Grow or Die – Contributing to Constant Forward Momentum

As a CEO I have my hands in a lot of different things. I’m a technical leader. I’m a sales person. I’m a marketer. I’m a founder.  Many would say I’m too hands on. That I need to sit back, trust more and let the chips fall. The thing is, I’m not that kind of CEO. I firmly believe in constant forward momentum. And if you’re not moving fast enough, get out of the way because I’m going to show you how to go quickly!

I read a great article recently published on the Andreessen Horowitz site that reinforced my approach as a CEO. Basically, it says that in a high growth organization, you can’t afford to sit back and wait out change. You need to recognize “oh sh%t” moments early, and put your full focus in resolving whatever the challenge may be. I like that.  Not only because it makes me feel better about my approach day to day, but because it leverages the power of the team to make positive change.

As our business grows I find we can easily get bogged down with process, silos & complexity. There are times I want to scream and find myself thinking, “it can’t be this hard to get something done”. It shouldn’t be. And that’s within our control.

It comes down to a cultural shift and as a CEO I have to set the course. As you grow you need to mature, and yes you need to scale. But you can’t lose what made you great in the first place. You can’t lose that hunger for constant forward momentum.

With that in mind – here are some philosophies that I use to remind myself, and my team of how to keep focused on constant forward momentum… 

Busy is Not Effective – I had one week recently where I was so busy, it felt like I didn’t even have time to breathe. At the end of that week I stepped back and realized that even though I was extremely busy, I was not very effective. No one gets paid to be busy, but we do get paid to deliver value. Are you moving the ball forward? Or are you creating busy work? Always make sure you are advancing the bottom line.

Customers First  Somewhere along the line we created a lot of process to get things done. Much of it is really, really good – but if the process stops you from creating value, it’s not working. Nothing should get in the way of helping our clients or delivering results.

Own it – If you have a task – own it! Don’t wait for that guy to do his bit and get back to you late and then delay the meeting, then start it late, then have a call to follow up, then recap it the next day…. You see my point. JUST DO IT. Own it end to end and hold those around you accountable because YOU are accountable to deliver. 

Pick up the phone If a phone call can do the job, don’t send an email. I realize we have a culture of text messages and digital communications, but you can get so much done by just calling someone. Just pick up the phone! 

If you’re not being heard, yell!  The customer comes first! If a client needs it and you are not getting what you need internally – scream, yell, call everyone you need to get it done. No one gets rewarded for saying “I knew about that but it wasn’t my job”. Or “I tried, but couldn’t implement the change to get it done”. We know better – yell.

Less Meetings – More Results – In some organizations, communicating that work is being done is often more important than actually doing any real work. How many hours in your week are occupied by meetings? How many are occupied by POINTLESS meetings? We are all connected to the end result – maximize your time by setting meeting agendas in advance, filter out unimportant meetings, and block off time to get actual work accomplished.  

No matter who you are, or what company you work for – my advice to improve productivity and push for constant forward momentum is the same. We can go faster – and we can get more out of our time.

There are roughly 120 business days left this year. How are you going to change your approach to use them more effectively?

To Your Success,