Category Archives: People Matters

Posts related to the people side of strategy and operations

Paying Fair: Four paths to fair pay and succession for private venture executives.

Synthetic Equity CoverBackground

Public company equity-based pay practices, such as stock, restricted stock, and employee stock options are often a poor fit for private companies committed to reward leaders for performance and growth and to motivate leadership and capital succession.

Equity based programs that make sense and work well in a public company come with many ills for private companies: they can be costly, tax-inefficient, static, ineffective, and sometimes downright unfair. In the worst case, equity pay practices can derail the owners’ plans for growth and succession.

Dynamic synthetic equity presents a more tailored solution for private companies interested in leadership and capital succession. Restricted stock and employee stock options often distort outcomes for private companies. Consider that:

  • The underlying stock price in a private company gyrates as owners enter and exit from, for example, a living or a death buyout or even a recapitalization. Stock price can jump 50% – unjustly rewarding the owners of true equity awards.

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

Skills by stageBackground

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.

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Six Power Skills to Manage Organization Politics and Make the Most Out of Any Job.

Organization Politics GroupOrganization politics make a lot of people uncomfortable. The untrained hope is that if politics are ignored, and if a job is done well, then well-earned rewards will come. Things rarely play out that way.

Organization politics is defined as anything done at work to increase the odds of success that has nothing at all to do with the work itself. Master executive coach and workplace psychologist, Dr. Dory Hollander, presents three unassailable truths about how things work in organizations and Six Power Skills for mastering the art of career enhancement.

Three Unassailable Truths:

Truth 1 — There is Insider-Outsider Sorting

  • All organizations continuously sort people into insiders or outsiders.
  • There are things that distinguish insiders from outsiders among various stakeholder groups.
  • Insider/outsider status is subject to change.
  • Being an insider in one group is no guarantee of being an insider in another.
  • Leaders can help newcomers transition to insiders or let them struggle. The former makes more sense

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Why every organization needs its leader to try not to do anything.

Every organization has, or needs, a leader. And it is true that the power of one committed, clever person can make all the difference in the world. But no one individual, even the greatest leader, does anything of much significance alone. The simple truth is that it takes a team to lead an organization. The action motivated by this truth is for the leader to decide what kind of leader to be and then to attract, collect, and align his/her top team and collect followers.

The best leaders figure out that it is not all about them. It is about their organizations and the decision to either manage or lead is a false dichotomy. The one in charge needs to manage in order to lead and, indeed, can and should Manage to Lead his/her organization to achieve the stated vision. The top person’s job starts with managing his/her own self to lead. Continue reading

How an Executive Performance Assessment Process helped a COO become a CEO.

Self Knowledge - Populating Your Johari WindowLeaders of fast growing, early stage organizations operate at such a fast pace that often the last thing there is time to do is assess each member of the top team’s performance to determine how to prepare them for the next stage of evolution.

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 they 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. Continue reading

Critical Mass for Business radio interview uncovers why peer groups are important to leaders.

Ric Franzi, on Critical MasCritical Mass for Business Radio Shows for Business radio, featured a 50-minute interview yesterday afternoon with Peter DiGiammarino to discuss IntelliVen and Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World. Click the play button below to listen to the entire show.

An excerpt from their discussion follows:

Franzi:  You have outlined a “Support Structure for Success” of the top executive.  In it you suggest a CEO have an outside Executive Group and Belong to a CEO Peer Group outside their firm.  Would you take us through your thinking and what you why you feel they are so important?

 DiGiammarino: CEOs who participate in peer forums help each other become great CEOs and better people. Specifically:

  • It is a place where a CEO does not have to behave as if s/he knows all the answers and can, instead, be genuinely open to input and where it’s ok to be vulnerable, and even to be wrong, in front of each other; there is no need to put on airs or skirt around the hard stuff.

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Volunteer to Improve the World and Yourself

Act Intentionally...Persist Variously
Act Intentionally…Persist Variously

While putting full attention on accomplishing one thing increases the odds that the thing will be done well, it is all too easy for the career minded professional to end up doing nothing other than their work!

They would be wise to realize that top performers at all levels make time for other things such as family, recreation, exercise, spiritual development, and even volunteer work.

Participating in volunteer work can add a healthy perspective to life and position for growth which makes it all the more rewarding to find a way to pitch-in. Continue reading

Advice and Lessons from Women Leaders Who Drive Change

Figure 1: A leader sets direction, aligns resources, and motivates action.

On April 29, 2014 IntelliVen sponsored the San Francisco Bay Area Organization Development Network (BAodn) panel discussion on the topic of Women Leaders Who Drive Change.

BAodn President Steve McGee facilitated the discussion in front of an audience of over 40 people at Big Heart Pet Brands Headquarters, One Maritime Plaza in San Francisco.

 

Panelists:

  • Dena McFarland; was part of a significant change at Xerox where they restructured the company yet didn’t lay off anyone.  She was also a consultant for hospitals to change their mindset from physician-centered to patient-centered.
  • Jeanamaria M. Alayaay; co-facilitated Lean Startup Product Development trainings for the White House’s Presidential innovation fellows and Presidential leadership programs, Enterprise Ireland (the Irish government’s tech accelerator), Evernote, and Microsoft Imagine Cup.  She works at Luxr.

A rough summary of key points panelists offered in response to opening questions follows:

Advice from women who drive change:

  • View everything you experience as “one more piece of an ever-evolving whole”. Continue reading

How to Aim High and Do Better with intelligent goal setting.

Bank Plan

Set goals to get the results you want base
Figure-1: Under Promise and Over Deliver

Bankers and investors want to know how things will turn out with a high degree of certainty in order to manage downside risk. Consequently, organizations that take professional money learn to conservatively state what they will accomplish to have a high probability of achieving plan ith intelligent goal setting. When actual results exceed plan there is cause for celebration as suggested by the under-promise and over-deliver lines graphed in Figure-1. Continue reading