Showing by category: Operations Leadership

How To Create a Non-Disclosure Agreement People Can Understand
Like many of you in the startup world, I have read and signed my share of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). I have reviewed, edited, and sent hundreds of them in my career, but I am yet to come across one that really serves anyone but the lawyers who charged dearly to write it. So, why don't we stop wasting our money on having attorneys fill in one of their NDA templates, and write one that is understandable to everyone.  Yes, let your lawyer look it over, but don’t allow him/her to insert any words your grandma would not understand. Here is how I would write my NDAs: Non-disclosure agreement Purpose of this document Products, services, methods, technologies, etc. we work on in[more]
HR, as a profession, is on its way out. Those who claim to be "good old school HR professionals,” should start looking for a new career or drastically change their thinking. In contrast, Human Capital professionals who “get it” are on the rise. Companies are no longer willing to pay for simple paper pushers or resume screeners in HR - they want results. I started my career in the entertainment industry. "HR" in that industry consists of A&R (artists and repertoire) professionals. Because their success depended solely on the revenue the artists they discovered or poached from another label produced, all of them were in tune with both the needs of their companies and the market. Ret[more]
Want Your Company To Survive? Just Say NO To Hiring One Trick Ponies!
In the last 12 years, I watched the market change as often as a teenager’s mood-swings. What was hot yesterday is old news today. From technologies to methodologies, change is constant and accelerating with every passing day.  No one is immune, be it startups or the big boys. The survival of organizations depends on flexibility, adaptability, and sustainable costs. So why do so many companies still hire "one trick ponies"?  This is the most expensive route to pursue and I see several problems common to such a human capital model: The market is run by supply and demand, so chasing the few people with a specific (and often limited) skill set is very expensive. Add the higher than [more]
Keeping entrepreneurs and CEOs out of jail and an early grave
I am often asked what I do for a living and since I am not a PR or marketing professional, describing what I do to an "outsider" is challenging at times. I can hide all I want behind my resume and a great group of people I have worked with, but in order to further enhance my network, I must "translate" the role of a business operations leader to those in other professions. Reading Jeremiah Owyang's excellent article  "What’s Your Career Mission?" was a great kick-in-the-behind that inspired me to write down my Career Mission and the Value I bring to the table. My career mission is to use my business operations, talent management, and technology background to build and maintain the [more]
During my career I have become very successful at keeping the number of uncollected accounts to a minimum (in one company we had only one invoice we had to write off). Collections definitely rates in the  top 3 of  the most undesirable duties, but there are ways to minimize the pain. The best way to do so is by implementing tough practices that send a message out there: "we are serious about delivering what we have promised and we expect the same from you". Here are some of my techniques: 1. Everyone who "touches" the client, from your admin to the VP of Sales, CFO to CEO, account exec to those working on the deliverables, should be involved in collections. Many times the slow payers wi[more]
Why do so many CEOs have no idea what operations people do?
So, you are a newly-minted CEO of a company. You got your investors to bet on you and now everyone wants to see how that roll of the dice will play out. You know what a COO (Director of Operations or Ops person) is, but if I asked you what exactly his/her “magic” is, I know I will hear plethora of musings. Close… but no cigar. That is too bad, because your operations head and his/her team are the backbone of your organization. So, let me enlighten you with what drives us, and why we are probably the most valuable and loyal members of your executive team. The best way I help others understand the value of an operations expert is by telling a story. Back when I was a 20-something punk f[more]
Last November I was interviewing with a very stealthy (for a very good reason) startup in Boston. During my conversation with a co-founder Ellen (she is very stealthy too, so I will skip last name), I asked her what her title was. Her answer was something that has stuck with me to this day. She said: "if you are in a startup and have a title, you are not doing enough"! In my career I have worked only for very rapidly growing startups and mature small businesses, well except for a short stint with GRAMMY and Polygram Records. When I think back about all the things (jobs) I have worked on in my career, her statement helps me now encapsulate and explain what I do. I clearly remember days when[more]
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