Archive for the ‘A Better Way?’ Category

Workbar Gig Finished; Perfect Example of when a Founding CEO should hire an Interim COO

13 March 2018

Interim

Most startup CEO’s would love a COO but can’t afford it.  So they do the work themselves, even though “COO work” is not what they love.  My just-finished Interim COO gig at Workbar is a perfect example of where the short-term expense of an Interim COO might be the way to go.

Workbar is Boston’s original coworking space and has a hub-and-spoke network of 20 locations, each with a unique “four-neighborhood” design.  As interim COO, I revamped the management team of this 30-person company, implementing processes to get the company organized, focused, and in sync.  As a team, we migrated the company so it can sustain rapid growth in Greater Boston and beyond.

Whether interim or long term, it is important that the skills of a COO complement those of the CEO, as detailed in 9 Reasons Why Your Startup Needs a Mysterious, Unsung Hero..

What I Do:  I am a professional interim CEO or COO.  Since 2000 I have completed over 20 interim roles in the US and abroad, from pure startups to companies with $25 million in revenue.  I am an agent of change, helping companies get started, restarted, or grow to the next level.  LinkedIn  www.linkedin.com/in/DesmondPieri

Hate Networking? Here’s How to “Connect Without Networking”

4 March 2018

Chapter Four of Diane Mulcahy’s book, “The Gig Economy” is a must-read for anyone who needs to network – whether you’re part of the gig economy, or you’re someone in a long-term job looking for prospects. We all know the importance of our networks, but many people hate networking.

In 15 pages, Mulcahy’s, “Connect Without Networking” chapter gives step-by-step instructions on how to network in a far more effective way; a way that is more satisfying for everyone.

Some of the key points:

1. Weak vs. Strong Ties: It’s your weak network – acquaintances, not friends – that will be most important. Your weak ties will result in far more new opportunities, whether you are looking for a new gig, or for prospects for your current company.

2. Inbound Connecting: Do you dread the typical networking events with a room full of strangers and a glass of bad wine? Mulcahy tells you how to skip those events and instead apply the digital marketing approach of (more…)

22 Ways To Make Email Not Suck

22 July 2014

--If what Alexander Graham Bell invented in 1876 was email – and if the technology invented 95 years later was the telephone – the immediacy of a telephone call would have been seen as an improvement over the delayed back-and-forth communication of email.

Most of us either misuse email ourselves, or we get buried in emails sent by others – often our boss! – who misuse email.

Here’s a collection of 22 tips others have taught. I contend that, if each of us followed all 22 tips, we’d have better communication – and we’d spend a lot less time on email each day.

Today, there are companies who claim the productivity tool they invented will allow you to eliminate email — Asana’s claim of, “Teamwork Without Email” comes to mind. Don’t believe it. Email’s here to stay. So.. (more…)

Question: When is someone who works less hours the better employee?

9 October 2010

Answer:  When they focus on efficiency, not time.

I advise young founding CEOs, either in my role as interim COO or as a “CEO Coach.”  A common issue they raise is their frustration with an employee who does not work incredibly long hours.  I struggled with this until I recalled that, when I was their age, I felt the same way!  I’ve been managing since I was 23 and, for about a decade, I too was impressed with an employee who worked the longest hours.

But then I hired Chris Pooley and he taught me that (more…)

I am thankful for Tom Poole, My First Boss. One Man, Four Lessons, An Immeasurable Impact.

22 November 2009

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my first boss, Tom Poole, who died a year ago.  A quiet, unassuming Down Maine’r, as a young man Tom left the Pine Tree State first to fight for our country and then to make his mark on the business world.  In his retirement, he returned each summer to his cottage in northern Maine.

Tom taught me four lessons — about hiring, making unpopular decisions, buying a cottage (in Maine!), and taking vacations — that have had an immeasurable impact on my life and, by association, the lives of many around me.  Each lesson has its own story which, (more…)

What Makes a Good CEO? You May Be Surprised.

27 May 2009

DullDavid Brooks’ NY Times Op-Ed piece, “In Praise of Dullness” provides data from numerous studies as to what does – and does not – make a good CEO.  He reports that traits that are NOT associated with being an effective CEO include many things that seem counterintuitive, including: strong people skills, being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator.   He contends that warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as CEOs. 

Rather Brooks reports that organized, dogged, anal-retentive, and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive as CEOs!  Studies show that traits which correlate well with CEO success include emotional stability and conscientiousness; being dependable, making plans, and following through on those plans.  He concludes with, “The CEOs that are most likely to succeed are (more…)

“Tell me again, Des, why we’re cleaning the office before the client visits tomorrow?”

11 May 2009

Mr. CleanWe have an important potential client visiting tomorrow so I’ve lassoed the troops and we just cleaned the office.  One of the younger guys asked, “Des, this company will be buying our technology, not our office space.  So tell me again why we’re cleaning the office before they arrive.”  To which one of the other guys said, “Tell them your story Des.”  Here goes. 

My first job out of school was working for a large computer company. A few years into the gig, I had an assignment on the New England District staff, one of five guys working for the District manager who managed two dozen Branches.

One of our tasks was for the District Manager and his staff to go to each branch once a year and do an all-day review of everything:  sales forecasts, accounts receivable, quality of service, installations, inventory etc.  The first time I did one of these reviews, when we arrived at the office, I headed straight for the conference room for the presentations to begin.

But the boss said, “No, Des, we start in the back room at the loading dock, (more…)

Bostonians: Six Reasons To Consider Pittsburgh For Your Next Weekend Getaway

23 March 2009

jan_2007_pittsburghskyline_com_292This past weekend was our third trip to Pittsburgh. We fall in love with the city every time.  Fellow Bostonians, here are six reasons to consider Pittsburgh for your next weekend getaway.

  1. Cheap, easy flights. Plan ahead and the 1 hour 10 minute flight can be had for $55.
  2. Cheap, luxurious hotels. The historic Renaissance Hotel in the center of town is offering weekend rooms at $100 a night.  Walk across the river and catch a Pirates game at beautiful PNC Park where standing room tickets are only $8 and the food is great though, as The Onion reports, the baseball could be better.  Or visit one of the four Carnegie museums, including the  seven story Andy Warhol Museum.
  3. Cheap, easy driving. A rental car for the weekend can be had for $90 all-in, and parking in city center is only $5 a day. And the last mile of the 20 mile drive from the airport is stunning, causing the NY Times to say (more…)

Columbus Day Weekend; Another Three-Day Holiday Weekend Wasted By So Many Americans

8 October 2007

columbus-day.jpgIn an earlier post I related how the Irish enjoy three-day holiday weekends so much better than we Americans. In America, if you’re involved in retail – either as a retailer or as a customer – these weekends are not a holiday.

When I described the Irish way to a friend, he suggested I try to change America one family at a time. So we started with our family – a retail-free weekend spent with family and friends. Very enjoyable. Give it a try come Veterans Day this November.

End of School Year Mania: The Downside of Making The Unimportant Important

4 June 2007

irish-celebration.gifMaking the rounds of high school graduation parties this month, I’m repeatedly asked about the differences between life in Ireland vs. life in the States. My wife Jules’s post, End Of The Year Mania, covers a key area of difference, how we in the States are making important events (like high school graduations) unimportant by over-celebrating the trivial (like preschool graduations.) Jules references a brilliant piece in the The Boston Globe’s op-ed section on the downside of American over-celebrating. Jules nicely contrasts this with the upside of the Irish way of making the really important things truly matter more. Check it out.