Tag Archives: Competency

Do You Merge, Sell or Revive a Business? Four Areas of Focus

Situation: A company is at a crossroads. They are no longer growing as they have in past years. The CEO is assessing alternatives including a merger, selling the company or restructuring. What are the essential questions to determine whether you merge, sell or revive a business?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Do you really have the information to determine whether it makes sense to merge, sell or revive the business? The questions to ask are:
    • Is your core competency important?
    • Do you have the talent required to revive the business?
    • How much of your business is from repeat customers?
    • Is your platform still being used by a significant number of companies, and are they likely to shift their software soon?
    • If the answers are favorable, then the only remaining question is whether you have the energy and inclination to continue.
  • Having developed a profitable business model, why would you give up control or ownership?
    • Tighten up the business by focusing on the basics and turn the company around.
    • Identify where you can make money, and
    • Determine which portions of the business need to be restructured or eliminated.
    • Essential questions are:
      • Do you have a clear picture of where the profitability lies within the business?
      • Do you have a clear statement of your key competitive advantage – your “Main Thing”?
      • Can you establish a pricing strategy that pays you fairly for the value you provide?
  • Look at bench time among current employees.
    • Identify, and fully utilize the most important contributors, perhaps by giving them additional responsibilities in other areas.
    • See that all retained employees are fully utilized.
    • Eliminate those who are on the bench the most, or transform them into contractors so that you only pay for active time.
    • Utilize contractors to fill the “full service” slots that are important to your service offering but which do not contribute significantly to your bottom line.
  • Most importantly, reformat your role so that you are doing that which you truly enjoy. Your own enthusiasm and passion are the most important long-term drivers for your business, and will be the most important motivators to your staff.

Can You Effectively Manage Your Team’s Emotions? Six Ideas

Situation: A CEO recently attended a workshop on awareness of employees’ emotions. The message was that to effectively lead, the leader must be aware of both their own and their team’s emotions, and effectively address these in all communications. How have others acknowledged employee emotions? Can you effectively manage your team’s emotions?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • All companies have both cultures and ways in which employees and managers interact. These are either intentional or accidental.
  • It is important to develop a competency model for any company – skills and behaviors that reinforce company culture and guide both hiring decisions and personnel evaluations. Behaviors should be defined by competencies, including both technical and soft competencies.
  • Once a company competency model is established, position descriptions will be variations of the company competency model.
  • A competency model will help you to script candidate interviews. This works whether you use a panel or individual interview format. Questions should address past behavior in specific situations that the individual has experienced. Provide each interviewer with a set of questions that will help the interviewer understand how the candidate expresses soft competencies. Post-interview, get together and discuss how each candidate’s responses compare with the company model.
  • Supplement your interview results with a psychometric test which scores and effectively measure the key soft competencies expressed in your culture. Pair the psychometric test with cognitive testing to assess a candidate’s technical competency.
  • Use similar questions for employee evaluations or coaching situations. The difference will be that in the case of current employees, you will want to have the employee refer to situations and behaviors experienced at work or working with customers or company partners.

Special thanks to Maynard Brusman of Working Resources for leading this discussion.

How Do You Improve Company Competency to Support Growth? Eight Thoughts

Interview with Scott Dodson, CEO, AirXpanders, Inc.

Situation: Both in the case of a start-up, and when an existing company adds a new business unit, one of the biggest challenges is supporting rapid expansion during market launch. Talent necessary during the product completion phase may not be sufficient to support this growth. What can you do to improve company competency?


  • Bring in “been there, done that” expertise to support the current team. In particular, you want to add individuals who have experienced both success and failure in similar markets, and in both larger and similar sized companies.  You want people who can be transformational to a company and not someone who can simply occupy a box.  Give them a chance to do more, add to their toolbox and they will in turn help the company achieve its goals.
  • A wide range of past experience with multiple employers is now seen as a benefit, whereas in the past it may have been a liability. It brings more knowledge to bear.
  • Among people with highly diverse resumes, how do you tell performers from non-performers?
    • Focus on what they did to transform their past company. Did they build alliances, make change happen or improve the organization during their incumbency? Look at ‘how’ they did it.  Chances are, this is a very leverageable skill.
    • Look for doers.  People who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves will make the biggest impact in the organization.
  • Look for people who possess “strategic humility.” Don’t be afraid of mistakes and foster an environment where the boundaries are continuously pushed.  The enemy of ‘good’ is ‘perfect’, and the best companies consistently make ‘good’ decisions.  If you make a mistake, own up to it, learn from it and move on.
  • Look for the ability to assess, develop, plan and mobilize resources to execute the plan.
  • Use LinkedIn to identify people with whom an applicant worked in previous jobs to conduct independent reference checks.
  • You can also use LinkedIn to identify candidates for open positions.
  • By adding resources with these traits to your team, you markedly improve your likelihood of success.

You can contact Scott Dodson at scottadodson@yahoo.com

Key Words: Ramp-up, Growth, Talent, Competency, Interviewing, LinkedIn, Reference Checks