He’s Coming; Traditional Planning is Failing; Denver Broncos; Washington’s Team of Teams
December 3, 2015
Super Bowl Event – John Ratliff’s Retreat Center in Marathon Key, FL
December 15, 2015

Great Question; Distraction Addiction; Southwest’s Hiring Practices; Food Biz Stories Needed

"…insights for scaleups"


Food Biz Stories Needed — are you scaling up in the food industry? My next Fortune column is examining this industry – more info below, but first…

How Southwest Airlines Hires Such Dedicated People — Receiving a job application every two seconds, Southwest has the luxury of having to hire only 2% of all job applicants. And Southwest hires based on values, not skills. My favorite paragraph from the recent HBR article:

At Southwest, for example, we talk about hiring not for skills but three attributes: a warrior spirit (that is, a desire to excel, act with courage, persevere and innovate); a servant's heart (the ability to put others first, treat everyone with respect and proactively serve customers); and a fun-loving attitude (passion, joy and an aversion to taking oneself too seriously.)

The first attribute aligns with Jim Collins' notion that you must first hire for "will." So in order, we suggest you hire based on:

  1. Will – Southwest's definition of warrior spirit is perfect
  2. Values – the test for culture fit
  3. Results – in the end can they deliver on your KPIs
  4. Skills – the least important since most skill-sets need updated every 5 years

It's a very short HBR article, worth 2 minutes to peruse for a few more key ideas.

Great Question for Getting a Bunch of Customers — I love great questions and this is one of the best, posed by Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping – "Who has your next customer as their current customer?" (best if you re-read it out loud – I'm serious). In my 4 minute interview with Davis at the Growth Summit, he describes how to think about this question and what to do next once you've identified the companies/organizations/people that already have a strong relationship with a big chunk of your potential customers. One strategy is to partner with them – building your brand by leveraging theirs (like our relationship with Fortune). Take a few minutes to watch the interview then read Davis's book to leverage an important strategy in building your customer base.

Addicted To Distraction — Tony Schwartz, renowned human performance guru and head of the Energy Project (like is about energy management more than time management), wrote a very personal Op Ed in the NY Times about internet addiction and how it destroys one's ability to concentrate and focus. Notes Schwartz:

Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life. By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet. It has arguably replaced work itself as our most socially sanctioned addiction.

Take 3 minutes to read about Tony's own battle and how he's overcoming it and reclaiming his brain – if you can focus long enough to read the article!

Master Newsjacking — David Meerman Scott has spoken at several of our Growth Summits around the world. In his presentations one of the most memorable marketing strategies is Newsjacking: the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business. David just launched a new online course titled "Master Newsjacking!" The course will teach you how to:

  • Generate sales leads and win new customers. For free!
  • Get media attention, with little effort!
  • Grow your business, faster than ever!

And besides all that, there's a bonus: Newsjacking is fun! I've done it several times, most recently in Australia, and it works brilliantly. Here's a link to learn more about this important and inexpensive marketing tool.

This Video Explains "Rocks" The Stephen Covey video that demos his famous "rock" analogy of doing the most important things first each day/week is grainy and often hard to find. This 5 minute video by The Art of Manliness does the best job I've seen – worth showing to all new employees at their orientation/training program. And I suggest everyone watch it as a great reminder of the importance of setting a few priorities and working on them first, not last!

Food Biz Stories — The food business has a notoriously high failure rate. For my next Fortune column, I'm looking at how entrepreneurs are beating the odds in this industry and succeeding. What surprising and counter-intuitive strategies have you used to differentiate yourself and create staying power–besides offering a great product? I'm looking for entrepreneurs in businesses from restaurants to food manufacturing. Please include the name of your business, the city where it is located, your annual revenue, your number of employees and the strategies that have helped you build a profitable, fast-growing business. Email me directly at [email protected] – thank you.


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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.


Have you ever wondered if your company would be a good candidate to work with an executive growth coach? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients.

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.