CEO Tips

CEO Tips


CEO Tip of the Month: Purchasing is the Key to Success—A Myth
by Guido Quelle

How often, and in how many countless meetings, have we already heard it? “Purchasing is the key to success.”—a platitude that, despite its constant repetition, becomes neither more correct nor more palatable…

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip of the Month: How to Make Managerial Board and Senior Management Meetings More Productive
by Guido Quelle

First a brief observation: I see it time and time again that, especially in mid-sized enterprises, there are no Senior Management meetings at all, let alone clearly structured ones. So: If your company doesn’t organize such meetings, it’s high time it started to…

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip of the Month: CEO Tip of the Month: What CEOs Need to Know About Logistics
by Guido Quelle

My view of logistics has radically changed since I started my consulting career. As a young consultant I thought that logistics was just about transport, handling and storage, but that all changed when I took on my first logistics projects, whether they were reorganization projects, outsourcing projects or—the pinnacle of our logistics project work so far—winning the German Award for Supply Chain Management, which we received for projects we set up together with ANZAG, now known as Alliance Healthcare…

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip of the Month: The Senior Management as a Team—Is It Really Necessary
by Guido Quelle

Let’s get right to the point: the answer to the question above is an unequivocal “no!” That was the short version of this month’s article.
Now for the long version: the word “team” is likely one of the most overused terms there are when it comes to collaboration, projects and interaction. The strategy team, the accounting team, the project team—everybody’s on the same team, and we’re all one big, happy family….

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: An Appeal on All CEOs: How to Focus on Output, not Input
by Guido Quelle

“Results, results, results!”–The message sent out at management conferences is clear: We need the right results– and we need them fast! …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: The CEO—The Uppermost Sales Representative
by Guido Quelle

Quite a bit is expected from CEOs: They have to be able to lead, are expected to be role models, and to be brilliant strategists with a good portion of personal vision on top. And not only that: I firmly believe every CEO should be their company’s uppermost Sales representative, absolutely regardless of how large (or how small) the company is. …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: The CEO—Autonomous or Externally Controlled
by Guido Quelle

Apart from hearing time and time again that CEOs, in particular, often spend up to 40 percent of their time protecting their own position—because once again someone is boycotting, torpedoing or simply rejecting an initiative, or because someone wants their job, or because someone just wants to cause trouble—I also repeatedly hear from CEOs that they are externally controlled. Schedules fill up rapidly and there’s hardly time to catch their breath, let alone think. Everyone wants something, and everything becomes important, because everyone knows: The CEO only has time for the important matters.

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Passion, Not Facts
by Guido Quelle

What do the following statements have in common?
– “Next year we want to achieve 7.5% growth.”
– “We have to bring the EBITDA back up to the 12% mark!”
– “The return on our capital can’t drop below x%!”
– “Our turnover growth has to reach double figures next year – at least 10%!”
– “Next year we’re going to push product XY on the market, so that it makes up at least 15% of our turnover!”

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: For Growth, Focus on Results, Not Methods
by Guido Quelle

Let’s get one thing straight from the start: a good methodology that allows you to approach an issue in a structured way is worth its weight in gold. In our line of work, clients often procure our services because they assume we use an established procedure—or “methodology”—to address their growth-related concerns instead of just shooting from the hip, and that we therefore more quickly produce results than they could on their own. But: in our talks with clients, the focus is never on methodology; we’re hardly ever asked what methods we use. Instead, over 90 percent of the time we spend on analyzing a client as precisely as possible goes to discussing what results we’re supposed to achieve. They simply assume—correctly—that there is a method to what we do. …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: How Far Outside the Box Would You Like?
by Guido Quelle

In many companies, perhaps even in most, you’ll hear many positive statements about “thinking outside the box.” We have to start thinking outside the box; we welcome non-conformists; if you can’t think outside the box every now and then, you’ll never get ahead—at least that’s the official position many companies proclaim. …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: The CEO—Provider, Guardian and Developer of Values 
by Guido Quelle

At a managerial board meeting for a professional association over ten years ago, I—myself an honorary member of the board—put forward an idea for a project: Entitled “www – Werte Wandel Wirtschaft” (German for Values, Change and Business), the goal was to investigate how values were changing in business, how people’s understanding of values was evolving, and which frameworks of values were most relevant at the time. Another member of the board was thrilled with the notion because, as he explained, values were a very important factor for companies, just think of “shareholder value, level of added value creation and so on.” I couldn’t help but be somewhat at a loss, as he had obviously missed my message, confusing quantitative values with qualitative ones. …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: The CEO as Brand 
by Guido Quelle

Discussions about brands are a bit like those about growth: Talk is cheap, but expertise is hard to come by. This problem becomes even more evident when it comes to the topic of “people as brands,” where the tips and tricks provided by interested non-experts sometimes produce odd results. By way of example, “self-marketing” is an increasingly fashionable buzzword, but the unfortunate results of how it is practiced speak volumes.

Before we look into the subject of “the CEO as brand,” let’s establish a few basics: Brands with a positive image are associated with qualities like absolute reliability, a high degree of consistency, promises that are kept, high quality, high appeal and attraction—to name just a few. At the same time, leadership—a CEO’s core duty—is connected to exemplary behavior and a number of the qualities just mentioned.  …

… Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Just How Prepared is Your Company for Internationalization?
by Guido Quelle

Wherever you go, you hear that real growth can no longer be achieved in the domestic market
alone. For now let’s set aside the question of whether this is true in every individual case or
just a convenient excuse. Either way, the fact is that more and more companies are focusing on
internationalization, and that some of them don’t seem to have quite thought the process
through to its end.

For example, what is the point of a company looking to expand into Russia, if it doesn’t take
into account the fact that business conditions in Russia are completely different from those in
Germany? What is the use of planning to expand in Asia if we …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Creating a Culture of Innovation – and Keeping it Up
by Guido Quelle

No-one would deny that creating innovations is indispensable to generating profitable
growth—and innovations should not be random spurts from time to time, but should instead
be planned and intentional, coming on a regular basis. The questions that arise here are first
of all, why some companies produce far more innovations than similar competitors, and
secondly, why so many innovations clearly haven’t been thought through to the end.

On the first point: If you as CEO, Managing Director or entrepreneur get the feeling that your
company isn’t producing enough innovations, try taking a look at your corporate culture:
Does it promote innovation? Does your company …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Assessing and Differentiating Between Competencies
by Guido Quelle

Time and time again, questions about companies’ core and other competencies arise. And
time and time again, the terms used are confused and in the end, the company in question
often strives to attain the same performance level as its supposedly better competition.
Especially when you notice this last type of behavior, caution is advisable, as your company
might be focusing too much on its competitors and not enough on its customers.

In order to be able to discuss the relevance of core competencies, we need to first answer the
question of what value, what benefit we are trying to create. Though this would seem fairly
self-evident, we very often see that companies talk about …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Channel Your Energy
by Guido Quelle

One of the most absurd statements I know is when someone tells an individual or a team they
need to give “120 percent.” Not only does this not work mathematically, it also makes poor
business sense. Granted, you could demand that tomorrow someone give you 120 percent of
what they delivered today, as that would mean you expect them to get 20 more done, but
telling people you expect them to deliver 120 percent on a regular basis is nonsense, is a
message that won’t sink in, and will tend to waste more energy than it releases.

On any given day, we should have 100 percent of our energy. True, if we’re feeling fine that
100 percent tends to go a longer way than when we drag ourselves to work even though we’re
sick, but …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: How to Maintain Your Momentum Once You’ve Reached the Top
by Guido Quelle

As the saying goes, it’s lonely at the top, and every Speaker or Chair of the Senior
Management, every Chair of the Managerial Board, every head of the Supervisory Board has
at one time or another felt the truth of those words. Whereas, as the head of a department or
division, or as a member of the Supervisory, Advisory or Administrative Board, you are still
one of many people, this status immediately changes when you take on a leadership position.
Your role changes and your former colleagues are now only “colleagues” in name only; the
Supervisory Board appoints the Managerial Board, and the General Assembly appoints the
Supervisory Board, but …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Discipline? Of Course, But How?
by Guido Quelle

Needless to say, no one would deny that discipline is a key success factor when it comes to
pushing forward growth initiatives that have already been started, and above all when it
comes to successfully completing them. At the same time, it’s due to a lack of discipline that,
apparently “out of the blue,” many initiatives that initially look promising get bogged down
or yield no concrete results.

The question that arises is what leaders can do to boost discipline in their companies, to
maintain that high level, and potentially to even top it. Here are five tips: …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Inflexible Compliance Rules or Judging What is Suitable? It’s Up to You.
by Guido Quelle

I recently sent the speaker for the Senior Management of a major company a copy of my book
“Profitable Growth” with a personal dedication inside, because I felt the book could help his
company. Imagine my surprise when the book was sent back to me with a note explaining that
the company’s employees were not allowed to accept gifts. What’s more, the note was signed
by the speaker himself, i.e., by the very person I had sent it to!

This is a wonderful example of not knowing when to make an exception to the rule. Even if
they had decided the rule still had to apply for a book that costs €39,95 …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip of the Month: If You Have a Restructuring Plan, Give it Some Structure
by Guido Quelle

As we understand it, restructuring individual parts of a company, or even the company as a
whole, is part of the growth cycle. All too often, restructuring is associated with crisis or with
incompetence, and is above all seen as a threat.

Restructuring means that things regain a structure that guarantees that afterwards the
company can perform more effectively on the market than it did before. Anything else would
make no sense. We don’t want to hide the fact that restructuring …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Project Management is Out? Nonsense. Work to Boost Your
Company’s Project-Related Competencies

by Guido Quelle

How many times have you heard someone claim that “project management” was out, oldfashioned,
a thing of the past? I’m sure I’ve heard it literally dozens of times – and interestingly
enough, over the course of a few decades.

The statement is untrue, pure and simple. Calling project management “out” is not only
ridiculous; it also indicates a failure to recognize business realities and what corporate
leadership calls for. Those who intentionally choose …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Do You Have a Lack of Ideas or is it an Implementation Problem?
Pay Attention to the Nuances

by Guido Quelle

In our consulting projects, we see the same situations again and again: All too often, good
growth ideas – whether innovations, new market strategies, acquisitions, or what have you –
do nothing but gather dust. They are endlessly discussed, refined and enhanced. Boards are
convened, political games are played, …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: What Does Success Mean to You?
by Guido Quelle

In my lectures, I often ask the students, and in my talks, I often ask the audience the following
question: “What does success mean to you?”

The answers vary. Some talk about “being happy,” “leading a fulfilled life,” “having fun.”
Others say “becoming chairman,” “leading my employees to success,” or “being able to help
people.”
Two important points on this …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Presence Pays Off!
by Guido Quelle

I don’t need to be a fortuneteller to guess that your calendar is full of any number of
important dates. Nor do I need a crystal ball to tell me you don’t always succeed in living up to
your own standards for dealing with every topic in sufficient depth.

Tasks that involve mental work can literally be done anytime; thanks to electronic media we
can contact anyone at any time …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Start – Get Going Now and Don’t Let Up
by Guido Quelle

As a CEO, Managing Director or entrepreneur you are constantly expected to deliver results,
and you’re no stranger to impatience. Sometimes you get frustrated that things don’t get
done, or at least get started, faster.

In fact, you’re often criticized for your lack of patience. They claim you make snap decisions
before you have all the information …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: “That sounds pretty complex, boss”– So What?
by Guido Quelle

How often do we hear that something is “pretty complex” or “too complex?” That certain things aren’t “simple,” but are instead “complex” and difficult to solve?

Here’s the news flash: today, most business processes are complex. But, even if the distinction sounds academic, things that are complex don’t have to be complicated. I’ve looked at this difference a bit more closely, because …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: What Do You Really Want to be the Best At? – Focus on Your Strong Suits
by Guido Quelle

We really can’t say it often enough: To make it to the top–regardless of the field–you need a more intelligent approach than just doing away with your current weaknesses. All life long, we’re told to note our own weaknesses and work to improve them; this starts in childhood and never really stops. Yet the fact that this mantra of “combating your weaknesses” is repeated ad nauseam does nothing to improve its value …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Social Media – Don’t Leave Too Much Up to Chance
by Guido Quelle

What does the CEO have to do with social media? Quite a lot, because when a company has decided it wants to be active in social media, it’s a decision that can ultimately only be made by the CEO, as it concerns the company’s processes, its organization, and in some cases even its strategy.

But more than that – and that’s the focus of this CEO Tip: …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: “We’ve got a problem!”
by Guido Quelle

“Boss, we’ve got a problem!” – How many times have you heard those words? Most likely – no matter what the number – too often.

How do you respond? Do you start looking for solutions right away? Careful! The first question is: Do “we” actually have a problem, or is it just an employee who has a problem and would like to involve us in it? So your first response should be along the lines of …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO Tip: Dealing With the Impossible
by Guido Quelle

“We can’t do that, boss!” As a CEO it’s not uncommon for you to hear that, is it? You have a new idea, mention it to your team and ask them to implement it. But caught up in – or rather, tied up by – their daily routine, they see the present situation rather than the strategic future and their first reaction is to resist.

You probably don’t have the same problems as those …

Download article to read more (PDF)


CEO-Tip: “Your (Own) Vision”
by Guido Quelle

We can start by writing off the often-cited quote attributed to former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt that “Anyone who has visions should consult a doctor” as the outmoded views of a respected politician.

It goes without saying that carefully adapting and revising the vision of the company he or she is responsible for are among the most essential duties of the CEO. I include the word “carefully,” because …

Download article to read more (PDF)