"…scaling up u!"
Warren Buffett's 50th Annual Letter — it's the golden anniversary letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. For the best summary, read Carol Loomis's article in Fortune – it's always best because she has been Buffett's shareholder letter editor the past couple decades! Then jump to the actual letter and take some time this weekend to go through it – lots of gems and funny quips and business insights.
1,826,163% — that's Berkshire Hathaway's per share market gain over the 50 years vs. 11,196% for the S&P 500 – an average of 21.6% per year for a half-century! What's d ifferent about the latest letter is that Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger each separately review the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past 50 years. Equally insightful is what each expects during the next 50 years at Berkshire Hathaway (not forecasts of the economy or anything like that).
Charlie Munger — his thoughts are much more concise (bullet-pointed, in fact) than Warren's and offer specific insights into why they've been so successful. Thus, if you only have time to read 3+ pages of the 43 page report, read pages 39 – 43. And for obvious reasons, I loved this specific bullet point about "the Berkshire system":
Jim Collins 12 Questions — Jim Collins is keynoting the Growth Summits in Australia this week. His latest brilliantly delivered presentation revolves around 12 questions. Here's a link to download a PDF that includes the twelve questions, a note from Jim providing some background for the questions, and a one-page treaty on what defines "great." Take 3 minutes to scan through the two-pages of material and the 12 questions (see how many you can answer already) — then start working through them during your weekly council meeting or next quarterly/annual planning session.
"Mars Mission" Values — After experiencing his first "Max Exodus" of employees, as he called it, Guy Levine, founder of UK-based Return On.Digital, knew he needed to get serious about culture (the most searched term in 2014 according to Webster's). Working with Gazelles coach Hayley Erner, his team worked through Jim Collins' "Mars Mission" exercise, discovered a framework for their core values, let them bake properly, and ended up with a beautifully stated list of four core values – unique phrases couched in their own language. Here's a link to Guy's blog last week describing his crisis, discovery (actual photos of the process), and then detailing his core values and results. Worth a 2 minute read (or 10 second scan to see his four values) if you've struggled with culture and values. FYI, he's also using TinyPulse to give him weekly feedback on the culture – detailed in the blog post as well.
Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg — "We have a tradition at Facebook, where every Friday we have a Q&A and all employees can come and ask me questions about anything they want," notes Zuckerberg in this Facebook post. He goes on to detail the importance of these weekly gatherings and how last October they decided to host similar events with customers. Yesterday he was in Barcelona to host his most recent live "Q&A with Mark" public session. Mark understands the importance of building time into his schedule to hear directly from both customers and employees. What routines do you have in place to guarantee frequent contact and input?
Better Book Club — What's your team reading? Increase your books read per team member. Easy, Proven, and in the Cloud at http://www.BetterBookClub.com.
Align Dashboard — Want to keep track of your plans and progress in the cloud? The complete Growth Tools and Rockefeller Habits disciplines in a SaaS offering.