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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Words Can Kill, Sometimes!

Processing information is unique to each individual and team.  Many are able to hear words of others and react in a well thought out manner.  Others hear the same information and either fixate on one aspect of what was said or immediately react.  Neither action is wrong, but if one is not careful, the follow up can be deadly.

Mentors, advisors, and investors are well intentioned.  They want to provide advice and comment in order to help the company.  Similarly, prospective investors and partners fall in that category as well.  However, it is important to keep in mind that the analyses of advice or comments are the company’s responsibility.  The integration of the advice or comments into the company is critical its survival.  Overreacting or poor execution can cause the demise of the business.

Your team lives with the company day-to-day just as the CEO founder does.  They see all the positive and negatives of each situation as they arise.  One of the most critical things to consider when reacting to comments is to gain the input of your team.  You may have heard a prospective investor make a comment that seems negative and interpret it, as making a change will cause the investor to fund the company.  That can happen, but the investor may not be aware of all the issues the company faces at each point in time.

The CEO has the responsibility to weigh each of the ideas and suggestions and decide how to run the company.  Running the company and changing day-to-day activities or goals based on comments or ideas from others makes sense only when the information is analyzed and the integration strategy well executed.  The team can be instrumental in both the analysis and execution.  In addition, it is critical that the CEO involve them in the process.  Asking the team to execute on ideas that they feel are doomed to failure is a recipe for disaster.  Even if it was a great idea, their lack of enthusiasm or commitment may lead to failure.

Being in charge comes with responsibility.  The CEO has the responsibility of calling the shots.  The Board of Directors expects this.  They also expect careful analysis and proper execution.  Some CEOs can execute without input from others and do a great job.  Other CEOs try and only cause anxiety in the team. This causes a loss of their confidence, morale, and performance problems.

In short, when you hear or think of something that may require a shift in strategy or change in the business, involve the people you hired in the analysis.  Build some consensus if possible or at least help them understand why you feel the change in directions is important.  You will find the process of change to be more effective and may even get advice from the team to help make the change more efficient or even make it work.  Keep in mind that “Words Can Kill, Sometimes” when actions in your company are poorly executed.