Holiday Miracle; Key to Sustained Energy; Kezia vs Jobs; Happy Holidays
December 22, 2011
Exactly 100%; 50% First Day; 1 Priority For Year; Fortune Leadership Summit Agenda
January 12, 2012

1st Book 2012; Jack Daniel’s Magic; 4 Key Questions; Healthcare Cost ideas

"…keeping you great"


I'm a professor, so I only know how to ask questions, not answer them.
To students: I get paid to ask the questions and you pay to answer them.

 Prof. Noam Wasserman sharing two famous lines among the Harvard B-School Faculty

Healthcare Costs — my latest Fortune column will tackle this critical topic. Any creative ideas to stabilize or reduce your healthcare costs I can include in my Venture column? More details below…but first:

Strategic Thinking vs. Execution Planning — my January "Growth Guy" syndicated column splits apart the term "strategic planning" into two distinct activities, each requiring a different team and focus. Take four minutes to read the piece and see how it will improve your strategic planning process.

First Critical Book of 2012 — Jim Stengel, former Global Marketing Officer (GMO) of Proctor & Gamble, was recently chosen by Fortune as the ideal marketing head for its first Executive Dream Team. Stengel also released last week his book entitled Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies. Given the critical importance of marketing this decade, Stengel's insights into how his list of the world's 50 best businesses have dominated their markets will be highly useful to you (Gazelles 200 members will receive a copy next week).

Jack Daniel's Marketing Magic— my personal favorite whiskey, it was Fortune's excerpt of Stengel's book highlighting the power of the Jack Daniel's brand (one of the top 50 companies) that turned me on to his book. In what is one of the most competitive niches, Jack Daniel's has been able to break out of the pack and establish itself as a powerful global brand. Take 3 minutes to read how the founder of Jack Daniel's set the company up for long term success (yes, his name is Jack Daniel). And how a one-page marketing plan in 1955 propelled the brand for the next 50 years.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook — Sandberg's endorsement of the book, along with other luminaries (plus a quick read of an advance copy), convinced me to also invite Stengel to keynote, along with Jim Collins, the Fortune Leadership Summit in Atlanta May 15-16. Sandberg about Stengel's book "… A new, powerful model for business. … A must-read … for all business leaders." Again, marketing is critical this decade as more competitors emerge while the middle class expands globally – read Stengel's book then learn from him directly in Atlanta. Collins and Stengel will provide a nice one-two punch to your growth plans.

Palmisano's Four Questions — Warren Buffett has amassed $10 billion of IBM stock; IBM's market cap is four times that of HP; and IBM was the second best performing stock this past decade. What's going on? It started when Sam Palmisano chose greatness for IBM. Palmisano stepped down as CEO of IBM this past Sunday. Take 2 minutes to scan the NY Time's latest interview with Palmisano where he outlines the four questions he posed to the top 300 managers at IBM in 2003. "The hardest thing is answering those four questions," Mr. Palmisano says. "You've got to answer all four and work at answering all four to really execute with excellence." The four questions:

·         "Why would someone spend their money with you – so what is unique about you?"

·         "Why would somebody work for you?"

·         "Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography – their country?"

·         "And why would somebody invest their money with you?"

Interestingly, it was question 3 that led IBM to sell their PC business to Lenovo vs. Dell or HP. It secured their relationship with the Chinese!

Ideas for Containing Healthcare Costs? — please email me at [email protected] if you have found a creative way to stabilize or reduce your healthcare costs in a way that does not hurt your relationships with employees who are depending on health benefits? If so, I'd love to know what you're doing, for potential inclusion in my next Fortune column. Fortune is very detail oriented, so please tell us in 1-2 paragraphs: What your company does, where it's located, how many employees you have, approximate revenues (if you're able to disclose that), and what you're doing to keep your health care costs in line. Fortune is very finance-driven, as you might imagine, so we would love to have details (in dollars) on how much you're spending, saving, etc.

Updated One-Page Tools (English, Spanish, Hungarian, Dutch, German, and French) — thanks to Maureen Chan-Hefflin on our GI team for organizing all the various language versions of our one-page tools, including the updated One-Page Strategic Plan. Here's a link – just expand the various sections. It also includes our complete "vook" (video book) that walks you box-by-box through the various tools.

Rockefeller Habits Workshops in JanuarySeattle Jan 10th; San Diego Jan 19th. Mark Lee, President of Baker Roofing (one of the nation's largest roofing contractors), "I have been working on implementing your tools this past year. We made a huge jump after the Rockefeller Habits workshop. Your management team needs to see, hear and understand the process first hand to truly get it implemented, which is why the workshop is so important."

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.