Tag Archives: Venture Capital

Performance Excellence linked to Preventing Failures, Corrective Coaching

Atul Gawande

Simple behavior changes, such as following a structured checklist, can prevent crucial workplace errors and increase quality in medical settings, found Harvard’s Atul Gawande.

He found that people effectively improved their performance when they recognized weaknesses in organizational processes, and took proactive steps to remedy these shortcomings.

Three elements of better performance can be applied across industries:

  • Diligence – Attending to details can prevent errors and overcome obstacles.
    Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right suggests best ways to structure these memory aids,
  • Doing Right –Ensuring that skill, will, and incentives are aligned to drive excellent performance,
  • IngenuityDeliberately monitoring potential failures, continuously seeking innovative ways to improve performance and solutions.

These elements can be improved with attentive observation and feedback to prevent errors of omission when people don’t:

  • Know enough (ignorance),
  • Make proper use of what they know (ineptitude).

Ignorance occurs less frequently than ineptitude because relevant information is widely available, Gawande noted.
He suggested that both errors can be improved by systematic analysis and consistent use of tools like checklists.

Geoffrey Smart

Checklist-based analysis was also linked to Internal Rate of Return (IRR) in Geoffrey Smart’s study of investments by Venture Capital (VC) firms,

He found a correlation between IRR and leadership effectiveness in new investment ventures.
Selecting capable leaders is critical to business outcomes, so Smart also evaluated VC firms’ typical approach to assessing potential leaders:

  • The Art Critic is the most frequent approach in which the VC assesses leadership talent at a glance, intuitively, based on extensive experience,
  • The Sponge conducts extensive due diligence, then decides based on intuition,
  • The Prosecutor interrogates the candidate, tests with challenging questions and hypothetical situations,
  • The Suitor woos the candidate instead of analyzing capabilities and fit,
  • The Terminator eliminates the evaluation because the venture firm replaces the company’s originators,
  • The Infiltrator becomes a “participant-observer” in an immersive, time-consuming experientially-based assessment,
  • The Airline Captain uses a formal checklist to prevent past mistakes.
    This last approach was linked to the highest average Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for the new ventures.
    In addition, this strategy was significantly less likely to result in later terminating senior managers.

Venture Capitalists in these studies reported that two of their most significant mistakes were:

  • Investing insufficient time in talent analysis,
  • Being influenced by “halo effect” in evaluating candidates.

Systematic reminders to execute all elements required for expert performance can prevent failure and signal potential failure points.

-*How do you improve performance?
-*What value do you find in expert coaching?

Related Post:
Developing a SMARTER Mindset for Resilience, Emotional Intelligence – Part 2

©Kathryn Welds


Startup Success Correlates with Women Executive Involvement

A Dow Jones Venture Source study of 167,500 executives and 2,200 venture-backed companies funded between 1997 and 2011 showed that women helped lead more start-ups to success.

Women are less involved as founders and leaders of start-ups than men.

Just 1.3 percent of start-ups have a female founder, 6.5 percent have a female CEO, and 20 percent have one or more C-level female executives.

Women at the WheelAbout 27 percent were in sales and marketing roles, and many as vice presidents.
Companies that have been acquired, went public or gained profitability have 7.1 percent of executive staff members are women.

In contrast, only about 3.1 percent  executives are women at companies that failed, exited at a low valuation, or haven’t reached other milestones.

-*To what extent have you observed a correlation between gender balance in executive leadership and successful financial performance among new enterprises?

LinkedIn Open Group Catalyst:
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist’s Leadership Credo for Growing Businesses, Careers

Ann Winblad

Ann Winblad

Ann Winblad is one of the most prominent, yet low-profile venture capitalists and among a minority of women venture capitalists – about 11 percent of today’s VCs.

She co-founded Open Systems, an accounting software company in 1976, then co-founded Venture Capital firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which invests more than $1 billion in software companies.

Hummer Winblad She offers recommendations for women and men investing in businesses, careers, and themselves:

• Seek risk and fail fast to enable rapid course-correction
• Strive to be more resilient than strong
• Adapt as quickly as possible
• Place greater value on learning from all sources over formal education
• Exercise intellectual curiosity and stamina
• Tolerate ambiguity and lack of experts during high-growth periods
• Look for possibility in the “half-full glass”
• State assumptions and build on those of others
• Cultivate honesty and transparency

-*Which of Winblad’s recommendations have you seen practiced by the most effective organizational leaders and entrepreneurs you know?

LinkedIn Open Group: Women in Technology (Sponsored by EMC)
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary   

©Kathryn Welds

Investing in Women for Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors

Pemo Theodore

Pemo Theodore

Pemo Theodore, Founder of Ezebis, collaborated with Ai Ching, co-founder of  Piktochart to create an informative, sobering infographic about investing in women.

They note that only 15% of angel investors are women and only 11% of investing partners at VC firms in the United States are women.

Ai Ching

Ai Ching

Theodore and Ching  portrayed the meaning of these statistics in relation to women’s participation in the workforce, and other dimensions in this compelling infographic, using Ching’s inforgraphic-generating product, Piktochart.

-*What barriers and enablers have you observed for women entrepreneurs?
-*What infographic tools do you find most useful?

LinkedIn Open Group – Harvard Business Review
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds