I recently facilitated a workshop with several CEOs where we worked on the dramatic business growth model components. One of the questions that I had asked them beforehand was, "What is Your Profit/X?" The results showed that there this concept is not clear to many....
Vistage’s Chief Research Officer, Joe Galvin, presents Vistage’s Q2 CEO Confidence Index Survey recapping our members’ opinions on the economy, financing, and the prospects for their own business. You can see the report here – “The First Steps of the Hard Climb to Recovery Begins.“
The survey shows that while CEO Optimism was one of the three lowest ever recorded, most CEOs are experiencing an increase in activity with the lifting of lockdowns. However, the survey data is before the initial wave was increasing in the South and West. I feel that we are “At the end of the beginning, rather than the beginning of the end.”
CEOs identified the most significant leadership challenges they face today, which fall into the following four categories:
- Morale. The most common theme shared by CEOs was maintaining and building morale with their leadership team and employees. It has been a very stressful three months for everyone, personally and professionally. The next three months won’t be any easier, which will challenge leaders to motivate a workforce with diverse needs. Priorities for leaders include keeping employees focused and positive, avoiding executive burnout, and inspiring the organization for the hard climb.
- Back to Work/ Work from Home. The pandemic has changed the workplace forever. CEOs have to redesign the workplace with physical health and safety as a priority, and also creates a feeling of protection for those employees returning to that workplace. Compound that with the broad acceptance of remote working as a proven option, which forces leaders to adapt their culture and communications to incorporate remote workers, engage in hybrid meetings, and accept that work-from-home is a permanent fixture in the new reality.
- Growth. Leaders need to crank the growth engine back on from a cold start. For 80% of businesses, revenue is down at some level since customers shut down or postponed non-essential purchases over the last three months. Creating new demand, re-engaging with customers, and rebuilding opportunity pipelines are all prerequisites to rebuilding business volume. Quickly adjusting to changed customer behaviors and shaping messages that connect to their new reality will accelerate the return to the growth curve.
- Uncertainty. Undercutting everything is the uncertainty leaders feel and face in every direction. There has never been a business scenario like this except in classrooms. Uncertainty about the pandemic’s length, the economic outlook, and the unknown impact on their markets are some of the difficulties facing leaders. Forecasting has become a black art once again, as pre-COVID financial models have lost relevance. The absence of data or clear direction will force leaders to rely on their instincts and judgment to make the best decision and be prepared to adapt quickly.
There is a war for talent. How do you attract talent to your company and have them apply for jobs there? You have to show why they should consider you, who you want, what you offer, and how your current employees feel.
Productivity remained during WFH with COVID. However, further analysis found that hourly productivity fell and was compensated for by employees working more hours. What was the culprit – Meetings. Want to increase productivity, have fewer meetings.
For those of you who are not aware of EOS, it is the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It seeks to improve businesses by getting six components aligned to enhance business operations. The six are: the vision the people the issues traction - meetings and goals...
COVID has affected everyone. However, companies need to examine if they have lived their core values during COVID, how they are reinforcing them in a WFH environment, and especially with the onboarding of new hires.
Knowing how much cash you generate is essential for planning for growth. Too many companies don’t know and when they grow they find they are continually running out of cash. Understand your cash flow generation and how to improve it through improvements in your Cash Conversion Cycle and using the Power of One.
The key to achieving long term goals is to define short term goals that lead you there. Focusing those short term goals around a key metric is essential. However, ensure that the metric will not lead other areas astray by having an appropriate counter critical metric act as a counter balance.
Defining an organization’s culture as a “Family” culture reflects tolerance to subpar performance. Rather focus on those characteristics of a “family” culture that you want.
Knowing the profit of your core customers is key to building a growth model. Many companies have identified core customers that are generating a sub-optimal profit and so they cannot realize the profits they seek. Identifying the correct core customer allows you to generate profits and often operate in “Blue Ocean.”
The European Super League collapsed within days of launch due to hubris and the founder forgetting the key parts of their business model, value creation, sales, and value delivery. The collapse might bring a high price.