Why Do Most Companies Fail?

Paul Allen answers:

My guess is that most companies fail primarily because they dont have the right team of people. The CEO might not be right, or the CEO hasnt chosen the right people in the right positions, because most CEOs dont know the talent level required at each position and the teamwork needed to build a successful company.

This is especially true of young CEOs, who havent been around the block, who havent seen great talent in action, in all the roles necessary to build a successful company.

The more I think about what CEOs do, the more I seem to think a comparison to a basketball coach is appropriate. To have a successful company, most businesses need key people in several categories including research & development, manufacturing, IT, finance, marketing, sales, and HR. Many CEOs may have personally succeeded in one of these areas. For example, most Inc 500 CEOs say they are personally strong in sales and marketing. I think the number was 80% last time I saw a survey.

But CEOs of struggling companies most likely have strong employees in areas where they know what talent is, but mediocre employees in all the other areas that theyve never coached before.

If a CEO has never worked for a company with a great finance person, how can they be expected to hire someone that is great? Same with every position in the company.

Secret of Success

Michael Hyatt writes:

The truth is, you are building your reputationyour brandone response at a time. People are shaping their view of you by how you respond to them. If you are slow, they assume you are incompetent and over your head. If you respond quickly, they assume you are competent and on top of your work. Their perception, whether you realize it or not, will determine how fast your career advances and how high you go. You cant afford to be unresponsive. It is a career-killer.

My basic rule is this: respond immediately unless there is a good reason to wait. Obviously, this isnt always possible, especially since I spend so much time in meetings. Nevertheless, I rarely let messages sit longer than a day. Twenty-four hours is the outside edge. If you cant respond now, then at least acknowledge that you have received the message: I received your message. I dont have time to give it the attention it deserves right now, but you can expect to hear from me before the end of the day tomorrow.

The great thing about being responsive is that it will quickly differentiate you from your peers. People love doing business with responsive people. Nothing will advance your career faster than this.