Zuckerberg’s 2018 Goal; Facebook’s Theme; TentCraft’s 70+ Videos; Super Bowl Lessons
February 8, 2018
Trash-talking CEO; Best Places to Work; New Rules of Marketing; Lamb Financial
February 22, 2018

$13.4 million; Take that Leap; Got His Life Back; Jan 15 – 18 CEO Boot Camp

"…insights for scaleups"

HEADLINES: Happy Chinese New Year (tomorrow)!

Increased Value $2.5 Million to $13.4 Million and in just 30 months After years of missing profit targets, Australia's largest podiatry business got a coach. What increased the firm's valuation 5x is described below, but first…

CEO Boot Camp adding dates for 2019. Jan 15 – 18 to kick off the New Year! Limited to 10 CEOs, spend 3.5 days with Verne and serial entrepreneur John Ratliff identifying what is constraining you and your business while escaping the cold of winter.

Playing to Win vs. Not to Lose Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner who proved humans are irrational, co-authored this NY Times article analyzing fourth quarter decisions by teams to buy time or go for the win. The data suggests you should go for the win. Sports fans will enjoy the details but a lesson for all of us!

Serial Entrepreneur and Aspen Scholar Dan Hoffman's Circl.es Want to significantly improve your online meeting experience? Dan is hosting another short webinar next Thursday Feb 22 to share what he's learned about transforming virtual meetings into deeper conversations (like the importance of equal talk-time!). Be his guest and get a peek into what he's been working on for the last three years.

Got His Life Back After almost being shot down by FARC guerrillas on the Venezuela-Colombia border and being forced to escape Egypt while working for his father's oil spill contingency planning company, Nigel Bennett decided to break away and start Aqua-Guard Spill Response. Aqua-Guard now provides equipment and services that protect water, the planet's most precious resource, in 104 countries. But the real story is next…

The Company Runs Itself (Power of a Coach) Nigel wrote me this week:

Many years ago you asked the question in our class "who out there has a coach"? Only 3 put up their hands and I was one of them. Well, 14 years later, this is one of the most important decisions I ever made. Thank you for pushing us all on this point. Since that time I have been able to set up my business to run without me.

Nigel engaged Gazelles Certified coach Kevin Lawrence (Coach Kevin!) and the rest is history. In 2014/15 he took a year off and travelled with his family to 17 countries around the world giving them what he termed "the most amazing family experience possible." He noted that his business is still going strong and given his free time he's been able to write a book of his learnings and adventures along with creating an App to help save our global coast lines. Concludes Nigel:

Without Coach Kevin none of this would have been possible so a big thank you!

No one has ever achieved peak performance without a coach (see story below as well)! Congrats, Nigel, on all your success.

Take That Leap: Risking It All for What Really Matters FYI, this is the title of Nigel Bennett's just released excellent and adventure packed book. A fun and insightful read.

$2.5 million to $13.4 million Power of a Coach Damien James, Founder of Australia's largest podiatry company Dimple, said that he was tired of financial budgets getting set every year and never being achieved. "We started working with (coach) Rob and the degree and pace of business improvement was staggering. As an indicator – the company was valued at $2.5M when we started working with Rob, and just two and a half years later sold for $13.4M." Dimple CEO, Nick Beckett, said, "Rob helped us refine our annual and quarterly strategic planning and review sessions. This process was invaluable because it ensured we got the right people, doing the right things at the right time. Everyone understood where we were going and how they could impact our results, which motivated the team, helping us hit our goals and targets."

How They Did It below is the rest of the story – how Damien James worked with Gazelles Certified coach Rob Nankervis to drive these results in under 36 months.

Dimple applies the Gazelles approach
Balances 'care that shines' with massive business improvement

Damien James, Founder of Australia's largest podiatry company Dimple, said that he was tired of financial budgets getting set every year and never being achieved.

"My biggest frustration with my business was that budgets got set but we as a business never hit them. Not once in 17 years! I was sick of us not getting to where we expected to be – something was clearly wrong.

"We were already doing annual and quarterly planning and review sessions but it felt like it is was only 30% as effective as it could be. It was focused on what the company needed to do for the year and then broke that down into quarters. A pretty common SME approach, but it just wasn't working, which was reflected in a below-par financial performance.

"Looking back, it's now clear that our planning was being done in silos; we were not taking a comprehensive 360-degree look at the business, and as such the operational units weren't gelling. That caused poor operational alignment, resulting in inefficient businesses practices and poor budget results.

Damien said, "Another problem – and I take 100% accountability for this – was that we kept team members who were a poor performance or poor cultural fit for too long. We weren't constantly (i.e. quarterly) assessing the calibre of each team member, which meant the problem seemed to worsen every year. I'd put my heart and soul into this business for close on two decades and each year it didn't live up to expectations. Some years we'd budgeted to make $700K but lost $150K! I was at my wits end but I knew the business had great potential."

Dimple CEO Nick Beckett said "Another consideration for us was that we had a new exec team in place that needed to learn to work together effectively."


Dimple looked for an external coach because amongst other things, the management team recognised they needed an independent facilitator for strategic planning sessions. Nick said, "We did not want team members running these sessions as we wanted all to be active contributors not meeting facilitators. It's really valuable to have someone independent who is outside the business and has a different view point – someone who can see the trees for the forest."

Damien said, "We chose Rob Nankervis because he used the Gazelles approach and 'Rockefeller Habits' that were already familiar to the business. And he was positively referred by my network."

Nick said, "When we met with Rob, he felt like the right fit for our business. Also, he had a great network we have been able to tap into – Rob is a world champion networker. He is very proactive and is very generous with his time, providing clients with bonus value."

"The really big development for us was to narrow our strategic plan down to one page. We were than able to articulate our targets in 1-3-10 year time horizons."

Damien said, "We had a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) but it didn't resonate with the team as it was too big and too far away. So at our first discussion, we narrowed the BHAG down to ensure focus. We also needed more than just financial goals; we needed quality and service goals. We created smaller, closer targets; a quality measure, a growth measure and a profit measure. We called these SHAG's (small, hairy, audacious goals). " Nick said, "We also looked at our people. Rob introduced accountability mapping using the quarterly priority templates, allowing us to rate all teams across the business. This ensured we were on top of performance levels regularly, because we needed to rely on our teams to deliver on the projects, so we needed the very best people on board." Damien said, "Not long after starting with Rob, we could see tangible improvement. The fundamentals of the business – people, systems, financials and sales/marketing – continually improved. Within six months we had the right people, doing the right things at the right time.

Communication throughout the business improved dramatically. Everyone had their finger on the pulse, and as a result all metrics within the business improved. Each quarter we'd start our planning session by asking the management team to highlight wins and loses for the quarter, which was invaluable for two reasons. Firstly, when documenting the wins it was nice to see the results of our work – you don't often do that in business – defining the losses helped us identify what areas we still needed to work on.

More importantly though, it helped to paint an accurate picture of where the business was at that exact point in time. This often influenced the strategic decisions managers made, because it was clear where the focus should be. As all the departmental 'cogs' synchronized we were able to move forward in a predictable manner that built real momentum and excitement. All of a sudden we became a 'well-oiled machine."


Damien said, "With these initiatives in place, everyone understood where we were going and how their role helped us achieve our key metrics (our SHAG's) which meant we started hitting our budgets. Finally, after 17 years in business, I had complete confidence that when budgets were set, they were going to be achieved! The degree and pace of business improvement was staggering. As an indicator – the company was valued at $2.5M when we started working with Rob, and just two and a half years later sold for $13.4M.

Dimple achieved other results over and above the dollars. Nick said, "Rob provided us with objective and valuable commercial input and perspective to our issues and challenges. We have gained a valued friend and ally."

CEO-BOOTCAMP: spend 3.5 days with Verne, serial entrepreneur John Ratliff, and 9 other CEOs in a beautiful retreat setting, addressing the constraints holding back you, your business, and your industry. April 3 – 6; May 29 – June 1 (YPO-only); October 2 – 5; and January 15 – 18, 2019.

Thinking about selling the business for $40 million or more? Want to get 25% to 200% more than you thought? Request the whitepaper from the Exit Strategies Summit at Harvard from Denise Richmond at (610) 299-6466 or email at [email protected]


Have you ever wondered if working with a coach might accelerate your company's growth, exponentially? Do you have what it takes to move the dial from good to great? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients. Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

And if you're interested in becoming a world-class certified Gazelles International coach, please go to gicoaches.com/becomeacoach for more information. If you determine that we're a fit and wish to join our premier organization, we invite you to contact our Dir. of Coach Engagement at [email protected] or 877.217.2253 ext.700.


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Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.