What killed Nokia; What great brands do; Richard Branson event; Live Streaming Summit
February 18, 2016
How Free and Inexpensive Technology Put One Company’s Scale-Up on the Fast Track
March 2, 2016

Brad Pitt; Google’s 2 team lessons; Coca-Cola’s design; Panama, Guatemala next week

"…insights for scale-ups"


Brad Pitt Playing General McChrystal (fun fact) — Brad Pitt as General Stanley McChrystal is wrapping up the $60 million Netflix production of War Machine, a satire of the Afghanistan war. Come meet the real deal when McChrystal opens our upcoming Scale-Up Summit as author of Team of Teams (how all organizations that want to remain "agile scale-ups" will be structured).

Building Brands by Design — David Butler, successful entrepreneur, led the design-driven turnaround of Coca-Cola as VP Innovation. In his current role he leads a seed-stage venturing platform called Coca-Cola Founders, designed to co-create new, high-growth startups by connecting repeat founders with some of Coca-Cola's biggest challenges. He's built a portfolio of 12 companies in 10 countries in less than 2 years. What he has learned in the process is shared in his recent book Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too). The paperback version was released this week – GPro and book club members will receive a copy.

Designing on Purpose Manifesto — skip to the end of Butler's book and read his classic Design Manifesto. He emphasizes that design is not just decoration! Notes Butler, "design should be used as a strategic advantage to create things that people have to have" and that organizations should "design on purpose" rather than haphazardly. And he details how design fits business-to-business firms as much as retailers. Take 4 minutes to read his manifesto in the book and then come hear him articulate how you can combine agility and scale as a keynoter of our upcoming Atlanta (home of Coca-Cola) Scale-Up Summit May 24 – 25 in collaboration with FORTUNE.

Google's Lessons in Building Great Teams — Notes this lengthy NY Times piece  "In 2012, the company (Google) embarked on an initiative – codenamed Project Aristotle – to study hundreds of Google's teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared." More specifically:

What interested the researchers most, however, was that teams that did well on one assignment usually did well on all the others. Conversely, teams that failed at one thing seemed to fail at everything. The researchers eventually concluded that what distinguished the ''good'' teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another. The right norms, in other words, could raise a group's collective intelligence, whereas the wrong norms could hobble a team, even if, individually, all the members were exceptionally bright.

So what are the right ways to act (norms?). Google discovered two specific attributes of teams that highly correlated to success or failure:

  1. Conversational turn-taking — ''As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well, but if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.''
  2. Average social sensitivity — "a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues."

Together, these two factors provide what is called psychological safety – team members feel safe taking risks in expressing ideas and feelings. How you create these factors is the bulk of the rest of the article. If you only read one lengthy article this weekend – this is the one!! You'll pick up many fabulous jewels that will make teams more productive and effective.

Scaling Up People (Online Master Class) — the key to all of this is retaining people – a key section in Scaling Up and the new online interactive Scaling Up course which mirrors the 2.5-day intensive program we take teams through. The key to retention is to focus on strengths and weaknesses, but not the traditional parts of a SWOT analysis…Strengths are the activities that give you energy just thinking about them. Weaknesses are the opposite, that's what drains you. So get an edge on how to develop, increase engagement, and win with your team. The Scaling Up Online Masterclass will help you do just that. Check out a preview of the class here.

Panama March 1; Guatemala March 3 — I'll be leading one-day workshops in Panama and Guatemala next week. For more info email Francisco Munoz (SCORE Consulting)


Align Software puts everyone on the Same Page – Literally! See, in real time every person in your organization and how they are progressing on their priorities – alongside how they Align to the Company Priorities! Scale Up your Rockefeller Habits implementation with www.aligntoday.com – on your computer and on your phone.

Better Book Club — What's your team reading? Increase your books read per team member. Easy, Proven, and in the Cloud at http://www.BetterBookClub.com.


Have you ever wondered if your company would be a good candidate to work with an executive growth coach? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients.

And if you're interested in becoming a world-class certified Gazelles International coach, please contact Jean Carpenter at [email protected] / (360) 798.9471.

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.