In pursuit of HR's core purpose: The practical doing of strategic HRM. Ohio State University Medical Center
Week 3 at HBS. It was October in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I had been the CEO of iContact since I had recently turned I was definitely learning as I went along. The firm at the time had around employees and 60, customers.
We faced, perhaps, our greatest strategic choice yet and the stakes were higher than ever before. To continue our growth—should we: Launch a free version of our product to reach a lot more users and eventually more paying customers as a competitor had shown to be possible; Develop a social media marketing product to enable us to serve our core small business customers more fully; Move upmarket into serving larger customers; Some combination of all three.
All the information needed to make the right call was at my fingertips. But what was the right strategic choice? I spent weeks agonizing over the decision and looking at the internal, customer, and market data from every angle to make up my mind.
Then, I kicked off a month long process to bring my executive team in on the planning process. Then, we went through a five month operational process to implement the decision.
Wait a second—did you catch that? I spent a month making up my mind and then I brought my executive team into the process?
What was I thinking? I brought in my executive team after I had spent a month making up my mind on the decision. By the time I brought them in—the bias-toward-action get things done entrepreneur in my blood was ready to act and implement.
I still thought my job as CEO was to fix the problem rather than develop my team to fix the problem. Create effective processes for disciplined information sharing.
Give up as many operational roles in the company as possible. Bring the senior team in early on during strategy formation.
As CEO of a large profitable company, if you do nothing, a lot continues to happen just fine—for quite some time anyway. Larger profitable companies have an infinite number of months of operating funds on hand as long as they stay profitable.
As CEO of a start-up, if you do nothing initially, you never go anywhere. In general, start-ups are burning through cash every month and struggling to survive. Start-ups may only have months of cash on hand sometimes less! Start-ups often have a short timeframe until they will be either forced to generate more revenue than expenses, raise another dilutive round of capital, or go out of business.
The big mountain in front of you will only be moved through the will of a determined, focused, and fast moving leader.
You think as you go. You develop a great deal of self-reliance. You have a clear vision.The official Harvard Business Review Facebook page. Jump to. Sections of this page.
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New research from Harvard Business School shows that 75% of all start-ups fail. So what can new ventures do to improve their chances of success?
In a recent CareerBuilder study of more than 2, Jeffrey R. Immelt, Vijay Govindarajan, and Chris Trimble, “How GE Is Disrupting Itself,” Harvard Business Review, October Inside story of the GE Healthcare initiative to overcome “glocalization” and innovate within emerging economies.
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