(Picture: Bedroom view at the Concord Exchange)

Strategy 4 Saturday (<4-minute read)

  • Navigate Expectations
  • Investor Relations
  • Expectation Management
  • Haunting Facts for Missing the Mark
  • Measure Success Podcast | Speaker, Author, & Strategist| Nicole Kalil 
  • Coming up this week | Author & Strategist| Carl J. Cox 
  • Read all our Blogs on our 40 Strategy Website 

Welcome to our Growing Strategy 4 Saturday Blog Community!

Thank you for being part of our vibrant Strategy 4 Saturday blog community! We encourage you to keep reading, leave your comments, and share our articles with others who might benefit from them. Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Navigating Expectations: A Ghostly Lesson in Investor Relations

Just last week, I found myself in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, not for leisure but for a strategic session that promised to redefine our approach to investor relations with a private-equity held portfolio company. The historic Concord Exchange played host to our deliberations. According to the house security guard, little did I know, our evening would unfold a lesson in expectations, not from the living, but from the spectral residents of the Concord House*. Yes, seven ghosts supposedly wandered its halls, a revelation that could send chills down the spine of the bravest souls. Having lived in Salem, Massachusetts, I’m no stranger to eerie tales, but it was this unexpected encounter that got me thinking about the fears that haunt investors and the importance of setting and then making sure to navigate expectations to keep those fears at bay. 

*(Unfortunately, I fact-check after the sleepless night, and learned that the REAL haunted house was at the Griggs Mansion nearby. Not very funny, Mr. Security Guard. 🤣)

The Specter of Losing Investor Confidence

Rewind 25 years ago, and you’d find me in the corporate world, navigating the choppy waters of investor relations as a controller for a publicly traded entity. Our executive team, ambitious as they were, often set lofty expectations in our earnings calls. On the rare occasions we met these expectations, our stock price barely budged, a silent nod of approval at best. But when we fell short, the market’s retribution was swift and merciless, a tangible sign of evaporating investor confidence. The lesson was clear: overpromising and underdelivering is a surefire way to invite doubt and disillusionment. 

Crafting the Art of Expectation Management

So, how do we set the stage for success without inviting the specters of disappointment? The strategy is threefold:

  • Stretch Goals: They’re the horizon we chase, not just for the sake of ambition, but to foster a culture of exceeding our normal limits. These goals drive innovation and push us beyond our comfort zones. However, they’re called ‘stretch’ for a reason; missing them shouldn’t spell disaster but rather, a recalibration of our efforts.
  • Management of, and Navigate Expectations: Here lies the heart of our operational excellence. Tethered to incentives, this tier of expectations fuels our day-to-day, ensuring that every rung on the ladder is a step towards our overarching vision.
  • Baseline Expectations: This is our promise to the world, the minimum we commit to achieving. Setting this bar too low is akin to sandbagging, while setting it unattainably high is a recipe for disappointment. The key is finding the sweet spot where credibility and ambition meet.

(For more on this concept, please read Chapter 11, Vision to Value, Lost at CEO.) 

Navigate Expectations
(Picture: Client strategic planning facilitation)

A Haunting Lesson in Resilience

For CEOs of public companies, missing expectations is a very real scare to your stock price. Bloomberg shares a research report that companies that missed their earnings had their stock trail the S&P by 5.7% in October 2023. UCLA’s Anderson School of Business went a step further and showed how unrealistic investor expectations caused more injuries in the workplace, a truly horrific result.

As I pondered over the tales of the unseen guests, a parallel dawned on me. Just as the presence of those spectral entities lingered unseen, the expectations we set with our investors hover over us, unseen yet palpably influential. Setting and learning how to navigate expectations is an art, one that balances ambition with realism, ensuring that the only spirits we conjure are those of confidence and trust in our journey forward.

Measure Success Podcast 
Nicole KalilHow to build confidence to reach your goals as a leader

CEOs and entrepreneurs — the most confident people in the world … right? 

Well, not so fast. 

If you *are* a CEO or entrepreneur, you probably already know this isn’t the case. 

Confidence is difficult to: 

  • Define
  • Build
  • Maintain, especially over long periods of time

My guest this week on the Measure Success Podcast is an expert at helping leaders develop their confidence so they can pursue — and reach — their strategic goals. 

Nicole Kalil is an in-demand speaker, author of “Validation is For Parking”, leadership strategist, respect coach, and host of the “This is Woman’s Work Podcast.” A fugitive of the C-suite at a Fortune 100 company, she has coached hundreds of women in business, which has given her insight as to what — structurally, systemically, and socially — is and isn’t serving both women and leaders within an organization.

Carl J. Cox | How to Be in the Top 10% of Leaders Who Reach Their Goals

Did you know that a full 90% (ninety!) of businesses fail to meet even two-thirds of their strategic objectives? 

That’s a *lot* of failed strategic plans stacked up in someone’s filing cabinet.

So what does it actually take to be part of the 10% that reaches their goals? 

There are a few key principles that will help you turn your strategic objectives into an actionable, realistic plan. And I’m diving into those on my latest solo episode of the Measure Success Podcast. 

I’ve taken the Fortune 500 principles I learned as an executive at seven different organizations that grew from 2x to 7x — and helping you apply them within your small to medium-sized business. 

Tune into the full episode wherever you get your podcasts for more on why leaders struggle with strategic planning, how to buck that trend, how to use Fortune 500 growth principles even as a small business, exercises you can include in your strategic planning, and more.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!