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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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   

Paul Witkay

Malcolm Gladwell Article
May 20, 2010

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.

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   

Neal Gutterson

Cross-Linking Supply Chains & Establishing New Value Allocations
April 13, 2010

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!

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Case categories include: Operations   Strategy & Planning   

Raju Reddy

Global Expansion Strategy Viable For Many
January 29, 2010

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.

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Case categories include: International Business   

Stepping on the Accelerator
November 23, 2009

Read how CEOs are viewing certain indicators for signs of improvement in the economy in preparation for their acceleration strategy.

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Case categories include: Operations   Strategy & Planning   

Belinda Tsao-Nivaggioli

Wrestling with a Rat
November 04, 2009

What happens when a CEO's board misplaces its trust in a manipulating advisor who holds the company hostage.

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Case categories include: Ethics   Finance   Leadership   

The Rules Are Changing
August 13, 2009

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.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning