BigML; Elite Athletes’ Secret; Relax to Drive Productivity; Core Values Awards
February 14, 2013
Best Brand Promise Guarantee; Must STUDY Article; Hot Potato Chain Emails; Best VC
February 21, 2013

Don’t Read This Book; What Strategy Isn’t; Scorecard Sample; Crowdfunding for Dummies

"…out-learning the competition" 


Reading the
books you recommend is changing the way I think and work for the better.


Johns, Managing Director

Sky Accounting Solutions

Sample Topgrading Scorecard
— superior to a job description, constructing a scorecard
for a position is the first step in the Topgrading hiring process. Toby Jenkins,
CEO of Australia-based

Bluewire Media
, has written an excellent
on how to construct a Scorecard along with a sample. And he explains
why his team enjoyed doing the process for each of their jobs. REMEMBER:
Certification as a Topgrading
is available (every company should have one) – the online classes
start this week with private coaching (go at your own pace) – and 50% discount
for additional executives/managers from the same firm wanting to take the
classes together.

What NOT to Read

— the biz world has been a buzz about the former CEO of P&G's new book

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works (love the title). So I grabbed a copy and dug in this past
weekend. Wow, I couldn't have been more disappointed. It's definitely not a book
for mid-market companies – too vague, too complicated – and it doesn't seem like
P&G really had to make the kinds of tough choices the rest of us mere mortals
have to make. Plus P&G isn't doing so great right now, so whatever they learned
hasn't stuck. The measure of a great CEO is if their predecessor is able to

Five Questions

— in turn, I love these five key questions upon which the book is based (my
interpretation in brackets), but I didn't get any real help figuring these out –
there are much better resources, like Bob Bloom's book

Inside Advantage

(best strategy book I've ever read):

  1. What is your
    winning aspiration? (BHAG)

  2. Where will
    you play? (Sandbox and Core Customer)

  3. How will you
    win? (Michael Porter's differentiated "activities")

  4. What
    capabilities must be in place? (Key Thrusts/Capabilities)

  5. What
    management systems are required? (this is new)

What Strategy Isn't

— and I thought Lafley did a great job of outlining what strategy is NOT –
taken from Fortune's
of the book:

  • Strategy
    isn't a vision. A vision tells you nothing about how to achieve your goals.

  • Strategy
    isn't a plan. That's just a set of tactics. A recent blog post by Martin
    called "Don't
    Let Strategy Become Planning
    " has gone viral in managerial circles.

  • Strategy
    isn't optimizing the status quo. Getting more efficient is always good, but
    it's a far cry from a strategy.

  • Strategy
    isn't following best practices. Some managers think getting really good at
    what the best players are already doing is a strategy. No, say Lafley and
    Martin: "It is a recipe for mediocrity."

OK, those were the two good parts. Now go re-read Bob Bloom's book

Inside Advantage

Crowdfund Investing For Dummies — and a shout out to Sherwood "Woodie" Neiss and his
partners who single handedly pushed through crowdfunding legislation in the US
and just released a book,

Crowdfund Investing for Dummies
helping entrepreneurs prepare for this funding opportunity to publicly raise up
to $1 million without filing expensive IPO documents. WARNING: the SEC missed
the Dec 31, 2012 deadline for setting the new rules. UGH!

Here's a quick update on the situation

You Already Know How to be Great — Alan Fine, a top tennis, golf, and executive coach, has
written an excellent book on how to get out of your own way. He's found the
biggest obstacle to improved performance isn't NOT knowing what to do; it's not
doing what you already know. Considered one of the fathers of modern
executive-coaching, Alan has created a one-hour
online course
that outlines his GROW model for peak performance (something
he's taught several PGA and Ryder Cup champs as well as top execs at IBM) plus
how to have real faith in your own abilities!! Those that have watched the
course are already raving about it. However, like all our online courses,
there's a full money back guarantee. Watch at your next monthly management
meeting or play in the background as you do email.

India and Australia Growth Summits — I'll be in India next week and Australia the following
week for our Growth Summits. Dates and locations below.

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.