Meeting table

Choosing the Right Board Members

Building our board early was one of the two or three things I did that turned 3Pillar into an actual business. Because I get asked a lot about building boards, I wrote about five methods for optimizing your boardroom.

However, a recent email made me think of some additional points to add, especially as it relates to building a board as a first-time CEO and choosing the right people.

Bootstrap your board before you expand your board

As you begin to build your board, limit the size. Start by adding two external board members for the first few meetings. Establish a rhythm of communication.  Develop a standard meeting agenda. And learn how to leverage external board members.

The bottom line – learn how to manage and leverage a board before you add too many people.

Find the right people not the big names.

More than anything, you want folks that you can lean on to help navigate the waters of entrepreneurship and leadership. People that can help you scale. Look for people with experience that you respect and can learn from. Take your time to find the right ones, not the names.

One might be a serial entrepreneur that has been through this phase of business before. One might be a product technologist that excels at technology innovation, lean startups, and pivots. Another might be an active industry executive who knows your field very well (or a directly very adjacent one) and can provide insights into where it the current state. Perhaps an experienced marketer would be helpful.

Choose people who will collaborate together.

Sit down, think through the board table and the expertise that would be beneficial to you as a CEO. And then, when you’re choosing members, make sure to pick people who will collaborate well together (not always agree with each other, but collaborate together).

Board make up is essential. It can speed you up, or, it can slow you down. Take the time to put together tie right board, not just a board. Make sure that it becomes an accelerator, not a drag.

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Business relationship

Is empathy enough to create strong business relationships?

Several years ago, 3Pillar inherited several clients through acquisition. Much to the credit of the previous ownership, many of these clients had strong personal relationships with the founders of the firm we acquired. Unfortunately, we eventually learned that a couple of these relationships were built, almost exclusively, on the basis of the personal relationship. The business relationship was more about helping each other out than it was about a strong value proposition.

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Increase productivity

How to increase productivity by tenfold in just 14 days

A few weeks ago I had a realization.

I had been making incredible progress on the majority of my annual goals, mostly through sheer willpower. I am a driven person. Put goals in front of me, and I will knock them down. Unfortunately, despite the progress, two of my goals were lagging desperately behind. Not for lack of desire, but, lack of “time”. In fact, when it came to my fitness goal, I was losing ground. Instead of losing 20 lbs, I had gained four – and I knew it was a result of “willing my way” to success.

In other words, my goals were fighting against each other – far from living the integrated life I aspire to.

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How Two 3-Minute Conversations Made a Man

“If it’s a fist fight, you’ll want to defend your face, like this. And make sure to aim for his face. Get your whole body behind the punch. If it’s a wrestling match, get him to the ground and into a headlock. If you have control over his neck and head, there’s not much he’ll be able to do. Don’t be timid.”

This lesson in fighting is one of the most vivid memories I have of my youth. With just a few short sentences, my dad breathed new life into a beaten down, picked on, and hopeless 5th grader.

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Engage

5 Techniques to Optimize Opportunities

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I don’t take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been awarded. I’ll go to a conference, attend an event, or find myself in a meeting that I get absolutely nothing out of.

It’s not because the event was worthless. If that was the case, I would not attend, or I would leave prematurely. The real reason is that I wasn’t prepared.

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Hardware vs software

Hardware vs Software – Software Always Wins

Software always wins. Hardware is always commoditized.

Here are a couple of reasons why:

Action over Information

We are all inundated with way too much information. Smaller and more prevalent hardware creates more and more data but, it is the software that ultimately turns it into usable insights. It is these insights that are ultimately turned into action, whether manual or automated and it is that action that ultimately drives the results that make our lives better.

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