Bridge to the Future

After years of success, the CEO of a subscription software company was staring down some serious challenges that stood to impact the fate of the company. Once a leader in its space, the company had invested heavily in new product development at the expense of building its direct sales capability. At the same time, economic woes had led to steep declines in subscriptions for its legacy product, which left the company facing crippling layoffs to make payroll or a fire sale just when its promising new product was ready to launch. The CEO presented a business case to his peers outlining several options to keep the company afloat, but was very discouraged and all but convinced the company would have to fold. 

Several CEO peers suggested investigating bridge financing. With this option, the company could borrow enough on the promise of its new product to avoid layoffs for several months, and in that time, could engage the right banker and secure a term sheet that would set the company on firm footing.

The CEO followed his peers' advice, and took advantage of their recommended contacts for a bridge loan and banker. Several months later, the firm was acquired as a wholly-owned subsidiary by a major public company at a valuation favorable to investors, all while avoiding layoffs and enabling the company's passionate employees to continue their work. 

Collective Clarity and Focus

The CEO of a major manufacturing company has faced the ongoing challenge of not having enough hours in the day. He finds himself mired in operational issues, while at the same time believes his COO, a critical member of his leadership team, is at risk of departure. The CEO proposes a new alignment for the broader leadership team that will free him of some direct reports, but will place added burden on his already-tapped COO. 

The CEO Collective advised the CEO that the message surrounding his vision for this new team structure was relatively weak, and to work on how it would be communicated to ensure buy-in. They also advised him to be sure he is getting appropriate leverage through his EA. Something so simple can make a very big impact on day-to-day juggling. They suggested he invest in his COO’s leadership development as a gesture of commitment to him and his value to the company. They identified his inability to let go of operations as a major risk factor for the organization, and advised him to take his plan further.

Suggested one CEO, “Go to half the operations meetings you’re scheduled to go to. People will adjust.”

As a result of the input of his peers, the CEO invested more time in crafting a vision that would resonate with the broader leadership team and relate the changes back to their ability to accomplish their mission. After an honest conversation with his COO, the CEO expressed his desire to help him develop and grow in his role, and openly acknowledged the value of his contributions to the organization. The leadership team took the organizational changes in stride, the COO emerged committed to several more years with the organization, and the CEO was able to achieve valuable leverage in his own role by virtue of the new organizational design.