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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When Down Turns Up
February 12, 2009

Alliance CEO members weigh in on their strategies for riding out these tough economic times in preparation for an upswing. One CEO looks at his pricing as he knows customers will be shopping around; another focuses on customer satisfaction and long-term goodwill. An increase in sales and marketing budgets is discussed, along with taking advantage of bringing top talent on board that have been let go from their companies.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

When & How to Develop Strategic Partnerships that Work…and Avoid Wasting Time on Those that Don’t
December 12, 2008

Today more than ever, successful companies are employing strategic partnerships to gain competitive advantage. These vehicles can help companies expand their capabilities and market share at a much greater pace than going it alone.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

The Resilient CEO
November 30, 2008

When adversity hit, these leaders battled back and gave us all something to learn Inside Alliance private working groups, we hear with some regularity jaw-dropping events that land on the chief executive's desk. Sometimes they are simply challenging opportunities, but often they are disasters that threaten the survival of the business. From hundreds of incredible survival stories, we've chosen to reveal four of the most amazing. With special permission from each CEO, we've told the story of the adversity they had to overcome, how they survived, and what there is for all of us to learn from their experiences.

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Case categories include: Leadership   

Alan Olsen

Standing Out From the Crowd
October 16, 2008

After a new CEO arrives, a mild mannered accounting firm begins a lighthearted marketing campaign on cable, print and web, which drives the top line to 400% within four years, and growth continues at 30% annually. Read about the benefits of standing out from the crowd.

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Case categories include: Marketing   

Sequoia Capital’s Advice to their Portfolio CEOs
October 12, 2008

Sequoia Capital gathered the CEOs of their portfolio companies together for an "emergency meeting" subsequent to the meltdown of the financial markets. They presented their analysis of the current economic crisis and their recommendations to their portfolio CEOs to save their money. You can check out their presentation by clicking on "Download PDF." Many of our Alliance CEOs have commented on Sequoia's recommendations which were quite controversial and provocative, even amusing. We post it here so you can make your own conclusions.

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Case categories include: Leadership   

Robert Sher

Outlasting Hard Times
October 11, 2008

 Run any business for long enough and you'll go through a down cycle. This article identifies some practical tips on preparing your business for hard times, and surviving them when they come.

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Case categories include: Finance   Strategy & Planning   

Five Mistakes CFOs Need to Avoid in a Volatile Economy
October 10, 2008

An overwhelming 91 percent of finance leaders agree that the economic crisis is not yet over, and in fact may just be beginning. This was the finding of Tatum’s October Survey of Business Conditions, based on responses from over 400 corporate leaders. The economy has reached a historic critical point, and business leaders face a daunting situation.  So how do CEOs and CFOs lead amid chaos? No one can predict the future right now, but Tatum’s national Restructuring Practice has helped hundreds of businesses emerge from distressed economic conditions and they offer practical advice for avoiding certain critical mistakes during this time of extreme pressure.

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Case categories include: Finance   Strategy & Planning   

Igor Gonda

Extreme Partnering
October 09, 2008

Partnerships between two firms are often difficult to manage and often fail to bring results. This essay digs into one of the more extreme partnerships - those between life sciences firms, where even in the best of cases, fruits of the partnership can take 5-15 years, where development failures are common, and where large amounts of money must change hands. Lessons learned are enumerated and are valuable not just for life sciences firms, but for companies thinking about partnerships in all industries.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Bob Fahlman

The New CEO as a Change Agent
August 09, 2008

A private equity firm brings in a seasoned CEO to dramatically accelerate the growth of a stable, conservative company. The CEO carefully controls his own on-boarding process designed to identify and retain great talent and create momentum company-wide for high growth. This case study details his technique.

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Case categories include: Human Resources   Leadership   

John Keagy

Keeping Your Team Focused on your Value-Creation Strategy
August 09, 2008

A high growth CEO builds value by being first to the market with hot new products and technologies. But that means moving faster than is comfortable for all his teams as his organization grows. The case talks about minimizing risk on new product introductions and managing the teams that must do the work.

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Case categories include: Human Resources   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Finding the Green in Green Biz
August 08, 2008

With gas prices averaging over $4.50 a gallon, could there be any better time to be selling electric motorcycles? Probably not. But that doesn't mean Alliance member Zero Motorcycles - which sells an electric trail motorcycle that gets up to 40 miles on a single battery charge - has got an easy ride.

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Case categories include: Trends   

Kathy Meier

Beginning With the End in Mind
June 14, 2008

Imagine that your company is seeking to merge or be acquired only to discover that the "change in control" provisions in your compensation agreements are scaring away potential suitors. Internal inconsistencies within your agreements (employment agreements, change in control agreements, severance plans, equity incentive plans, supplemental executive retirement plans, etc.) create substantial financial liabilities that you may not uncover until it is too late. Such unanticipated consequences can adversely impact or kill your deal.

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Case categories include: M&A   

Thinking Downturn - Or Up?
May 01, 2008

Among many of today's CEOs, there is growing uncertainty with the economy. Stocks are struggling, while gas prices and the U.S. home foreclosure rates are going through the roof.

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Case categories include: Strategy & Planning   

Jodi Andrews

Choosing Relationships over Meteoric Growth
April 21, 2008

Two female business partners are offered a huge piece of business by a key client. Although initially excited, they think long and hard about the pros and cons of saying yes. Read how the decision went and what they ultimately decided.

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   Strategy & Planning   

Jim Pouliot

Values Based Organizations
April 16, 2008

CEOs are too tolerant of executives that aren't top performers and that don't behave according to the values that the organization holds dear. CEO Jim Pouliot of CSAA talks to the Alliance about his experiences cleaning up executive teams. This essay explores why CEOs continually struggle with this issue, and what they can do about it.

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Case categories include: Human Resources   Leadership   

Rich Bravman

Creating and Owning a Category
April 11, 2008

This CEO has a system for finding new market categories and taking commanding market share leadership. He's done it over and over again, and he tells us how in this essay.

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Leaping Ahead: Courage or Discipline?
January 08, 2008

Read how taking leaps with your business can pay huge dividends. By having the courage and discipline to put innovative business ideas into action, the owner gained huge competitive advantages. The concept is laid out, as well as important steps to get started.

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Case categories include: Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Indispensible Tech Tools for CEOs
January 06, 2008

Personal technology has revolutionized how CEOs stay organized, informed, and on top of their businesses. Several CEOs explain what works for them.

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Case categories include: Technology   

Business Temptation
November 24, 2007

Thriving business gets customer requests to jump into a new business. After resisting, they go for it with excellent success. When is it wise to start another business?

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Case categories include: Entrepreneurship   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

David Takeuchi

A Branding Lesson:  The Four Cornerstones
November 10, 2007

Branding is about creating relationships. By building multiple relationships with a client, the CEO discovered new opportunities to grow his business. Four ideals behind successful branding are explained.

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Case categories include: Marketing   Strategy & Planning