Monday, March 31, 2008

SYNNEX Announces New Co-CEO

Big in my life is the appointment of Kevin Murai. This is a major coup for SYNNEX. Kevin has a great repuation. He has a huge depth of distribution experieince running a bigger company. He will also have a good North American rolodex which never hurts.

He is a smart guy who knows he is joining a highly successful company so I suspect any changes will happen gradually and with thought.

The press release:

FREMONT, CA-March 31, 2008-SYNNEX Corporation (NYSE: SNX), a leading business process services company, today announced that Kevin M. Murai has been appointed Co-Chief Executive Officer and has been elected to the SYNNEX Board of Directors. In addition to joining the SYNNEX Board of Directors, Mr. Murai has been appointed to the Company’s Executive Committee.

Mr. Murai will share the Chief Executive Officer role with current President and Chief Executive Officer, Bob Huang, and will have co-responsibility for the leadership of the entire SYNNEX organization. As a senior executive with more than 19 years of distribution channel experience, Mr. Murai joins the SYNNEX team with very strong operational and industry experience, as well as established relationships in both the customer and vendor communities.

In November 2008, it is expected that Mr. Huang will retire and, upon approval of the SYNNEX Board of Directors, that he will be named Chairman of the SYNNEX Board with Mr. Murai becoming the sole Chief Executive Officer. As part of this planned transition, Matthew Miau, current SYNNEX Chairman, will remain on the Board of Directors.

"I am very pleased that Kevin will be joining SYNNEX and co-leading the organization with me," said Bob Huang, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer. "With his deep industry knowledge, exceptional operational skills and global management experience, I am quite certain Kevin will quickly integrate into the SYNNEX culture. He is poised to help lead the execution of strategic initiatives designed to improve the business model and diversify our business process service offerings."

“Kevin has a solid reputation and excellent history in the IT supply chain and we welcome him to the management team and Board of Directors of SYNNEX,” stated Matthew Miau, Chairman of SYNNEX Corporation. “We look forward to his leadership in driving additional shareholder value at SYNNEX.”

Before joining SYNNEX, Mr. Murai, was employed for 19 years at Ingram Micro, Inc., most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer, as well as serving on the Ingram Micro Board of Directors. Mr. Murai has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

"I am excited to join SYNNEX at this very key time in the history of the organization," stated Mr. Murai. "I look forward to working with Bob to further execute on the strategic vision he has set for the organization as well as working with all the SYNNEX team members, who are well known for their operational excellence and customer and vendor service."

Meatball Sundae

I recently listened to one of Seth Godin’s books called Meatball Sundae - Is Your Marketing Out of Sync. Seth has a great marketing oriented blog that is worth following. His post today is on my favourite topic - constant learning.

I have been a fan of Seth for a long time and heard him speak live a few times. Seth is the founder of, but mostly he is known as a marketer and an Internet guru.

The gist of the message in the book is that the new social medias are dramatically different than the old ones. In the old days, the editor of a publication of magazines or television stations had huge control over what audiences read. So in order to be successful, companies had to influence these few sources of media. Now the power of the press resides with the people so there are many more people that need to be influenced.

New media allows a wider variety of products and mass production is less of a factor. it allows for more discrimination by the customers. They either want the best (and are willing to pay top dollar for it) or they want the cheapest. It all depends on the product.

He did acknowledge that there is power to having more readership and clearly traditional media has the lion's share of the readership and not all blogs are created equal – some have lots of readership and some do not.

It was particularly compelling for anyone who has not recognized that changes that are taking place in the media world. I found it interesting since, as an active blogger, I am one of those new media sources he is speaking of.

It is worth reading or listening to.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Discipline Secrets - 11 tricks for Self Discipline

One of my friends - Nate Collier did a great post on Discipline. His message was we all have discipline what we need is motivation. We know this because we all can get things done if we are inspired. So build the motivation to build discipline.

I agree completely.

For me, I like to add tricks to help with discipline:

1 - To add to the motivation, tie in an added reward. Take something you want and "reward yourself" if you do the task you want to discipline yourself to do.

2 - Same thing but punish if you do not do it. Often punishment is more of an incentive than reward.

3 - Lead me not into temptation. For example, if I want to eat cookies at night I can but I have to go out and get them or bake them - both of which have a barrier to entry.

4 - Create an environment that supports what you want to do. If you always work in a specific place, you become acclimatized to it so it is easier.

5 - The primary difference between successful and unsuccessful people is long term vs short term. The challenge is often the gain is long term (and huge) but the pain is short term (and small). EG - Lifting weights. Deliberately listing the long term impacts can help. Also realizing that successful people think and act long term inspires me.

6 - Develop the habit. I have often blogged on Success Habits. Once something is a habit, it happens more easily.

7 - Eliminate or reduce the part of the task that you are objecting to. Often I find it is something small that is holding me back. EG - get the right tool to do the job.

8 - Delegate it. Sometimes you don't need to do it yourself to get the advantage (does not work with eating right, working out, stopping smoking etc. but works for some things)

9 - Start it. Often it is just the getting started that holds us back. Not to advertise for Nike but steal their phrase - "Just Do It". And sometimes I make the job simpler to start. For example, it is not much work to get in the car in my workout clothes and drive to the gym.

10 - Work with a buddy. Often just having someone to hold us accountable makes us work harder.

11 - Track it. Ideally track it positively. Rather than lose weight, weigh X. What gets measured gets worked on. I write my work outs in a book.

Other tricks you have?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Managers and Leaders - Are They Different?

There is a classic article from Harvard Business Review by Abraham Zaleznik in 1977 that addresses Leaders vs. Managers.

From the Best of HBR:

"The difference between managers and leaders, he wrote, lies in the conceptions they hold, deep in the psyches, of chaos and order. Managers embrace process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly - sometimes before they fully understand a problem's significance. Leaders, in contrast, tolerate chaos and lack of structure and are willing to delay closure in order to understand the issues more fully in this way, Zalenznik argued, business leaders have much more in common with artists, scientists and other creative thinkers than they do with managers. Organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed, but developing both requires a reduced focus on logic and strategic exercises in favour of an environment where creativity and imagination are permitted to flourish."

I love the notion that leaders are highly creative. I have always tolerated a high degree of uncertainty and chaos. I make decisions routinely with imperfect data. Although I do not consider myself to be artistically creative, I pride myself on my creativity which is the heart of entrepreneurship.

No article on leadership would be complete without the concept of mystical brilliance that allows only great people to be leaders etc. It quickly brings the reader down to earth by saying this view "contrasts sharply with the mundane, practical and important conception that that leadership is really managing work that other people do."

"Managerial goals arise out of neccessities rather than desires".

I found the article to be particularly "freeing" for me since I have to work hard at some of the "management" type things. I know in order to be good, I need to develop both. I do believe we all have some Manager and some Leader in us (and niether is better than the other - we need both). I suspect I created my Time Leadership Book as part of a quest to conquer some small part of management (and I know that teaching is the best way to learn)

I blogged about Leadership vs. Management early in my blogging career in May 2005 because my blog is called CEO Blog - Time Leadership (not Time Management). I am more of a leader type than a management type. From that post:

"Leadership is about doing the right things, Management is about doing things right.Leadership is about having the map and going the right direction (goals). Management is about going there efficiently.Leadership is about effectiveness. Management is about efficiency.

Leadership comes before Management."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Importance of Sleep

I think many CEO's have a dysfunctional relationship with sleep - mostly caused by travel and some by work load. In my first Time Management book, (written when I was younger of course), I had a short section that essentially said "sleep is for wimps". I am going to rewrite that section. I no longer believe that.

Recently I have been reading about the effects of sleep deprivation. There is a great but scary article at CBS news that explains the science of sleep. It talks about lower brain function when even mild sleep deprivation happens. And high brain function is another thing I value highly.

One thing I pride myself in is my ability to learn and grow. I am modifying my view on sleep. I still believe many people sleep too much but I am modifying my personal acceptable sleep to 6 to 7 1/2 hours per night. I am going to see if I can set aside a month on this much sleep. I know this is not the first time I have blogged about sleep. Check out this.

Of course its easy to say but I need to plan better. Tonight I fly the red-eye on which is difficult to get more than about 3 hours of sleep and I have a fairly full day tomorrow - not ending until late tomorrow night (I am at a Raptor's game courtesy of a vendor).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Perfect Day

There was a good article on CEO Blogs in the Globe and Mail. They mention my blog prominently.

I am back on the road. A good friend challenged me "what is your perfect day?". Great question. I sketched out a day with lots of time to read, relax, work out, hike, eat well etc. After I sketched this, I thought I likely missed accomplishment because that is a big one for me.

In one of my notebooks I keep a list of "Perfect Day" things I would want to do. I have not looked at it in a long while. Time for me to get back to that.

And because I was asked the question, I took the time for a great 7 mile run. Simply asking the question meant I had a more perfect day. Keeping and reviewing the list will help me to have more perfect days. And why shouldn't I.

What would your perfect day look like?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Inventoritis - Don't love your Baby Too Much.

I read a great book by Tatsuya Nakagawa and Peter Paul Roosen called "Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation". When Tatsuya first sent me the book, I instantly thought - SYNNEX - distribution - this must be a book on how to turn your inventory faster. Having the right inventory and turning it fast is key to any well run distributor.

But the book is about Inventors or Creativity. The gist of the thesis is all organizations need innovation to grow and thrive but all companies have built in characteristics that stifle creativity. The book covers a series of interesting case studies to point out the challenges and how some successful companies overcame the obstacles.

One clear message is "falling in love with your invention is a sure way to fail".

The book build us up to my favourite chapter (7) which has the answer. 12 ways to overcome Inventoritis.

1 - Assume the product or idea is terrible. Challenge and re-challenge.

2 - Know your customer, industry and business well. I notice that everyone else's business is easy and the grass is always greener there but when I invest, I lose money.

3 - Build a solid leadership bridge between marketing, engineering and sales.

4 - Make a commitment to self-improvement

5 - Be prepared to give up control. Control needs to be where the best good for the innovation is.

6 - Steal ideas from others and let them steal your ideas. I have always said "Ideas are a dime a dozen - implementation is what counts"

7 - Budget the time to help others and ask for help. Interesting, I am better at giving help than asking for it. Something I should work on.

8 - Lead with process.

9 - Create a slogan for the strategy.

10 - Leverage your resources (This is a huge part of the key to success in general)

11 - create a network or outside advisors. I would modify this to say just a network of people who can influence the market, spread the word, sometimes advise, challenge etc.

12 - Now you don't think I am going to just give you the full list. Read the book (the list is on page 92)

The book can be downloaded for free at Tatsuya's company web site -

Monday, March 10, 2008


I have been in Monterey California for the past few days at executive meetings. Imagine the contrast when I arrived home to find snow after running for an hour yesterday outside in shorts. Snow. Lots of it. Drifts over a meter high. It is beautiful.

I often speak of niche markets and specializing - not only for companies but for people. I believe it can give competitive advantage. I was asked the question of how do you know what to specialize in?

I suggest specializing in something that interests you. Specialize in something that you are good at (although if you work on anything, it will improve).

Once I decide what I want to specialize in, I study. The library is a great place to start. And of course be disciplined in the study. Read. Listen to books. Take courses. Meet with people who can coach and mentor.

Fortunately (but sadly), there is not much competition out there. Most people are not willing to spend the time and energy on things like study. Often just 15 or 20 hours of study will move you into the top 3 percentile on a topic (depending on how narrow the topic is).

You become what you say you are (this is true for companies as well as people). The more you say it, the more you notice things in your specialty and the more people send you relevant stuff. For example, rarely does a week go by that someone does not email me something on Time Management.

What about the concern that you will get bored? I like variety too. There is usually room for lots of variety even if you have a specialty. And there is no problem changing specialties if that is your decision.

Because of the Blog title "CEO Blog - Time Leadership" and the ebook, CD and book I have written on the topic, people think Time Management is my specialty. Partly true. Mostly it is being the best CEO I can be. Time Management is part of that.

If you google “CEO blog” or “CEO Time Management”, I get high rankings there.

Monday, March 03, 2008

More on Success Habits

Habits are like a double edged sword. Some habits are good and some are bad.

The key is to dull the bad side of the sword and sharpen the good side.

One challenge that I have seen is the more focused anything gets in life, the more it tends to become bigger in life.

This has served me very well when my goals are to grow a business, to sell more, to market better, to be more successful, etc. Because of my focus on this, I sell more; I am more successful, and grow the business more, etc.

The flip side of this is if there is a habit that I want to stop, and I start thinking about that, I tend to do more of the bad habit.

It has been said that you cannot change a habit; you can only replace it. I guess the key is to look at any potentially bad habit and simply look at replacing it with something that is more positive.

Part of this can be as simple as focusing on the good outcome - not the bad habit. I have never smoked but using smoking as an example, focus on breathing clean air and feeling good, not on stopping smoking.