Published on:

28th Sep 2016

023: Robert Sher - Taking the Next Step in Leadership and Growth

Robert Sher is the Founding Principal of CEO to CEO, a regular columnist for Forbes and CFO Magazine, and the author of two books, The Feel of the Deal and Mighty Midsized Companies. On this week's episode, Rob and I discuss growth and leadership.

To start off, Rob shares a story about his client who recently had been promoted to CEO and had a big problem to solve that he just couldn't get his head wrapped around.

Rob’s client had a management team, but he had to push them on every little thing, and then later chase them down because they would only compete the task halfway. It was exhausting and frustrating and he knew that playing babysitter was not the most effective way to spend his time. This company just seemed really, really, really hard to run.

The company had pretty strict firing policies. In fact, the three top leaders had been there since 1985. The one thing Rob saw right off the bat was that the CEO's team needed help in leadership training and communication, as did the CEO. Since the CEO was more introverted, he preferred to hide away and work on his own things, but this created an imbalance in leadership.

So, what did Rob do? He came in and introduced an operating plan. It's a one page plan that lists the goals of the company. Rob gave this plan, slightly customized depending on the department, to the six managers reporting to the CEO. When they incorporated the plan, it was completely new to the team. Every month the team would use this plan to gauge how they were doing in terms of achieving their goal.

So, how did Rob help the CEO and his managers with leadership? Well, the introduction of this plan made managers feel like they were finally driving in the same car, giving them a clear vision of where they needed to direct their team. Within a year, profits jumped from break even to 3.5% profit despite having the same volume in sales.

The manager leading the sales team had been there for a long time, but as this was his first job leading a sales team, he had no real sales experience and had no mentor to help him grow further as a leader. So, Rob and the CEO brought in a more experienced VP of sales (without firing anybody) and it skyrocketed the business. Sometimes if you really want to grow, you need to bring in extra and more experienced leadership.


Interview Links:


The Feel of the Deal by Robert Sher

Mighty Midsized Companies by Robert Sher

More Resources: ScalingUpBusiness.com:  Learn about how growth coaching can help you and and your business see big results. Scaling Up Business Growth Workshops: Take the first step to mastering the Rockefeller Habits by attending one of our workshops. Bill on YouTube: Short videos to keep you Scaling Up.


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Scaling Up is the best-selling book, by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher and I'm a certified Gazelles business coach. 

We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).

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Scaling Up Business Podcast
Scaling Up Business is all about how a few companies make it...and why the rest don’t. Our podcast shows are drawn from the lessons of our coaching clients, coaching partners, and the leading authors that contribute to our Conferences and the Scaling Up best selling book by Verne Harnish, and the Team at Gazelles.

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