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November 2017
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The Missing Link
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.
Contributed photo
Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.

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A confidentiality agreement is necessary at the onset since the first step is to provide a care package to the assessor that contains items such as financials, strategic plans, sales demographics, compensation plans, and any other data specific to the perceived issues you may have identified. This allows for homework, research and analysis prior to the actual assessment visit.

After the package review and an on-site visit, you should expect an Assessment Review Report with realistic details on your operations and issues.

Typical Executive Reactions

Sometimes reality can be tough. It may mean firing your brother or laying off a number of family members. It may mean replacing your Vice President of Sales. It may mean accepting the fact that you haven’t put business needs ahead of personal needs in the past. It could even be as extreme as finding out you are the problem and you have to hire someone to help you run your business for you. 

Of course, it’s easy to site the extreme examples. More often than not, once the assessment is complete, you clearly understand the issues, agree with them and embrace them eagerly. You are excited about solving the problems now that you have a clear picture of the direction you must take. It’s now time to really get your money’s worth and start formulating specific action steps. You may feel like a burden has been lifted from your shoulders – a burden of doubt, uncertainty and frustration. The picture becomes much more clear since there is no baggage attached to an experienced outside pair of eyes.

Other quotes from CEO Strategist's assessment clients include, “Not surprisingly, they really nailed the issues we knew we had to deal with and several more that escaped our radar screen," from the CFO of a 50 million dollar distributor, and “I should have done this years ago – maybe I could have circumvented some of these issues,” from the VP/Sales of a 100 million dollar distributor.

Lessons Learned

What are the take-aways from the assessment process? Based on past experiences from assessments across many industries, you can expect to learn the following:

• A realization that cherished beliefs are not always true

• A gap existing between “world view” & “world reality” will be defined

• Organization structure is a function of work

• People truly are your most precious asset

• Success must have a platform created from the bottom up, not the top down

• Your company Culture is critical to success

Going through an assessment is not an easy task. It’s not for the faint of heart or someone that lacks self-confidence and self-esteem. More often than not, you will face the reality that your assumptions and conclusions were inaccurate. It becomes a comparison between a realistic view defined by an outside, experienced source versus your own perceptions that may be too close to the source to properly diagnose. Once that gap is defined, creating action plans and solutions becomes far less difficult. You become sure of the direction to take. You know the right problems to solve and have proper data on how best to solve them.

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Dr. Rick Johnson is the founder of CEO Strategist and a veteran of the wholesale distribution industry with more than 30 years of executive management experience. To learn more or arrange to have him speak to your company, click here.
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