How a CEO Gave up Control — and Unleashed His Company’s Growth
August 26, 2015
22 Hour Interviews; Onboarding at Atlassian; Appster’s Daily Standup; Over 50 Entrepreneur?
September 4, 2015

Overseas Partners; Splitting HR; Millennial Myths; Ventura Air Services

"…insights for scaleup"


It's in the Can after a week in the studio, the completely updated Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) online hybrid course is ready, more info below but first…

Overseas Partners — my latest Fortune column delineates 5 ways to find the right overseas partner. This topic is of personal interest since Gazelles and several of our investments are continually seeking partners to help expand globally. The five:

  1. Weed out rookies
  2. Use investigators/databases
  3. Host a bake-off
  4. Be prepared to lose control
  5. US Dept of Commerce Gold Key Program

Considering the last point, yesterday I met with the Netherland's Business Support officer who helps Dutch firms do business in Spain. There are many excellent resources to help you transact business overseas. Please take 2 minutes to scan the column for the details. Thanks to Gordon Orr, McKinsey China; Greg Cullison, Big Sky Associates; Alex Schroder, Prisma Group; and Fred Crosetto, Ammex for contributing to the column.

Time to Split HR into Two Ram Charan's latest very short (30 seconds) article in Harvard Business Reviewsupports what we've delineated on our FACE (Function Accountability Chart) tool in Scaling Up – that HR should be split into two functions. One is focused on the administrative aspects and reports to the CFO. The other, according to Charan "would focus on improving the people capabilities of the business and would report to the CEO." This is why we're so adamant about having someone accountable for Talent Development. If you want to 10x the company, you must 10x the capabilities of the talent. And it seems everything is in oversupply, including oil and gas, except talent. I encourage CEOs and heads of HR (People) to consider this change. Thank you to Chuck Kocher, Gazelles International Certified coach, for pointing me to this article.

Myths about Millennials …and there is a lot of talk about millennials among HR leaders. Those born between 1980 and 2000 now make up 37% of the American workforce vs. 34% for the Baby Boomers. This August Economist article article looks at several large studies that debunk many of the "pop" conclusions about millennials (natural collaborators, into social causes, etc.). Notes the Economist:

Jennifer Deal of the Centre for Creative Leadership, an executive-training outfit, and Alec Levenson of the University of Southern California studied 25,000 people in 22 countries and concluded that most generalisations about millennials as employees are "inconsistent at best and destructive at worst." Consider the idea that they do not want to be told what to do. In a poll of 5,000 workers Ms Deal and Mr Levenson found that 41% of millennials agreed that "employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can't see the reason for it," compared with 30% of baby-boomers and 30% of members of generation X (born between the mid-1960s and 1980). Or the idea that firms should communicate with digital natives through digital media. More than 90% of millennials said they wanted to receive their performance evaluations and to discuss their career plans face-to-face.

As for corporate social responsibility (CSR) "only 35% of millennials put a high emphasis on CSR, compared with 41% of baby-boomers." (this is still significant for both generations!). Take 2 minutes to scan down through the article to see some of the other research results debunking millennial myths. Seems we're more alike than different if these studies are to be believed.

Strengthening the Core; Stronger Profits (Gazelles case study) — top line increased 28% and margins increased 33% from 2014 to 2015 for Nick Tarascio's family-owned business Ventura Air Services. This Farmingdale, NY-based firm — which offers charter flights, flight training and aircraft maintenance – had grown to 30 employees. Then the financial crisis hit just as Tarascio was taking over as CEO at age 27. With the help of Gazelles International Certified coach Mark Green, Tarascio orchestrated the turnaround by strengthening the core. Like athletes, there are some key "muscles" that need strengthened to support the entire venture. My latest Huffington Post blog details the turnaround. Please take 3 minutes to scan through for ideas to help strengthen your core.

A Blue Print for Scaling Up — The new online Scaling Up Class delivers the practical lessons that most Business Schools don't. It's a blue print for building a growth company. Q3 is the best time of the year to tune-up your strategy and planning skills to have a great 2016! For more information on how to register for the class contact Juan Gonzalez at [email protected] or to get a copy of the class syllabus click here.


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 Coach describes the four most important attributes of successful clients.


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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.