Business Growth Strategies: Time To Look In The Mirror

November 9, 2010

Over the last few weeks I blogged about business growth strategies for 2011. One of the areas I was discussing involved management teams and the importance of the team building phase. I also discussed how finding the right new members to bring into your early or expansion stage software company is critical to your ability to scale the company and improve operational execution.

As part of the annual planning process, when I was an operational software executive, I always went through a rigorous evaluation of performance;

  • As an Organization
  • As a Team
  • As the Leader (myself)

The point I want to talk about is the last one above. It is where the buck stops as they say and it concerns you and your performance as the leader, not the team. As simple as it sounds I believe in looking in the mirror and asking myself three simple things;

  • What am I doing well?
  • What am I not doing well?
  • What can I do better?

As the founder and/or CEO, now is the time to take that look in the mirror. In fact, I read an article in the WSJ that talks about how “Bosses Overestimate Their Management Skills”. I thought it would be a good read because it depicts how people are always challenged with portraying honesty as it relates to their strengths and weaknesses of managing people. Though the article discusses a study of new front line managers, I believe it is representative of entrepreneurs who are first-time CEOs. They are the front line managers of their teams within their start ups.

Firas Rauof
one of my peers at OpenView recently wrote a blog titled “Mr CEO: Would You Hire Yourself”. You can read about it here. It brings another perspective to this topic and does a nice job of presenting the major theme on which CEO’s should focus for 2011:

  • Development of my CEO Skills

So while you are closing out your year, focusing on your business growth strategies, building a repeatable business and economic model and identifying the key management team members you need to hire in preparation to boost your operational execution in 2011… don’t forget to take a look in the mirror.

Whether you raised growth capital or are still funding the company through cash flow or your own pocket; you owe it to yourself, your team and your company.

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.