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Succession Planning Library

Leadership Lessons | Are Incentives the Cornerstone of Life?

Does your incentive program REALLY drive performance?

You probably know someone, don’t you, who is a star performer who believes that her achievements go unrewarded?

If so, you probably also know an underachiever who gets more than he deserves.I

s there any greater disincentive to the high performer than knowing that under-performance seems to be equally rewarded?

Should there be a moratorium on bonuses?

I’ve talked about the value of incentives before, but it keeps coming to mind as I talk to senior executives who don’t seem to have spent any time at all considering whether their incentive plans are working as intended … or whether they need to be revised.

In some ways, it reminds me of the comment that Bloomberg attributed to Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, during the $20 billion bonus scandals during the 2008-2009 financial meltdown.

According to Bloomberg, this was his comment … (more…)

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Business Finance | Why you should read Warren Buffett’s Letter

A Weekly Business Finance series for Non-Finance Executives!

“Financial Adrenaline” is a term we love around here because it reflects our commitment to help you turbocharge your business with practical tips and techniques to improve free cash flow, the lifeblood of business. As a further extension of our Financial Adrenaline program, we’re going to share a new Business Finance Tip every Wednesday specifically for those business executives who don’t have a finance background.


Read Warren Buffett’s Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders

In most fields of endeavor, the more we learn, the more we realize how much we have to learn. It’s certainly no different in the world of business finance, so for non-finance executives, it’s never easy to know where to start.

So, why not  jump into the deep end right now by reading Warren Buffett’s Letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders for 2010. The publication of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report is closely watched in the national media, as well as in homes and offices across the country … and for good reason.

Business Finance is about much more than finance

I’ve said before that leaders don’t have the luxury of confining their interests to just a few things. (more…)

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How are you going to fill YOUR Leadership Gap?

learn-leadThe Center for Creative Leadership recently completed a large survey to assess the leadership competencies need for success, both now and in the future.

One of the skills that I highly regard is resourcefulness, the ability to deal skillfully and promptly with unexpected challenges, etc. Interestingly, resourcefulness was the only skill that is in the Top 10 of existing skills. All of the others that are needed for success in the future are NOT skills that leaders have mastered.

This leads to a pretty big Leadership Gap, according to this survey. It might be a good time to take a personal inventory of your leadership skills and make sure you’re doing everything you can to develop the skills that will be needed.

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Competence. Confidence. Caring. You’re done!

conference-tableBy now, you know that the Sunday NY Times Corner Office series is oft-quoted here to highlight varying aspects of leadership that flow from Adam Bryant’s conversations with notable CEOs and business leaders.

This week he interviewed William Green, Chairman and CEO of Accenture. Read it in its entirety as a refresher on important elements of leadership.

Green reminds us that there is an abundance of talent that we’re not mining … (more…)

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Death … Taxes … AND Succession Planning!

succession-planning-handoffThe sudden resignation of Ken Lewis from Bank of America highlights, yet again, the risks that family and other businesses take in failing to prepare for the inevitable succession of leadership.

A succession plan doesn’t mean you have all the work done and the perfect successor is comfortably waiting in the wings, although that would be desirable. It does mean, at a minimum, that you have an interim CEO in place who can hold down the fort while certain details are worked out and long term plans are implemented. Developing an emergency plan also gives the Board or family a chance to discuss these often thorny subjects without stockholder worries, employee hand-wringing or the emotional burden that comes with a fallen leader.

Often, this process highlight gaps within the family or board about the suitability of a particular successor. (more…)

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Congratulations to Mary’s Pizza Shack

color_logoCongratulations to Vince Albano, CEO and member of the CEO Round Table, and his entire family and team. They have just been awarded Business of the Year by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce.

You can read the full story here.

Vince was elected as CEO in June as part of a  realignment within the Mary’s Pizza Shack organization to develop a new fast casual concept called Rostini’s, an initiative that Cully Williamson, the previous CEO, will be leading.

Mary’s Pizza Shack success is a great testimony to the family and community spirit inspired 50 years ago by its founder, Mary Fazio, Vince’s grandmother; his father Toto, his Aunt Anna and the entire family that is steadfastly committed to their community and loyal customers.

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Selling part of the family business

The NY Times carried an article about the Crane & Company, the venerable producer of fine stationery and exclusive maker of U.S. currency with more than a 200 year lineage. They recently sold a minority position in their company to an outside investor group . . . because they face some of the same challenges that perplex many family companies.

First, the expansion in the number of family members often results in diverging views about liquidity as some family shareholders lose their direct connection to the company and the community. Second, securing the capital for future growth while meeting the liquidity objectives of the shareholder group is one of the most vexing challenges that family business face.

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Estate Planning pitfalls

Forbes recently published an article which serves as a vivid reminder of some of the oversights that befall most business executives in their estate and retirement planning.

Ownership Transition is a complex area that requires a team of trusted advisors, but you’ll find some interesting tips and insights here to raise your awareness and stay out of the “trick bag”.

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Has the chicken come home to roost?

I wrote several columns in December last year, With Wall St. as Sideshow, Performance is Best Salary Guide, discussed the extraordinary exit strategies for Wall St. executives whose performance was dismal. In Even the Giants Don’t Plan for Executive Succession, I commented further on unbridled executive pay in the context of major financial organizations who could apparently afford large exit sums for their CEO’s but couldn’t take the time to develop a succession plan for the most important job in the Company.

For an update on how these Wall St. pay packages have fared during the recent crises , consult The Shareholders at the Top. You’ll see there how both current and former CEO’s have lost over $4 Billion in compensation since January as a result of their pay-for-performance packages.

It’s not a good thing for them – but it’s a good thing for accountability and performance-based compensation, and shows that there is still real risk in the market.

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Family Businesses – Change or Else What?

Once again, Jack Welch and I are communing about common business issues – in this case, the family business. In the May 19 edition of Business Week, Jack and Suzy Welch respond in their Welchway column to a question about the big concerns facing business over the next 10 years.

Jack is a legendary, corporate chieftain but with little experience with family businesses as far as I can tell. Yet, in his response to this question, he is “on the money” when he cites two “fault lines” underlying family business. Thanks, Jack. It’s good to see that you and I have some shared beliefs from our dramatically different vantage points

My experience with family businesses is that the struggle between funding growth and funding retirement is the most vexing and emotional challenge that family businesses face. Moreover, it is one of the big elephants in the room when you discover how few family businesses – less than 10% – make it past the third generation. (more…)

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