In this Issue


My first job post-business school was as an organizational change management consultant with Oracle. I was a part of the business unit charged with successfully implementing large scale ERP systems. I read everything I could on managing change, driving cultural shifts and effective communication. And what I learned, was at the Fortune 500 level, implementing change was a slow slog at best. 

Now, I have the privilege of working directly with middle-market CEOs of growth companies. We make fast decisions. We barely talk about politics. We help each other make things happen. 

For a while, in my role of CEO strategic facilitator, I actually dismissed the idea of culture management, taking a strong stance that  happy leaders make a happy company and that leaders are happiest with clear goals that they achieve and feel good about. End of story. 

While I do still believe in my original point of view, there are two additional perspectives I now hold to be true...

Number one: Changing a bad culture is really hard. This lesson has been learned over and over from our CEOs who adopt company cultures when taking on a new position.

Number two: Finding and keeping good talent is a heightened challenge at the moment. As a result, culture management is back on my radar.

With that in mind, here's a true story...  

Throughout my life, when people have suggested that I may be "burnt out" from a certain activity, I have shrugged it off. I have disregarded the comment because I've always been very driven and unless I was completely passed out and unable to move, I couldn't possibly imagine that expression could apply to me. "Burnout" conjured up images of somebody who couldn't get out of bed in the morning, was uninspired, rundown, unproductive and maybe even grumpy.

But the longer I've run my own business and the more I've worked directly with CEOs, I've come to realize, that driven executives who are heading toward burnout don't actually see it's happening, until it does. The good news is that burnout is treatable and when we tend to it in ourselves and our colleagues, everyone will be happier and more productive.

Based on my experience working with CEOs dealing with burnout, here are six warning signs...  

Premier Dental Products Company, founded in 1913 by instrument maker Julius Charlestein, is now a family-operated business is in its 4th generation. Led by Julie Charlestein, CEO, and her father, Gary Charlestein, Chairman, Premier has product sales in over 75 countries, making Premier a leading brand in the world wide dental market.
Mark McWeeny, CEO, Rue La La 

Rue La La is the destination for the most desired brands at members-only prices. Each day, they curate boutiques filled with the best of the best in women's and men's fashion, home, travel, kids, and more. 


Congrats to Dave MacKeen and his team at  Eliassen Group for making it into  Inc. Magazine's 50 Best Workplaces!  Read More >

And more congrats to Dave for being selected as a 2016 finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award!

Congrats to  Rue La La Co-Founder Mark McWeeny for his new appointment to CEO. We are excited to have him in the Collective! We say farewell to former CEO, Steve Davis, who is moving to Spain. We wish him the very best!

Thank you to Gordie Spater, CEO of Kurgo and Mark Kasdorf, CEO of Intrepid for joining Melissa Raffoni on NECN's CEO Corner program to talk about how the CEO Collective's peer groups have made an impact on their lives and businesses. 

Miss the show? Watch the segment here >

Gordie Spater, CEO of Kurgo; Mark Kasdorf, CEO of Intrepid and Melissa Raffoni, CEO of the Raffoni Group, with the host of NECN's CEO Corner.

Do you have a plan for your 2017 strategic planning? Now is the time to buckle down and do the work required to have a successful session that sets you and your team up for success. 

The Raffoni take on strategic planning is that successful strategy and leadership alignment starts with a deep understanding of the CEO's vision for success. Our unique approach to strategic planning starts with in-depth interviews with our Strategic Facilitators and results in a collaboratively-produced strategic vision that will set the stage for a successful session and help to guide its outcomes. 

Individual key stakeholders are involved from the beginning, providing valuable input on everything from the leadership team's historical performance to the biggest market-driven opportunities they see for the company. 

With a carefully-reviewed plan in place for the session, the CEO's strategic vision defined and captured, and all leadership team members' feedback collected and codified, the Strategic Facilitator is ready to serve as the navigator and sounding board for a successful offsite.