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  • Chris Rooney

What is “Bosun"? And why do you need one?

Updated: Mar 18

The Bosun is the deck boss of a ship, also known as the “Chief of the Boat." The most experienced and trustworthy operator, they have charted the world and mastered every role.



They are the human conduit through which the vision of the Captain becomes realized action and the patient teacher by which an inexperienced crew can become an exceptional, effective team. And often, they are the wizened thought partner who helps enable the Captain to mature from being visionary to becoming a visionary leader.

CEO's and business owners have similar challenges to Ship Captains: they have a bigger vision of what is over the horizon, and what world-changing bounty is to be gained from the journey there and back. But without a very experienced Bosun — a partner who has seen it all, can build and elevate teams, can weather unexpected storms and lack of resources, and inspire others during hardships they have endured before — a successful journey can be exponentially harder. Most importantly, Bosuns have the experience and foresight to see problems before they arise, recognize opportunities and execute toward them move quickly, and re-imagine solutions with the confidence of someone who has done it before.

In today’s specialist-oriented business world, true Bosuns are hard to find. Most executives (including CEO’s) are deeply functional in their experience, domain, and resulting world-view. Most investors and board members are not broadly and deeply experienced operators. And it is exceedingly rare to find the brilliant strategist who can operate and lead others; or the charismatic GM/operator who can fundamentally re-think their businesses in times of transition or navigate the disparate world of financing and M&A to actualize hard-earned gains through outcomes. Worst yet, few executives are truly multi-lingual and facile in both the language of the day-to-day business operator and the investor or board member working across a portfolio. Today, the CEO is left to his/her own devices to synthesize and integrate the myriad perspectives of these very different people in their orbit, in order to chart the best path forward for their business.

The Maelstorm of 2020 has illustrated the reality of how profoundly and unpredictably the economy and business environment can change. The ability to react to debilitating barriers or emerging opportunities. The ability to fundamentally re-think the business and potential outcomes. The ability to pull in experienced help, or to quickly unleash and leverage the talents of the team already in place. And most importantly, the ability to create calm in the face of the storm to keep confidence high and execution streamlined. In an increasingly unstructured and fast world where business problem-solving skills are so very critical, the very appreciation and development of these skills have been all but lost.

A CEO or business owner, like a Ship's Captain, ultimately has the "Conn of the Ship"; however, with a Bosun on deck, they are much more likely to achieve their destination through any seas.

BosunPartners is a focused group of executives who have deep experience as strategists, operators, and financiers as well as “domain spikes” across many different industries, functions, business models, and business outcomes. They are multi-lingual between strategy, operations, and finance. We "jump in the boat" with a select portfolio of companies where we feel great personal chemistry with the exec team and owners, and see that our involvement can have an outsized impact on their success.

If you manage or own a business where you think BosunPartners might be profoundly impactful, give us a call. We would be excited to learn more about your business.

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The folks we serve best tend to fall into four broad categories:

  • Emerging Businesses seeking to take it to the next level for new investment or for value realization, and/or who need help managing, channeling, and accelerating their growth

  • Next Phase businesses looking for new ideas, and/or more execution firepower, to find new sources of growth and income and optimal exits

  • Nascent Businesses who have exciting products and technologies, but who need experienced leadership to help grow into commercially successful companies with strong organizations, and to navigate the world of investors and value-creation, and

  • Investors who recognize the high percentage of businesses they discover but do not fund, with promising potential, but are missing the critical leadership, operational, and financially-savvy help to turn “interesting” into “investible” and “promising investment” into “high confidence return”

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