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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Blink, etc.), wrote a great article in the New Yorker called "The Sure Thing." It dispels the myth that successful entrepreneurs are daredevils or crazy risk-takers. He tells several stories of Ted Turner, Ingvar Kamprad of IDEA and others that show that successful entrepreneurs are more like predators that study their prey and seek the least risky time and place to strike.
We CEOs tend to look at our suppliers on one hand and our customers on the other. What if there were no suppliers or customers yet...if the supply chain hasn't been formed? Read how one Alliance member is building a new supply chain by cross-linking three existing supply chains!
Many CEOs will take a deep breath before even thinking about putting down a permanent footprint overseas. For years, global operations have been the province of the large firm, but this is changing. Alliance member Raju Reddy, CEO of Sierra Atlantic, stepped into China in August of 2007 without any major hiccups, and in two years has doubled the size of his China team, supporting global sales. Moreover, he is generating significant revenues from sales within China. Sierra Atlantic was only a $56 million revenue firm at that time.
CEOs are facing the growing presence of government involvement in their day-to-day business lives, particularly the financial industry and real estate business. Read what certain CEOs have to say about how they are dealing with the positives and negatives of government programs.
One way to innovate is to observe practices in other industries and adopt those that will be powerful and new to your industry. This article discusses two examples of this, and how you can innovate in this fashion.
In today's market, liquidity issues are a serious risk to companies in every industry sector. Read about how to anticipate problems and devise solutions before liquidity issues come to a state of crisis.
Alliance Founder, Paul Witkay discusses the current mood of CEOs. This article urges CEOs to start thinking long-term again and focus on leading their organizations toward compelling visions for the future.
In a dismal economy, Alliance members find ways to move forward. One company secures a financial "safety net," while another looks outside of their traditional areas of growth to form a new business, some diversify their services while others focus on customer service to help their clients stay in business or gain market share against weaker competitors.
This article discusses a long-term workplace differentiation strategy that will enable you to attract and retain top talent, even in the talent shortage that challenges us all in every economic growth cycle. An ideal time to start is a year or more before the talent pool shrinks.