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June 30, 2011
Branson’s Life Lesson; Global Huddle Drive Results; Dead Goes Flamenco; Microsoft on Fire
July 14, 2011

Clever KPI; Not China’s Century; BAG Meeting; FatWallet Forced to Move

"…keeping you great"


This is Not China's Century — more below, but first…

Illinois Drives FatWallet Out — consistently named one of the best places to work in the US, FatWallet, an online provider of discount coupons, garnered major news coverage for moving their entire company from Illinois to Wisconsin as a result of a new Illinois Internet Tax law. The law would have caused FatWallet, whom many of you have met at our Summits, to lose about 30% of its revenues. Fox Business News provided live coverage of the move across the state border as employees paraded 5 miles north. FatWallet also created a video documentary which captures that day, the people that were affected and the success of a great workplace culture coming together in crisis. Link to documentary.

BAG (Better at Growth) Meeting — this is what Thomas Douglas, CEO and President of Springfield, MO-based JMARK calls their 9:33am daily huddle. Notes Douglas, "In that meeting we've solved tons of company issues and it has truly made a huge difference in our company. We follow it up with a JNews Report each day that sends the same information to everyone in the company." BTW, JMARK had a record June.

BAG Board Helps Sales Cyclehere's a link to photos of JMARK's BAG Board (big whiteboard). Continues Douglas "When we tell our clients and prospects about it (BAG Meeting) and show them our BAG Board and how much info we go through in 10 minutes to make sure we're not missing things, it actually helps in the sales cycle when you have a potential client who appreciates KPI's." I often suggest companies invite potential clients to witness their daily huddles – clients like to deal with disciplined and fast communicating firms.

Clever KPI: Time Spent Touching each System — Explains Douglas, "we identified a new KPI at the end of last year (we're a technology company that manages computers and servers for other companies) where if we took our average time spent touching each system from .66 hours per month to .5 or less that it increased the profitability of the company by 30k per month because we could support more devices with fewer people (allowing us to scale). We just closed this month with an average of .44 hours per device for the month of June. It does make a big difference."

Insightful KPI — Total Number of Dependents that JMARK Supports — further notes Douglas, "One of the other things that we added to the BAG Board is the total number of dependents that JMARK supports. That means the wives, husbands and kids that we're supporting in our organization. We update it each month. We pay 100% of the employees insurance and 70% of all dependents insurance as well." This is a powerful KPI for highlighting the direct human impact a company is having – and for emphasizing the importance of growth firms to the economy. Brilliant and simple KPI – congrats Douglas and JMARK.

Clients that Need Love and Why — this is also listed on JMARK's BAG Board. Describes Douglas, "This non-KPI is one of my favorites. In the computer & server management business, it's easy for people to become frustrated when they don't understand something, if we don't respond as fast as they'd like, or whatever the case may be." By informing his team that a client is on the Love List it alerts the first person that takes the call from this client to immediately discuss who the owner of their issue is and escalate the call to them right away.

Breaking the Molds — Concludes Douglas in his note to me "Our company is breaking the molds and is growing almost as fast as we can handle. There are many reasons and people responsible for this, but your insight and outlines have played an important part." Douglas — thank you and your team for being great students of business.

This is Not China's Century — Fareed Zakaria, CNN's thoughtful international commentator, weighs in on the topic of China's dominance in the 21st Century. Though China will be important, it has four things going against it, including a demographic collapse as it faces the loss of 400 million people over the next 25 years (while the US population is growing at the same rate as India!). And I found this an interesting data point: "In terms of foreign direct investment, China attracts every month what India takes in every year. Still China only grows two percentage points faster than India," notes Zakaria. His analysis is worth 4 minutes of your time so you have a balanced perspective on China and the global economy – and why I remain bullish on India.

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.