Not All Growth is Good Growth

How Can I Grow Profitably AND Add Value to My Business?

NSS CEO Workshop | Wed,  Nov 5, 2014

10:30am – 12:30pm with light lunch

Bay Colony Office Park, 950 Winter Street, Waltham, MA 02451


Not all Growth is Good Growth! Join an expert panel to learn how you can drive your company’s growth.  The CEOs will talk about their own experience and the experts will bring an outside perspective of what makes a business more valuable over another.


Moderator: Laurie Kirk, CEO of The Board Forum

A sample of questions we will address:

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  • What are the Differences in Value Creation both Short & Long term?
  • How do you Mitigate Risks and Reduce your Cost of Capital?
  • How do you Promote Operational Excellence across your Organization that Generates a Strong EBITDA?


NSS 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.


Looking for Growth Strategies?  Contact Next Stage Solutions to Start a Conversation!  617.449.7728


Measure what you Manage

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure!

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

Keeping  a competitive edge in today’s market place requires ongoing investment in the transformation of your business.  What kind of information should you be looking for to give you the necessary insights?  Are you collecting the right kind of data?  Are things on track?

Let’s take a look!  A Performance Metric is a measure of an organization’s behavior and performance against a stated target or goal.  You can’t manage what you cannot measure. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a group of metrics that allow you to track your progress and promote accountability & transparency throughout an organization. The measurables have to be informative; they must be chosen carefully.

KPIs are a management tool, a set of metrics to assure complete alignment with your corporate strategy. Create a few metrics that provide a holistic overview. The metrics vary from activity to activity and industry to industry. However, they should support the needs of your company as well as your customers, stakeholders and employees. Strong KPIs give us ample time to make necessary changes. Make sure you have some metrics similar to those of your competition so that you can compare.

What is important to your business? If you use metrics, how well do they measure your goals?

Here are our steps to implement effective measures for your organization:

1. Clearly define your Corporate goals

2. Identify short and long term operational goals

3. Develop business plans with goals and objectives that tie to Corporate goals

4. Establish milestones, deliverables, and tasks to support these objectives

5. Develop and implement metrics for all key activities

6. Monitor progress and make corrections/improvements as needed to stay on course

7. Assess the effectiveness of metrics and modify if necessary.

Communicate all the steps with your employees; buy-in is an important piece of the success of your actions. Include them in deciding what metrics are important for their department or division. If an employee is held accountable for certain outcomes, it is best to include him/her in the decision making process. Evoke a sense of ownership and they will have ideas in how to optimize their task or department. Make it a learning environment.

Once your metrics are in place, begin to gather data and trends. Accurate and timely data are vital and automation can facilitate their collection. Remember, as your business changes, so do your KPIs, so monitor them regularly and re-align them with your budget and forecasting process.

Transparency and accountability are a big part of this initiative. All information used to create a KPI must be transparent and data must be accurate. All KPIs must have actionable steps and the behavior-driven steps are backed by incentives to your employees. Talent retention is vital to the middle market success. Disengagements are associated with an employee not knowing the potential contribution he/she could be making. Keeping KPIs simple with clearly defined expectations will improve job satisfaction and will add value to your business.

According to the Aberdeen Group, midmarket enterprises that establish methods for defining key performance indicators, and conduct regular reviews for these performance indicators, tend to perform better in the marketplace.”

Whether you are starting new with performance metrics or you are concerned your current metrics do not give you the desired outcome, start the conversation today in how you can drive results with the right performance metrics. Transparency and accountability will be on your side as you have a way to measure and manage.

Listen to our short video for this month’s RudiTuesday for steps to take and how to properly plan your next acquisition. – See more at:
Listen to our short video for this month’s RudiTuesday for steps to take and how to properly plan your next acquisition. – See more at:

Get some additional points from this month’s RudiTuesday short video and call us at 617-449-7728 so we can help you get there faster!

Listen to our short video for this month’s RudiTuesday for steps to take and how to properly plan your next acquisition. – See more at:

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.

CFO Mentoring and Advising

Launch of our CFO Mentoring and Advising Program

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

As the CEO of a growing business you like your incumbent CFO and appreciate the loyalty and support s/he has given you over the years. You know that your CFO is working harder than ever; however, you are also aware of her/his shortcomings in both financial sophistication and leadership. So how can your CFO learn to work outside the preparation of numbers and provide insightful business advice and counsel to your leadership team?

Does this situation sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. NSS recently had this very discussion with a group of midmarket CEOs and discovered a number of common characteristics.

Here are some findings:

•    Your Head of Finance Person comes with different titles: CFO, Controller, VP of Finance, Office Manager, etc.
•    Expectations for that CFO vary from business to business; more likely than not the expectations are focused on the transactional side of finance, the accounting and compliance side.
•    Typically midmarket businesses have worked with the same CFO for more than 10 years. Although the needs of the business have changed, often the work has increased exponentially on the transactional side.
•    Many CEOs compliment what is missing from finance, such as monthly analysis, enterprise risk assessment for an acquisition or launching a new product line. The CEO picks up where the CFO leaves off.

An IBM CFO study in 2010 The Growing Gap makes one message exceedingly clear: “The organizations best positioned to integrate value at the enterprise level excel at both Finance efficiency and business insight. It is the combination that pushes the business toward smarter decisions and fuels better performance.”

Once your business grows to 50 employees or more, the complexity and sophistication of all business processes increases considerably. Having access to a progressive Finance Leader and Business Partner to consult on important issues can be an invaluable asset for today’s CEO.

NSS works with many midmarket companies and we are finding a universal need for a better understanding of what a Strategic CFO or Finance Leader needs to bring to the table. How should you establish reasonable expectations for your CFO and why are those expectations (mindset) so important to the health of your business and in keeping a competitive edge?

Let me start with the mindset. A successful company recognizes the importance of having both the tactical and strategic viewpoints whether it is marketing, sales or finance.

Let’s look at some common scenarios so you can identify the messages from your CFO:

1.    CFO is too busy with internal activities such as reporting, management and day to day transactions and does not have the time.
2.    CFO takes the time to meet, but feels uncertain or uncomfortable in how to best advise you in next steps. The tendency is to move back to the historical data where they feel most comfortable in assessing your future risk.
3.    CFO embraces the discussion and brings a positive energy to your ideas of growth.

Where are you in this picture?

More importantly, what can you do to assist your CFO to transition to the proper mindset to support your needs?

NSS is offering a new Program in response to this need; we call it Business Development for your CFO, a form of mentoring and advising. Our Growth Advisors work directly with you and your CFO on a strategic initiative you have been putting on hold but is necessary for your next stage of growth. The NSS Growth Advisor then works with your CFO to successfully complete the initiative within a specific time frame.

This hands-on approach makes it both real to you and the CFO and the outcome is as follows:

1.    A strategic Initiative gets completed no matter of the CFO capabilities.
2.    Your CFO is delighted and appreciates the support to work more strategically.
3.    After completing the initiative, your CFO decides it is outside her/his comfort zone. This allows you to augment the strategic aspects with a Growth Advisor.    
4.    You get another point of view in how finance should run internally and allow for additional resources and processes to free up your strategic CFO.

We are passionate about growth and want to hear from you. Share with us your success story of such a partnership. Start a conversation with us by calling us at 617-449-7728.

Watch our Video: Rudi Tuesday Webisode 6



by Jeffrey Deckman, a serial entrepreneur for 30+ years in the technology and human capital fields. As the founder of Capability Accelerators, he is the creator of the Bigger Know Principles of Leadership which teach the modern executive the new leadership skills required to maximize the ROI from their human capital investments.

Nothing is the same in the new, post-industrial, information/knowledge age economy.

In the industrial age economy assembly line thinking, mass production and repetitive processes drove profits. Linearity, formulas and 5 to 7 year plans ruled the day.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the relative stability and predictability of the industrial age is gone forever. Mind searing changes in technology as well as unprecedented levels of disruptive and game changing innovations have turned strict reliance upon “linearity, predictability and 5 to 7 year plans” into severe liabilities.

In addition, technology and the expectations of the modern client has made agility, innovation, collaboration and “5 Star” customer service key factors that determine success or failure for the modern company. These are all human capital centric activities.

The combination of these two unprecedented changes is forcing both CEO’s and CFO’s to shift from a predominantly process oriented mindset to a “Systems Thinking” mindset. And since innovation, creativity, collaboration and customer service are all employee driven activities, they are being challenged to exhibit excellent collaboration, communication and cooperation skills.

This means they must develop their EQ to go along with their already high IQ if they want to play a role in maximizing EBITDA.

Garth Saloner, the Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business in a recent Gallup interview was asked what attributes CEO’s were looking for from those being recruited from their MBA program. The summation of his answer was that they were looking for people who had excellent “soft skills”.

Almost anyone can learn formulas, processes and the “hard skills” of business. But to be effective in the modern world CFO’s must not only “play nice with others” but they must also become proactive catalysts for collaboration, who think and plan strategically.

Being a CFO is no longer just about number crunching. The new CFO 2.0 will operate like “shadow CEOs” who adopt Systems Thinking and who become experts at leveraging both the financial capital and the human capital of the organization to maximize the ROI of both assets.

The new economy is forcing both the CEO and the CFO community to think very differently or face being left behind. Of the two, I think it may be the CFO community who will more challenged to make this adjustment.

The modern business world requires a lot of right brain activity from highly left brained individuals.

The good news is in my work with CEO’s and CFO’s I have seen that once they see the LOGIC in adapting the new ways of thinking and begin learning the new collaborative leadership SYSTEMS they can employ, their progress is quick and it sticks. Then the results keep them motivated to master these skills.

A company that is fortunate to have both a CEO and a CFO that are Systems Thinkers and master collaborators will secretly possess one of the most competitive advantages imaginable and will be rewarded with prosperity.

The emergence of the new CFO 2.0 will redefine the modern organization.

Forward-Looking Finance Leader for Tomorrow's Market Challenges

The Forward-Looking Finance Leader you need Today to meet the Market Place Challenges of Tomorrow!

In tandem with our Webisode Rudi Tuesday launch Oct 1, 2013, let me share additional insight on how to think about your Finance Leader in your business, and why it matters to the company you want to be tomorrow.

What does Forward-Looking Finance mean?

According to Deloitte “it means being able to advance your organization’s growth or improve its competitive position by identifying the key constraints holding it back…. in other words, today’s environment requires a CFO to be not just a strategist, but a pragmatic strategist.”

In planning to grow your business, it is imperative to have access to a Finance Leader who understands market challenges and opportunities, helps you develop a market strategy, and then creates an operational plan with milestones and performance metrics to transform your business to its next stage.

This may be a paradigm shift in how the Finance Function is viewed today versus how we set the right expectations for tomorrow so that you can remain agile and truly compete and grow in the new economic environment.

Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel in an interview with Matthew Quinn of the Wall Street Journal, sums up what he needs from his CFO, Stacy Smith “One role is classic finance to focus Intel on driving profits and compliance with all laws world-wide. The other role is to be a sounding board for me and other senior managers in terms of strategies and opportunities.”

In addition to being a sounding board, the Finance Leader is an influencer and partner to the organization.  With excellent communications and people skills, your CFO supports you with timely and accurate communications.  Additionally, s/he has the ability to bring people together to identify challenges/opportunities, and develop and implement business solutions.  The cross-functional Finance Leader is also operationally driven and understands the importance of efficient business systems and processes for optimal and effective scalability.

In a recent article on the topic of Finance Leader, Ernst & Young says “Finance leaders must … be highly adept at building and leading effective teams around them.”  This position is increasingly more the public face of your company and therefore must effectively build relationships both internally as well as externally.

Lastly, the Finance Leader for the future needs to embrace transformations within your organization.  Whether you are going through a re-alignment or integration from an acquisition, the Finance Leadership requires strong people skills and plays a pivotal role in leading these transformations to make your growth strategies successful in creating value.


Still uncertain whether you have the right Finance Leader to support you in your future growth? Listen to our short video that gives some examples in how an effective Finance Leader brings value. You may also access the hand outs available on our website page Rudi Tuesday.

Of course, you can always pick up the phone and give us a call for a conversation at 617-449-7728

CEOs Secret Weapon:Identify & Mitigate Risk for Successful Decision-Making

CEO Workshop Co-Sponsored by Next Stage Solutions and Adaptive Planning



Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | 10:30am – 12:30pm

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

Register Today!

With the proper approach and correct decision tools, CRITICAL business decisions can be clearly defined, analyzed, and successfully executed by the leadership of any organization.  CRITICAL DECISIONS include:

  • Acquisition or Merger
  • New Product Launch
  • Key Technology Purchase
  • Strategic Alliance/Partnerships
  • New R&D Project
  • Major Capital Investment
  • Sales Force Expansion/Re-Alignment

Overall Approach:

  • Identification of Business Assumptions/Rationale
  • Key Business Drivers
  • Comprehensive Analysis
  • Sensitivity Testing (What-if Scenarios)
  • Executive Summation
  • Post-Decision Follow-up & Outcome Comparison

The NSS value proposition as growth advisors provides the structured approach and oversight for critical decision, making, while Adaptive Planning provides the tools and methodology of effective decision support.

Adaptive Planning is the worldwide leader in cloud-based business analytics solutions for companies of all sizes. The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform enables finance and executive team collaboration in planning, monitoring, reporting, and analyzing financial and operational performance.