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A Small Sign of Big Growth for a CEO
In my house we have a doorway that is covered in pencil marks — they measure my daughter’s height in somewhat random increments from the…
In my house we have a doorway that is covered in pencil marks — they measure my daughter’s height in somewhat random increments from the day we moved to San Francisco in summer 2014 to today. We always measure on birthdays and on the first and last day of school, and compare year to year. But, we also take the time to measure whenever we get a sense that she “just seems taller” — and talk about the thing we noticed that made us want to measure.
As a start up CEO, you have to grow incredibly fast— and typically your growth is measured in regular increments — fund raising cycles, annual 360 reviews or board meetings etc — with folks looking for indications of growth like hitting goals, efficiency in the operations of the business, improvements in team culture and e-staff effectiveness, strategic positioning and planning…on and on.
BUT, there are also moments when a CEO does something and you just get a sense that they are stepping up as a leader, growing and evolving in a way that everyone can feel viscerally. These moments often go past without mention. As a partner to the CEO, I try to point out and celebrate the moments of growth that I notice, talk about what changed for them and make sure that they note the difference and appreciate the work they did to get there — and the new ceiling they have just created for their business through personal growth as a leader.
This is top of mind as I just got an email from a CEO that said,
You’ve likely noticed that that growth seems strong, and it is. However, we continue to benefit from organic growth and we remain bad at targeting customers.
This is a muscle we need to develop.
Our healthy, generic adoption has let us get away without improving here for too long.
“Our healthy, generic adoption has let us get away without improving here for too long” shows perspective on how the business operates and identifies a key priority for the organization. The CEO moved from understanding and celebrating the metrics that matter to understanding how much control the team has over these metrics. They have identified that while the company is growing really well today, to achieve it’s full potential, control over growth has to be core to their DNA — and, with plenty of cash in the bank and an incredible team with lots of momentum — as CEO, they are choosing to raise the bar on this part of their operations. Immediately.
This type of CEO growth needs to be highlighted and celebrated. It is these small shifts in the mindset of a leader that lead to massive shifts in outcomes for companies. This personal growth is the core work of a start up CEO, and I don’t think there is anything more important than supporting folks in this journey.