Saturday, May 28, 2011

5 Things a VC Can Do for You

I am sure that you have heard stories of heartless Venture Capital firms taking advantage of heroic entrepreneurs. I certainly have heard my share of depressing tales from colleagues. In stark contrast, my experience with VC financing has been very positive. Over the past few years, I have raised capital three times  to accelerate ZTEC's growth into new markets. In retrospect, I was very lucky to team up with an excellent VC. Our partnership works well because our goals and interests are aligned. We are dedicated to building stakeholder value through the creation of a great, highly successful, lasting company.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Get the Organization that You Deserve

As a manager, you have full control over the organization that you lead. Whether you are a CEO, a department head, or a team leader, you shape the team that you lead. As the leader, you have the ability to select the members of your team, to delegate anything and everything, and to choose how and where you spend your time and efforts. Your organization is the result of those choices. You get the organization that you deserve.

Organizations mirror the styles of their leaders, and management style is reflected in the makeup and morale of the team. Here are two extreme examples that illustrate my point:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 Reasons to Blog

I am new to blogging.  Until recently, I paid little attention to social media.  I thought that I was getting an informed and balanced perspective from a wide cross-section of conventional media. About two months ago, I decided to write a blog and began reading others to learn the unwritten rules and protocols. What I found is astounding: there is deep value and insight in the many voices, and there is a vibrant virtual community out there.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mission-Oriented: Between Startup and Big Company

I have seen entrepreneur colleagues hit ceilings in their effectiveness as leaders.  I have also seen VCs unsuccessfully replace entrepreneurs with “big company” executives. In both cases, there is a mismatch in the skills of the leaders and the needs of the organization. I believe that there is a middle stage in the life cycle of a growing company that requires a fine balance between flexibility and structure. In Steven Blank's excellent book on company building entitled “Four Steps to the Epiphany”, he defines this middle ground between startup and big company as the mission-oriented company stage.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Teamwork Brings Out the Best

After mountain bike racing for a decade as an individual racer, I lost all motivation to train incessantly, travel to events, and punish myself on weekends during race season. I quit racing completely, but when a friend asked me to join a 4-man team for a 12-hour endurance off-road mountain bike event, I decided to give it a try. After just one race, I was hooked. I quickly developed a passion for team mountain bike racing for the same reason that I am passionate about building a great company - winning requires exceptional teamwork and is more rewarding than individual success.