February 22, 2010 by Frank Goley, Business Consultant
Company leadership is its most important and critical Resource. Not just the CEO but leadership qualities throughout a company are paramount. There are many qualities of a good Company Leader so it is important that your Management Team have diverse backgrounds and qualities that their “sum” can supplement each other’s weaknesses with strength. In order to foster good Leadership within an Organization, you must first have a CEO with many leadership qualities in order to successfully promote and provide clear strategic direction and guidance throughout management’s structure.
The CEO is a critical position in a business as this person is the one responsible for every decision, direction and action of the company. CEO’s knowledge comes less from school education and more so from the bottom up through the ranks. As CEO you are allowed very few mistakes so development and successful implementation of the Company’s Strategic Plan is paramount.
A CEO has a certain innate talent for his particular business, along with extensive business experience at all levels, but as important are the key qualities a Leader has within which make him a successful CEO. These Leadership qualities are:
1. Determined and Self-Disciplined: CEO is focused on the important Goals to be carried out by his Strategic Management Team.
2. Inspires the Troops: CEO has strength of character and he uplifts his employees, inspiring them to follow.
3. Makes Timely, Decisive Decisions: CEO is unwavering and confident.
4. Has a Clear, Simple Vision: which is carried out in the Company’s Strategic Plan.
5. Very Strong Communication Skills: Can teach, articulate and define a clear, powerful, straight-forward company message.
6. Street Smart: CEO is savvy, sharp, clever, quick on his feet, with the training of years experience in the “ranks” of various businesses. CEO also has Talent.
7. Inspires Employees to Follow Through Charisma: CEO is a magnet exhibiting attractive qualities, charm and style so others will follow his lead.
8. Strong Intelligence: CEO is naturally smart and has well rounded, diverse knowledge.
9. Very Strong Ethical Standards: Solid character and chooses the high road, instilling that throughout the Company.
10. Not Egotistic: Essential for success as a Leader is the control of Ego. Ego never gets in the way of good business.
11. Works on Performance: CEO demands performance of himself as he does with his people. Performance improvement is a daily discipline and mindset.
12. Learns Quickly: CEO adapts quickly to changes and has very high level adoptive learning capacity.
13. Flexible: CEO sees the merit in a Strong Strategic Plan, yet knows when to redirect Management as necessary to correct problems which arise.
14. Knows Personal and Professional Weaknesses: CEO can perform a self audit and shore up his Management Team and Key Employees where he is weak or lacking.
15. A Great Listener: CEO must be able to listen to his Board, his Managers, his employees and customers to gauge where his business stands in its Strategic Plan.
16. Actions are Implemented with Clarity, Consistency and Commitment.
17. Utilizes Different Leadership Approaches as Needed: CEO can utilize a Strategic Approach, an Expertise Approach, a Human-Assets Approach, a Box Control Approach and/ or Change Approach for the given business climate and situation.
18. Exceedingly Fair yet Tough.
19. Humbled by Numerous Business Learning Experiences.
20. Never forgets who He or She is as a Person: Clearly knows what he or she stands for.
21. Dynamic and Multi-Talented: Taps a very diverse knowledge and experience base.
As evident, the CEO is multi-faceted, buffeted by many years of diverse experience throughout all levels of business. The CEO has a firm understanding of everyone’s role in a Company and sees to it they have the Process and Resources to implement the Company’s Business Plan. The effective CEO is an Entrepreneur, daring to always walk the envelope between success and failure, knowing when to pull back and regroup and when to aggressively move forward to exploit the market. CEO knows he or she didn’t get their alone and understands how to assemble and utilize a highly talented Management Team. Most importantly, the CEO cares about the lives of his employees and what is good for them and their families. The CEO is accountable to his people.
Posted in Business Leadership.
February 16, 2010 by Frank Goley, Business Consultant
A business consultant has many roles and can help an old company re-new itself and find itself again; help founders start and develop a new venture or project; help to turn around a company fraught with problems; help a company identify new opportunities and markets; or help a company develop a business success plan.
A good business consultant has experience working in and with a broad range of businesses. An experienced business consultant has broad and narrow stroke experience and typically, twenty years or more of accumulated business experience. Having an MBA from a good business school isn’t enough. The consultant must have solid real world experience with many types of companies to be an effective consultant.
So what does a business consultant do? First and foremost, a consultant gets to know and understand your business. As the business owner, you know more about your business than anyone else. For this reason, a good business consultant will take the time to learn from you, your department heads and key employees the ins and outs of your business.
The consultant then goes to work identifying problems and opportunities. Those may be certain problems and opportunities you point out to the consultant, but also a good consultant will have a process to identify problems and opportunities which a business owner has not identified. A consultant brings fresh eyes, fresh experience and an open mind to your business enterprise, providing a completely different perspective than that of someone who has been running the company for some time or someone looking to start a new venture.
A business consultant will then analyze this gathered information in order to provide solid solutions and plans for the future. Often business ownership is so focused on working “in” the business that short term and long term outlooks and strategies are overlooked and neglected. The consultant re-focuses a company’s strategies in order to solve immediate problems, while taking advantage of future opportunities. Steps taken in a good consulting process include: learn about the business; identify problems; identify future opportunities; perform analysis; provide solutions through a concrete plan; listen to feedback and adjust the plan; and implement and track the plan.
The consultant considers all company input to develop a business plan that will be effective. The consultant listens to the opinions of the company’s advisors (accountants, lawyers, bankers and other advisers). The consultant can use Delphi sessions and red teams which contain industry experts and competitive viewpoints. The consultant also listens carefully to the view points of the company’s ownership, founders, board, top management and key employees. A final business plan is agreed upon and signed off on by the company with the consultant helping to implement, track and re-work the plan as necessary over time.
When an entrepreneur is thinking about starting up a new business, a business consultant can apply a start-up analysis to determine if it is a feasible opportunity, which includes: analyze and evaluate the opportunity; develop a business strategy and model; resource audit; acquiring and leveraging needed resources; venture deployment; and getting and distributing value.
When considering an existing business acquisition, a business consultant can employ an business analysis, such as: products and services analysis; management team appraisal; operational analysis; market position; competitive factors; SWOT analysis; analyze financials; valuations; and risk assessment.
A business consultant’s derived value pays for itself. What you pay in fees for a good consultant will pale in comparison to the profitability the consultant’s strategies will create. A business consultant is an investment in the future success of your company.
Posted in Business Consultants.
February 8, 2010 by Frank Goley, Business Consultant
As a business and turn around consultant with over twenty years experience working with numerous small and medium size companies, business turnaround services are some of the favorite work I perform. I enjoy the challenge and helping a troubled company to succeed again. Unfortunately, sometimes the business owner comes to me too late, and the turnaround strategy turns into a cutting losses strategy, often ending in bankruptcy, restructuring, liquidation or a forced fire sale (quick sale). The best advice I can give business owners is to hire an experienced business consultant immediately, no matter the stage of company growth, economic situation or company health situation. A business consultant can proactively help head off future disaster, help to grow the business and provide essential strategic direction. A good business consultant can help a business develop and implement an effective business plan so that turnaround services are never needed.
The important parts of turnaround strategy development and deployment are leadership, experience and expertise. The success of a turnaround plan rests with the people on the turnaround team and their ability and willingness to incorporate all of the company’s management team and key employees in the process. It is important to have a process structure which can achieve this. As a business consultant, I understand process, but I also understand the importance of experience and fresh ideas in a turnaround situation. It is the expertise of an experienced consultant who can adapt process to a particular situation in order to find unique, creative, successful solutions to a tough situation, using the strengths and experience of the turnaround team and the insights of company managers and employees, finally putting it all together in an agreed upon, synergistic, effective turnaround strategy, plan and program.
The most important thing a business consultant should do upon entering a turnaround situation is to listen, get to know everyone throughout the organization and give them opportunities and avenues to communicate with the consultant and the CEO. The CEO should be doing the same exact thing alongside the business consultant to instill trust, integrity and openness to the turn around process. If the CEO does not hold a position of high esteem with the employees throughout the organization, it is time for him or her to go and be replaced by either a CEO who specializes in turnaround situations or promote someone from within that has this relationship with the company’s people and can adjust quickly to being an effective CEO. With this trust and integrity established, it is time to get to work.
Steps I take as a turnaround consultant include: learn about the business; meet with advisors, creditors, customers and suppliers; evaluate the problems and issues; identify the most pressing and significant problems; identify opportunities; analysis; resource audit; risk assessment; develop the turnaround solutions and the resulting business strategy; acquire and leverage needed resources; deploy with confidence; and obtain and distribute value.
If you follow a similar process and have strong leadership qualities and skills, then, more often than not, the turnaround plan will be successful. However, it isn’t always so; sometimes it is too little, too late, depending on the activity and stage of the dire situation. If that is the case, a major re-structuring, quick sale, bankruptcy, liquidation or other end result will become the end game. While this can leave a hollow feeling among the turnaround team, you will find that if a good turnaround process was developed and implemented, yet failed, employees and customers will understand. They will adapt and move on and so should you. Holding on to what “could be” is toxic to any future career or new venture. While many may see this as failure and defeat, as a business consultant, I see this as a learning experience. Something which will not be revisited as owners and employees alike clearly understand, in the end, how they got there. The learning experience is invaluable and should be leveraged into many successes in the future. However, if you follow a good turnaround process, with an experienced turnaround team, the end result will very often lead to success and renewed future growth.
About Frank Goley, Business Success Consultant for ABC Business Consulting
This blog is written by Frank Goley, the ABC Business Consulting Chief Business Success Consultant, who has over 20 years experience helping companies start, grow, turn-around and succeed. Please visit The ABC Business Consulting Website for more information on what a Business Consultant can do for your Company.
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Posted in Business TurnAround Strategies.