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CEO Inbox Observations

By Bill English, Partner

Three times now, I’ve been asked to be the CEO of a company in which I have inherited the former CEO’s email inbox. In two of those situations, the CEOs were underperforming, and their email inboxes provided insight as to why.

They demonstrated a lack of attention management, a concept I prefer over time management or email management. That to which you pay attention gets your emotional, mental and other cycles. The examples that follow reflect how their attention was focused on personal success and how this negatively affected their companies.

They were subscribed to more than 100 email lists

Each CEO was receiving thirty or more marketing emails each day from personal services to which they had subscribed: personal attire, vacations, education, politics and creature-comfort emails seemed to dominate their inboxes. Most of these emails offered products and services which personally benefited the CEO but held little value for the company. It was clear they viewed their role as being about them rather than their customers or employees. Usually, the best run companies have “quiet” CEOs who take a servant-leadership mentality. These CEOs were at the other end of that spectrum.

This created clutter and unnecessary noise in their inbox. But noise is hard to ignore. When it comes to subscriptions, what we don’t realize is that every email we receive requires a decision on our part – even if the decision is nothing more than leaving it in our inbox. I find this process, however short, to be tiring when executed every day 30, 50 or perhaps 100 times. Therefore, I unsubscribe to marketing emails as often as possible. They create wasted cycles. These underperforming CEOs (apparently) didn’t mind getting all this noise in their inboxes... MORE

Business in the News

Here is this month’s Business in the News (BITN), a compilation of business stories from around the state usually not reported on by Twin Cities media. These stories provide business leads, trends and insights we hope you will find useful.

Timber Industry Remains Hopeful Pellet Plants Will Take Root

Efforts continue to help a new organization called NorthStar Pellets develop wood pellet plants in Bemidji and Grand Rapids, Minn. The pellets would be made from piles of sawdust from nearby lumber mills and create about 45 jobs. Backed by several timber companies and Greater Bemidji, the company reportedly is owned by a company in International Falls that developed the nation’s third-largest pellet plant. The Minnesota Legislature last year was considering a bill to provide production... MORE

Glut in Used Equipment Feeds Hungry Restaurants

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced tens of thousands of restaurants to permanently shut their doors as dining restrictions keep customers away. But it has also been a boon for commercial auctioneers that buy used equipment and sell it to restaurants that managed to stay afloat, particularly ones that have expanded their takeout business and are eager to snatch up supplies at bargain prices, according to the Associated Press. One such firm is Grafe Auction in Rochester, Minn. The company... MORE

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