Effective Strategy Execution

Logo Exec Lead Part II:  Tomorrow is Here: Profitable Growth Requires Critical Assessments for Effective Strategy Execution          

Tuesday, March 29 Noon – 2pm over lunch

Specially for You:   Bring a CEO and Get a 2 for 1       Register yourself at regular rate and your prospect/client CEO at no charge with the special NSSCEO code.

Register Today!

Questions we will be addressing:

  • What specific changes did you make so that you could truly scale your business?
  • Do you have a certain process you follow?  If so, can you share that process?
  • What are your stories, both positive and negative, that you believe are essential for any CEO when considering profitable growth?
  • What we cannot measure we cannot manage.  What are your top three value drivers and how do you measure them?
  • Can you share with us what measures you have put in place to assure that the strategic plan gets executed within the capital resources and timeframe you planned?
  • How are you making use of the available technology and where do you see the potential competitive advantage?


Randy Nunley, CEO of Odyssey Systems Consulting Group
Charley Storey, President of Harpoon Brewery
Kevin Young, President of Mondi International
Moderator:    Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO of Next Stage Solutions, Inc.

Come and hear from successful CEOs in how they shifted their focus to achieve growth by implementing the right infrastructure to effectively identifying new growth opportunities.

Join us to learn more in how CEOs have embraced qualitative and quantitative practices to address demands critical for future growth and long-term value creation.

ACCELERATED GROWTH DEMANDS CRITICAL AND INNOVATIVE SHIFTS  A 3-part mini series on how today’s business leaders successfully grow their organizations.

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz of Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 617. 449. 7728 or Andy Snider of Snider Associates | 617. 947. 1170

NSS feels the love…


Is February a good month to consider looking at growth opportunities and start with a Benchmark Assessment?

Well, we feel the love in the air so please read on and check out our gift to you below!

For any new readers, NSS is an experienced, cross-functional and operationally driven group of Business and Finance Advisors.  In particular, we focus in four areas of your business:

  1. Growth Opportunities
  2. Profit Optimization
  3. Business Systems and Processes
  4. CFO Search and CFO Mentorship

NSS finished tabulating the results of a CEO SURVEY taken in Q4 of 2015.  Our survey incorporated questions around growth, decision-making, immediate challenges and their view of importance on financial expertise.

Let’s take the first one, GROWTH, and how they identify opportunities.  What is their process in making sure the opportunity is achievable and optimal for the organization? Our question “What could hold you back from achieving your growth objectives”, provided us with an evenly distributed response:

  • 1/3 feared that the opportunity would no longer exist as planned, whether additional products to market materialize or lack of opportunity in general
  • 1/3 worried of not finding the additional capital
  • 1/3 were concerned in finding the right people

The first one is indeed an intriguing fear and I would like to address this a bit further.  With continuous uncertain market conditions, an organization today must be nimble, efficient and quick in the decision-making process. Goals are achieved by companies who operate at the highest level of effectiveness. In order for the CEO and Business Owner to understand how to maximize growth and profit opportunities, they must understand the contributing value of each of the Four Functional Business Elements: Sales, Operations, Finance and Organizational Culture.

We learned that most of the CEO Survey takers did not have any particular decision-making process, but mostly relied on their intuition.  A day in the life of a CEO is extremely demanding yet making a silo-based decision could hurt the company long term.  Every decision has ramifications to the entire organization, whether it is an offsite Strategy meeting or a Sales Pipeline Projection Exercise.  Don’t get me wrong, these activities are important, but the dots must be connected back to the Four Functional Business Elements and eventually back to Finance.

In order for a business to successfully and optimally make decisions, they must first understand the interdependency of these four business functions, how they relate or not relate. Often changes can be made easily within a department so not to hold up a decision-making process or in the worst case, miss the opportunity all together for a new product launch.

Two years ago, NSS developed a Benchmark Assessment tool to help our clients gain a more in-depth understanding of how the business functions interrelate and how they can de-risk the business with having a solid decision-making process in place. Because we at NSS practice cross-functional thinking when working with our clients, we created a true value for them in developing our short and long version of a business assessment tool: Best Practice Roadmap™.

It is February and we feel the love in the air!!  NSS   offers you a complimentary short version of a Best Practice Roadmap™


The assessment is designed for businesses with $15M+ in annual revenue and if you would like to find out how you stack up against best practice firms, please send us your contact information and we will send you the link to fill out the assessment online.  Once you complete the assessment, we will analyze the information and send you back a report. Of course, with complete confidentiality.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!  Rudi and the NSS team

Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz of Next Stage Solutions, Inc. | 617. 449. 7728

Key Ingredients for the Right CFO: Interview with Karil Reibold

Interview with CEO Karil Reibold

by Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO of Next Stage Solutions, Inc

Thank you Karil for taking the time to speak with me on this important subject of how to define the RIGHT CFO for your business.  We get this question quite a bit of just what should the expectations be of a CFO.  CEOs know that Accounting and a CPA are no longer adequate from the Head of Finance.  I thought there is no better way to get some take-aways than from a dynamic CEO.

  • In your past CEO role of a fast growing business, what were the key ingredients you were looking for in finding the right CFO?

I think the most important ingredient that I look for is a business partner.  Some of the key attributes are:  strategic, open minded and able to think out of the box, but must be hands on at the same time.  A CFO, who isn’t afraid to learn the business and understands and supports the catalysts to growth (spending money on the right things).   Also, critical is their ability to develop and manage people.   This needs to be coupled with a strong sense of fiduciary responsibility to the corporation, its investors, partners and employees.

  • How important was it to you to have a CFO partner who supported and augmented your position in the board meetings?

To me the CFO has a dual reporting structure to the CEO and the board.  Their role is to ensure proper governance and financial reporting.   I think healthy collaboration and disagreement of ideas within the executive team belongs in a staff meeting or strategy meeting.  I encourage that interaction.  But, I feel strongly that those debates should be resolved prior to a board meeting.  The executive team should provide a unified and clear message to the board.  That isn’t to say opinions are not welcome from the executive team, it just means we don’t second guess our decisions at the board level.  This means no surprises.  The board has two roles.  The first role is they provide fiduciary oversight for all stakeholders of the company.  I define stakeholders to be investors, partners and employees.  The second role of the board is to challenge the strategy and provide feedback to the executive team on the vision, mission, goals and progress against those goals.  So often, I see executive teams bring problems to their board without a well thought out solution.  This is a slippery slope.  From the CFO perspective their role is to support the CEO and the rest of the team with well vetted financial models that ensure the strategy works.

  • Efficiency and Effectiveness are always top of mind. What are your expectations for a CFO to successfully achieve a best practices organization?

Once the business model has been validated, it becomes all about velocity.  It starts with a clear vision and a set of goals.  These goals translate into roles and responsibilities within the organization.  Automating and process mapping are essential to efficiency and velocity especially in rapid growth businesses.  This needs to be a continuous improvement loop because times change and people get stuck in doing what we always did.  I am also a strong believer that a broken or missing process is usually the issue when the “blame game” happens in an organization.  The blame game is usually played cross functionally where dependencies from one group are impacting the other.  Usually people are blamed, but I always look to what is wrong with the process.

  • What are some of lessons learned in not having the right CFO and how did it affect your business or business that you have worked with?

I think the number one lesson that I have learned and encountered is that there is a perception that a CFO isn’t needed until a certain point in a company’s life cycle.  By not bringing them in soon enough, the CFO is faced with getting up to speed quickly in a rapid growth environment without the necessary infrastructure or employees in place.  I think the perception comes from a number of factors.  The first is a preconceived idea of what the CFO’s profile should look like.  With many potential outcomes for the business, CEO’s struggle to figure out what is the right resource for some point down the road and do not realize the challenges right now.  I think the second factor is that CFO’s need to bring a balance of being strategic, hands on and have the ability to learn the business and manage multiple stakeholders.  No small task.  The CFO needs to think broader than just the financial.  They are not counting cash but providing strategy and leadership and value to the organization in other ways than just the perception that they are the fiduciary stewards.

  • What recommendations do you have in terms of expectations setting for your future CFO?

Be strategic, yet fiscally responsible, understand the business drivers, don’t just be the “no” guy.  Look at what the business needs, anticipate future funding and cash flow and see around corners.  Figure out where to invest resources to achieve huge success.  Be open to learning and collaborating, and developing a solid team. And don’t forget to roll up your sleeves.

Karil Reibold’s Bio

Karil Reibold has over 20 years of experience as a results driven senior operating executive helping companies define their organizational strategy and how they execute to achieve results that drive stakeholder value.  In her career, she has raised in excess of $300 million in debt and equity financing.

Most recently, she served as the CEO and President of Whaleback Managed Services were she was responsible for creating a culture to deliver a best in class managed service offering which drove revenue growth for over 16 consecutive quarters. Karil’s work as an Executive in Residence at Norwest Venture Partners allowed her to work with portfolio companies to define the right go-to-market strategy, build the right team and drive shareholder value.

Karil has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and a strong sense of commitment to her community and the investment in future generations.

The Role of the CEO in Lean

CEO Workshops are part of our continuing series of educational forums where CEOs participate in peer-to-peer exchanges of ideas and thought leadership. Professional Advisors may attend with a CEO or call the office.

The Role of the CEO in LEAN


Register Today!

Tuesday | May 13,  2014

10:30am – 12:30pm

with a Light Lunch


Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. at CityPoint 230 Third Avenue, 4th Floor Waltham, MA 02451


Moderator: Patricia Wardwell, COO at GBMP

Join an expert panel to learn how lean can drive your company growth. Not just for manufacturers!

  • What is the business case for lean?
  • Are you and your company ready to change your way of thinking?
  • Do you and your managers really understand what your customer’s values are?
  • Can your company’s culture adapt to continuous improvement?
  • Does your company have the passion and perseverance to become lean?


CEO Interview on Corporate Alignment

A Successful Alignment and Cross-Functional Approach to Company’s Value, Mission and Long Range Goals

By Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO of Next Stage Solutions, Inc

The QUABAUG Corporation was founded in 1916 in North Brookfield, MA.  Named after a regional Native American tribe, the company began manufacturing a variety of mechanical rubber goods. Today the company’s focus is providing the most technologically advanced products for the performance oriented footwear customer.

Kevin M. Donahue, Chairman and CEO became sole owner of the company in 2010. By maintaining a strong work ethic, Quabaug continues to grow and flourish. The strategy is to make soles more important than shoes. Don’t sell to everyone and grow the brand globally. Make the best products in the world.

I had the pleasure to interview Kevin in how he approached some major changes in his company.

1. As companies grow, they build out departments and before we know, each department becomes a silo of its own. What key issue or challenge led you to believe that you needed to address an alignment?

It was anti-management by objective. I firmly believe that compensating people for accomplishing their objectives is detrimental to team work. We implemented a compensation plan that was based on the individual yet more heavily weighted towards the team.

Sales personnel were focused only on sales but had no long term commitment to customers.

We used to have a budget process, but abandoned this process and replaced it with a quarterly rolling forecast planning towards long term goals.

2. What was the first step you took to bring greater transparency between the key business elements such as sales, operations and finance?

Given that we have 270 employees, we created a champion team. It is now called the leadership team with 35 members. That is where I first made all major financials available to them, and then transitioned into the Rockefeller Habits (Verne Harnish) from predictability models to prioritizing. Now I make all financials available to the leadership team. 

Those people then met with the rest of the associates to discuss the broader goals and broader financials. We have always had KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) but we used the 20/20 planning from the Rockefeller Habits. We established both service metrics and quality metrics, including lean metrics that should be measured and accounted for in a cascading method.

My job is to support the people above and by managing bottom up.

3. Did your managers and employees embrace this change? If not, how did you approach the change?

They embraced it. We approached it in the spirit of continuous improvement and learning. We gave everyone a chance to grow. We also created a 20/20 plan, an instant rewards program.

4. Where did you come across the strongest push back and why?

The accounting department gave us the hardest push back. They wanted to stick to GAAP rules, often confused and wanting to lead the company by making the numbers. A budget can be totally detrimental, especially in a private company.

5. Today, you are running a very agile business and your employees accept change and are part of the overall problem solving mentality. What positive affect did you see short –term and long term?

Making a disciplined investment in ISO, Lean and Rockefeller Habits. If you believe that freely chosen discipline and procedures breed autonomy, then give people the freedom to actively participate in the profit and progress. QUABAUG is a company built for participation, no spectators are allowed. Accountability is the most important aspect in achieving corporate goals.

6. A Benchmark Assessment is really the first step in attacking this challenge. What is the most important message you want to give to other CEOs of growing businesses, something they really should pay attention to now?

Create an atmosphere where change and continuous improvement is rewarded and embraced. This will be the foundation for long term growth and profitability. For a company to grow, employees need to be inward driven where they can grow.


Best Practice Roadmap

Alignment Leads to Successful Companies

by Robert M. Weber, Managing Director at Next Stage Solutions, Inc. |  weber@nextstagesolutions.com

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, organizations must remain agile, efficient, and responsive to the needs of their customers. It is critical that information be accurately and effectively communicated across the organization so that important issues/challenges facing the Company can be promptly addressed with the collective knowledge and expertise of Company resources.

There is an old proverb that says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. A best practice roadmap is just that, a roadmap to help organizations identify their shortcomings and adopt the behaviors and attributes of successful Companies in order to achieve their desired goals.

Within these successful Companies, the key business elements (Sales, Operations, Finance, and Organization) are closely aligned by the Company’s core values, mission, and long ranges goals & objectives. As a result, shorter term objectives for each business element to support the longer term goals of the Company are clearly identified, while defining interdependencies and encouraging collaboration across the entire organization. When issues, threats, or opportunities present themselves, a concerted effort is quickly undertaken by appropriate members of the organization to review, evaluate, and recommend comprehensive solutions to management for immediate implementation.

Many struggling Companies today operate in “silos” seldom communicating about the important issues facing the Company. As a result, threats and challenges as well as opportunities to grow the business and increase the Company’s value go undetected. Upon further review, it is usually determined that an insightful piece of information was known to someone within a business element at the outset; however, nothing was communicated to others in the organization and no specific action was taken. As often stated, “silos are good for storage, but in business, they create risk and uncertainty that leads to failure”.

There is an ancient story about a blacksmith who did not replace a loose nail on the horseshoe of a courier’s mount. As a result of the loose nail, the mount threw the shoe during a long ride to deliver a critical message; as a result of the thrown shoe, the mount went lame; without his mount, the courier did not deliver a critical message to his General; without the message, the General made decisions that lost a major battle; the loss of the major battle lead to losing the War. As we have often seen in business, little things that go unattended can lead to major issues and missed opportunities for many organizations in today’s highly competitive market.

Developing a comprehensive plan, establishing goals and measurable objectives, and effectively communicating information across the organization can keep your organization on the path to success.

Watch a Video on Benchmark Assessment