Alliance Perspectives

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 here we've collected some of their lessons learned to preserve and highlight the wealth of knowledge in our membership. Alliance Founder & CEO, Paul Witkay, also shares his perspectives on topics such as leadership, strategy and innovation.

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Rick Martig

CFO: Need to Know
October 24, 2014

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.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   M&A   Technology   Trends   

Laura Stark

Preparing to Plant your Acquisition
August 06, 2014

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.

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Case categories include: M&A   Strategy & Planning   

Tony Lavia

Defying Gravity: Preparing for the Inevitable Downturn in Your Core Business
May 21, 2014

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.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Getting Ready for the Exit Day
February 17, 2014

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. 

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Case categories include: M&A   

Why the Time to Check Your Strategy is When It’s Working
April 21, 2013

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.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Rick Martig

How Much Should you Risk for Growth?
January 23, 2013

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.

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   Finance   Leadership   Sales   Strategy & Planning   

Alex Hehmeyer

How to Avoid the Killer Acquisition
October 29, 2012

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.

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Case categories include: M&A   

Creating and Maintaining a High-Performance Workplace
July 28, 2012

Keeping your team in a healthy state of dissatisfaction is an underlying element of any high-performance work environment.

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Case categories include: Human Resources   Leadership   

Paul Limbrey

How Mid-Market Companies Can Develop High-Performers
July 25, 2012

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.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Member Survey: CEO Compensation
July 03, 2012

CEOs put their heart and soul into the companies they lead or found. But with a poor contract or weak negotiations, the board or a sale can leave them significantly under-rewarded.

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Case categories include: CEO Survey   Executive Development   

Lisa Im

Why a Loyal CEO Can Be Deadly
April 30, 2012

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.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   Leadership   

Member Survey: DETERMINED to Build Enterprise Value
March 28, 2012

We survey those members that were maximally interested in growing enterprise value.

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Case categories include: CEO Survey   Strategy & Planning   

Member Survey: Building Top Teams
February 19, 2012

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.

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Case categories include: CEO Survey   Leadership   

Member Survey: Acquisitions Best Practices
February 19, 2012

A survey was sent to over 300 Alliance of Chief Executives members in the greater Bay Area between January 13th and January 22nd, 2012. Read about the focus of this research - to better understand how mid-market companies can improve the likelihood and magnitude of acquisition success.

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Case categories include: CEO Survey   M&A   

Andy Ball

Developing Dual Core Competencies
November 04, 2011

Andy Ball of Webcor Builders had a gut feeling technology held great promise for his industry, so he invested millions toward developing software that would reduce building costs and speed up construction. Today, Webcor has a second core competency that has fueled enormous growth and provided the company with a unique competitive edge.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   Technology   

David Gensler

Developing in the Developing World
July 25, 2011

David Gensler of global architecture and design firm Gensler shares his strategy on building thriving, high-performance offices in developing countries. Though the firm's initial foray -- into China -- proved difficult, it sparked unique ideas that have benefitted future efforts.

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Case categories include: International Business   Strategy & Planning   

Jim Harrison

Managing Multiple Constituencies
May 06, 2011

While some companies operate with a simple ownership structure, others operate with multiple overlapping constituencies. Jim Harrison, CEO of MLSListings, demonstrates how listening, building relationships and the ability to connect interests are key to creating positive outcomes for everyone.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Dennis Raefield

Superhero Selling: the CEO
January 25, 2011

When it comes to high stakes with key customers, face to face is the only option for a CEO. Read how Dennis Raefield, CEO of Mace Security International, salvages two grave situations; one involving a multi-million dollar deal, the other saving his company from certain death.

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Case categories include: Leadership   

Alain Couder

Inside a Merger that Worked
October 31, 2010

Two companies merge to gain economies of scale and to create an industry leader. But not so with Oclaro (NASDAQ: OCLR), formed when CEO Alain Couder merged $300M Bookham (NASDAQ:BKHM) with $200M Avanex (NASDAQ: AVNX) in April of 2009. Today, the combined company's stock price is up nearly four times from April of last year.

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Case categories include: M&A   

Eric McAfee

Spurring Government Bureaucracy to Action
July 23, 2010

Summary: Finding a way to reach people at the top levels of a government bureaucracy requires time and planning, and is one of the most important roles for a CEO. Eric McAfee, CEO of AE Biofuels, had been waiting for more than a year for his business to get funding from a grant program until he launched a three-step campaign that eventually pushed bureaucracy into action.

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Case categories include: Executive Development   Strategy & Planning