Fail to Scale; Dream Team; Product CEO Paradox; VP Marketing; 4th Quarter Strategies Needed
August 15, 2013
Branson’s Advice; Newsjacking Elon Musk; Sara Blakely’s Dinner Question; International Workshops
August 29, 2013

Best Strategy Question; “Jobs” Speech; Normandy Lessons; Aug 27 KPI Webinar

"…keeping you great" 


Free Webinar on KPIs

Tuesday, August 27, 1pm ET – more details below, but first…

Sexy Living

— these are the three ideas Ashton Kutcher (plays Steve Jobs in the movie
"Jobs") addressed in his Teen
Choice Awards speech last week
– a 4 minute speech I had my children watch
as well. He shares a powerfully simple message for all of us, young and old. And
I have to think it was inspired by Steve Jobs famous commencement address at
Stanford. Really worth the 4 minutes! If for some reason the link doesn't work,
go to and search on "Ashton Kutcher speech."

Critical Strategy Test

— notes Mark Johnson, Clayton Christensen's partner in their highly acclaimed
strategy consulting firm, "stop asking your customers what they need; start
asking them what jobs they need done." For instance, what job might a milkshake
perform for certain customers? When you understand this, then you can innovate a
new customer value proposition and business model. Grab a copy of Mark's book

Seizing the
White Space
and go right to Chapter 6 and read the Dentco and milkshake
case studies (book club members will receive the book next week) – then hear
Mark keynote the

Growth Summit Oct 22 – 23, Las Vegas
. He'll walk us through their powerful
one-page strategy tool.

Business Models

— Johnson's book also provides a simple four-box framework (Chapter 2) for
building a successful business model. I find most biz leaders haven't a clue
what makes a good or great business model (or even what a business model is).
Johnson's model is also much more usable than the Business Model Generation
worksheet. If you're helping drive strategy in the business, please STUDY
Johnson's book – and nail down your company's:

  1. Customer Value Proposition (the jobs you do for customers)

  2. The Profit Formula (the four financial variables your business model must

  3. The Key Resources (assets, skills, etc.)

  4. The Key Processes (Michael Porter's differentiated activities idea)

These are at the heart of a company's competitive advantage
– and come from a couple of the top strategy thinkers in the world. If all of
this sounds foreign to you, it's time to step up your game and fine-tune the
company's business model.

Strategy Lessons from Normandy
– Brigadier
General Johnny Rickett
led my sons and me (annual boys-only trip) on another
amazing tour of the battle of Normandy. 3 strategy lessons:

  1. Lesson one is best summarized by a Winston Churchill quote "There is only one
    thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them!"
    Stalin made for a strange bedfellow, but critical to winning WWII. What
    strange, but important, allies do you need?

  2. Always keep the high ground. From defending a critical hill in Mortain to
    having superior air coverage, the Allies strove to dominate the high ground.
    What is the high ground in your industry?

  3. Leadership matters! Just as Jim Collins found in

    Good to Great
    success comes down to leadership. And thank goodness the Germans had a bad one
    who bred distrust and fear and refused to listen to his generals. In turn, the
    leaders for the Allies (Ike, Patton, Montgomery, Bradley) generally trusted
    and were open to ideas from each other – a "healthy" team in Pat Lencioni's
    terms. Is your team healthy (able to fight without killing each other) and
    willing to learn from each other?

As General Rickett noted "Hitler was our best ally in the

Days of Summer

— still time for some fun summer reading? Max Berry's book

The Company
provides a hilarious parody of business and modern management techniques —
there were times I just couldn't quit laughing. And it features a signature
Berry twist in the plot.

Webcast With Patrick Thean: How to Use KPIs to Focus Your Team and Keep Your
Plan on Track:

Learn how to use KPIs to achieve the best results. Join this webcast: How
to Use KPIs to Focus Your Team and Keep Your Plan on Track
next Tuesday,
August 27 @1:00pm ET. Patrick (CEO of Gazelles Systems) and Barry (Rhythm Coach)
will share a client example of how improving their company KPIs helped them
accelerate their growth. You will learn:

  • The most important questions to ask to figure out the right KPIs every quarter

  • How to communicate your KPIs to your team so they know exactly what they need
    to do

  • The power of using leading indicators as compared to result indicators


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.