Fortune 500 Fun Facts; CEO’s #1 Challenge; Stay Interviews; June 10 Viewing
June 4, 2015
How to brag; Apply to win; Unlimited vacation; Scaling Up wins six awards
June 16, 2015

Greatest Headline Ever; Need Experienced #2?; True Alpha Male; June 25 Topgrading Hiring Course

"…insights for scale-ups"


Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
Mike Tyson

June 25 Next Topgrading Online Course — Click here to register. More info below, but first…

Looking For an Experienced #2? — Catherine Rogers helped Scott Tannas scale-up Western Financial Group to $1.4 billion before it was sold. She's available – more info below, but second…

Single Biggest Reason Startups Succeed — Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, which has launched over 100 companies the past 20 years including PetSmart, NetZero, and CitySearch, studied their successes and failures and concluded that the single biggest reason for success isn't the idea or team or execution or funding – but timing! You want to catch a wave and ride it. Too early or too late and you face a lot of frustration. Bill's 6 minute TED talk is worth watching (and includes the Tyson quote). Thanks to Gazelles coaching partner Terry Schaefer for sending me the link.

True Alpha Male Behavior — seems what we thought was alpha male behavior isn't what the typical "top wolf" exhibits. Notes this NY Times article:

"The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf," the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre told me as we were watching gray wolves, "is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what's best for your pack. You lead by example. You're very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect." The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don't need to be. "Think of an emotionally secure man, or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven," he said.

The article goes on to conclude: 

Clearly, our alpha male stereotype could use a corrective makeover. Men can learn a thing or two from real wolves: less snarl, more quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities. That's really what wolfing up should mean.

Please take 3 minutes to scan the article – many more specific insights – and an article worth sharing with your children.

Most Important Trait of a Leader — Jeff Immelt, in pivoting GE over the past decade, has done both $100 billion in acquisitions and $100 billion in divestitures – that's gutsy. And GE has paid out over $150 billion in dividends during Immelt's tenure. In this far reaching Fortune interview from the HQ of Facebook (not a typo!), Immelt explains the transition he's led at GE. Towards the middle of the interview, Patricia Sellers asks:

SELLERS: What is the most important trait for a leader to be successful today? And has that changed in the last decade?

IMMELT: Pick one. Just pick one. I'd say, you need to be a learner. If you want to be successful, you've got to have an antenna up all the time, and you've got to be open to new ideas. You've got to be grabbing every new thought you can come up with. And you can never feel like you're safe in anything you do.

$1 Billion Leadership Training — GE spent $1 billion last year training over 40,000 leaders at their famous education center Crotonville. In the interview Immelt goes on to describe additional key traits of a leader. Again, it's lengthy (7 minutes) but worth scanning down through for real insights into how a CEO/leader answers questions – I learn as much from style as content. Thanks to Martin West, Director of Australian-based XGAP for point me to this interview.

Greatest Headline Ever how you title things – white papers, press releases, articles, blog posts – really matters. One of the best headline writers, Vincent Musetto, passed away earlier this week. His claim to fame, according to this NY Times article is "the most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism." Take 10 seconds to click on the link to read the famous "headless" headline. For your own headline writing, take the time to brainstorm and test ideas – -again, headlines matter!

Save A LifeHelp EO Founding Board Member – Jim Moseley needs your vote – that's all. One of the 22 founding board members of EO, Jim is out to save the lives of fireman with his NASA-based fire shelter. To be considered for a 100k grant through Chase Bank (and the publicity it entails), he needs 250 votes. Please take 15 seconds to click on this link. Type in "SunSeeker Fire Tech" and vote. Thanks a million.

Experienced #2 — Catherine Rogers was the disciplined operator of the duo with entrepreneur Scott Tannas as they built Western Financial from a small town insurance agency to a $1.4 billion financial services behemoth. ‎Having sold the company recently, and with the transition complete, Catherine is looking for another exciting challenge in Canada or USA. Scott, himself, emailed me to see if I would put the word out on Catherine's behalf, which I'm always happy to do when the founder/CEO is making the reference (plus I've known Catherine for over a decade – she and her team have attended almost every Fortune Summit – with often the largest team sitting upfront!). Notes Catherine, "I'm hoping to find another high growth company where I can bring my skills to bear. Verne, if you know of any Gazelles who need an operations / administration executive (permanent or consulting role) with a strong finance background, I'd be keen to hear from them. I'm equally interested and adept in crisis situations, or where there is a need to change direction, or just tighten things up." Email her at [email protected]

June 25 Next Topgrading Online Course — The war for talent is fierce for companies of all sizes. With that, concerns arise regarding vague job descriptions, ineffective reference checks, and resume screening. If your business is planning to hire new team members, you will want to learn and implement the Topgrading methodology with a personalized Online Course. Hiring is the #1 skill of leaders. And even if you have only one candidate, Topgrading is like an x-ray into knowing the pluses and minuses of who you're hiring. Our next Online Course starts on June 25th. Click here to register.


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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.