Q&A with Zuckerberg; Buffett’s Golden Letter; Buffett’s First Priority; Jim Collins’ 12 Questions
March 5, 2015
2 Second Lean; Success in Boardroom and Bedroom; Leadership Defines in 25 Seconds; Congrats Biz-Ability
March 19, 2015

Dubai YPO; Great Question; Best Places to Work; Most Interesting Person; March 18 Viewing

"…keeping you great"


Complimentary Viewing — save $99 to watch a complimentary viewing of Christine Comaford's 81 minute online presentation next Wednesday, 18th March – more below, but first…

Best Companies to Work For FORTUNE's 18th annual list is out and #1, for a sixth time, is Google. BCG, Acuity, SAS Institute, Robert W. Baird, Edward Jones, Wegmans, salesforce, Genetech, and Camden Property Trust round out the Top 10. Here's a link to an excellent summary article of what makes these companies great places to work. One interesting piece of data:

Take education and development, for example. In 1998 the average amount of training for managers and professionals was 41 hours, while hourly and administrative staffers received 33 hours. This year the numbers were 78 and 94 hours, respectively, which is nearly 80% higher.

I've been encouraging (admonishing!) CFOs, whose main job is to make sure assets are used fully, to start tracking the number of hours of development managers and employees are receiving. This is a critical KPI. If you want to 10x the company, you have to 10x the people. And does it pay off to do these things? Notes FORTUNE:

Since 1998 the 100 Best Companies have outperformed the S&P 500 index by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1

Culture, the #1 searched word in 2014 according to Webster's, is at the heart of these successful firms. Take 2 minutes to read the article for the three common trends behind all the Best Companies to Work For.

The Most Interesting Man in the World? — perhaps its Norwegian billionaire Fred Olsen, according to a most interesting article in FORTUNE this week. Owner of Timex, oil pioneer, world class sailor, leading the revolution in offshore wind power, and the (possible) inspiration behind a Simpson character, it's worth 5 minutes to read through (or 20 seconds to read the first two paragraphs) one of the only extensive interviews he's ever granted. Note's Olsen, on his inventive abilities, "My lack of a formal education is a terrific advantage," he says in his lightly accented English. "I'm not held back by academic constraints. I think more broadly, and worry about the engineering details later." Read and become inspired – it's important to be informed about the history of our business leadership profession.

Grit and Leadership Camp for High School Students — Fred Olsen credits his early experience working on cargo ships for developing the grit necessary to build a global empire. Here's a link to the Grit and Leadership Camp for high school students based on the famous Leadership Challenge curriculum designed to be experienced in the jungles of Panama (super safe). Pull your teenager out of their comfort zone.

Great Question — "Will it make the boat go faster?" This is the question Ben Hunt-Davis's British Men's Rowing Eight team asked every day (and about every activity/action) for two years that led them to an improbable gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. What is your focus this quarter/year and then have everyone, every day, ask if what they are doing will help achieve the goal. FYI, Hunt-Davis has written a very insightful and readable book about the specific steps they took to win – and he makes it applicable to business. Notes Gazelles Australian coach Rob Nankervis, "(the book) provides a good lesson in prioritizing/cutting through clutter to focus on the key things that will really make a difference." The book provides an easy readable way to get this point across, especially to your frontline (counts toward their hours of training!).

Likely Cause of Addiction — this breakthrough Huffington Post article has radically changed the conversation about the cause of addiction. Johann Hari took a 30,000 mile journey to study the largest failed war in history – the war on drugs – and discovered something powerful. Addiction is not chemically based – it's due to something else entirely. Hari's book Chasing the Scream, is equally insightful and provides more details, though the article is an excellent summary of his discovery. Addictions impact all of our businesses and many of our families, so it's worth being informed. Thanks to my wife Julie for pointing me to this important piece of research.

Dubai — YPOers Only — The next 2.5 day "Scaling Up: Making the Rockefeller Habits Rock 2.0" workshop for YPO teams is 21 – 23 April in Dubai. Consistently rated 9.7 and higher, it's one of the most popular executive education programs for YPOers and their leadership teams. Limited to 15 companies, YPOers can get information off their YPO International portal or email me at [email protected] and I'll put you in touch with Day Chair Thomas Lundgren. This is 20 hours of training for leaders!

Complimentary Viewing — speaking of culture, Christine Comaford, serial entrepreneur and author of SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together (Bill Gates calls her "super high bandwidth" and she has advised two US Presidents), shares specific ideas for high-engagement cultures where employees deliver terrific performance, have balanced lifestyles, and avoid burnout. Want higher employee satisfaction scores, better results, and happier teams? Be sure to watch this course. Register for a FREE Course Viewing of Create the Culture of Your Dreams by Christine Comaford on March 18th. Register now to SAVE $99. Length: 81 Minutes. Language: English.


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

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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.