• Dave Lindahl, CEO, RE Mentor

    I have used Bob Norton as a CEO coach and consultant to implement his AirTight Management systems. Bob is one of the few people nationally I found who actually has "Been there and done that," growing multiple companies to over $100M in sales. In just six weeks, we were able to implement the first three systems of AirTight Management. They have moved our company to a new level of professionalism that will allow us to continue our rapid growth and succeed at a whole new level.

  • Craig Brenner, CEO, NEDS

    I was skeptical regarding the value I might get from attending. I went and was extremely happy with the higher-level strategy information and its application to my business. Following my "2nd" time attending, I became a coaching client too. I gained insights, perspectives and a ton of value. I recommend it highly and with confidence.

  • Paul T., CEO, iFive Alliances

    What I like the most is that it is real. There is no fluff. One example is using Competitive Landscape Maps. You explain the purpose and process of using the tools, and then you apply it, and people learn real things about their business.

  • John Edmond, President, Angel Data Networks

    I thought this seminar was appropriate for any senior-level executive who wants to get on the same page strategically with their team and boost their business. I feel I greatly underpaid for the value delivered.

Simple Advice for Becoming a Good, Eventually Great, CEO

It is important to spend time "sharpening the saw" which is a metaphor for improving yourself as an executive, and yes even the CEO. This should be a multi-faceted approach and include:

1. Use a mentor or coach that has 10+ years’ experience as a CEO - not an accountability coach which has become common but provide little value to senior people unless they have decades of experience working as manager and/or leader. In the old days a five-year apprenticeship was used for any complex skill or art. Leadership, management, and your industry will require this amount of time doing a complex job like CEO too.

2. Reading - Learn from the masters and gurus. I read 4-6 books per month for 20+ years. There is no replacement for this. A MBA is a small fraction of the knowledge and experience you need to be an effective CEO. It is far more “Art” than skill that must be learned from experience and applying principles.

3. Be flexible, not set in your ways. Many people get locked into a way of working that was successful in the past but it not the right way for today as a larger, growing company with different structure or other changing circumstances. You must avoid "reflex decisions" and think through the variables involved. This kills many companies. Formerly great companies like DEC, Wang and many others died because they could not accept the new realities of the marketplace and change their habits, strategy and focus.

4. Network with other CEOs and go to industry events to have direct contact with both customers and competitors. CEOs sometimes get isolated and the information they get is filtered, not raw. This can cause bad decisions.

5. Build a team of smart and experienced people around you. Do not just hire low level, cheap people. There should be 1 strong and experienced manager for every 7-10 people in the company. Entrepreneurs that try to do it all get stuck micromanaging and do not grow themselves, or even let their people develop. Great companies require a team, not a superman/woman.

6. Learn “Best Practices” and benchmark all processes and departments with metrics. You cannot improve what you do not measure. Force a process mentality on the company for constant improvement (Kaizen), documentation and to enable training new people. Six Sigma is a good framework for the mentality, though overkill for small companies.

Now allow five years to become good and ten years to become great, like any other true art. 

Key Leadership Focus For CEOs and Companies Grow