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November 14, 2013
4 trends to follow in 2014
November 21, 2013

4 Ideas for 2014; Businessperson of the Year; Best of 2013; Avoid Dreamliner!

"…keeping you great"


Boeing's Dreamliner Unreliable — more below, but first…

4 Biz Trends for 2014 — consider these four ideas in my latest Venture column in Fortune as you prepare your one-page strategic plan

Businessperson of the Year — and Fortune's winner? Elon Musk. And the key? Ecosystem builder. In an article entitled "The shared genius of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk" they note "To appreciate Jobs' and Musk's contributions, you must pull the camera back. What they did uniquely was to imagine the broader ecosystems in which those products could become transformative." Interestingly, Ram Charan, one of the top biz thought leaders in the world (16 books) noted at our recent Growth Summit that creating ecosystems was what he thought was key as well. It's not enough to create great products – the entire ecosystem in which it operates needs to be designed – and the key word is "design." Please take 3 minutes to read this insightful article.

Best in 2013 — for a look back over 2013, here's Fortune's take on the best book, best turnaround, best IPO, best building, best movie, etc. It's worth clicking through, picking up topics to discuss with colleagues and customers at the upcoming holiday parties!!

Amazon — this company (including Zappos) and its founder garnered three of the "Best in 2013" honors including "Best Hiring Spree." Notes Fortune, "In the first three quarters of 2013 it added 21,400 employees, bringing the total headcount to 109,800, an increase in staff of more than 400% over the past five years." However, once hired it's nearly impossible to get promoted notes Brad Stone in his new book entitled The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. And the review process is brutal, embodied in what are called twice annual OLRs (organization and leadership reviews). Here's a link to Stone's except in BusinessWeek that includes a description of the 10 layers of promotion available in Amazon – might be useful for some – and a link to an internal company presentation on OLRs. Thanks to Randy Cohen, founder of TicketCity for pointing me to this article. I just ordered Stone's book – looks like a good read over the holidays.

Microsoft Ends "Stack Ranking" — in turn, the big news last week is that Microsoft ended major components of its stack ranking process, mimicked after Jack Welch's practice at GE of eliminating the bottom 10% of the workforce each year, something GE has ended as well. What are replacing it — more frequent and qualitative feedback sessions. This WSJ article provides more details if interested.

Best Employee Feedback — based on columns 1 (Core Values) and 7 (Individual KPIs and Priorities) of the Gazelles' One-Page Strategic Plan, the best feedback process is:

  1. Every employee is able to objectively answer the question "did I have a good day or week" because their specific performance KPIs are visible and priorities reviewed at the weekly meeting. Usually in the form of checklists, spreadsheets, dashboards, etc.
  2. Leaders tie ongoing praise and reprimands back to the core values e.g. "thank you for immediately following up that customer request – this is key to maintaining Ecstatic Customers."

If these two things are constantly going on, the quarterly and/or annual feedback process isn't as necessary. More importantly, weekly feedback gives everyone time to make course corrections.

Avoid the Dreamliner — I used to live by the rule "if it ain't Boeing, I ain't going" but their new 787 Dreamliner is a nightmare. It's unreliable and unsafe, so avoid looking a flight on this aircraft if you can. Why the rant? Last Friday a software glitch grounded my flight from Shanghai to LA for five hours, eventually leading to the flight being cancelled. This caused me to miss my first paid keynote in 31 years!! A brand new plane grounded by software glitches – inexcusable and dangerous.

Moscow, Mumbai, and Toronto — my final three events for 2013 – Moscow YPO Nov 26 – 27; Mumbai public workshop Dec 5; and Robin Sharma's "The Titan Summit" Dec 12.

Align Your Team for 2014 — and here's a link to the rest of the one-day Rockefeller Habits workshops hosted between now and the end of the year – a perfect day to get your team aligned and ready for 2014.


Need help implementing the Rockefeller Habits?

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.