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CEO Bookshelf: The Structure of Success

By Mark Kleinschmidt

If you are a small business owner you want to do everything possible to achieve success and avoid failure.  As the CEO of your business, you are the chief decision maker and you must make a lot of decisions. The fate of your business is directly influenced by the internal and external structures that you use to make decisions.  In The Structure of Success written by Patrick Esposito, he lays out a framework for making decisions but more importantly he provided relatable examples that you can use in your business. 

From the onset, Esposito introduces his readers to a thoughtfully designed blueprint that he puts into a context that is meaningful for a small business owner.  He shares the concept of “worrying productively” which is clever phrase that tells you to focus on the things that really matter. To do this, he describes four actions that he refers to throughout the book:


Assessing: Identifying problems and opportunities and where they come from so you can understand the benefits of addressing these problems and opportunities to form pathways for success

Deciding: selecting the pathway that produces the most benefit for the most significant problems and opportunities

Planning: Using a streamlined and management model

Implementing: Focusing on orderly execution

He goes on to highlight eight critical decision categories that relate to the internal structures of a growing business.  These categories will “pop up” during the life cycle of a business and you as the CEO need to be ready to address them.  They are:

• Governance models and governance team composition
• Management team models, composition, engagement, and compensation
• Adjustments and pivots
• Growth and infrastructure development
• Business disputes and breakups
• Acquisitions, mergers, exits, and other business transactions
• Disaster preparedness and management
• Succession planning

The chapters of The Structure of Success are well organized and at the end provide a nice recap of the key “learnings” from the chapter.  In addition, each chapter starts with a thought-provoking quote and then at the end of each chapter he provides a workbook style set of questions to give you the opportunity to apply the information he presents to your business.

When a small business owner addresses the 8 categories and uses the Assess-Decide-Plan-Implement method they will have made significant movement to setting up a system or structure that will promote success and avoid failure.  To be successful you must gather information, make decisions and be ready to make adjustments.  Many time it is not easy and that is why you need a system. As the Robert Frost quote for the Conclusion section of the book says, “The only way around is through.”

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