I was reminded this week of how competitive and yet how exciting it is to be a Tech CEO today in the B2B marketplace. One of my key observations was that too often we overlook the smaller things for the greater vision. Although this sense of pushing the norm, having great ideas and wanting to be the thought-leader and the go-to partner are all ideas and goals I fully support, this should not take away focus from the day-to-day operations.
This reminds me of Marshall Goldsmith’s book – What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
If as CEOs we are setting the standards for what accuracy and precision for our team, then we foster a culture of precision and accuracy. A sense of accountability and rigorous ambition. In the early days of startup or as some refer to it as “dream up”, even in its two years not having this exact nature won’t harm you massively as it’s often about relationships, persuasion, hard graft and selling your vision.
The second phase of your development is when you are moving from a “dream up” to a “startup”. At this point you have some big wins under your belt, more employees, maybe even heads of divisions now as you start to scale with improved business development results and often seed funding. This is the time where often the attributes and skills of the early members of the team are exposed and normally need improving.
The team are not using to making exact calculations, it’s not usual to have to sign contracts or terms in order to gain pay rises, commissions, or getting even your bonus early not alone a proper performance review. It’s done on trust. This works well in the early phase when you have a super small team and the CEO doesn’t have as many people to manage but now with the complexity of the product increasing, client demands coming in left right and centre, hiring decisions and recruitment to sit in on and trying to now build a business rather than traction around an idea – this model comes under strain.
This is where the role of the CEO is to foster a new standard for the team and bring a level of accuracy and precision to the company. This is no small task. Often this is where new hires, new leaders within the company need to provide support to the CEO to make this company great and to build a fact-based decision making model that is fair and transparent to all.
One of the greatest opportunities is in the hiring cycle where the CEO can hire people that are better than his current team and maybe even better than he/she in specific areas. These new hires need to bring a strong sense of accuracy to shift the focus to uptake and traction into continuous momentum and improvement. It’s this weekly and bi-weekly progress that over a quarter has mind-boggling results. We often talk about 2-week sprints in our consultancy and I believe it is a very good yardstick and methodology to implement in any company.
2-week sprints foster the need for evaluation, review of metrics, progress and improvement rather than maybe a disdain for not reaching your overarching and long-term goal. And it also allows all of the team to tackle big projects by taking a chunk out of them one bite at a time.
Some of the areas that as a Tech CEO you might want to bring more precision to:
- Financial forecasting
- Sales forecasting
- Sales commissions
- Marketing evaluations
- Product usage per customer
- Recruitment process
- Onboarding new hires
- Account management strategy
Of course there are many more but I certainly don’t want to give you an extraordinarily long to-do list. Just pick one area and maybe add it to your next 2-week sprint.