Entrepreneurialism, visionary leadership, game-changing strategy, technological innovation … no one can deny that these factors drive business success in the high-tech world. They also make for interesting reading, and therefore fill most of the pages of business publications and online commentary. We all love stories about iconoclastic founders and advice on fostering breakthrough ideas, but that’s not what this blog is about!
Instead, the focus here is on the more prosaic subject of OPERATIONAL EXECUTION – tools and ideas for getting things done, driving efficiency, and building a scalable enterprise. These topics may not be as enticing as the more high-concept aspects of leadership, but they are crucial to business success. And because of the detail and complexity involved in achieving operational excellence, experience does matter. I have benefitted enormously from the mentorship of managers and colleagues who generously shared their wisdom with me over the years. This blog is my attempt to help pass on this accumulated business knowledge, and to broadly address the kinds of inquiries I’m getting from people in my network these days: ‘Can I have a copy of your staff meeting model?’, ‘Can you help me think through this org chart?’, ‘How can I get my global team working more effectively together?’
My notes are most relevant to mid-sized tech companies with annual revenues in the range of $50M to $500M or so. Start-up companies can operate organically, and larger firms probably have an established operating infrastructure. During the middle stages, however, significant effort is required in order to create an operational framework to support the growing business. My focus is on companies where the leadership team is actively engaged in building an operating infrastructure for their company, and where they are taking a hands-on approach to putting systems in place and assessing their effectiveness.
I’m not an academic, and there is no statistical data to support my theories. These are simply my observations from 20 years of high-tech general management experience, during which I have often been asked to help bring some order to chaotic (or completely out of control) situations. I genuinely enjoy operational challenges, and I know that building a well-oiled machine requires real creativity and leadership in addition to discipline and hard work. This is what I have learned, and I hope some of these ideas will be useful to you and your business.