|That CEO said WHAT?|
One of the many tasks a CEO performs is engaging and explaining the company to the investment community. They may use a positive spin to present their data in the best manner. Positive spin is a method were data, while factual, is presented in a manner to highlight the positive and down play any negative. You may hear this term a great deal in politics as it is a means of trying to get public sentiment on the side of the politician. Whether one is a CEO or a politician, there is a fine line between positive spin and over doing your story. It does not take long before the public sees the spin for what is and they become less likely to believe future statements.
Investors expect to know the facts! It is not good practice to present incorrect information and it may even be fraudulent if you stretch the information too much. Selling your story must be done while retaining your integrity and ensuring the listeners trust you. It is reasonable to explore all the positives and negatives of an event and try to present them in a more positive light. However, there is a balancing act required in order to prevent presenting a story that is not believable or seen as dishonest.
Honesty is the best policy and CEOs must adhere to this when selling to others. Investors must trust the CEO and believe they are receiving the facts regardless of the event. With this in mind, I am providing a joke found on Facebook because it relates to the topic and may lighten up your day.
DOG FOR SALE:
A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale 'He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.
The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
'You talk?' he asks.
'Yep,' the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what's your story?'
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA.
In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.'
'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running...
But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering nearsuspicious characters and listening in.
I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.'
'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.'
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
'Ten dollars,' the guy says.
'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'
'Because he's is a Bullshitter. He's never been out of the yard'
I hope you got the take home message from this story. I for one have listened to investor pitches that went over the line. It did not take long before the CEO was considered to be like the talking Labrador throughout the investment community. Occasionally, there is a fine line between selling to gain investment and stretching a story so far that the investor sees you as not factual and misleading. So, Think Agile and prepare your presentations to remain positive but also HONEST AND FACTUAL.
Taffy Williams is the author of: Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed and the Startup Blog. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter @twilli2861, ColonialTDC , Facebook, and Startup Group.