Top 40 under 40; Power of Hyper-specialization; favorite sales tip; Oisin Brown’s book; Oct 10 Topgrading
September 19, 2013
Jim Collins; James Dyson; Tech vs. Auto Companies; congrats biz-growth Dubai
October 3, 2013

Oracle Wins; Billy Bean Wins; PPR wins; Ruby, Infusionsoft, Hagerty, Atlassian win

"…keeping you great" 


America's Cup
— it's ALWAYS a "who" question – plus technology as an
accelerator. In a gutsy move prior to race 6, the Oracle team replaced their
tactician with the most successful sailor in Olympic history, British star Ben
Ainslie. Combined with a team that appeared to move up the learning curve more
rapidly over the 19 days, they made adjustments to the Oracle boat which gave
Ainslie a technology (speed) advantage in what is being called the greatest
sports come-back in history. Great people, strategy, execution – and lots of
cash – always a winning formula!

Wins Division Title

— Billy Bean's baseball team, the Oakland A's of

Moneyball fame, just clinched their division title. And as The
points out, this year they truly are a team of
no-stars, half the payroll, but better data used to pick the best overlooked
players in the league. Take 3 minutes to read why the original 2002 team wasn't
the miracle team Michael Lewis made it out to be in his book, but how this
latest team is. Data both pushed the Oracle team up the learning curve and
shaped a division champ in baseball.

#1 Best Place to Work

released their 50 Best Small and Medium-Size Companies to Work For list and
Gazelles200 (now GazellesPro) founding member Professional Placement Resources (PPR)
has taken the #1 spot for the US. In the top 25 the past ten years, this is
their first time as #1.

Some of their best practices:

  • PPR involves all of its employees in quarterly and annual strategic planning
    processes engaging the employees to work on the business rather than just in
    the business. The result is the implementation of hundreds of employee's ideas
    every year.

  • PPR, a private company, regularly shares their financial statements with all

  • An annual Employee Appreciation month highlighted by PPR's version of the
    Amazing Race.

  • An organizational commitment to gratefulness, including a peer to peer
    recognition program and Thank You Thursdays where all employees write 2
    handwritten notes to peers, clients, vendors, friends or family.

  • A commitment to supporting a healthy lifestyle with a gym, personal trainer,
    yoga instructor and free fruit.

  • An organizational commitment to the community with paid time to volunteer and
    collaborative fundraising events that raise tens of thousands of dollars each
    year for local charities.

  • Work life balance initiatives, highlighted by Unlimited Paid Time Off.

Notes CEO Dwight Cooper, "Our culture at PPR is built around
mutual trust and empowerment in our employees. Our commitment to upholding these
values, encouraging our employees to feel comfortable sharing their opinions and
creating a fun place to work creates the foundation for our 'best company' work

Here's a link to the full list

Further Congrats

— also kudos to #3 on the list, the firm that answers Gazelles' phones,
Portland-based Ruby Receptionists; #13 Hagerty, perennial Summit attendee which
is a hidden champion providing insurance for antique cars; #17 InfusionSoft
which supplies us our CRM system and just raised $54 from Goldman Sachs; and #19
Atlassian which has been mentioned many times in these insights. Have your head
of HR
click through the list
to pick up "people" ideas for your company.


— notes

in an article about Dolf van den Brink's rise from management recruit to CEO of
Heineken USA in 11 years, "These days, ambitious Gen-Xers and Millennials tend
to bounce from company to company in their race to the top." Instead, it's
helpful if employees return the favor of creating a great work environment by
sticking around. For executives in growth firms, this is an insightful article
about how to help your company grow as an employee and further your own career.
What I found particularly interesting, when Brink was sent to the Congo to
turnaround Heineken's fortune in that region, he relied on five cultural pillars
he devised. Then when he became US CEO, he used four similar cultural pillars
(values): "Be brave," "Decide and do," "Hunt as a pack," and "Take it

The article is worth 3 minutes to scan for ideas

Kerkhof, Compare Group
— this Dutch-based entrepreneur was one of 140 that
attended my Rockefeller Habits workshop in Amsterdam last week. In this Google
Hangout recorded on a travelling orange school bus (neat set-up), Kerkhof and
myself discuss the hardest skill for an entrepreneur; his latest theme called
Dragon's Den; and his BHAG. And I discuss how Facebook and Amazon have
accomplished in 10 years what it's taken other companies 100 years.

Its 19 minutes so best to listen as you answer email


Need help implementing the Rockefeller Habits?

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.