Doug Erwin, Former Chairman and CEO of The Planet gave the closing keynote today at today’s Rice Alliance 8th Annual Information Technology / Web Venture Forum. He’s been very successful across multiple ventures over the last 35 years. I felt so compelled by his wisdom that I wanted to share it here. Here’s his 12 points:
- Solve a Customer’s Real Problem: one that actually exist: “If you can’t see what John Brown needs through John Brown’s eyes, you can’t sell what John Brown buys”.
- Constantly Question and Modify Plans
- Hire the Best. one can never have too much talent. you can only make 10-15 decisions a day. hire the right people to make more.
- Hire an Experienced Management Team. There’s no time for “learning on the job”.
- Stay Focused. It’s too easy to stray.
- Learn Something New Every Day….. your competitor is… What did you learn today?
- Ultimately, You Must Make a Dollar. Sooner is better than later.
- Build and Protect your Reputation… you will be considered for many opportunities and never know it. Executive intelligence: cultivate it.
- Good Communications Skills: this will raise your chances of success. Listening is as important as talking (its not just about speaking). Get out of your office… and do “Walkabouts”. Manager meetings on Monday 7:30 am. What happened last week? What happens this week? Now go communicate this to the rest of the company? Listen to the unspoken.
- Great Company Culture. This will solve attrition and retention issues. You can not create it, you must have it evolve. Create risk compensation plans for all. Develop your own “bell” [e.g. for ringing when there’s a sale]. Create an opportunity where people get to contribute beyond their direct responsibilities.
- Leadership…. the glue that holds it together. Camelot Rules: “we’re in this together”. Situational Leadership Rules- don’t treat people all the same- they’re all different.
- Being Lucky Helps. Where opportunity means preparation.
- Successful business leaders recognize opportunities, pursue the right ones, overcome obstacles, manage potential risk. People don’t trip on mountains, they trip on small rocks.
Great event today, and great closing keynote, with great wisdom. Glad to get to participate today.