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What do small business CEO's read?

In my effort to learn about the efforts going on in small businesses to resolve issues I occasionally search the Internet to see what small business CEO’s are reading. I did that this morning and there are literally thousands of books, magazines, membership sites, and courses giving advice on how to improve yourself and your business. Many were highly recommended by one expert or another.

Being the skeptic that I am, I had to ask myself, with all of the information available both at a cost and free of charge, why aren’t all businesses successful and all CEO’s “living their dream”?

I mean there are no shortages of experts, myself included, that seem to know what you need to do to get where you want to be, why isn’t everyone there?

I keep using the diet industry analogy because it’s such a perfect fit. There are thousands of diet books, new pills and programs that allow us to lose weight “easy and fast”. Why then are 60% of Americans overweight and 30% of us obese?

In my 35 plus years working with executives at all levels, I’ve learned a few things about human nature. For those of you old enough to remember the Pogo cartoons, you’ll remember the famous quote, “ we have met the enemy and he is us”!

In my role as a business coach I help companies develop strategies to make them more competitive and more viable, help them find alternative markets for their products and services, in short take them from where they are to where they want to be. These strategies result in specific and timed goals and actions to get them on the road to attain their vision. Then the majority of them struggle with execution.

So what does that tell us? We know what to do we just don’t know how to do it. Reading the latest and greatest business book and buying the latest organizational tool isn’t going to get it done.

The majority of business owners and CEO’s who are working on their business are working on the wrong problem. It isn’t the problem of the day, cash, sales, or productivity, it is clearly the inability to execute and sustain that most need to worry about.

Only 10% of businesses execute their strategy, and over 80% of companies that begin change or improvement initiatives cannot sustain them. That’s the problem leaders need to solve, and everything else becomes part of the solution.

Strategy execution is a process; it takes time, commitment, communications and accountability. It helps to have an external accountability coach to hold the top leadership accountable.

Just like in football, the team that excels in blocking and tackling wins, the team that relies on trick plays or the big play is usually unsuccessful.

Understand how to execute consistently and you have the foundation to grow a business of sustained excellence.


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