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Ayman Al-Abdullah

Does it feel like you’re herding cats?

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

Why you’re getting this: I’m Ayman Al-Abdullah and this is my CEO Newsletter. You probably signed up via one of my social links 🔗

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Thanks for reading, and on to this week's edition.


One of the most frustrating experiences as CEO is feeling like your leadership team is sprinting in opposite directions.

Your job as CEO is to align them around a common goal.

“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.” - Elon Musk

The way you do this is with three critical elements:

  1. Your North Star (why you exist and how progress is measured)
  2. Your Strategic Flywheel (how you build momentum into your company)
  3. Your Strategic Plan (how you unblock friction points on your strategic flywheel)

All of these elements should be discussed and finalized in your Strategic Planning Summit.

The CEO is the primary driver of this event.

This is a time when you define (or redefine) the company’s vision and strategy. You set long-term objectives and put a plan in place to achieve them.

This means that you need a prioritization framework for deciding what to attack first.

At any given time you only have one bottleneck in your business.

This should be your only focus of improvement.

Like an ER Doctor, 99% of your job is diagnosing the true problem of growth.

New ideas will pop up at every meeting. Many of them will sound good but will also require a shift in attention away from another priority. This is where companies go to die: spinning in circles while switching priorities constantly with no focus on achieving long-term objectives.

Now that your business has had some success, you may not notice this happening. If you’re pulling in $5 million in annual revenue and money keeps hitting your bank account, it’s easy to ignore this issue. Your team will have the luxury of exploring new ideas because there’s no rush to hit the next tough deadline or avoid a cash crunch. This attitude can derail your company.

Now is the time to double down!

How do you implement a plan to avoid this? How do you keep your team focused on long-term progress?

Progress can be harder to measure at this stage of the company because the time horizon is stretched out. In the startup phase, the horizon of success was only one or two months out. At a larger, scaling company, the time horizon could be quarters or even years. That makes it easy for your team to lose focus for a few weeks (or even months) without anyone noticing.

  1. What is the end goal for your company?
  2. What are you trying to build in the long-run?

Those are questions you’ll need to answer if you want to keep your business on track. Devise a plan to help you (or your executive team) decide when new ideas should be considered and implemented while avoiding “shiny object syndrome.”

Carve out two days to meet with your strategic team to get answers to these questions or you’ll feel like herding cats forever.

Once you have a plan in place, you can start to execute it. This will require making some tough decisions about where to focus your team’s attention and resources — but it’s a necessary step on your way to nine figures.

2023 Starts Next Month.

Does your team have:

🎯 1 clear goal for the company

🏗 3 strategic leverage projects

💪🏽 5 things each person needs to accomplish to drive these projects forward

If not, don't be frustrated when it feels like everyone is running in different directions.

Talk soon,
Ayman

P.S. Want my Annual Strategic Planning Agenda Template? Reply to this email in the next 48 hours and I’ll send it to you!

Ayman Al-Abdullah

Former CEO of AppSumo (grew from $3M to $80M+ in revenue). I now help CEO's go from 7 to 9 figures by day. On a Mission to Create One Million Millionaires. 🧱

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