Organizational Performance via Cultural Consistency, Part 1.
When I first became a CEO, I thought I’d struggle with operational questions such as which products and services should we focus on; how we should take them to market, etc. But I found that I was able to address those reasonably well through well-designed high functioning teams. However, I was surprised to find out how hard shareholder/board communications are for me.
Much has been written about shareholder best practices, so I know what I should be doing, but nonetheless find that my energy is focused on either what’s in front of me or what’s next. I just never think to stop and tell shareholders how things are going. We of course have a great CFO who does financial reporting, but only I can give them a sense for where my head is. One would think that if things were going poorly one would avoid the painful discussion. And while that certainly has been true for me, I have also found that I just never think to do shareholder communication even when things are going well. Tactics I’ve tried include calendar reminders, email shortcuts, coversheet to fin packet, etc., but I just feel myself resisting. Part of the resistance comes from blowback. It seems when you do send out an update, there is often follow up questions that require time/energy that I’m spending elsewhere. As a shareholder/LP, I try to be very quiet because I feel the pain of having to explain yourself over and over again. I don’t think I’d like working in politics.
So, when I first became a CEO, I was surprised how much organizational energy goes towards activities that are something other than creating new products and selling them. Also, the employees wanted to know what they could expect of me. I hadn’t had time to prepare, so I said if an organization takes on the values of its leader, then they could expect the 4H’s = Honest, Hungry, Humble and Happy.