#1 Strategy; How Companies Win; 180° Pivot; 90 Seats Left
September 20, 2012
The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time – Foreword by Jim Collins
October 2, 2012

Dare to be Bad; #2 Strategy; Most Powerful Women; Australia Bob Bloom

"…keeping you great"


Bob Bloom in Australia — Brisbane 19 October; Sydney 25 October. More below, but first…

50 Most Powerful Women Fortune's latest list is out with Ginni Rometty, the new CEO of IBM, topping the list. Pepsi, HP, Yahoo! and other well-known firms now have women at the top. Here's a link to the full list.

#2 Strategy Book — speaking of powerful women, in addition to How Companies Win (Rick Kash), the second most important strategy book published this year is Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by one of my favorite Harvard strategy profs, Francis Frei (hugely popular on the YPO circuit) and her partner Anne Morriss. These brilliant women have finally put their powerful ideas in writing. BTW, Anne is keynoting the Fortune Growth Summit along with Rick Kash – a critical one-two punch to crush competitors. And Gazelles 200 and book club members are getting this book in the mail next week.

Dare to be Bad — are you willing to go so far as to upset your customers? This is what the greatest, most profitable, and highly valued companies do – and a key point in Uncommon Service. Southwest Airlines provides no advance reservation seating, but it's key to them being the most profitable airline in the industry. Even the beloved Apple often highly frustrates us with their closed-system mentality (shunned flash, eliminated Google maps, and now we have to buy all new power accessories!) – yet this has been Apple's critical strategy from the beginning.

Block Competitors — and if this one strategic activity is so distasteful, your competitors won't have the guts to copy you i.e. Google and Microsoft can't move to a closed system and the other airlines won't dare take away advance seating. Thus it serves as the perfect blocking strategy. The key is having such powerful advantages that the customer will put up with this one negative. Yet this negative is the key to making lots and lots of money. Most entrepreneurs simple don't have the guts to "go there" with their strategy. This is why you have to read Uncommon Service especially if you're not taking a bunch to the bottom line.

One-Phrase Strategy — for those of you working through our new "7 Strata of Strategy" framework, this idea of a distasteful activity is the essence of the One-Phrase Strategy. This is why I'm so excited about Uncommon Service and Anne's presentation at the Growth Summit – it provides the frameworks and examples to help you figure out this critical aspect of your overall strategy. And without it, you're just going to keep giving away the store with all your brand promises and end up with not much in return. Uncommon Service will help you be HIGHLY profitable.

Strategy at 2am — if all of this hurts your brain, take a nap first! Research is finding that it's normal (even better) if you wake up in the middle of the night and decide to do some creative work for a couple hours. In fact, maybe we weren't really programmed to sleep in one continuous cycle after all, history and research are showing. And we're learning more about the importance of a power nap i.e. I've started taking one for 20 minutes prior to my intense 3 hours of Monday meetings (they are in the afternoon Barcelona-time). Even one NFL team is letting their players nap before games. Check out this week's insightful NY Times piece entitled "Rethinking Sleep." Thanks to Mirko Wormuth, Twice Fashion for pointing me to this article.

Aussie Strategic Differentiation — the master of strategy and key resource to the second strata of our "7 Strata of Strategy" is Bob Bloom, author of Inside Advantage and The New Experts. All of you in Australia please take advantage of Bob being in your country and attend one of his workshops. A WPOer himself, he's the former Chairman and CEO of the third largest ad agency in the world, helping BMW, Perrier, TGIF and now a bunch of mid-market firms build strategies from their own "inside advantage." Here's a link to more information.

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.