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How to brag; Apply to win; Unlimited vacation; Scaling Up wins six awards

"…insights for scale-ups"

HEADLINES: (all in fun…and glory)

Once my business passed the 'let's-see-if-people-like-this-product' phase, I did two things: 1. I found two partners to join my company and 2. We started using the Rockefeller Habits. We are now sold in 37 countries. It works!"
Gemma Broekhuis, Founder of Milestone™

How to Brag The Atlantic published a recent article on the science of bragging. Notes the subtitle: "If you want to brag, just brag. Even better, just complain." Worst is to humblebrag:

"Two fundamental goals in life are to get people to be impressed by us and feel sympathy for us," said Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the paper Humblebragging: A Distinct-and Ineffective-Self-Presentation Strategy. "People think they can get the best of both worlds by being indirect. Instead they are perceived as insincere."

"I'm so exhausted from my trip to receive the Nobel Prize" might fall into this category. So the article concludes it's best to separate out your requests for sympathy and praise. When in doubt, complain constantly, bask in sympathy, and wait patiently for praise (words to live by). The article is worth the 2 minutes to read. Thanks to Adam Grant's recent blog — author of Give and Take — that highlighted this fun and insightful study.

Worthy of Praise — Is this the best place to work in the US? Arnie Malham, the colorful founder/CEO of CJ Advertising and the Better Book Club, has created a world class environment for their 180 employees including unlimited vacation time from the day you start work, paying people to read, fruit in every room, and two kinds of ice! Here's a link to a 3 minute news story that details these perks and more (seeing their offices and what is posted on the walls is worth the 3 minutes) which aired on Nashville's CBS affiliate.

Waiting for Praise — I have lots of complaints, however, I was pleasantly surprised when notified a couple weeks ago that Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) garnered six awards for 2015. All of you that have contributed to the book share in these honors – thank you:

  • 2015 International Book Award Winner, General Business
  • 2015 International Book Award Finalist, Best New Non-Fiction
  • 2015 National Indie Excellence Award Winner, General Business
  • 2015 San Francisco Book Festival Winner, Business
  • 2015 Paris Book Festival Winner, Business
  • 2015 Amsterdam Book Festival Winner, Business

And with great pride (and prejudice), I'm downright pleased that Scaling Up has survived the onslaught of new strategy books from Jack Welch, BCG, and Blue Ocean (yes, happy to recommend two of the three!) the past few weeks and has climbed back up to its #1 ranking in Amazon's Strategy and Competition category – whew! It's exhausting tracking my #1 rankings on an hourly basis. ☺

Praise from Gemma and 2 Pregnant Partners — is someone you know pregnant? Have a young baby? Just wants to remember ALL of life's special moments? Gemma Broekhuis and her partners attended our Growth Summit in Amsterdam last week (Bucharest and Barcelona were also hosted). As her quote notes above, she launched Milestone Cards and the product has exploded in growth – it's a perfect gift. They are a set of printed cards you get people to hold or you set next to them (like a baby) to mark a special occasion, making these photos "pop" or standout from the rest. Available in 37 countries, they continue to garner a number of awards:

  • Kind+Jugend Innovation Awards Nominee 2012
  • Winner of the Baby Innovation Awards 2013
  • Highly Commended Best New Product UK Junior Design Awards 2013
  • Winner of the Right Start Best Baby Essential Award 2014 (UK)
  • Winner 'Oranje Handelsmissie Fonds 2014 (The Netherlands)
  • Nomination for the Baby Innovation Awards 2015 (The Netherlands)
  • Winner of a Cribsie Academy Star 2015 (United States)
  • My Child 2015 Excellence Awards nomination (Australia)

Here's a photo of Gemma Broekhuis "and my 2 (pregnant) partners" which she sent along. Note: I'm the short one in the photo (we were in The Netherlands) along with Helene Ekkers, Laura Kruger, and Gemma on the right. Congrats to their success.

Seek Awards and PR — you won't win any awards if you don't apply for them – -and most awards require you to apply. Awards are a great way to get "others" to praise your efforts – the best kind of praise. CJ Advertising has won the Best Place to Work awards because they applied (and are a great place to work); Milestone Cards has won a slew of awards because they applied (and have a great product); and Scaling Up continues to win awards because Missy Giltner on our team sought out these awards and we applied. So get someone on your team to search for all the possible awards you could win in your industry and apply!!


Align Software runs your Rockefeller Habits in the cloud, anywhere, anytime! Have real time access to Huddles, Priorities, KPI's, Critical Numbers and more. Scale Up your Rockefeller Habits implementation with– on your computer and on your phone.

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


What is the value of working with a Certified Gazelles International Coach? There are four key roles a coach plays in helping your company Scale Up…listen here to learn.

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.