Thursday, May 12, 2011

Landing in the Executive Chair Book Review

I have 2 bad time management habits (well I am sure I have more than that but...)

1 - I tend to accept meetings, appointments etc. if they are well into the future. I look at my calendar and don't see much on so I book them. Then when they arrive, I find myself in my usual over busy state. A lot of the Angel/Venture Capital stuff I do involves exits (selling businesses). I am on a pace of almost one per month.

The problem with exits is the time is always urgent, not well planned ahead etc so what works best is to actually have a fairly clear schedule.

2 - The other habit I have is responding to everyone. It feels impolite to not try to help anyone who calls or emails. The problem is, I simply do not have the time.

I need to think more assertive.

And my book review of the day. I read Linda Henman's book "Landing in the Executive Chair - How to Excel in the Hot Seat". It made me miss being the CEO of a larger company and reminded me of all the studying I did to try to be the best CEO I could be.

She talks a bit about working your way through the ranks and the difference between being a CEO and a different senior executive. I never really experienced moving through the ranks. I just started for nothing and helped the company grow under me.

Early in the book she talks about self awareness and how that is a critical factor to CEO success. I strongly believe that and have worked very hard on that in my life. She says "...direct ties between self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skill - and business results."

Henman includes in her book many of the popular studies that have been used in leadership books. I particularly the like the grid on competitive advantage where good strategy intersects with good tactics.

Henman's top qualities of a great CEO:

1 - Strategy. I always loved this part of the job and was fairly good at it.

2 - Decisions. She says "when CEO's consistently make good decisions, little else matters". So good decisions are like good habits - they create success. Judging decisions is always easy in hindsight.

3 - Hiring. Of course surround yourself with good people. I was always fortunate to have some of the best around me.

4 - Excellence. High focus on good executions of plans and strategies. For me, this tied in a lot with point 3. I had good people to implement.

5 - Results Orientation.

The final chapter is "Ten Lessons for Leading During Crisis". That chapter alone makes the book worth saving.

Good read - well written.

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