Saturday, September 26, 2009

Live-blogging GrowthCamp

This morning we're in sunny St. Catharines, Ont. attending GrowthCamp, the conference for PROFIT Magazine's Hot 50 CEOs - the leaders of Canada's emerging growth companies. Despite the early hour, there's lots of energy in the room with all these youthful CEOs - all of whom have at least doubled their companies' annual revenues in the past two years.

First speaker is Kraig Kramers of CEO Tools, an energetic CEO/consultant who develops growth and management systems, tools and processes geared to entrepreneurs. He's offering 45 growth tools this morning - nearly one for every CEO in attendance.

But his first point is anything but quantitative. He reminds us that our goal as leaders should be to put a smile on everyone's face.

And he says the most important thing you can do as a leader is to open up communication in your organization. Make sure it goes bottom-up as well as top-down. Kramers says he owes his success in many businesses to listening to his employeees and associates. "If you go around and ask employees what to do they will always tell you."

Kramers says every CEO, every day, should "Walk the 4 corners of your enterprise." Pick out a few employees every day to talk to and confide in. Ask them:

* How can we improve our product for the customer?
* How can we improve our product?
* What do we have to do to make things better?

Too many CEOS, he says, "tend to deafness, listen selectively and get ourselves isolated."

A few more gems from Kraig Kramers:
* "Trust and communication rise together and fall together in every organization."

* "When we stop communicating, trust drops."

* "Use the same relationship-building tools you use every day outside the business to build trust in your business."

* "These are simple, silly little tools, but they really work."

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