Too many CEOs fail at their jobs. From 2000 to 2013, 25% of the Fortune 500 chief executives who left their firms were forced out. One major reason is that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what boards of directors think makes for an ideal CEO and what actually leads to high performance.
The image most people have of a straight-from-central-casting CEO is usually something like the following: An extroverted, charismatic, confident executive who climbed a mistake-free ladder to the top with a degree from an elite school.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about building a successful business. Several analysts have predicted that Amazon will be the world's first company with a trillion-dollar valuation, and Bezos recently became the second-richest person on earth.
The modern world is filled with constant distractions. Only those with maniacal focus on results and a willingness not to engage in every activity achieve extraordinary results. As executives we’re all seemingly accessible at any moment to anybody via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Text.
One afternoon, while on vacation in Florence at the end of 2014, Perry Chen flipped open his laptop and began to type some of the thoughts swirling in his head. A year earlier he had stepped down as Kickstarter’s CEO and into the role of chairman.
Are you a good leader? How do you know? In a startup culture that is obsessed with management by metrics, many founders struggle to answer this critical question about themselves. It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in his annual letter to shareholders, outlined his philosophy for keeping the ecommerce giant spry and competitive. Here’s a summary: Jeff’s full letter is below. It’s worth a read:
The average tech CEO works about 300 days a year, 14 hours a day. That’s 4,200 hours a year. The stats for most other tech leaders and startup employees aren’t too far off. It sounds like a lot of time, but for most, it’s not enough. Nearly 30% of that time gets sunk into email.
A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.
He dwelled in the safety and comfort of his office most of the 50-plus hours he put in per week. It was safe because, at the time, turnover had reached an astounding 60 percent. His open-door policy was reserved for his executive team.
A successful digital transformation requires making trade-off decisions. Here’s how successful CEOs guide their business’s reinvention. Being the CEO of a large company facing digital disruption can seem like being a gambler at a roulette table.
Yesterday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos published a new letter to shareholders, in which he refers to the company's timeline as "Day 1," allowing Amazon to continually move forward. What does Day 2 look like?
Power and prestige insulate most CEOs from ideas and information that might alert them to looming opportunities or threats. Innovative executives work hard to break down the walls surrounding them by gaining exposure to a broad range of constituents and venturing off the beaten path.
But Asana, a workplace-productivity management company founded by former Facebookers and Googlers, couldn’t be further from this stereotype. The company is built on the idea that mindfulness, clear communication, and compassion are all critical to long-term success.
Let’s just get this out there: on paper, I’m a terrible CEO. I avoid going into the office, I only meet with my team a couple times a week, and I especially hate giving speeches, coming up with vision statements, leading meetings, and all the other CEO-y stuff you read about in HBR.
Even for the most gifted individuals, the process of becoming a leader is an arduous, albeit rewarding, journey of continuous learning and self-development. The initial test along the path is so fundamental that we often overlook it: becoming a boss for the first time.
Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor, Inc., has built her career around a simple goal: Creating bullshit-free zones where people love their work and working together. She first tried it at her own software startup.
At Etsy, COO Linda Kozlowski spearheaded international expansion, unified and started growing its marketing plans, began redefining the company’s brand, launched a new communications strategy, and kicked off the integration of user feedback into product development — all in about six months.
When Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, and his chief operating officer, Ray Lane, parted ways in 2000, the event inspired the kind of breathless reporting usually reserved for celebrity divorces. Forbes.
Are you ready to clamber up the greasy pole of success? If so, you should start with an engineering degree (and, yes, join a fraternity while you’re at it).
Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases: Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
On a sleek white coffee table in Apple CEO Tim Cook’s fourth-floor office in late July, beneath framed posters of Robert F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson, a rose gold iPhone 6s sits in its original box.
Large companies don’t acquire small companies for their financials. Revenue multiples, profit multiples, premium over the previous financing — these are metrics used by sellers to help determine a minimum acceptable price.
We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on.
Over the last three decades, servant leadership has risen from a noble and ethical leadership ideology stuck in religious worldviews to the very principles of how the most successful companies on the planet operate and profit.
Influitive CEO Mark Organ was feeling haggard. He’d just raised a seed round for the 12-person marketing technology startup and was rapidly building out his sales department. As the company grew, Organ was becoming increasingly frazzled.
This article is by Dave Girouard, CEO of personal finance startup Upstart, and former President of Google Enterprise Apps. He’s well known for building Google’s enterprise apps division into a $1B+ global business. Here he shares his tips for making speed fundamental to your company.
How does a person get to be the boss? What does it take for an ambitious young person starting a career to reach upper rungs of the corporate world — the C.E.O.’s office, or other jobs that come with words like “chief” or “vice president” on the office door?
It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re facing a thorny dilemma. Blinded by the particulars of the situation, we’ll waffle and agonize, changing our mind from day to day. Perhaps our worst enemy in resolving these conﬂicts is short-term emotion, which can be an unreliable adviser.
The global design firm Ideo set out to answer this question by studying the company’s 26-year archive of projects that focused on clients’ internal team dynamics, as well as external sources focused on innovation (including Fast Company‘s annual Most Innovative Companies lists).
Maybe I should call this article “why I should stop reading Upside Magazine”. I really have been trying to stop, but they send it to me for free, and I really needed bathroom reading material, so I grabbed it and found one of the most wrong-headed articles I’ve seen in a long time.
There is a lot of coverage of the companies that have reached valuations of over a billion dollars. Many of these companies were not always fast growing businesses.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Tell me about a time when you showed leadership. What is your biggest weakness? These are the standard questions that job candidates face during interviews. And by now, everyone also has standard answers. (“My biggest weakness? I work too hard.”)
Month after month there’s increasing data showing us that marketing people don’t plan or measure enough. Our own Smart Insights survey broadcast to 40,000 marketers saw 69% admitting that there is no digital marketing strategy in their current role.
Every three months, I audit my calendar to delete meetings that are inefficient. This process allows me to be pro-active and control my time, instead of being reactive to my calendar. If you leave open space, people will start booking time in your free slots.
In a recent strategy meeting we attended with the leaders of a Fortune-500 company, the word “culture” came up 27 times in 90 minutes. Business leaders believe a strong organizational culture is critical to success, yet culture tends to feel like some magic force that few know how to control.
One business buzzword we hear almost everyday is “culture,” as in, our organization has a “strong” or “innovative” or even a “toxic” culture. But what do we really mean when we say this?
If you’re a chief executive officer, your job is to execute. It’s written right into your title. But what does it mean, in terms of daily tasks, to be the company’s top “executer?” After all, CEOs don’t actually build factories or sell products.
Most of us know how bureaucratic processes work. If you want to build a new deck on the back of your house you might have to apply for a permit.
Microsoft entered the 21st century as the dominant software provider for anyone who interacted with a computing device. Sixteen years later, that dominance is looking threadbare.
Is this a silly decision not deserving deliberation? Maybe. But I bet you’ve been there. If not about food, then about something else. We spend an inordinate amount of time, and a tremendous amount of energy, making choices between equally attractive options in everyday situations.
Something is rotten in tech startup land. Don’t call me a hater for saying so. It’s not that I’m anti innovation or a disbeliever in disruption or calling it a full-scale bubble or saying every darling startup is going to fail. None of those. Somebody posted too many party fliers.
Like most 25-year-olds, Julia Rozovsky wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She had worked at a consulting firm, but it wasn’t a good match. Then she became a researcher for two professors at Harvard, which was interesting but lonely. Maybe a big corporation would be a better fit.
Successful CEOs never stop learning. Personal growth is almost as important as hard work in building a winning business. Many entrepreneurs accomplish this through workshops, conferences, and even a few continuing education courses.
I’m CEO of two startups. One was a happy accident that became one of the fastest growing photography websites. The other has yearly revenues in the millions and has grown an average of 300% year-over-year.
We all know that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationships we have with our bosses. Yet in today’s rapidly evolving, 24/7 workplaces, it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the most satisfying work experiences and the happiest employees.
What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why.
Paul,* the CEO of Maxreed, a global publishing company, was having trouble sleeping. Publishing is an industry that’s changing even faster than most other fast-changing industries, but Paul wasn’t awake worrying about his strategy.
The recipe for success isn't rocket science. Study the practices of high achievers and you'll typically find people who work hard, persevere, and demonstrate a willingness to take risks and learn from failure. But doing the right little things day in and out helps, as well.
One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don't scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don't. You build something, make it available, and if you've made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised.
When joined Facebook, the company already had 400 employees, but there was no official performance or compensation system in place. There had been attempts, but nothing stuck. The result: Very little transparency, a lot of one-off compensation decisions, frustration and confusion.
You’ve probably heard about Slack’s exponential growth. And you may have read how the internal-communication platform — now just two years old — is already used by more than 30,000 teams and valued at over $1 billion. But have you visited its Twitter Wall of Love?
This page is a supplement to the the SaaS Metrics 2.0 blog post. It provides detailed definitions for each of the key metrics used in that post. Unit Economics is a very powerful way to analyze the long term profitability of a SaaS business.
If save-for-later service Pocket had a spirit animal, it’d be the American field ant. Like the insect, the startup supports that which is many times its own size.
Innovation is critical in a knowledge economy — driving growth, new products, and new methods of delivering value to customers. According to PwC’s 2015 study on Global Innovation, U.S. companies spend $145 billion dollars in-country on R&D each year.
Keith Rabois has helped build some of the most important companies in Silicon Valley including PayPal, LinkedIn and Square.
A psychology study at UC Berkeley broke students into groups of three, with one person chosen to be the leader of a project. At some point, the researchers would bring in a plate of four cookies.
This sponsored post is produced by Klipfolio. In order to succeed, we need to create value and grow. Sound familiar? In a fast-paced startup, the business environment is always in flux.
One of the hardest questions to answer as a startup CEO is “What do you actually do?” The reason this is such a tricky question is that the answer varies day to day. There are a variety of well-written articles by successful entrepreneurs and VCs about what a startup CEO actually does.
Every day, Chris Holmberg tries to put himself out of business. As an executive coach for nearly two decades, he’s worked with leaders of tiny startups and multinational corporations alike. But the core of his practice remains pretty counterintuitive: There’s no solution. No secret sauce.
When Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian was freed from an Iranian prison in January after having been held for 18 months on vague charges of espionage, he traveled on a Swiss military aircraft to a U.S. base in Germany. A short time later the Post’s proprietor, Jeff Bezos (No.
At this time, The Review traditionally reflects on the extraordinary people we’ve interviewed and long-form articles we’ve published over the last year.
When a sports team finishes a game, they usually don’t gather up their gear and immediately leave the court, rink, field or locker room. The players and coaches take a few minutes for a post-game meeting – a ritual that’s just as important as the pre-game warm-up.
Molly Graham has seen a lot. Her team at Google leapt from 25 to 125 in just 9 months. During her 4+ years at Facebook, the company exploded from 500 employees serving 80 million users to 5,500 employees and over 1.1 billion users.
Time to read: 50 minutes We touched down in Las Vegas only three hours before, but we were already back in the plane and flying home to San Jose on a brisk winter day in December, 2012. Not having to go through security at an airport saves a lot of time.
Almost four years ago, Jonathan Rosenberg sent an email around Google stumping for more open systems, products, and services. As SVP of Products, he argued that more openness would mean a better Google and a better world. But not everyone agreed.
Katia Verresen's new client had a big problem: He needed to find 3 to 4 extra hours in his day. This, of course, seemed like an impossible feat for an oversubscribed startup founder, but his ability to fundraise and recruit the best talent depended on it.
You’re taught about history, science, and math when you’re growing up. Most of us, however, aren’t taught how to identify or deal with our own emotions, or the emotions of others. These skills can be valuable, but you’ll never get them in a classroom.
Great leaders, especially in large organizations, aren’t really people. They’re mental images. They may be flesh and blood to the senior team and the assistants in the C-suite, but to people in outer orbits, from operational departments to business units, they are imaginary constructs.
Elon Musk is now Earth’s most future-oriented person. How did such a person come to be? In a hundred years, when most people reading this and the person writing this are long gone, Musk’s cars and rockets will still be circling the Earth and the skies.
Andy Rachleff is President and CEO of Wealthfront, a software-based financial advisor. Prior to Wealthfront, Rachleff co-founded and was general partner of Benchmark Capital. He also teaches courses on technology entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Editor's Note: This article won an award in the Magazine Personal Service category in the 2014 Annual Awards Contest of the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. By all counts and measures, Bradley Smith is an unequivocal business success.
9) It's incredibly easy to 'flip the switch' and start writing people off after a few bad experiences. Resist at all costs. You were bumbling once too. You made poor decisions. You learn and grow, and so does everybody else. 8) Sweep up the crumbs. Wipe the tables. Turn off the lights.