As CEOs, Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…

January 28, 2011

With over 30 years in the software industry, I was an operationally focused executive in major software companies like Oracle, an independent board member with expansion stage software companies, and I am currently a venture partner at OpenView Partners where we invest venture capital in expansion stage software companies.

Over the years I worked with a lot of executives. Some were good, some were bad, and a few were great.

I came across an article in that caused me to think about the difference between the great executives and all the rest. It was by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, a successful author who is a well known authority on helping successful executives become even better.

The article is actually an interview that Marshall did with Dov Seidman, the author of “Why How We Do Anything Means Everything in Business (and in Life)”. Reading the article helped me think back to what made all of the great executives with whom I worked so exceptional.

In the article Dov talks about what makes a great leader…

“A leader is a model of behavior. A leader self-governs himself or herself by a set of principles and inspires others to do the same. A leader embraces the conditions of the new world and turns it to his or her advantage.

As I think back, the great executives I knew were great not just because of what they did, but also by how they did it.

The common phrases…

It is not what you say but how you say it

It is not what you do but how you do it

Lead by example

Treat people the way you want to be treated

…all point to the fact that people watch how company leadership behaves and take their cues from their executive’s behavior… this is why mission, vision and values are so important to building the culture that builds great companies!

I found it a quick read and very thought provoking which is why I wanted to share it with you.

I also wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago titled “A Question You Should Ask Yourself… Are You A Good Boss or a Great One” that you might also find interesting.

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.