The Number One Thing Every (Young) Entrepreneur Should Do First
March 20, 2015
5 Keys to Build the Core; 5 Regrets of the Dying; Free-Range Parenting; Mastering Anything
April 2, 2015

StorySelling; New Jobs Story; 50 Greatest Leaders Story; March 31 Webinar

"…keeping you great"


Need Stories for Next FORTUNE Column — do you have unique ways to make your company meetings effective? More below, but first…

Salim Ismail's Story — join the author of Exponential Organizations (ExOs) Tuesday afternoon, March 31st at 2PM EST for a 60 minute webinar. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to hear from one of the most influential thinkers of the 21st century. As I mentioned last week, Scaling Up isn't complete without also reading Salim's book. Click here to reserve your spot!

HuffPost Story my first Huffington Post blog debuted last week titled "The Number One Thing Every (Young) Entrepreneur Should Do First" – it's probably not what you would think. Here's a link. Please share with all the potential young entrepreneurs you know. Thanks.

Story Selling — stories are more powerful than facts, logic, education, or even personal observation. And 3-time Emmy award winner Nick Nanton and J.W. Dick have authored a book that walks you through in detail how to craft and promote your company's story (or any story you might tell at a wedding, dinner party, etc.). Titled Story Selling: Hollywood Secrets Revealed – How to Sell without Selling, Nanton and Dick walk you through the four major plots that power all effective biz stories:

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. The Quest
  4. Rebirth

…and then provide plenty of examples how companies (and CEOs) have used these to create their stories, including crafting the "logline" and the six steps for structuring the final story. They then detail how to use the story to drive the branding of you and your firm and keep you top-of-mind. Their local used car dealer example shows how these ideas are accessible to all businesses. Start with the Foreword and Chapter 6. Then come hear Nick walk us through this story-crafting process at our Leadership Summit May 12 – 13, Orlando. Book club and GPro members will receive the book next week.

Steve Jobs' (Latest) Story — and the master of story selling was Steve Jobs, whose story embraced all four major plots. And this wasn't by accident, as Steve loved to guide the media to craft these stories about him as we learn in the latest book on Steve titled Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader was released this week. I grabbed a copy and started plowing through it.

Skip First Four Chapters — The first four chapters bored me to tears – simply rehashing what every other book and movie has described already. However, Chapters 5 – 8 provides sufficient new information into the "art of the deal" during Steve's wilderness years with Pixar and NeXT to give you real insights into some negotiation and management lessons you can use in your own ventures. That's as far as I've gotten since Tuesday. I still think Adam Lashinsky's book Inside Apple provides the most usable insights into how to scale-up a significant business, including details into how Steve structured his work week.

The Real Story — I mention Steve's calendar because the real one-page strategic plan is your calendar – how you spend your day – which reflects the true strategies, tactics, and priorities of you and the company. For Steve, having lunch almost every day with Apple's top designer Jony Ives; chairing the Wed. afternoon three hour marketing meeting; spending 3 hours/day on whatever was the main new product; and interacting with customers most afternoons reflected perfectly the vision and priorities of Apple.

Stories of Other Great Leaders — The World's 50 Greatest Leaders list, selected by FORTUNE and a special group of advisors, was released this week. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, is #1. Also counted among the top 10 include China's and India's presidents, the pope, and Taylor Swift (for taking on Spotify, etc.). This link will show a quick snapshot of all 50 – then choose a few to read about.

Cinderella Stories —  but is it OK that employees watch sports at work? Several lesser ranked teams are still in the hunt for glory as the NCAA Basketball tournament is down to the final 16 (Go Shockers!) and congrats to Australia and New Zealand for making it into the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup. With all the excitement (and madness!), what should company policy be in viewing sports at work. According to Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work, game-viewing parties accomplish many of the things necessary to create an engaged workforce. Notes Friedman:

Unlike team-building experiences that compel employees to engage with one another, game-viewing parties position people to connect voluntarily. And that feature can make all the difference.

He goes on to share several ways to use the office tournament pool more effectively to build teamwork and provide some incentives aligned with company priorities. Take 2 minutes to scan through the CNN article – it's a well written and clever take on a perennial issue.

Stories Needed — For my next FORTUNE column I will be writing about how to make company meetings better. Has your company come up with a way to get better results from your meetings that readers haven't heard everywhere else? Have you added–or subtracted–a process that made them better? Changed the setting? Changed what you work on when your team gathers? I'd like to hear about it. Please include the name of your business, the city where it is based, the number of employees and your annual revenue (Fortune requires this). Please reply by March 27 to [email protected].


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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.