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Cursive will Break Your Fingers

Why 'What's Keeping You Up At Night' Belongs in Your Board Meeting


I’m the world’s worst sleeper. 

I can fall asleep fine but then I wake up in the middle of the night and it takes me ages to go back to sleep.  I don’t check my phone either…I usually just read until I fall back asleep.  

I initially listed some of the books I’ve read most recently while trying to fall back to sleep.  But, I deleted it.  They said it’s always best to delete unnecessary text but then add unnecessary text that points to the fact that you deleted unnecessary text.  Yep.  That feels right.

I usually wouldn’t care that much about what’s keeping you up at night, but ourWhat’s Keeping Me Up at Night’ section in Zeck has become pretty universally loved and adopted.  

First, some quick background…

In second grade I questioned why we were learning cursive and, that same day, I broke two fingers at recess playing red rover.  Do they still play that game?

Wait, wrong background. Here we go…

We had an amazing board at our second company, CrowdRise.  I had a scheduled call every other week with one of our board members.  Let’s call him Bijan.  Mostly because that’s his name and he is one of the finest people in the world.

There was one agenda item for my call with Bijan…What’s Keeping Me Up at Night.  

That call was awesome for me.  I really had to think through our most significant challenge and come up with a path to solve it.  Easier said than done because, as every operator is deeply familiar with…every action creates a domino effect that must be planned for.  

More importantly, What’s Keeping Me Up at Night was an opportunity for Bijan to get into my head a little bit.  And, most importantly (comes after more importantly in the order of importantlies), Bijan was always able to help. 

The next iteration was making What’s Keeping Me Up at Night a part of our board content at CrowdRise.  Everyone contributing to our board deck added What’s Keeping Me Up at Night to their section.  That information ended up being the most meaningful part of our board meetings.  Ultimately, it was our opportunity to get our most pressing challenges in front of our board and give ‘em a chance to help us.

The Zeck framework is definitely crowdsourced.  We took best practices from CEOs, CFOs VCs, Private Equity, Breakdancers and Mrs. Claire, my second grade teacher who taught us cursive and basically had my fingers broken. 

Bijan’s ‘What’s Keeping Me Up at Night’ concept is one of the all-stars of the Zeck board framework.  Everyone using Zeck seems to love it.  

Here’s a made up example:

What’s Keeping Me Up at Night

Supply Chain and Supply Chain

  • Demand is so strong and it's reflected in our triple digit YTD revenue growth, but Q4 is at risk due to inventory and supply chain issues at all top 10 brands, including our own.  We are using air freight instead of container ships (huge cost to that), just to make sure we have enough inventory to hit our revenue targets.  But even that isn’t a guarantee to get enough product here for the holiday season.  
  • I know some of you have deep experience in supply chain and I’m looking forward to getting some feedback and help. 

🛑 Plan to Pause for Discussion on This Topic 🛑

I’m sure you get the concept so I’ll stop typing soon.  If you’re going to make any moves today, here’s what we recommend.  

  • No breathing exercises or yoga or anything like that.  The moment is far too fleeting to worry about. 
  • Start adopting What’s Keeping Me Up at Night in your board materials.  If you have any questions about it, please email us and we’ll be ready to go at it. 
  • The brain is finite so don’t learn anything else new today.

Okay.  That’s all. 
Decent Humans at Zeck 

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