OpenExO is a community with currently +17K exponential thought leaders. The place where innovation coaches, disruption specialists, startup founders, and tech industry gurus gather will help each other to transform the world for a better future.
How I Became CEO, a long story made short.
I am part of an entrepreneurial family where innovation is our DNA. As a family, we always look for ways to evolve our businesses. Our companies are in the mining industry and gastronomy sector principally. After reading Salim Ismail‘s book, Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it; my brother, Mauricio Sainz, and I started the journey of transformation by joining the ExO Community. At the same time, we initiate the process of instating Corporate Governance in the mining company with the support of a regional firm. Although, since our company's birth in 2003, my father has had the lead role, in 2018, we started a process of succession to a CO-CEO guidance, with Mauricio taking leadership inside the company (organizational focused) and myself as the leader on the outside (customer focused).
Then in 2020, the Covid19 Pandemic struck. Fortunately, the ExO Framework, the rhythm created by other methods like Scaling Up and EBELI (Evidence Based Entrepreneurship and Lean Innovation), and the entire company's commitment helped us overcome it. Then in April this year, my brother and my father offered me to take the lead and step up as CEO.
Aware of my strengths and weaknesses, like lack of expertise in this role, I asked them to bear with me for a few weeks so I could understand the best way to serve and ensure the decision was correct. As you can imagine, they have placed their trust and the future of the business on me. So I needed to come back with a clear path to achieve success. Here is a Disclaimer, at the time of writing this article, I have just had in the role for 90 days. So although success is still far away, we have focus and clarity on the next steps.
Joining and Exponential Community.
I read Salim's book Exponential Organizations in 2016, then joined OpenExO in 2018; why? Its purpose: Transforming the world for a better future. I have been certified in different ExO and ExO Builder Programs and recently became part of the OpenExO team inside the ExO Builder, the venture-building armed arm.
What amazed me about the ExO Community is it delivers results, which is why I wrote the article. Thousands of people here are willing to help with extraordinary personal purposes (see the LinkedIn post from Sanjay Bhana). Inside our community, we have a marketplace where we can exchange services through the ExO Economy (later explained). When I posted the opportunity in the market, I requested just one advisor but received five applicants. It took a lot of work to eliminate four and keep only one because of the variety of profiles, expertise, and countries. So I decided to extend the opportunity to all of them.
I am very grateful that I selected the five applicants; their expertise and willingness to help were outstanding. Let me introduce them:
Michael Friebe: Michael is a German citizen with expertise in diagnostic imaging plus image-guided therapies, as a founder/innovator/CEO/investor, and research scientist. His insights were focused primarily on family, shareholders, aligning goals, and accountability. His MTP: "Healthcare Democratize Enabler."
Angel Martins, from Madrid, Spain. Her MTP: "Building connections to help organizations to achieve a sustainable business through creative people solutions." She is a seasoned C-Level coach with international experience across different industries. Her insights focused on culture, alignment, and awareness.
Jyotirmoy Bose is currently Founder & Learner at Large with White Spaces Consulting, based in New Delhi, India, since 2007. Jyoti has over 30 years of experience in manufacturing, financial services, information technology, consulting, and media. He recommended focusing on the company's most urgent need and addressing it in less than 90 days. His MTP: "Help Organizations & their leaders to scale sustainably."
Emad Ghaly's (Greece) MTP is: "Disrupt the local startup ecosystem to create unicorns in Energy and Climate supporting the Netzero goal." Emad is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of SDS MENA (Sustainable Development Solutions) - an Energy and Environmental consultancy services firm. President of the German Arab Chamber of Industry and commerce since 2018. From 2016 till the end of 2020, he held the position of CEO for Siemens in Egypt and then the Managing Director of Siemens Energy in Egypt. His insights are a detailed process of what to do as a new CEO, identifying critical functions of the organizations, but never forgetting time for the CEO to develop and refresh.
Eric Patel (Boston, USA): Eric's MTP "Help others thrive through unwavering loyalty, selfless service, and lifelong friendship." Eric serves as Chief Innovation Officer at BostonExO, New England's first Exponential Organization (ExO) incubator, which helps companies and individuals thrive. We leverage exponential technologies and an abundance mindset to help individuals lead organizations that stay in business, disrupt their industry, and achieve exponential valuation. He walked me through his entrepreneurial journey, significant learning, and critical focus areas.
Last but not least, imagine the power of community; even five can be multiplied by nine. For example, Zahira Castra (Mumbai, India) came to the session with Jyoti, her MTP: "To Inspire and support leaders and organizations to Co-Elevate." She made small interventions during the session, but her comments were direct and enlightening. Oscar Schmitz (Bu|12enos Aires, Argentina), on the other hand, did not apply to the opportunity but sent me a message through the marketplace with two articles links he wrote, both very inspiring, thanks to one of his articles I read the book The First 90 days by Michael Watkins, and four additional books.
Finally, in a conversation with Pedro Lopez SELA (Chief Principal at ExO Builder), with an MTP "Empower Leaders to Thrive for a Better World." Pedro recommended I must speak with Gary Ralston. Gary’s MTP: "To create better futures by helping you build and lead thriving, purpose-driven businesses." Aligning all business units as family, clear expectations, and introducing Metronomic as a methodology were some of the learnings of the conversations with him.
One definition of Economy in the Merriam -Webster dictionary is the "efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources (such as effort, language or motion). In Our Community, the ExO Economy is an emergent decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). A DAO is a form of legal structure with no central governing body whose members share a common goal to act in the entity's best interests. The keywords in a DAO are "common goal" and "best interests," which connect with our community's foundations. The use of EXOS enhances the ExO Economy. EXOS is the "token of transformation" that allows the community to easily transact with each other and quickly facilitate payments for services between thousands of people across dozens of countries. We ask for and provide services in the community through a Marketplace (to learn more, follow this link).
Thanks to ExO Economy, the use of EXOS as tokens to exchange inside the community. The marketing allowed me to have these great conversations that would be out of my league without the community and paid-in fiat. The main message here is the creation of a 90-Day CEO Plan, transforming an enterprise, or building your next exponential venture from scratch, which can be done and supported entirely in our community where all share a purpose: "Transforming the world for a better future."
A 90-Day CEO Plan.
During my conversations with Michael, Angela, Jyoti & Zahira, Emad & Eric, I wrote 637 insights without counting the learnings from Oscar's article and the books read. All diverse and enlightening: family, financials, culture, peoples, KPIs, shareholders, fiscal, legal, coaching, personal development, cash flow, priorities, timelines, risk, investments, communication, rules, change management, experimentation, and a lot of other themes.
If I wanted to explain the 90-day CEO plan that I came up with, I needed to write a complete book explaining each insight and how they align in one of four critical areas of focus that I found a correlation with: personal, family, business, and stakeholders. This article's purpose was to recognize the people inside our community and their support, especially Michael, Angela, Jyoti & Zahira, Emad, Eric, and Oscar. Thank you!
I hope to come back with an article on the significant insights learned and how they applied to the success ahead. See you next time.
(1) The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins, A CEO Only Does Three Things by Trey Taylor, The CEO’s Compass by Devora A. Coviello, The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni
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