be just as problematic as too few when making decisions.
4.060303 No Decision Decisons Make decisions quickly and crisply to survive, thrive, and create a competitive advantage.
4.060304 Wear Big Hats Ask individuals to focus on what is good for the organization rather than their self-interest.
4.060305 Good Enough is OK Good enough performance or outcomes should be considered in all decision-making activities.
4.060306 Decision Acid Test Develop a standard process to reconsider decisions to help insure that they are correct.
4.060402 Be Willing to Let Go Explaining why a task needs to be performed is as important as explaining what has to be done.
4.060403 Set the Exmple “Follow my lead” when actually done, shows commitment and inspires others.
4.060404 What is the Difference Some individuals are managers while others are leaders, and some are both.
4.060404 Leaders versus Loudmouths Openness and tolerance are worthwhile traits to support, up to a point.
4.060501 Measure Someone Else Focus on “how” and not “if” individuals will be held accountable.
4.060502 Elephant versus a Fly Following the same accountability rules needs to occur regardless of setting or observation.
4.060503 Empowerment To be successful, empowerment relies on the simple principles of trust, commit, and perform.
4.060504 Execution versus Execute Fear of retribution usually results in less than expected performance.
4.060601 Change the Future Use forecasted performance to determine if different actions are required to meet goals.
4.060602 Keep Them Informed Focus on sharing and explaining information instead of simply posting data.
4.060603 Ostrich Goals Consciously consider events that could hinder goal progress and develop plans accordingly.
5.010001 Introduction to the Top Line The “Top Line” or revenue is the life-blood of the organization and must be continually available.
5.010101 Introduction to Managing the Sales Effort Understanding and managing the overall sales process often does not receive enough attention.
5.010201 Forecasting is Tough Increase forecast accuracy by understanding why past forecasts were correct or not.
5.010202 All Probabilities are the Same Sales probabilities are always 50%, an order is received or not.
5.010203 Progress as a Predictor A sales process consists of a series of definitive steps that can easily be measured.
5.010204 Progress Predictor Questions Predict sales through the use of a series of simple yes/no progress progression questions.
5.010205 Creating the Predictor Questions Use actual experience to identify the 5 or 6 milestones in each level of the sales funnel.
5.010206 Forecast Pushback Sales reps should follow a standard process like airline pilots with a pre-flight checklist.
5.010207 Learn by Flushing, Not Filling A stagnant sales funnel consumes valuable resources.
5.010208 End-to-End Control Customers focus on how a new product can be integrated into their entire business.
5.010209 Time is Always the Enemy Sales opportunities need to take advantage of initial enthusiasm.
5.010210 The Sales Cycle is Non-Cyclical Sales cycles vary considerably based on the company’s stage and market acceptance.
5.010211 Tomorrow Will Be Different: Why? Past performance IS indicative of future results unless changes are made.
5.010301 One Question: Multiple Parts One seven-part question provides an accurate assessment of a sales opportunity.
5.010302 The WHO in the Question The customer is really a person, not a company.
5.010303 The CUSTOMER in the Question The actual customer is the person responsible for the deployed success of the product.
5.010304 The SINGLE in the Question There is always one single reason to buy that resonates with the customer.
5.010305 The MOST COMPELLING REASON in the Question “One Must Have” versus many “Nice to Have” reasons will drive the purchase decision.
5.010306 The BUY in the Question A transaction needs to produce recognized revenue to be considered an “order.”
5.010307 The NOW in the Question Although many buying signs may be made, the actual receipt of the order is all that matters.
5.010308 The YOU in the Question Understand if a customer is buying from you, as a person, or from your organization.
5.010309 Almost the Same Question Understanding how both you and your business partner can be successful is critical.
5.010401 Buying Motives There are only a few true root buying motives. Take time to determine your customer’s.
5.010402 Consensus is What Counts Decisions require consensus, not just the action of one individual, no matter at what level.
5.010403 Be Like Sand Enlist the entire organization to sell throughout the prospect’s organization.
5.010404 Sand and Stand for One Thing Select one message and demonstrate it often.
5.020101 Introduction to Supporting the Sales Team Positioning the sales team is as important as positioning the company’s product or service.
5.020201 First, Have Something to Sell Completing development is only one part of having an offering that can be sold and supported.
5.020202 Hire the Second Best Sales reps need to be scrappy for new companies or when entering new markets.
5.020203 Establish the Rules Sales reps are creative and will naturally push the rules, set them clearly first.
5.020204 Cooks in the Army People have to unlearn old habits before they can learn and embrace new ones.
5.020205 Prospects are Everywhere Focus on serving one segment instead of the total imaginable market.
5.020206 Unleashing the Team Develop a strategy and plan for the sales team and then get out of their way.
5.020301 The CEO Sales Rep There are significant upsides and downsides for the CEO to act as a sales rep.
5.020302 The Cost of a Win Not all orders are in the best interest of the company or the customer.
5.020303 Ask Before You Sell Ask prospects early and often about upcoming product features and capabilities.
5.020304 The Biggest Challenge Customers are reluctant to make fundamental changes to use your product.
5.020305 See Before You Sell Make sure the customer knows they have a problem before you offer a solution.
5.020306 Provide More Than You Sell Maintain the relationship long after the sale by keeping in contact with the customer.
5.020307 Annual Reports and Other Hidden Sources You can learn intimate information about your prospects through public information.
5.020308 The Gonna Factor It is easy to make commitments about the future that we quickly forget.
5.020401 Are You Ready Be sure to be ready with all of the support mechanisms in place before you launch a product.
5.020402 A Few Finishes versus Lots of Starts Focus new product field trials with respected customers who will allow public references.
5.020403 A Trial Blink Test Suggest Conditional Sales instead of Free Trials to move the buying decision forward.
5.020404 A Trial Final Exam Ask the customer at the end of the trial for a candid assessment.
5.020501 There is Always a Reason Thoroughly understand sales impediments and develop plans to avoid or resolve them.
5.020502 Analyze Don't Rationalize Maintain objectivity when prospects question new product capabilities.
5.020503 Impediments: A Great Sales and Marketing Tool Objections from prospects can help to optimize products.
5.030101 Introduction to Customers There are a few, seemingly universal customer concepts that should always be considered.
5.030201 The Drug Supplier: Customers Customers supply the wonder drug: Revenue
5.030202 Customer Categories Take time to understand your customer relationships.
5.030203 Key Decision Makers Don't KDMs do not make decisions without underlying support.
5.030204 The Power of Incumbency Overcoming the resistance to change is difficult.
5.030301 Characterizing Customers Take time to identify the characteristics of an ideal customer.
5.030302 Unqualify Fast Conserve resources by unqualifying sales opportunities early.
5.030303 Small Customers, Big Problems Small customers may not be equipped to support your offering.
5.030304 Tire Kickers Can Cause Flats Don’t mistake interested individuals for customers.
5.030305 Firing a Customer Terminating a customer relationship may be the best option.
5.030401 Customers are Always Testing Every interaction with a prospect is a pass or fail test.
5.030402 Customer Checking Accounts Bank multiple positive experiences to offset negative events.
5.030403 Transfer Customer Risk Assuming some of the customer’s risk can help close a sale.
5.030501 Our Product, The Customer Without direct contact, it is easy to develop an impersonal attitude.
5.030502 Building Customer Trust It takes consistent performance over time to build trust.
5.030503 Hearing versus Broadcasting It is natural to focus on what we are saying instead of what is being heard.
5.030504 Saving Face and the Order When a stalemate is reached, the game has to be changed to recover.
5.030505 Say Thank You and Mean It Email and mechanized responses do nothing to build relationships.
5.030506 The Customer May Not Be Right Determine the customer’s issues as they perceive them before trying to resolve them.
5.030601 Hire Local Guides Distant views are usually deceiving; activities need to up close and personal.
5.030602 Speak English, Think English Strengths can become weaknesses when approaching customers in different markets.
5.030603 Customer Distractions May Be OK Staying focused is critical, but examining potential distractions may be a game changer.
5.030701 A Great Investment Opportunity Some companies assume other companies will fill the gaps that they ignore. It seldom happens.
5.030702 No End Without an End to End Sales are dependent upon a clear understanding of the availability of a solution to a problem.
5.030703 Center of the Universe The market and customers do not revolve around you; the opposite is true, but often missed.
5.030704 No One Has Total Control In any relationship, neither party has total control; either party can terminate it at any time.
5.040101 Introduction to Marketing Marketing is the widest range of all business topics; it is easy to miss a few basic concepts.
5.040201 Aim, Ready, Fire First, aim for your initial market, and then get ready for it.
5.040202 Look in the Mirror First Marketing needs to ask some tough basic questions before prospects do.
5.040203 Look Outside Too It is easy to fall into the trap of “group think” and miss issues until after product announcement.
5.040204 Bigger Pies are Better Long-term growth is more easily achieved by focusing on expanding served markets.
5.040301 The Middle is Nowhere Do not attempt to serve every segment in a large market. Instead focus on a segment.
5.040302 Turn the Tables Develop strategies to offset potential negative comments before they even occur.
5.040303 Keep it Simple Keep the buying choice simple and straightforward to avoid confusing the customer.
5.040304 Table Stakes or Options Premium features quickly migrate to today’s standard features requiring constant repositioning.
5.040305 Make a Claim Make realistic claims about your company to help customers make favorable comparisons.
5.040401 Saturn Five or Bottle Rocket Launching a new product can be very exciting but can also have significant negative impacts.
5.040402 Tarzan was Smart New product announcements can cause short-term revenue slumps.
5.040403 Beware of New Product Attraction A successful product launch can result in delayed revenue.
5.040404 The Launch is the Middle A successful product launch only sets the stage for the revenue-producing, follow-up activities.
5.040502 What Not How Don’t waste your time telling customers how good you are. Explain how you provide them value.
5.040503 What Will They Remember Paint a simple picture that encapsulates the value that you provide.
5.040505 It's the Forest, Not the Trees Don’t’ initially confuse your audience with details, sell the fundamental value proposition first.
5.040505 They Know You First Provide the means for prospects to educate themselves instead of just informing them.
5.040505 The Name is Not the Game Naming companies and products can be an arduous process. Providing value is more important.
5.050101 Introduction to Business Partners Finding and working with business partners is a mandatory activity for every business.
5.050201 David or Goliath Partners Partnering with either small companies or large companies has different advantages.
5.050202 Partnerships: Start With a Story Customer Focus, Legal Protectionism, Business Issue Focus, Mutual Benefits
5.050203 Not Too Fast: Delay the Engagement It is easy to look longingly at big potential partners, but are you ready for them?
5.050204 Partnership Risks and Pitfalls Partners require mutual benefits but are always subject to some level of friction.
5.050205 Incompatible DNA Different core capabilities may make a partnership look attractive but may backfire.
5.050301 Finding Prospects and Reaching Customers Leveraging existing distribution channels can significantly jump start a business.
5.050302 Exclusivity: Always Requested, Given Carefully There can be positive benefits in agreeing to exclusivity and some significant downsides as well.
5.050303 Near Term Opportunities Drive Partner Deals Nothing speeds up partnering discussions more than a short-term revenue opportunity.
5.050304 Avoiding Partners From Becoming Competitors Constantly increasing your value to your partners will help to keep the relationship intact.
5.050305 Channel Partner Arrangements There are many different channel partner arrangements, and all require detailed definitions.
5.050306 Setting Business Partner Expectations Minor bad news or even good news can have an adverse reaction to your partner if it is a surprise.
5.060101 Introduction to Strategy Topics Clearly developed and implemented strategies are the key to the success of every business.
5.060201 It's a Continium Think about the strategic implications of every tactical activity and vice versa.
5.060202 Equal But Not Separate Separating tactics and strategy, but treating them as equal generally causes severe consequences.
5.060203 Methodical Strategic Innovation Use a methodical approach when strategic planning to help make conscious business decisions.
5.060204 Set the Stage Ask some basic questions before formulating this year’s strategy.
5.060205 Strategy Blink Test To avoid envisioning a bright but unrealistic future, ask hard questions during strategy formulation.
5.060206 Don't Watch the Kernels Pop Let others worry about keeping the trains running on time while you plan other destinations.
5.060207 It's Strategic, Isn't Strategic plans need to be based on some simple, objective, and consistent criteria.
5.060301 The Most important Factor Strategies need to focus on ensuring that customers actually experience value.
5.060302 What Customers Want Build your strategy on what the customer clearly wants, not what you want.
5.060303 What You Want Build your strategies on what the customer wants, but take your needs into account as well.
5.060401 Avoid Fair Fights Fair fights imply equal odds of winning and losing. Figure out how to tip the odds in your favor.
5.060402 Be Careful of Game Films Studying the past is useful, but remember future events will unfold differently than expected.
5.060403 The Same But Different Build optional capability into your offerings, but then carefully release it.
5.060501 Share the Vision Explaining why you intend to follow a particular path is critical to gain support.
5.060502 Work Backwards Starting with the end goal, look backwards to determine what is needed by when.
5.060503 The Resource Battle Resources are always in short supply. Focus on de-risking your approach to gain acceptance.
5.060504 Feed the Weak Reallocate resources from stronger elements to the weakest element to increase overall resilience.
5.060505 Match Don't Build Examine outsourcing tasks first, and only apply internal resources if no alternatives can be found.
5.060601 What Just Happened? Unplanned events invariably occur. Think about what could happen and how you will respond.
5.060602 44 Weeks in a Year Take into account that with a few exceptions, purchases are not made linearly throughout the year.
5.060603 A 4 Week Slip Always Costs December Identifying potential alternative actions to avoid missing a forecast should be part of the strategy.
5.060604 Blindsided Confidence in your core assumptions and position may be misplaced leading to negative surprises.
5.060605 Bob and Weave Game plans and strategies need to be flexible to accommodate variations that are likely to occur.
5.060606 Failure Root Causes Ego, timing, and execution are three major root causes of strategy failures that can be avoided.
5.060607 Off-Site Can Be Off-Base Well-intentioned strategic activities always have a lower priority than daily routine activities.
5.060608 A Voice Crying in the Wilderness Strategic plans often are viewed as putting the status quo at risk causing resistance.
5.070101 Introduction to Competition Competition comes from a variety of sources and needs to be considered in every sales opportunity.
5.070201 Your Biggest Competitor Gaining a prospect’s attention is the most challenging competitor you will face.
5.070202 Don't Be An Ostrich Be careful not to ignore potential, negative outcomes because they may be uncomfortable.
5.070203 Don't Be Rip Van Winkle From a business perspective, you are driving on ice and fast. Anticipate events to survive.
5.070204 Encroachment by Others Many companies fail due to their unawareness of new competitive threats from unlikely sources.
5.070301 What's Behind the Curtain The Internet is truly only two-dimensional exposing only what site authors want you to see.
5.070302 Size Doesn't Matter or Does It? The same facts can be used for or against you. Interpret them for others first.
5.070303 Disarm Them Avoid fair competitive fights by finding ways to disarm your competitors.
5.070304 Speed Kills Stay buried in the pack and then, when the timing is right, sprint for the finish line.
5.070305 Beware of the Blender Avoid attempting to meet all competitive challenges at the same time with the same offering.
5.070306 Make it Easy Set your company apart by being easy to do business with; think like the customer.
5.070401 Pick the Field and Time You may not be able to control the sales opportunity, but you can choose how to compete.
5.070402 The Logic of Illogical Acts A competitor’s seemingly illogical acts may be totally logical to them based on their motives.
5.070403 Avoid Black Eyes Look carefully for root causes in all encounters to identify subtle but serious weaknesses.
5.070404 Don't Go Quietly When in a losing competitive situation focus on what is best for the customer, not you.
6.010001 Introduction to Support and Development Volume Take into consideration “later” activities “earlier” in the process.
6.010101 Introduction to Chapter 6.01: Customer Service Customer Service should be viewed as a revenue enhancer not a cost that should be minimized.
6.010102 What is Customer Service Customer Service activities need to focus on resolution, not only helping customers with issues.
6.010201 Department or Activity All groups need to support Customer Service Departments as part of their normal activities.
6.010202 A Cog or COGS Customer Service is the most significant element in the overall process of satisfying customers.
6.010203 The Indirect Force Think of customer service as a force multiplier that can help generate sales.
6.010301 Head or Heart Customer service’s primary goal should be to exhibit a caring attitude while addressing issues.
6.010302 Metrics Drives Behavior Measuring the right or wrong items equally creates awareness which influences behaviors.
6.010303 Who Sets the Rules Make sure that company policies and rules for customers are reasonable and appropriate.
6.010401 Are You Really Ready? Murphy’s Law certainly applies to new product releases. Customer Service needs to be prepared.
6.010402 When Does It Start? Taking customer service perspectives into account needs to occur early in product development.
6.010403 When Does It End? Customer support is a continuous process that needs to occur even when no issues are present.
6.010404 If We Only Knew Sharing customer issue information can result in resolving issues before they reoccur.
6.020101 Introduction to Chapter 6.02: Development Product Development activities need to extend well before and well after work has begun.
6.020201 Butterflies and Development Detailed requirements and their management are critical factors for development success.
6.020202 One Degree of Freedom Adjusting feature content is the only viable method to maintain product development success.
6.020203 No Fences Functional elements within an organization must develop fluid boundaries.
6.020204 PM Always Occurs Planning activities can occur before-the-fact or involve recovery activities after-the-fact.
6.020205 Sunk Costs Can Sink You As they say, “what’s done is done”. Focus on the future, not the past.
6.020301 The End State Clearly develop and communicate the expected customer’s experience before starting.
6.020302 The Best in Another Class Specify your new product based on capabilities from radically different products.
6.020303 What's Next Think past the current development plan to provide decision guidance for current activities.
6.020401 Forecast Expectations Planned schedules invariably change as details emerge. Plan accordingly.
6.020402 The First Scheduling Step Establish clear milestones and metrics for all elements involved in product development first.
6.020403 Good Path, Wrong Destination Successful early lab demonstrations can lead to overly optimistic schedules.
6.020404 Phased Releases, Plan for Them Planning for unforeseen, potential delays should be part of the development planning process.
6.020405 Fix It Later Impacts The removal of features to adhere to schedules must take into account the delay impacts.
6.020406 Buffers are Self-Fulfilling Unrealistic schedules can occur based on each element, including worse-case estimates.
6.020407 Fast, But Not Too Fast Time to market has become a major goal for product releases; be sure to spend enough time.
6.020501 Who is Leading the Charge? Internal product requirements documents need to be driven by customers.
6.020502 "Who" Needs to be Plural Seek many diverse opinions in determining applicable product requirements.
6.020503 Creeping Features Creeping features, although well intended, can cause serious consequences.
6.020504 Empty Spaces Provide developers with as much insight as possible to help them make better design decisions.
6.020505 Remember Yesterday New product requirements need to carefully consider past product compatibility.
6.020506 Good Today, Bad Tomorrow Carefully consider the long-term impacts of providing special products at customer requests.
6.020601 Plan for Mere Mortals Developers need to carefully consider the capabilities of their product’s end users.
6.020602 Plan for It Early Practical implementation methods need to be considered in the earliest stages of development.
6.020603 Write it Down Document design decisions and parameter limits as they are incorporated into the design.
6.020604 Documentation: Sooner Not Later Documentation plans and timing are as important as the product development plan itself.
6.020605 Soup to Nuts Testing Product testing encompasses a broad spectrum of activities that need to be carefully considered.
6.030101 Introduction to Quality and Process Topics High quality can only be maintained through the implementation of and following processes.
6.030201 Quality is Not a Principle Quality needs to be a fundamental component of every principle and every activity, every time.
6.030202 Quality Principles There are some fundamental quality principles that must be embraced by all company elements.
6.030301 Three Variables and One Constant Flip Flop Quality should never be compromised when meeting Features, Time, and Resources demands.
6.030302 Later Never Happens Plans to address compromised quality standards to meet schedules can be a ticking time bomb.
6.030303 Have a Customer in the Room It is easy to lose sight of the point of view of others that do not participate in discussions.
6.030304 Fitness for Use Decisions The development of any product or service requires tradeoffs that need to be made consciously.
6.030401 What Is a Process At the most basic level, a process is an ordered set of repeatable steps to create a desired output.
6.030402 Processes: Why Bother? Take time to explain the advantages of implementing process to avoid resistance.
6.030501 Processes: When to Start Unexpected results are a key indicator of when to implement processes.
6.030502 Starting the Process Process Start process implementation in a small way with an easy projected victory to gain acceptance.
6.030503 Common Process Elements Utilizing a common process format will help implementation across the organization.
6.030504 Documenting a Process Divide the process of a creating process into well-defined discrete steps.
6.030505 The Object Model for Processes Let the actual implementers define how they perform their tasks within a process.
6.030506 Step Back Process Guidelines Process development can easily get off track by well-meaning but misguided activities.
7.010101 Introduction to Governance Volume 7 Work closely with Boards of Directors, Advisory Boards, and Customer Boards.
8.010001 Introduction to Volume 8 This volume contains tools and presentations referenced in the articles in this collection.
9.010001 Introduction to Volume 9 This volume’s contents do not fit into the structure of the site but may be equally valuable.
9.010101 What's New A log of chronological changes to this site.

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