Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 104 – If I Were To Take Over The Company Tomorrow What Would I Do? 

Dear Leaders, this week a lesson and an exercise from one of the names you should know but might not. 

I recently read a long profile of Tobi (Tobias) Lütke and it really made me consider what makes a great leader within mature businesses making a difference. 

Tobi is the CEO and founder of Shopify, he is widely recognised as one of the most influential and important CEO’s of modern-day business. 

Tobi is famous for asking the five whys and wanting to understand each component of the engine to truly understand the topic and help to shape his business future. 

Tobi is well known for having a saying
if I were to take over the company tomorrow, what would I do?” 

Simple but effective right. 

Remember — sometimes the most simple question and comments are the most impactful. 

Exercise To Try: I often say to founders and management teams, go up a level and ask themselves if we had to restart what we would change tomorrow, next week and next month. 

I like to consider this question as a quickfire question to ask leaders within your business and then a deep pondering to address in asynchronous work. A working document (slides in my typical use case) and ensure everyone has a chance to think, draft and create an action plan they would take forward. 

What would you change within your company if you took over tomorrow? 

What elements are truly broken and need instant attention. Prioritisation will be the hardest part of this, nonetheless, it is an essential exercise. 

This works with bigger themes like company culture, long term strategy and checking in on your mission and vision for the company.

Sketch / Design Over Tables: Something I drive forward in sessions like this is imagery, whether hand sketched or created within your favourite editing tool because you put in more effect and more thought into making it understandable for colleagues. 

Yes, a table is often the easiest (and you will rarely hear me tell you not to create a simple as possible table with the right columns and rows), however, a table doesn’t enable you and your colleagues to demonstrate the connective element of pen on paper or really thinking about the steps and flow.

Make It A Priority: I recommend you take this question quarterly, if you have quarterly business reviews (QBR’s) and in long-range planning (LRP’s). 

Moving forward into Q3 and H2, make this a question you have to ask yourself and then those around you. 

Thanks and best of luck in answering this simple but driving question.

Danny Denhard

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