Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Virual Executive

I love being up early although I do wish it were lighter out.  It seems too early when it is still dark.

The garden continues to flourish although it is getting to the end.  I feel healthier when I eat from the garden.  I know the vegetables do not have chemicals and they certainly are fresh - often an hour from garden to table.  Last night I had beets, beet tops, parsnips, a leek, tomatoes and carrots from the garden.  I know I am eating healthy by the amount of scrap I need to take out to the compost.  I am a bit surprised more people do not garden.  It truly is awesome.
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I read a book - The Virtual Executive - How to Act Like a CEO Online and Offline by Debra A. Benton (author of How to Act Like a CEO).

The book starts with demographics and explains how the different cohort react to the digital world.  Of course, I dislike stereotypes but much of what was said rang true.  Different ages react differently to different media.

"Online is faster, cheaper and easier" but is clearly not as effective as in person.   Virtual can be more efficient.  Technology can be a great friend if used properly.

Many of the points the book made were obvious (but good to be reminded of).  The simple things like pay attention to the person you are in rather than the Blackberry.  Being responsive and fast is courteous and the mark of a good executive etc.

I have long had a theory that relationships are best fostered live for a while.  Once they have been developed, online (or phone) can be effective.  I recall in my early years building EMJ, I kept a binder with my customers (my offline version of salesforce) and I would divide customers into A, B and C depending on potential.  I would then make a point of visiting A customers monthly, B, quarterly and C, annually.  After a few years, I modified that system.   I would visit new customers 3-5 times in a short period.  Then, once the relationship was sound, I would drop back to annually.  Having the relationship allowed me to be effective virtually.

As the book says "To be a good executive, you need to be adept at all forms of communication".  And good listening is a part of all forms of communication.

I have found it efficient to foster relationships through one to many communication like this blog.  It certainly is no substitute for in person, phone or personal interaction but it does keep a presence that can help those communications.  Sometimes when I write, I even think of a specific reader and almost tailor it to that.  

What I find is many people like to be CEO but far fewer are really willing to do what it takes to be a good CEO.  In my opinion, a good CEO needs to first think of building the company.  CEO trappings come last.   And part of being a good CEO is constant learning.  Some good quotes from the book:

" Slow down - you will go a lot faster"
"Everyone laughs in the same language"
"I have plenty of faults but I try to do the right thing"
"Nothing baffles people full of tricks and duplicities than straightforward integrity"
 
 

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