Michael Girdley

Michael Girdley



As a Director on dozens of boards, I’ve seen: Operational excellence adds millions in profits. My 19 traits of top 1% performing businesses 🧵…

The company has internal and board-facing KPIs. They are updated regularly and give a complete picture. They often predict problems before they happen.

The company has audited annual financials. Also, it promptly closes its books each month+quarter. The CFO can answer reasonable questions on the spot.

Financials are mostly “up and to the right.” High-performing companies are profitable+growing. And good at predicting it with a solid budgeting process.

Board materials are distributed on time. Well-prepared and free of typos. They follow a consistent template used at each meeting.

Strong employees stick around. Weak performers quit or leave. Employee churn is low.

Leaders set deadlines, and they’re mostly met. If the company meets all deadlines, I worry we’re sandbagging. If we never meet deadlines, something is wrong.

The team is at a “healthy” level of stress. Not burning out. But healthily working hard on an inspiring mission.

People get along. No drama. No politics. Body language is good. I don’t see co-workers who hate each other.

Problem employees are identified. And moved on quickly. I worry when the same problem festers for months.

There is a clear business plan. Ideally, something like EOS’ V/TO or another 1-page business plan system. Everyone sees it in the company and is bought in.

The company publishes core values and behaviors. Leaders evaluate, hire and fire using them. Unethical behavior is not tolerated.

The company knows why it’s winning. It has a clear picture of differentiators. It uses them to win.

The CEO comes to board meetings prepared. They make the most of their time with the board. Focused on solving hard problems.

Simple stays simple. Underperforming orgs love to make easy things hard. Great ones don’t.

I’m pulling and not pushing. When I’m on the board of great teams, I find I’m usually asking: “Are you sure we’re not trying to do too much?”

Great companies make good decisions. At a fast pace (see OODA Loops) And create repeatable processes to minimize fire drills.

Leadership has a growth mindset. They listen to feedback and ideas. They seek to understand criticism rather than argue.

Employee engagement is measured regularly. Ideally, by a system like Q12. Leaders address problem areas directly.

The company office vibe is good. It is also clean and tidy. Especially the little things like bathrooms and kitchen.

Leadership answers questions well. They can explain their logic soundly. They say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

I’m sure there are more I missed (add yours below!). Follow me @girdley for more on business and life. Like/Retweet the first tweet below if you can:

I write a newsletter that breaks down under-the-radar businesses making big profits. Subscribe here for free: @girdley

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