Nuggets from Behind Closed Doors

Inside every private Alliance meeting, there are hundreds of years of experience. While keeping confidentiality of the member who provided the challenge to their group, we’ve captured (with permission) just some of the insightful comments from a handful of members. Read what these members had to say to get a glimpse of what it is like to be an Alliance member.

To see insights for a certain category, choose one from the following list:

Member Jen Munkner Speaks: Combing Through Exit Interviews? You’re Already Too Late.

Exit interviews are only one piece of the puzzle. Alliance Member, Jen Munkner, Vice President Talent Management for MedAmerica, discusses how good recruitment starts with understanding retention and uncovering your company's unique cultural DNA.

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Insight categories include: Culture   Human Resources   

Member Keith Matasci Speaks: Focus on Bench Strength

Got an all-star player on your team? Alliance Member, Keith Matasci, Vice President of Operations for Bentek, recommends building up alternative human resources who hold the same knowledge. A good coach doesn't neglect his or her bench.

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Insight categories include: Human Resources   M&A   Strategy & Planning   

Member Kevin Chance Speaks: Breakneck Growth Demands Strong Processes

Here's a great problem to have: your business is growing at breakneck speed. Alliance Member Kevin Chance, President of Products & Services at Beckman Coulter, counsels the importance of building process within a dynamic business undergoing explosive growth.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   Operations   Sales   Strategy & Planning   

Member John Spottiswood Speaks: Use the Cloud to Improve — Not Repeat — Your Core Business

Instead of building specific, custom pieces of software to aide your client’s business processes, build up a common code base that can be deployed throughout your clientele. Member John Spottiswood, former EVP of Business & Corporate Development for Inflection, suggests using the cloud as an instigator to change one's core business model.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   Operations   Sales   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member Stuart Latta Speaks: Forget the Org Chart. Own Processes For Which You’re Accountable

Alliance Top Team Member, Stuart Latta, Vice President of Supply Chain & CDS for Nestle Dreyer's Ice Cream, shared his insights with the CFO of a large, multinational corporation who felt a lack of control over what he was ultimately accountable for. He was fully accountable for the financials of the company, but the regional CFOs reported to a market head who reported directly to the CEO.

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Insight categories include: Executive Development   Finance   International Business   Leadership   Operations   Strategy & Planning   

Member Joe Budelli Speaks: For Strong Partnerships, Engage Your Tactical Players!

Here's what Alliance Top Team Member, Joe Budelli, Senior Vice President, Sales for ABBYY USA, shared with his Alliance peers during a discussion brought by a CEO looking to establish a channel partner with a bigger player, nominally in the same space. Read the insights Joe provided, including incentivizing the tactical players involved.

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Insight categories include: Entrepreneurship   Sales   Strategy & Planning   

Member Peter Bailey Speaks: Be the White Knight, Not a Kamikaze

Alliance Member, Peter Bailey, President & CEO of Vertical Communications, shares his insights on a case brought by the CEO of a technology company that was disrupting a traditional market by replacing hardware with a much cheaper software solution.

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Insight categories include: M&A   Marketing   Sales   Strategy & Planning   Technology   Trends   

Member Rob Conant Speaks: External Skills Solving Internal Problems

Alliance Member, Rob Conant, CEO of Cirrent, shares his insights on a case brought by the CEO of a recently purchased company, whose parent seemed unwilling to loosen the purse strings and invest in growing his company.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   M&A   Strategy & Planning   

Member Burt Cummings Speaks: Sell Yourself Through the Pain You Solve

Read what member Burt Cummings, CEO of Versaic, shared with his Alliance peers during a brainstorming session with a CEO who was challenged to more clearly explain his company’s value proposition.

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Insight categories include: Marketing   Sales   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member Brad Freitag Speaks: Go Direct, Go Small, Learn Lots

Alliance Top Team Member, Brad Freitag of FileMaker, shared his thoughts on a case brought by an SVP whose company was reinventing itself as a cloud provider offering SaaS in place of their current hardware/software package.

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Insight categories include: Boards   Leadership   Marketing   Operations   Sales   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member John Maydonovitch Speaks: Inspire with Breakthrough Objectives and Stretch Goals

Here’s what member John Maydonovitch, CEO of MCE, shared with his Alliance peers following a case presented by a CEO who had prepared a very detailed business plan to guide his management team through the next fiscal year.

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Insight categories include: Entrepreneurship   Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Member Doug Dooley Speaks: Speak to Your Audience’s Language and Viewpoint

Alliance Top Team Member, Doug Dooley of Venrock, shared his insights on a case brought by the top leader of a software subsidiary of a global technology giant who was preparing for a meeting with the CFO of the multi billion-dollar parent company. 

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Insight categories include: Leadership   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member Shane Buckley Speaks: Reaffirming Executive and Non-Executive Function

Here’s what Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus, shared with his Alliance peers following a discussion from a CEO who was seeking clarification between executive and non-executive board member functions to help clarify precisely what is expected of a CEO.

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Insight categories include: Boards   Leadership   

Member David Traversi Speaks: When CEO Passion Ebbs, Discipline Is Required

The case at hand was brought by a CEO, who was in the middle of a taxing M&A deal. He was feeling intense CEO fatigue and looked to his Alliance group for advice. In response, here’s what David Traversi, former CEO of Traversi Capital Advisors, shared with this Alliance peer.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   M&A   

Member Praful Saklani Speaks: Technology in a Luddite’s Industry

Read what Praful Saklani, Co-Founder & CEO of Pramata, shared with his Alliance peers regarding a case presented by a CEO in an industry with weak technology adoption and a history of poor employee retention. The CEO was looking for strategies to differentiate himself from his competitors and better retain his sales force.

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Insight categories include: Culture   Sales   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member Pat Lashinsky Speaks: Hire Fresh Talent from Outside Your Industry to Drive Innovation

When a CEO was looking for ways to innovate in a commoditized market, he felt discouraged by the consumer perception that their industry’s products are “all the same” and wondered how he could find the right people to innovate his product portfolio. Here’s what Pat Lashinsky, CEO of RealMassive, shared with his Alliance peers.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   Strategy & Planning   

Member Lesley Stolz Speaks: Build a Shared Vision

Lesley Stolz shared some well-seasoned insights regarding a case brought by a fellow Alliance member who planned to eventually sell their company and own the critical technology it then only licensed. 

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Insight categories include: Finance   M&A   Strategy & Planning   Technology   

Member Rick Martig Speaks: Get a Product Marketing VP

When a fellow Alliance member's product management efforts were stuck in research, Alliance Top Team Member, Rick Martig, CFO of Nexenta Systems, suggested jumpstarting their marketing initiatives in a way that tied its R&D with market needs.

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Insight categories include: Marketing   Operations   Sales   Strategy & Planning   

Russ Harrison Speaks: Change the Nature of the Conversation

When a fellow Alliance member wanted to acquire a company that would not allow any due diligence on its critical technology, Russ Harrison, President and CEO of The Leadership Group and an Alliance Director, shared the following insights with his Alliance peers.

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Insight categories include: Leadership   M&A   Strategy & Planning   

Member Sudhir Aggarwal Speaks: Not All Companies Are High-Growth

Read what Sudhir Aggarwal, Managing Partner of Transition Management, shared with an Alliance member who wanted to know how to double his company's sales in five years in order to sell it, even though the company had limited cash to put into growth efforts.

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Insight categories include: Exiting   Sales   Strategy & Planning