FROM CEO MENTORS:

  • He appears to be an incredibly bright, capable and conscientious individual with strong leadership qualities, lacking only in organizational leadership experience.  His instincts are excellent, and so I believe that with the combination of additional on-the-job experience and mentoring, he can grow to be a strong leader.
  • Executing is one of the key things we are talking about. One of the focuses was how you lead and deal with a sales group. I put him in touch with a contact that could be a resource.
  • Rich in meaning; getting to high bandwidth honest conversation quickly.
  • There is a theme of confidence that is interesting. We have talked about efficiency as a leader and how to make the most of his time. We have developed a personal relationship and discussed his personal journey.
  • I consciously try to answer with questions so he finds his own decision.
  • Wants to maintain company values and yet grow.
  • He is young and passionate about his business.  Even though he does not have years of experience, he recognizes his need to tap into external resources and is very open to hearing about the experiences of others and tapping into advisors. 
  • He continues to be a very thoughtful leader striving to steer his company through a number of challenges presented by a combination of company growth and multi-investor private ownership.
  • We talked about how to evolve the roles of the team and the decision making dynamics as they become more successful and take on additional capital. 
  • We talked about tying each part of the business to a part of the financial plan -  marketing tied to online orders, sales to new store revenue, support to recurring business, inventory to costs of goods sold - and empowering individuals within the team to be responsible for those financial line items. 
  • He is beginning to look at the big picture of how his decisions impact the business.  This is critical for the scalability of the organization.  He is also recognizing how much of an impact individual people within and outside the organization can affect the business.
  • I explained the strengths in showing that he is able to handle tough situations and stand his ground which will have a positive impact during future negotiations and situations when he has to manage a board.
  • Tangible next steps related to overall goal of growing a team.
  • He is getting more comfortable being a leader. He has created an environment where he takes control in our meetings. Now that he has taken control, things have totally changed. 

FROM MENTOR TEAM MEMBERS:

  • The mentor [team’s] skill sets don’t duplicate. Productive discussions have been had. [The startup CEO] is very open and good at facilitating. They squeeze every bit of value they can from each moment.
  • I felt it was an excellent session. We focused on key challenges and topics. They were very open to feedback. 
  • [We] had a very open, candid and productive conversation exploring the startup’s vision and values. We also touched on their methods, processes, obstacles, and metrics -- all with primary focus on customer-facing operations.  We discussed culture, in particular in the sales team.  Our talk re: sales compensation philosophy, measurement, and incentives will be fruitful as we get deeper. They appear very open to and appreciative of the insight/suggestions that will flow to them through these mentor relationships. Also we’ll be scheduling a sit-down with their new head of sales to discuss sales model, forecasting process and enablement.
  • The [mentor] team is so complementary that I feel I am getting a lot out of these meetings as well. I wish I could spend more time on them. 
  • [The founding team] is eager to learn and get better. 
  • I connected the founding team with a direct marketing consultant to assist with promoting and tracking their offer.  We also discussed various ways to segment their market, and to create a larger value proposition that just saving money for customers.  
  • [They] came with a list of topics they wanted to dive into. They brought an open mind and no sacred cows. We left with some action items that were very tangible for them. We didn't want to just have an intellectual conversation. We wanted to come away with items they could work on.