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February 3, 2015
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February 12, 2015

Self-Made Billionaires Do This; Grit Camp for Students; Facebook’s Surprise KPI; Where Should Leaders Sit

"…keeping you great"


The first billion is the hardest. I know from experience. If you are interested in giving it a shot, The Self-made Billionaire Effect is a good starting point. Great research. Great stories. Great opportunity.
  T. BOONE PICKENS, Chairman, BP Capital Management

Grit and Leadership Camp –  do your high schooler's have it too easy? Do they need to "rough it" a little this summer to develop more grit while participating in the #1 leadership curriculum for students? More info below, but first…

The Self-made Billionaire Effect — subtitled How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value, this is a new book by John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen that outlines five things self-made billionaires like Mark Cuban, T. Boone Pickens, and others do different. They label these extreme value generators as "Producers" vs. the more typical "Performers" that often get more corporate attention.

Chapter 6 — Named one of Business Insider's "15 of the Best Business Books Coming Out in 2015", jump to Chapter 6 – "The Duality of Greatness: A Producer-Performer Match up" — to read how self-made billionaires always work in pairs as Producer/Performer. Then come to the Leadership Summit May 12 – 13, Orlando to hear John keynote. GPro and book club members will receive the book next week.

5 Seating Chart Changes — there are additional important dualities. Where your leadership team physically sits is a critical decision -  especially which functional leaders should sit together. My latest Venture column in Fortune suggests which functions should pair-up, like HR and IT. Only Fortune subscribers are able to see this article – I'll let you know when this changes. Here are the physical pairings:

  1. CEO-Marketing (marketing strategy = strategy)
  2. Marketing – R&D (like 3M does at their Innovation Center)
  3. Sales – Operations (oil and water must be made to mix)
  4. HR – IT (same job – help everyone make quicker/better decisions)
  5. …and the two which should be separated the furthest? Treasury – Controller

Take 1 minute to read the article to see the rationale for each pairing (or separation!).

rbb's Offices — I recently visited 4-time "PR agency of the year" rbb Public Relations in Miami, FL (they are helping promote Scaling Up). Known in their industry for having a very strong and effective culture, the firm recently remodeled their offices to feel more like a home. There's the living room, dining room, kitchen, den, etc. What particularly struck me was the leadership team's focus on putting key functions near each other and/or sharing offices. For instance, Christine Barney, CEO and Managing Partner, shares one large rectangular office with both Lisa Ross, President and Partner, and Tina Elmowitz, EVP and Partner (a powerful trifecta). This way they can literally overhear each other's calls and conversations and make quick decisions.

rbb's Whine Cellar — and rbb's leadership team co-located HR and IT (and operations) in the same office which they've cleverly called, in keeping with the home theme, the Whine Cellar! This is a critical duality. Where people sit is an important decision and one often made too haphazardly. Do you have the right people and functions co-located together?

Happy Birthday Facebook — speaking of self-made billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook turned 11 yesterday. Of the 11 business facts Fortune shares in their article celebrating this milestone, the one that surprised me is that the number of video uploads to Facebook exceeded those to YouTube starting in November. Facebook also wants to help find missing children; is ramping up its virtual world activities; and in January released a workplace app like Yammer and Chatter to replace email and improve work flow (nothing, yet, replaces the power of the daily huddle). Take 2 minutes to scan through all 11 business facts about Facebook.

Growing Up on Easy Street — in turn, it's the children of the wealthy that have been found to suffer more "clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety and physical ailments" than children of lower-income families. And these things began emerging as early as seventh grade. In this NY Times article detailing the trends, it's noted that the physical environment matters:

What they (research) found was that middle-class children who lived in middle-class neighborhoods had less depression and anxiety and fewer incidences of delinquency than middle-class children who lived in more affluent neighborhoods. The surroundings seemed to matter.

Take a few minutes to read this important article for more ideas and data.

Grit and Leadership Camp — the highly acclaimed book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (the right last name!) added a key word to our parenting vocabulary – grit! "Tough argues that they (children) would be better served by learning such skills as grit, conscientiousness, curiosity, and optimism" than a focus on grades and SAT scores. And the jungles of Panama (the most accessible jungle in North America) is the perfect setting to begin learning these skills. Earth Train (impeccable safety record) is hosting two 9-day Grit and Leadership Camps for high school students July 9 – 16 and July 20 – 29 this summer.

Student Leadership Challenge — The program is based on the Wiley-distributed Student Leadership Challenge curriculum created by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, the most researched and quoted leadership framework in the world (Jim Kouzes keynoted a recent Fortune Summit). FYI, my son Cameron, who many of you have met at the Summits, has been working in the Earth Train jungle retreat for several years and will be one of the camp counselors. It's his company, EarthED, that is co-hosting the camps along with the faculty of Earth Train. Pulling Cameron out of the comforts of urban living and having him operate in the jungle has been THE most important activity in which we've had him involved. Each camp is limited to 16 high school students in relatively good shape (lots of hiking and activities – and limited electronics!). To apply go to this link.

Talk About Grit — if you have employees constantly arriving late at work, show them this article about a man who walks 21 miles to get to work. Since the story broke, over $30,000 has been raised to help get him a car, insurance, and fuel!


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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.