Tag Archives: accountability

Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems

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Compusearch  (now Unison) was a visionary company with visionary goals. But, as often happens with visionary companies, focus on a long-term strategy to revolutionize a market can mean that near-term execution and operationalization can suffer, creating barriers to growth.

In Compusearch’s case, the company had set out to transform how federal government agencies procure and contract for goods and services.

From its founding in 1983, the company used state-of-the-art software design and development to provide solutions that streamlined and automated key steps in government procurement, purchasing, and contract management.

In 2005, the company arrived at a strategic decision point. The company’s team of owner-operators decided to sell the company and retire. The new owner, private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle), saw immense potential in the company and its pedigree of quality innovation. 

But Carlyle also saw that the change in ownership was an ideal time to assess how the organization operated and to upgrade to more effective strategy execution and operations maturity. Maturing operations turned out to be essential to achieving the goal to double revenue and increase margins to realize a 4X return on invested capital within five years.

Continue reading Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems

Board Power!

CEOs often fall into the trap of orchestrating meetings with their Board of Directors to:

  • Show how great they are and how well things are going (whether they really are or not!).
  • Avoid leaving the meeting with more to do than when it started.

A great deal more value can be derived from working with a board but it takes concerted effort to build, cultivate, prepare for, and work with individual board members and the board as a whole for that potential to be realized. Efforts to build a high-performing board are well-spent.

Boards are not all the same

There are three distinctly different kinds of boards.  Leaders often mix-up the three kinds which leads to confusion and poor performance. It is critical for a leader to be clear about what kind of board s/he is working with and to manage it accordingly. Continue reading Board Power!





How a top team spent a little time and took a big step to the next stage of growth.

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Leaders of fast growing, early-stage organizations operate at a fast pace. Often the last thing there is time to do is assess the top team’s performance to determine how to prepare them for the next stage of growth.

Most team members know each other pretty well. They have a good idea what each other is good at, has contributed, how they have grown, and what each should focus on next for success. However, team members rarely have the time, energy, training, or nerve to share what they know in a forthright, supportive conversation with one another.

Yet there are serious consequences to not providing feedback when it is needed most. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How To Tell If You Are a Jerk in the Office” (C-Suite Strategies, Journal Report, Feb 23, 2015), for example, highlights the importance of confidential feedback for executives. Not only are leaders and co-workers affected adversely by dysfunctional behavior but business performance and customer service can be damaged, often permanently, if poor behavior continues.

IntelliVen, a San Francisco-based organization improvement firm, uses a proprietary approach to help leaders and their top teams address top executive feedback head-on. Early this year, for example, IntelliVen worked with a rapidly evolving, $10M financial analytics firm serving Freddie Mac, US Treasury, and Capital One among other leading US financial institutions. The IntelliVen approach was used to assess the top team of senior executives relative to norms for successful organizations at a similar stage of evolution and to identify individual and team opportunities for learning.

Continue reading How a top team spent a little time and took a big step to the next stage of growth.





How CEO’s should use Accountability Boards and Subject Matter Experts to help their organization perform and grow.

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How to set up and use accountability boards.

Every leader stands to benefit from the opportunity to regularly review with outsiders what s/he seeks to do, what has been done to do it, what has happened and what has been learned so far, and what s/he plans to do next.

It is harder to set up, operate, and benefit from outside help than it may first appear. Click the featured image above for a slide presentation of lessons learned and best practices that, if followed, will lead to improved performance and growth thanks to help from Accountability Board Members and Subject Matter Experts.





How to get back on track when a project goes awry.

Storyboard blocks_v5_finalWhen a project goes awry  and no longer performing according to plan:

  • Assign a single capable person to serve as Project Manager (PM) responsible for the entire project through to completion if one is not already assigned or if the one assigned has proven ineffective.  The PM should be someone who has previously been successful in similar circumstances in terms of project scope, scale, and complexity.  If someone with requisite experience is not available to serve as PM then arrange for the experienced person to serve as a close adviser to the PM until a new plan is in place and performance relative to the new plan is on track.
  • Have the PM work with the client, the project team, management, and advisers to pull together a revised plan. Review the plan thoroughly with the PM, the project team, and with outside stakeholders, including the client, to be sure the path to completion, all the way through to client acceptance, is well formulated, understood, agreed to, and sensible.

Continue reading How to get back on track when a project goes awry.