"…keeping you great"
"China Outsourcing to Africa" — this was one of my favorite unconventional insights shared at the Fortune Growth Summit this week – more below, but first…
Short Videos — while going through emails, tune into these short interviews with each of the Fortune Growth Summit's seven keynotes and pick-up some quick pointers for growing your business and living your life.
"People" #1 Challenge — surveying audiences around the globe, including the 500 CEOs and executives attending this week's Fortune Growth Summit, "people" challenges are by far the #1 decision in 2012 needing focus vs. strategy, execution, and cash. This is a change from 2011 when the #1 focus was on strategy, especially with firms in the developed world. This is why my latest Fortune column is focused on attracting great talent.
5 Ways to Find Extraordinary Employees — this is the title of my Venture column in the Oct 29 edition of Fortune magazine. Please take 3 minutes to see if any of these unconventional ideas for recruiting talent, including placing notes on the cars of employees parked in "employee of the month" parking spots at other companies, might work for you. Thanks to Mark Lancaster, Steve Hall, Jennifer Walzer, and Brad Smart for sharing their ideas.
Fortune Growth Summit Highlights — and it was an extraordinary two days in Phoenix with 7 of the top biz thought leaders in the world. What we learned:
Rick Kash, co-author of How Companies Win, which I named the top biz book of 2011, detailed why every leader must make a 180 degree pivot from focusing on the supply-side of the business to focusing on the demand-side, identifying the richest "profit pools" and then designing specific products and services to go after these more desirable customers (including definitive lists of customers to pursue by the sales team). One hint – spend more time thinking through pricing strategies (demand focused) than cost structures (supply side).
Jim Kouzes, co-author of The Leadership Challenge, named one of the top 20 biz authors of all time, shared his framework of five leadership practices. Using their Leadership Profile Index, we identified five specific behavior changes we will each make to raise our game as leaders – sharing with us research that "who" we are (educational background, age, experience, etc) had zero correlation to being a great leader vs. "behaviors" which had a high correlation. The great news is these can be learned and coached.
Anne Morriss, co-author of Uncommon Service, my #1 biz book of 2012, detailed how product companies understand the importance of tradeoffs (MacBook Airs sacrifice battery life and lack ports) yet when it comes to services, we try and give the customer everything they want. The best companies are a "5" (scale of 1 to 5) in only two or three aspects of service and then absolutely stink in all the other areas, scoring 1's across the board. In turn, good companies end up scoring 3's on all aspects of service as they strive to make everyone happy and thus fail to really make anyone happy.
Chip Conley, CEO of the famous $250 million JVD chain of boutique hotels and author of Emotional Equations, shared his roller coaster journey of building a company and how, when he contemplated ending it all, that he discovered several powerful equations to steady his nerves including Despair = Suffering – Meaning. I also found it fascinating how he designed each of his hotels around a specific magazine – and thus attracting a very focused "profit pool" of customers – a demand-side focused strategy.
Vijay Govindarajan, author of Reverse Innovation, who's recognized for naming the last "big concept" of the last 100 years in the upcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, made a case for innovating products/services for the poor which can be sold to the rich. From a $30 prosthetic limb designed in Thailand which competes with $20,000 limbs in the US; to $2000 India-based heart surgeries which are coming to the Cayman Islands to compete with the $50,000 price tags in the west; these products and services are of equal or better quality for a magnitude or less in price. We had all better wake up and pay attention to this global trend and participate vs. end up road kill.
Ron McMillan, co-author of Crucial Conversations, whose team of authors are also considered the top 20 of all biz authors in history, detailed how we can avoid the "silence or violence" approach that can rear its ugly head when we find ourselves in high stakes, highly emotional conversations where opposing views are clashing – and how to stay focused on getting the problem resolved while strengthening relationships. Ron's detailed techniques on how to maintain safety in the conversation if it starts to go bad (back away from content and refocus on intent, for instance) are useful at work and home.
Rich Moran, venture capitalist and CEO of Accretive Solutions, a 900 plus employee firm, as well as author of six books including Sins and CEOs, provided a humorous look at some of the 10 simple sins all of us as leaders often commit – like fibbing and being a "donkey!" He also pushed us to get control of our calendar and quick wasting our time on things that don't really matter – always a great reminder.
Orlando May 9 – 10, Leadership Summit — Jack Welch calculated the return on executive development as "infinite." Mark your calendars for the next two-day Leadership Summit presented by Fortune, May 9 – 10 (Thursday-Friday this time) in Orlando – and stay the weekend with family. If you're 15 minutes more productive each day, between now and next May, you will have the two-days to invest in attending the Summit with your team. Out-learn the competition.
Rockefeller Habits Austin Oct 30 — the last RH workshop in October is next week in Austin, TX.