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CEO Leadership Insights - February 2024

“The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”

Johann Wolfgang Goethe


German philosopher

The “Zamboni” Revolution

Productivity stories show up in the strangest places, and if you’re a hockey fan, here’s one for you.

Some innovations save labor, others increase revenue.  Truly great ones do both. To wit, the Zamboni.  You’re no doubt familiar with this machine that resurfaces an entire ice rink in just a few minutes.  Rink ice is only a few inches thick and easily damaged. Without frequent resurfacing the ice can become rough and difficult as well as unsafe to skate.

Before the Zamboni, resurfacing a typical rink would require five people an hour and a half to resurface during which no paying customers could use the rink; “and when they finished, you had five employees standing around with nothing to do until the next resurfacing.”

One frustrated rink owner, Frank Zamboni, decided there had to be a better way and focused his mechanical aptitude on the problem. The Zamboni was the result.  This invention had a powerful effect on ice sports by dramatically reducing the cost of rink maintenance and increasing the amount of time ice time available to skaters.

Take a few minutes for a story about innovation applied to sports by a man who was forced in to the business of selling ice time when new technology make his old business of making ice obsolete.  Find out how the Zamboni revolutionized fun on the ice and why “in the world of ice sports, it was ….on par with that of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.”

An Exodus Avoidance Primer...

We’ve read about many large companies executing layoffs in recent months as many over-hired during COVID.  Even so, the strong employment market shows it’s still a seller’s market for labor and talent.  It’s bad enough in this market when an employee leaves; it can be fatal if too many go at once.

Large companies can more easily afford large reductions in workforce size even if involuntary.  Small to mid-size firms, however, are much more vulnerable to even a small desertion.

A recent INC article by “The Evil HR Lady” Suzanne Lucas offers some cautionary advice as to How You Can Avoid an Employee Mass Exodus.  The first step she suggests is to recognize that “employees are more important than customers. “ Read on.

The Drucker Memo

Everyone in your company has someone to manage them, except the CEO and many at the C-Level.  But you don’t get to stay at this level unless you can manage yourself.

Daniel Pink (author of “To Sell is Human” and “The Power of Regret”) reminds us of a powerful method suggested by the late, great management writer Peter Drucker that is simple, takes little time and will help you identify your blind spots, understand your strengths, and perhaps help you take a little more risk, intelligently. 

If you’ve got three minutes to improve your personal performance, check out Mr. Pink’s video which summarizes Peter Drucker’s simple method for improving your performance.

Econ Recon:

The Winter of our Stagflation:  The government’s intervention in the economy introduced a lot of unusual noise into the data that economists use to forecast. “But underneath it all,” writes economist Brian Wesbury,  “we still believe Milton Friedman had it right.  A decline in money will lead to recession, and then a decline in inflation.”  Check out his thoughts in his short blog post, “January Stagflation.”

FedWatchAs always, Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics offers great insights on the Fed and the economy in his latest “FedWatch” podcast and some new thoughts on interest rates and 2025. 

Great Depression Strategies:  ITR Economics recently offered a webinar on how to manage through what they think will be a challenging six-year downturn starting around 2030.  You can access this 9 min excerpt "Building a Strategy to Prosper Now and Through the 2030s".  For more on their thoughts about this, check out their 2030s Great Depression section of the ITR Website.

A Note From Scott:


As you seek to grow the value of your business this year, where are you getting your advice? At the club? From family members who may have different agenda?

What if you could get tried-and-true, insightful agenda-free advice from other successful CEOs and business owners who have been down your path before you? Who understand your goals, your business, and who ask challenging questions no one else asks?

The members of my CEO peer advisory group get this every month. We are 20 successful, experienced non-competing executives and owners who share advice in a confidential forum to help each other make better decisions, become better leaders, and get better results.

If you are interested in exploring if you're a fit for our group please contact me. Typical qualified members are CEOs/owners of southeastern New England businesses with revenues between $10 million and $200 million.

Warm regards,



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