Why Norway?; Tom Peters is Keynoting!; Billionaire McMahon; GetSmarter
March 1, 2018
Sumo Advantage; Bad Sumo; Bloomberg Live Event; FrogSlayer Profit; RIP Hawking
March 15, 2018

4 Behaviors; Unwavering Reliability; Make Less Decisions; One Week Bath Theme

"…insights for scaleups"


And so it is that a garbageman without a degree becomes a CEO who is recognized by employees and competitors as one of the most passionate, respected, and effective leaders.


The CEO Next Door

London May 2 – 4 Scaling Up Executive Program I'll be leading a 2.5 day executive program for 10 companies. For more info

The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders this is the subtitle of a hugely insightful and well written book published on Tuesday titled The CEO Next Door by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell. Based on a detailed study of over 2,600 leaders (G.H. Smart's database), this book debunks a lot of myths around what it takes to become a great leader. And it's excellent from the first page. Chapter 1 opens with the story of Don Slager who rose up through the ranks to become CEO of Republic Services (quote above). SPro members are getting a copy of the book and the authors are keynoting our fall ScaleUp Summit Oct 16 – 17, Denver.

Unwavering Reliability notes The CEO Next Door authors:

Don's leadership behaviors and choices – not his pedigree – propelled him to the top of the waste services industry. Don's father, whose motto was "Show up every day," had always given his son a long leash as long as his grades were good and his chores completed, planting the seeds for unwavering reliability, a key attribute of successful CEOs.

Honoring your commitments. Giving 110% to deliver on promises. Always showing up, day after day, week after week, even when you don't want to. These behavioral traits are more important than pedigree (only 7% of the 2,600 leaders were from Ivy League schools, and 8% didn't go to college). Please scan through the book and then come hear the authors along with Geoff Smart, Chairman of G.H Smart, keynote our fall summit.

Simplify (Less is More) Clarity, energy, success. These three words have replaced over 100 things employees need to remember to succeed at Microsoft. Notes this HBR article titled "Tell Employees What You Want Them to Strive for (in as Few Words as Possible)":

When Joe Whittinghill came into his role as general manager for talent, learning, and insight at Microsoft, the tech giant's leadership model was characteristically thorough. There were eight competencies leaders needed to succeed, 10 behaviors that marked inclusive diversity, five things employees had to do in order to flourish, and over 100 skills you needed to train on, depending on your profession. These components "were not memorable," Whittinghill said. "They were exhaustive."

The article shares the cognitive science that supports why leaders must simplify their messages so they can be recalled – if you aren't already convinced. This is why I'm anti mission/vision statements that no one can recall. Instead, because the brain needs to "chuck" material to remember it, keep the core values separate from the purpose, three brand promises and the BHAG. Four simply stated components of a Vision Summary (our simplified one-page plan in Scaling Up). Add in a single theme for the quarter and you're good to go. Thank you to Gazelles coaching partner in Sweden, Pelle Tornell, for sharing this article.

Spark, Ignite, Elevate – SBA Reimagined Yesterday I keynoted SBA's (Small Business Administration) Leadership Conference. The day before billionaire Linda McMahon, SBA Administrator, delivered her opening remarks. What impressed me was the clarity of her message. When she arrived last year she organized the first "Spark Leadership Conference" to jumpstart new ideas. This led to her "Ignite Tour" where she's visiting all 68 field officers and hosting listening sessions – with changes already made based on the last few months. This led to this week's "Elevate Leadership Conference" to focus on elevating everyone's game. All of this is the drive their "SBA Reimagined" theme. The Administrator's right-hand person shared how Ms. McMahon brought the power of themes over from her leadership of the WWE. This is why we're excited to be hosting her in New Orleans at the ScaleUp Summit. What are your themes/messages for this year?

Make Fewer Decisions back to The CEO Next Door, go to page 29 in the book. Notes the authors:

A powerful additional benefit of simple decision frameworks is that once they are embraced by the organization, CEOs (leaders) can step back from the vast majority of the decisions that now can be made by their employees.

The authors go on to describe how Madeline Bell, CEO of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), pushed a particularly hot debate that landed on her desk back down to the frontline of the organization rather than make the decision herself. Are you making too many decisions that could be made by others? Successful leaders make fewer decisions!

One Week Bath's Quarterly Theme (Gazelles case study) Matt Plaskoff, founder & CEO of Van Nuys, CA-based One Week Bath, shared his latest quarterly theme. Noted Plaskoff in an announcement to his team:

For those of you that have read the section in Scaling Up on "Themes", this will really make sense. If you haven't read this section, please take a look at Page 149 and the Chapter on Priorities. Thank you to the team for coming up with the 2018 First Quarter Mini Games/Themes. We have two games or challenges going. They are both centered around the very important Labor Efficiency Ratio (LER). This is the ratio of gross profit to labor costs.

There is a racing theme for the Production Installation Crew called "ExceLERate to a Win!" and a downhill skiing theme for the overall company called "ExceLERate Down the Hill!" Here's a photo of the scoreboard, updated weekly, for the company theme.

The gates represent the red/yellow/green/super green milestones and the medals the prize amounts for the team members that reach each milestone each week. This week their LER was 2.38. I'll check in with Matt to see how the quarter ends and if they reached the finish line! Do you have a theme this quarter? Next? What is your simple leadership message?

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 you back, your business, and your industry. May 29 – June 1 (YPO-only); October 2 – 5; and January 15 – 18, 2019.

EXITING: 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.