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A CEO Expands Her Range & Capacity

to Meet Challenges Head On

Case Study #2
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The Challenge

The CEO of a tech startup had successfully won seed-round funding. Although her company is based in Europe, she works primarily in Silicon Valley. She is facing two challenges. The first challenge is leading the company while meeting with investors for her second round of funding. The second challenge is leading a team that is both international and virtual.

The CEO had envisioned a flat organization, where her team worked collaboratively. But the reality was, she felt like she wasn’t being listened to. She also realized that she’d neglected her team while pursuing seed funding, and knew she needed to do something differently in the Series A round.

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The Work

The first step was to address the CEO’s sense that she was procrastinating. When she stopped to look into what was going on, it was a pattern. She would get overwhelmed with her two demanding roles, and retreat.

In the area of Leading with Clarity of Vision, we worked on three areas: using research-based mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, choosing the right priorities, and adding structure and accountability to the company. This allowed her to be in contact with a few key people on her team, who she trusted to act on her behalf while she was away.

She came to realize that collaboration is just one mode of leadership. In the area of Mastering the Art of Results, we worked on developing other modes of leadership, depending on the situation. For example, she needed to use a more top-down leadership style when she sets the strategy and determines the direction and next steps for her team to implement. She also began to notice times when a “divide and conquer” approach would be more effective.

“My team now functions extraordinarily well, even when I’m halfway around the world.”

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The Result

The CEO is now growing her company in a way that’s more sustainable for both her investors and her personally. While the A round of funding is pending, the CEO gets less bogged down by input and feedback. She is also more discerning about which input to consider, so she doesn’t need to retreat like she used to when things feel overwhelming. At the same time, she’s become more honest about her standards for the team – letting a few underperformers go and promoting key players. As a result, she has streamlined her decision-making process and can pivot faster when she gets feedback from investors and her team.