The implicit understanding among Alliance members is that, in exchange for their willingness to share their own experience and knowledge, they gain access to the extraordinary collective wisdom of the Alliance community of CEOs. Our members do amazing things and we've been collecting some of their "lessons learned" in Case Studies that preserve and highlight the wealth of knowledge in our membership. We also interview our members from time to time on matters of interest, and you'll find their thoughts here as well.
To see only cases for a certain category, choose one from the following list:
Ebbe Altberg, CEO of the virtual reality pioneer Linden Lab, recently shared a curious facet of his company’s culture at an Alliance meeting. Called the “Love Machine,” this innovation sparked instant curiosity and captured the imaginations of the CEOs in the room. Just what is the Love Machine?
Businesses are run by people. When people liberate themselves from indecision resulting from insecurity, their businesses benefit and are more suited to scaling up. This case study features Alliance member, Rajesh C. Subramaniam, CEO & Founder of embedUR systems, who made good use of an Alliance presentation designed to identify and present the obstacles of his business' growth, and questioned whether Rajesh was a contributing factor.
Marco Marini and Bart Schaefer, both executives in the email marketing industry, were fellow Alliance group members for years, and built a solid rapport of delivering straightforward feedback and comparing notes on their industry. But, when Bart decided it might be time to sell his company, Marco had much more to offer him than his opinion.
A maturing industry requires its leaders to act differently. As industry players grow larger to manage compliance burdens and to gain access to capital, leadership styles that worked in the past can become dysfunctional. For midsized mortgage businesses to continue growing, they will need to upgrade their leadership teams through coaching, mentoring, and recruitment. Learn how Alliance member, Craig Sardella of Comstock Mortgage grew its volume to $750 million during a downturn in the industry, even while competition continued to be a drag on growth and profitability.
As a CEO, restrain yourself from tinkering with your core strategy. Instead, funnel those great ideas through a process that helps vet the ideas without distracting your team from executing the current strategy. Once your winning ideas are confirmed and proven, then adjust the business plan to incorporate them. Read how Rodan + Fields grew 10-fold by avoiding top-level tinkering.
Knowing about the seven growth killers certainly is a good start to defending against them. When each rears its ugly head, you can spot it sooner and whack it into submission. But playing whack-a-mole every day is both exhausting and unrewarding. And while you’re whacking, you’re not growing. Midsized company leaders should look at their company’s needs for leadership infrastructure holistically to try to picture what the company will need in one or two years. Then tackle the work in phases.
Today’s CFO faces more challenges than ever. Staying ahead of vital business trends is one of those challenges. Hear from a panel of Ernst & Young professionals and CFOs, include Alliance member, Rick Martig, as they discuss what every CFO needs to know about digital.
Growing through acquisition is an enticing prospect for many mid-market companies, but many deals fail to reach their potential. In this article, several Alliance members and alumni illustrate how to "prepare the soil" for M&A success by building the proper bandwidth to handle due diligence and integration.
Nearly every successful middle-market company eventually faces a swarm of competition. When their core business contracts, single-product companies can find themselves fighting for their lives. But the companies which plan highly-related diversifications before such downturns grow in good times and bad.
CEOs underinvest in preparing themselves and their firms for an exit, and in building business acumen for exiting. When the event is upon us, many seek to turn it over to investment bankers, and while they play a critical part in many exits, there is much that they cannot do, or where their incentives are not perfectly aligned with the seller.
Companies that make a big shift in strategy need to start early, long before a crisis envelopes them. That will increase the odds that they plan carefully. Success on short-term execution is no guarantee of longer-term stability and growth.
Before you lay down a significant bet, spend time and effort on assessing market predictability, execution competency and your team’s forecasting acumen. Then make the decision about your spending velocity and the level of risk that is prudent.
Mid-market firms are big enough to make sizable acquisitions but are often not big enough to have dedicated acquisition teams or the management bandwidth to integrate a newly acquired firm. One disastrous acquisition can push a mid-market company into bankruptcy court.
How important is it for mid-market companies to have employees who consistently strive to perform at high levels? Should mid-market CEOs worry when some employees are unenthused with their work? The answer is an emphatic yes - if strong company growth is crucial. Find out the causes of a disengaged workforce and the keys behind creating a high-performance culture that can make a real difference for the mid-market firm.
Chief executives who are loyal to their lieutenants can be the enemies of performance. Such CEOs have kept many a company from hitting its numbers and sunk more than a few. A company whose senior managers are coasting on long ago accomplishments is a company that isn't firing on all cylinders.
We asked our members a battery of questions about how their top teams function and how they were built. The results were presented at our February 15, 2012 Round Table. Read some of the takeaways from the private table discussions that followed.