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November 16, 2017

Dangerous Habit; Trillion Dollars; Changing Minds; Jan 30 – Feb 4 Geoversity

"…insights for scaleups"


Companies are living, breathing organisms (organizations). As such, the more they can mimic nature the faster they can scale.
  Verne Harnish, Chairman, Geoversity

Designing with Nature — join me and 40 CEOs/CXOs for five days in the Republic of Panama, along with a world class faculty (several who have created billion dollar firms), Jan 30 – Feb 4. It's our annual Geoversity "The Nature of Business" Executive Program 2018. More below, but first…

Facts Don't Change Minds — it's been said "the quickest way to end a hot argument is to dump a cold fact on it" – but it doesn't work. In fact, trying to use data/facts/logic often entrenches the other person/people more because of confirmation bias (something Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler brought to the forefront). So how do you change minds? According to this insightful article in Heleo by Ozan Varol you still use facts, but presented in a different way:

The key is to trick the mind by giving it an excuse. Convince your own mind (or your friend) that your prior decision or prior belief was the right one given what you knew, but now that the underlying facts have changed, so should the mind. But instead of giving the mind an out, we often go for a punch to the gut. We belittle the other person ("I told you so"). We ostracize ("Basket of deplorables"). We ridicule ("What an idiot").

The rest of the article is about how to avoid a confirmation bias in your own mind that can blind you to the realities of your situation/market – something leaders of growth firms can't afford. And in the process, you'll learn how to do this with other people. It's an excellent 2-minute read (which I've read several times). Thank you to Adam Grant for pointing to me this insightful article.

Dangerous Habit gossip and gossiping. Notes serial entrepreneur Craig Morantz in his recent blog post:

When we participate in this bad habit, we damage our fragile empathy muscle and become less trustworthy with those around us. It helps us escape the unease and dissatisfaction of life that is intrinsic to the human condition.

But it's so easy to do – and fun. Instead, suggests Morantz:

Let us not speak of other's faults, shortcomings, and personal troubles unless it's with them and with the intention of helping them.

His blog post shares the four ways not gossiping has impacted him personally – and details the harm it does to you, the other person, and the organization. Thank you, Craig, for this important reminder about a dangerous habit that is hard to break.

SmartSheet for Gathering Employee Ideas — Hugh Smallridge with Ashwood Gifts shared how he's using a simple app called SmartSheet to make it easy for his employees to share ideas. Notes Hugh:

Idea gathering doesn't need to be part of a complicated ERP system. We were tracking on a normal spreadsheet and have just switched to SmartSheet for it. Every employee has the SmartSheet app on the home screen of their phone now (easy access!) so anyone can instantly log any idea day or night. It's a real morale booster for employees if they see their ideas being actively considered and implemented regularly. I just introduced it to all the staff simultaneously at our daily huddle and got them all to log one idea so they knew exactly how to do it.

It looks like a simple yet powerful app for collaborating on a lot of things. Hugh, thanks for sharing with the community.

Tech Accelerator for the Planet — The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has teamed with Techstars to launch an accelerator for companies out to solve global problems. This Forbes article details the initiative. Serial entrepreneur and Board of Trustees for TNC in Indiana, Will Ditzler, will be one of the participating CEOs in the Geoversity program in Panama. We look forward to learning more.

A Trillion Dollarsof products/services will be produced mimicking insights from nature. Jay Harmon, who built Australia's largest tech firm to a market cap of $3 billion has scaled several firms using biomimicry. He, along with a world class faculty, will spend five days with a select group of 40 leaders from around the globe exploring how we can design our businesses to scale. One of the participants already signed up for Geoversity's "Nature of Business" program, along with Will Ditzler, is David Henderson, who heads up a private equity firm focused on funding companies in the water space.

Jan 30 – Feb 04, 2018 — Here are the details for the Geoversity Program:

Directed by Geoversity co-founder Dr. David S. Ricketts, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University (TECH), The Nature of Business Executive Program 2018 (NoB18) takes place in Panama, the epicenter of the Americas. You attend two days of workshops and events at the City of Knowledge and the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo bordering the Panama Canal followed by two days of immersion on an 11,000-acre private island conservancy off the Pacific coast of one of the world's richest areas of bio-diversity.

Your adventure starts with a ground-breaking and completely off-the-record dialogue with the legendary video game designer and Ubisoft senior executive Tommy Francois who is leading the creation of some of the industry's most ambitious and outstanding projects. Learn about Geoversity's unusual "game experiment" in collaboration with Ubisoft.

Join an inspired circle of thought leaders in discovering the latest in how:

  • Biological systems are informing strategic and competitive decision-making
  • Biomimicry is helping companies create new innovative products and services
  • Nature is instructing leaders on how to build not just resilient but "anti-fragile" organizations
  • Companies are embracing sustainability and eco-efficiency to drive increased revenues and profits
  • Workplace design is being influenced by natural environs
  • Executives are finding in nature the peace and quiet they need to unleash their best creative and problem-solving talents

The program fee includes local transportation, a plane charter flight over the Panama Canal and the 10,000-acre Mamoni Valley Preserve on the way to San Jose Island; lodging in the historic Central Hotel of Panama City and at the island resort Hacienda del Mar; ocean kayaking; meals; materials; and world-class Junglewood musical performances directed by Grammy-Award winning sound engineer and producer Rob Griffin.

Join us for five days of camaraderie with a select group of fellow "restless creatives" and thought leaders in a diverse and richly interactive program of discovery, adventure and reflection in nature.

For more information and to apply.

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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.