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March 27, 2014
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April 10, 2014

Pixar’s Secret; Dream Team CEO; Stein Mart Story; Jack Stack Online; Rock Habits Fall Schedule

"…keeping you great"


All assets become liabilities!

Pat McGovern, Dream Team CEO — the world lost one of the great entrepreneurs and philanthropists last week, the founder of IDG, Patrick J. McGovern. Creator of Compuworld, Macworld, and PCWorld magazines and hundreds of other publications around the world including the famous "Dummie" series of books and tech guides, McGovern amassed over a $5 billion fortune yet continued to drive around in used vehicles and live in his $430,000 home purchased in 1989. I first met Pat when I invited him to be the kickoff speaker for the inaugural "Birthing of Giants" executive program at MIT. He had just been named to Inc. Magazine's famous start-up "Dream Team" as the ideal CEO along with Steve Jobs as head of R&D; Jack Stack, founder of SRC, as COO; Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex, as CFO; Donald Burr, founder of People Express Airlines, as head of HR; and Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer, VP Sales & Marketing. Now that was a Dream Team.

Odd Meeting Time — much of what I teach I learned from McGovern. He suggested the importance of setting meetings at an odd time so everyone would be on time – 11:11 for his team. McGovern also required all his business units around the world to spend 3% of payroll on education. "Use it or lose it" was his motto since he bonused people on profit but didn't want anyone making their numbers by cutting back on training and development. And it was McGovern that suggested the proper growth target was twice the rate of industry growth i.e. if the local market was growing at 15%, he expected 30% growth from that business unit. And his people skills are legendary. Take two minutes to read this Inc. piece on Pat and pick up some inspiration and leadership ideas. FYI, he gave one of the largest university gifts in history, $350 million to MIT to support brain research, an amount greater than the entire endowments of 640 American Universities.

Jack Stack, Dream Team COO — FYI, we're hosting our next free Wednesday (9 April, 2pm local time) screening of Jack Stack's 73 minute online seminar The Great Game of Business. One of the classic business books of all time, Stack built SRC into a billion-dollar growth engine. Learn how he gets all employees to take responsibility and think like owners. Click here to register (and save $99) for the free screening on Wednesday, April 9th at 2PM your local time.

Pixar's Braintrust Candor — 14 movies and 14 No. 1 Box-Office Hits. No movie studio can match Pixar's string of successes which include Toy Story and 13 other mash animation hits!! The key to their success is the Braintrust process outlined in this Fast Company excerpt from the President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull's book Creativity, Inc. (released 8 April). Structured much like Jim Collins' "Council" meeting, it's designed to deliver highly candid feedback while not becoming a consensus – the final decision still rests with the director, a key ingredient to the success of the Braintrust. Take 6 minutes (it's long but fun) to read this article – and to save a little time skip down 12 paragraphs where they take you inside a Braintrust meeting for their upcoming 2015 Pixar movie.

Open to Candor — yet, notes Catmull, "An important corollary to the assertion that the Braintrust must be candid is that filmmakers must be ready to hear the truth; candor is only valuable if the person on the receiving end is open to it and willing, if necessary, to let go of things that don't work. And why is all of this important? "Because early on, all of our movies suck. That's a blunt assessment, I know, but I choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions really are. I'm not trying to be modest or self-effacing. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them so — to go, as I say, 'from suck to not-suck.'" Seems like a sensible motto to me!! Again, take a few minutes to read the article and then form your own Braintrust. And thanks to Sanjeev Mohanty, CEO of Benetton India (who is hosting the YPO International Rockefeller Habits workshop I'm leading in Delhi this week) for pointing me to this article.

Stein Mart Story — from $43 to $1.3 billion in three generations, take 4 minutes if you're looking for some inspiration to read this growth company story which demonstrates that overnight successes do take a long time! And if short of time, scan right to the bottom of the article for CEO Jay Stein's three pieces of advice.

Fall Dates for Rockefeller Habits Workshops — they are now posted below and online.


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.