Toughest Man; Just Love Him; Living with a SEAL; Oct 15 – 16 Anaheim
June 7, 2019
Gates’ Biggest Mistake; Best Article 2019; Jack Nicklaus Example; Reverse Bucket List
June 27, 2019

Different Brownies; Better is Bad; Unique is Unstoppable; Culture Award

Hello ScaleUps, 

Hope it’s been a productive and purposeful week. Here are some insights/opportunities to help you outlearn/outthink the competition.

"Better is unsustainable, unique is unstoppable"
  Denise Lee Yohn, author of Fusion

ScaleUp Culture Award —
Is your culture unique? Powering your scaleup? Applications are being taken…more info below. But first…

Better vs. Unique —
Lots of people talk about getting better at something – but better is not sustainable – and there is always someone who will figure out how to do something even better. As Denise Lee Yohn, author of Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies, noted in her keynote at the ScaleUp Summit, you don’t want to strive for better, you want to strive to be unique! Unique is unstoppable. Jesse Itzler, the Marquis Jet co-founder I highlighted last week, said they same thing when he shared his brownie story – and would continually ask “but how is your brownie different!” – not better.

Brand Strategy = Different —
You only have an industry crushing, competition dominating strategy if you’re different/unique. However, if you price the same way as the competition, you’re not different. If you hire the same people as the competition, you’re not unique. If your products/services do the same job for the customer, you’re not different. The key is doing almost everything different in a different way. How are you unique? How are your brownies different? Spend an hour dialoguing about this at your next “council” meeting.

Brand + Culture = Results —
How is your culture unique? Reflected in your Vision Summary (Values, Purpose, Brand Promises, and BHAG), how is the Employee Experience (EX) different at your firm and does it align with that same uniqueness experienced by the customer (CX). Southwest Airlines is the LUV airline built around Freedom (“ding, you’re now free to move about the country.”). As such, Southwest articulates the 8 Freedoms you get as an employee, unique from the other airlines – while showing everyone LUV in the process. And Southwest prices different – no baggage or change fees, branded as Transfarency – vs. the other airlines. Again, how are you radically different from the competition in all ways? And is this experienced by the employees as well as the customers – is there a Fusion of the two, thus the title of Denise’s book. Read it if you didn’t before the Summit. She received one of the highest ratings at the Summit.

Managers vs. Coaches —
If you want a different culture, you also need a different approach to managing. This quick read HBR article by Jim Harter, Chief Scientist, Workplace Management & Well-Being at Gallup, highlights how a different manager approach/experience (becoming a coach instead of manager) leads to a more engaged workforce. Concludes Harter:

You can’t change a culture without great managers who themselves are having an exceptional employee experience. This means they need to have challenging experiences where they, themselves, are engaged and developing through their strengths. They need to be coached, as they progressively become more effective coaches themselves.

The Master Coach program offered by Bluepoint Leadership is the best we’ve found – and a program our own certified coaches have attended. Their president, Gregg Thompson, keynoted our Summit last year. Thank you, Steve Hall, for pointing me to this well-written and short article.

ScaleUp Culture Award
We announced an exciting opportunity for our Scaling Up community at the ScaleUp Summit in Atlanta. In partnership with Emplify, we’re offering you all the opportunity to apply for the 2019 ScaleUp Culture of the Year award, that will be presented at the ScaleUp Summit Oct 15 – 16, Anaheim. Further details and the application can be found HERE. As a note, there’s a reason this isn’t named the “Best” culture award, it’s the “ScaleUp” culture award. We’re all on a journey and we want to take a moment and recognize those of us prioritizing unique culture initiatives as we Scale our companies. Apply HERE.

CEO-BOOTCAMP: spend 3.5 days with Verne, serial entrepreneur John Ratliff, and 6 other CEOs in a beautiful retreat setting, addressing the constraints holding back you, your business, and your industry. Aug 20 – 23, 2019; Jan 14 – 17; Jan 21 – 24, 2020.

EXITING: Thinking about selling the business for $40 million or more? Want to get 25% to 200% more than you thought? Request the whitepaper from the Exit Strategies Summit at Harvard from Denise Richmond at (610) 299-6466 or email at [email protected]   

WRITE AND PUBLISH A BOOK to Grow Your Business and be THE Authority in your space. My publisher and friend Adam Witty at ForbesBooks has streamlined the process.  for more information and to take their Authority Assessment


Have you ever wondered if working with a coach might accelerate your company's growth, exponentially? Do you have what it takes to move the dial from good to great? The Scaling Up team is prepared to support you. We have helped 40,000 other organizations over the past 30+ years, in scaling up their organizations through coaching, workshops, online training and more. 

We would like to offer you a complimentary, personal follow-up from our Scaling Up team to share how we can support you in scaling your organization.


For questions or more information contact us at [email protected]


Create Accountability – Drive Execution with Align, cloud-based software designed to scale up your Rockefeller Habits implementation. - on your computer, tablet or phone. Click here to watch an introductory video.

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

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.