Newsletter: Reflections from a CEO
Last year our team’s theme was “Focus.” Looking back now, I can report that it worked. We enjoyed blockbuster growth and proved out our belief that intentionally doing fewer things leads to bigger impact. Along the way, we also had three insights that I’m eager to share with you and that we hope to use for sustained progress.
The first insight was that it will be more fruitful (and fun!) to do what you do best. We’ve been fortunate over the last 12 years to have done lots of different types of projects for many great clients. Along the way our website had become a catalog of all those solutions, making it hard for people who needed our support to choose – like when you go to a nice restaurant and are given a binder of stellar wine options. Considering the stresses our clients were under last year, they couldn’t sift through lots of choices; they needed the proven results of our greatest hits. Importantly, we also needed that focus. At our core, we help successful companies retain talent and build better leaders, rainmakers, and cultures. Focusing on those services with the strongest track records allowed us to calmly deliver results our clients could count on.
A second insight is the importance of people. This was my shoeless cobbler moment. While people development is a big part of our business, I have historically invested most of my time helping others rather than our team. Last year, I decided to define my success as CEO internally as much as externally – including by reallocating my time to pour into Mountaintop’s great talent. Not taking every engagement remains uncomfortable, but it has enabled us to bring on some wonderful new talent, to prioritize our team’s professional development, and to make an intense period more enjoyable. Importantly, focusing on our people also allowed us to maintain our culture as we expanded, a common challenge for fast-growing companies.
Our third big insight is that sometimes businesses should put personal priorities on the to-do list. For instance, last spring it became apparent that our mission-driven team was so busy executing our greatest hit projects that not much downtime was being taken and little vacation time was planned. So, we added vacation scheduling to our weekly, one-on-one discussions and incorporated a check-in point on our team meeting agenda related to outside interests, exercise, and self-care. Creating accountability at work for personal activities might feel invasive, but I encourage you to find a comfortable approach that acknowledges what we all know: investing as much in our physical and mental health as we do to deliver great client work both drives and protects returns.
We look forward to another year of collaborating with exceptional people and organizations like you. Thanks for being a part of the Mountaintop community.
Precious Williams Owodunni | CEO & Founder of Mountaintop Consulting
This letter was originally published in Mountaintop Consulting’s monthly newsletter. You can read the full newsletter here.
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