The Perils of Using Dashboards to Drive a Company

IT “dashboards” have become highly seductive to CEOs of midsized companies. Who could resist up-to-date, easy-to-digest information on business performance, and how the team is performing? Not many CEOs. Yet if they knew how long and how much money it will take to install such systems—months and sometimes years—they might think twice. But whether or not companies implement them (and there are good reasons to implement them at the right time), these automated dashboards don’t replace good old-fashioned management techniques.

One Way Many Midsized Firms Fail: Through ‘Mother May I’ Management

After 45 years in business, In-Common Laboratories in 2012 was suffering from a revolving door that no company wants to face: three CEOs in three years. Many challenging issues precipitated a 2010 board decision to find a new CEO for the not-for-profit provider of medical laboratory tests. In 2011, the board realized it hired the wrong CEO (No. 2) for a variety of reasons, including precipitous losses. But it wasn’t until the third CEO, Kris Bailey, showed up in 2012 that the board realized the problems ran much deeper: a “Mother May I” culture that had turned the top team into powerless managers whose ingenuity was running on cruise control.

When Boom Times Wind Down, Smart Firms Turn Quickly to Efficiency

At the end of every economic growth cycle, midsized companies tend to invest heavily in sales and marketing to steal market share.  They realize that a no-longer growing market won’t raise all boats, including their own.  Yet increasing sales and marketing may actually not be the best way to grow in these times.  Making big efficiency gains may be far better.

Sink or Swim: How NOT to Groom Future Leaders

Forcing up-and-coming leaders to sink or swim in the pool of real experience is one way to develop future executive team members. It’s also a sure-fire method to drown some managers who have real potential. There are far better ways to develop managers than by foisting a big and unfamiliar organizational problem on them.

How To Manage Morale When Companies Hit Turbulence

When companies go through times of change—whether acquisition, divestiture, leadership change, sales slump or competitive shocks—employees worry, then react, often with little input from management.  When change is impending, the CEO (or top-most leader) ought to pull the leadership team together to share the news, discuss what the employees’ concerns might be, then decide on the appropriate message to be conveyed.

Winning the Talent War Demands Creative Hiring Strategies

Your company may be suffering from a genuine talent shortage. It may be suffering from a flawed hiring process. It may be one or the other or even both, but the end result will be the same: Companies that can’t find creative ways to find the employees they need can’t grow.  Business leaders who can win the talent war (and it is a war) will be able to say yes to new business opportunities while their talent-strapped competition will have to walk away.

About Robert Sher

Robert Sher is founding principal of CEO to CEO, a consulting firm of former chief executives that improves the leadership infrastructure of midsized companies seeking to accelerate their performance. He was chief executive of Bentley Publishing Group from 1984 to 2006 and steered the firm to become a leading player in its industry (decorative art publishing).

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Forbes.com columnist, author and CEO coach Robert Sher delivers keynotes and workshops, including combining content with facilitation of peer discussions on business topics.

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