Generational Business Success Forum

Leaders of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation family businesses gathered to learn from each other and enjoy a morning of fun in the awesome SAP Boardroom Suite at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.

The session, hosted by Bridge Bank (Emily Ruvalcaba) and Executive Forums Silicon Valley (Glenn Perkins), was designed around a discussion with panelists Brittni Daley-Grishaeva, Adam Beck, Dee Ann Harn, and Ian Barth who shared lessons learned about the challenges and opportunities in taking over from the previous generations.

Prior to the panel discussion, the attendees participated in a Personal Histories networking activity during breakfast. This was followed by a team scavenger hunt in the 49ers Museum to experience and learn from the culture of a large family business—the San Francisco 49ers.  

An intimate panel discussion revolved around themes and questions such as: 

  • How or when did you recognize the “super power” of your predecessor? How were you able to replace that “super power” within the organization? How did you apply your own “super power” within your company
  • What counsel or guidance would you give to those who are assuming a new leadership position in dealing with or overcoming entrenched personnel in a company? 
  • Looking back, what is the biggest opportunity to shake things up that you identified when transitioning?
  • Can you comment on what may have been scary for you when you took over your position? What was that particular aspect of the business troublesome for you? What did you do to overcome those fears?
  • What counsel or guidance about support structures or scaffolding would you give to those who are assuming a new leadership position in a company?
  • Open questions and discussion based on attendee questions.

It was a fantastic event and we want to thank the attendees and panelists for an awesome morning and for being so open to sharing their experience and expertise with everyone. 

If a learning and networking event such as this might be of interest to you and the leaders in your generational business, please reach out.

Leverage Your Time for Bottom Line Results with an Engagement Manager

Investing time in building and maintaining relationships – both external to the organization and internal to the organization –  is critical to the success of every CEO.

I recently learned of a structured approach for enhancing relationships by Patrick Ewers, founder and CEO of Mindmaven, a coaching firm that works with leaders AND their assistants.

Using the Mindmaven model — leverage, intent, and fellowship— I began implementing some of these principles within my own business and invited Patrick to share it with members of the Executive Forums Silicon Valley peer groups.

How leaders can “achieve True Greatness by freeing up 8+ hours a week so they can use that time to invest in what truly matters most: relationships.” 

Patrick shared with us several hands-on, step-by-step ways in which a CEO can gain leverage to build better relationships by training an executive assistant to become a CEO’s “engagement manager (EM).” 

The term Engagement Manager (EM) is not the same as a social media engagement manager, but this role has some of the same results.

An EM is trained by the CEO to address tasks that not only free up a CEO’s time, but can increase relationship building opportunities, thus freeing the CEO to focus on high value activity which impacts bottom line results.

LEVERAGE tactics Patrick suggested: 

Voice Communications via Dictation Software

Patrick demonstrated in real time how to leverage an hour or more a day using a phone application to dictate tasks, emails, and meeting notes. Leaders are much better at verbal communication and dictation can be done asynchronously (when time permits as opposed to when the assistant is available). Dictation files are delivered directly to an EM via email, text, or a project management system such as Asana. The EM receives the dictated instructions and moves the requested task forward.

Inbox Shadowing

A second technique discussed was inbox shadowing. By giving an EM access to a CEO’s email for “Inbox Shadowing,” a CEO can trust that emails are sorted by priority so they can move quickly through their inbox. Sorting labels or folders might look like this: 

  • Drafts (responses drafted for CEO review)
  • Please Handle (emails on which the EM needs CEO input first)
  • Completed (emails completely handled within authority of the EM)
  • FYI emails (to read later)

Using dictation and inbox shadowing, an EM can be responsible for drafting follow up emails, meeting debriefs, and pre-meeting planning documents.

Meeting Debriefs and LoopLeverage

With structured and habitualized Meeting Debriefs, a CEO can quickly capture important details from a meeting in a voice dictation sent to their EM who then implements the Mindmaven LoopLeverage technique.

LoopLeverage uses followup tasks, reminders, and tracking in a CRM, calendar, or project management software. These reminders, set for the EM, allow the EM to proactively follow up about promises made to and by the CEO. The personal connection information and business key facts that a CEO learns and shares in their Meeting Debrief dictation also gets tracked by the EM to bring up for robust future meeting conversations.

Together these leverage techniques—Meeting Debriefs and LoopLeverage—help a CEO build trust and stronger relationships while also lifting their mental load, ultimately resulting in increased intent and fellowship, goals of the Mindmaven model.

Culmination of Time, Training, and Small Steps Yield Results

Patrick emphasized that it takes three to six months for a CEO to make these steps natural and train an EM. However, small ideas and steps over time lead to cumulative results that can result in free time for a CEO to generate big ideas. And results.

If you are a leader who could use 8 to 10 hours a week to of free time build business relationships (internal and external) and reduce stress associated with low impact high urgency tasks, I recommend reaching out to Patrick Ewers and the Mindmaven team (www.mindmaven.com/contact) to have a discussion. 

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please contact Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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Overcome Perfectionism and Lead with Imperfection

Executive coach, speaker and author Vitale Buford presented at the Silicon Valley Executive Forum about overcoming perfectionism in May 2021.

She started by quoting Brene Brown: “Perfection is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”

Striving for excellence is a positive passion and a self-initiated drive that makes a great CEO or a leader, while being a perfectionist is allowing one’s worst critique constantly judging oneself as a bystander. A perfectionist mindset is based on limiting beliefs about oneself and others, and is mentally, emotionally and psychologically debilitating.

Symptoms of perfectionism in work and in life

Symptoms of perfectionism can be:

  • People-pleasing
  • Approval seeking
  • Control
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • High expectations
  • Low self-worth
  • Comparison
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling stuck
  • Indecision

Perfectionism is manifested in our careers like this:

  • Overcommitting, chronic multitasking, “hurry syndrome”
  • Constant need for control
  • Unrealistic expectations of yourself and others
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Destructive self-criticism
  • Setting “people-pleasing” deadlines vs. realistic deadlines
  • Chronic stress and overwhelm
  • Your career is your identity
  • Taking on too many projects and feeling burnt out

Perfectionism hinders our ability to live our lives in ways such as:

  • Always doing for others and never saying “no”
  • Not being able to make a decision and asking everyone for advice; seeking external validation
  • Constant comparison
  • Setting goals and not taking action; waiting for the “perfect time”
  • Lack of healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Overwhelm, anxiety, worry
  • Not speaking up for your needs
  • I “should” be further along

3-step process of leading with imperfection

Step 1: Awareness = Curious Observation + Pattern Identification

In identifying patterns of perfectionist behaviors, Ms. Buford listed “slow and fast perfectionism” for our intentional observation:

  • Slow:
    • Procrastination
    • Indecision
    • Fear of failure
    • Imposter Syndrome
    • Feeling stuck
    • Anxiety
    • Black and white thinking
    • Avoiding conflict
  • Fast:
    • Approval seeking
    • People pleasing
    • Unrealistic expectations for yourself and others
    • Obsessive thinking
    • Need for control
    • “Work harder, achieve more” thinking
    • Constant overwhelm

Both slow and fast perfectionism can negatively affect our relationships, personal development, family and parenting, finances, health, fun and enjoyment and the ability to lead oneself and others.

Step 2: Mindset Change

Ms. Buford suggested using  “habit of self-compassion”, summarized as “Four Cs” - criticism, curiosity, compassion, and choice, -  to reframe perfectionist way of thinking, with mantras and routines:

  1. Notice your Criticism
  2. Get Curious
  3. Show yourself Compassion
  4. Choose better

Step 3: Action

What does it take to build habits of self-compassion, other than time? 

“Reframing, mantras, routines” are the three words Ms. Buford used to conclude her presentation.  

To get out of the negative and self-destructive habits of thinking, first refrain from thinking “what if…”, insead, think “even if…”.  Refrain from viewing anxiety-causing unknown as “uncertainty”, but to view it as “possibility”. Refrain from constantly doing the “balancing” acts of pleasing everyone, and start to actively pursue your own “priority”. 

Mantras like these ones below can also help us feel good about ourselves:

“I give myself room to be human.”

“Done is better than perfect.”

“I cannot miss out on what’s meant for me.”

Action leads to confidence leads to action.

Creating new routines to reinforce new habits of thinking can gradually lead to changing perfectionist behaviors. 

To get more information about overcoming perfectionism, please contact @VitaleBuford 

www.facebook.com/vitalebuford vitale@vitalebuford.com

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At Executive Forums Silicon Valley, selected business owners and leaders work together to gain clarity, insight and accountability to ignite their leadership engines, grow their businesses and improve their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Business Owner Advisory Boards, Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Stages of Growth, Value Builder System or becoming a member at Executive Forum Silicon Valley, please email Glenn Perkins: gperkins@executiveforums.com or call 408-901-0321. For more information visit http://www.execforumssv.com/.

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