Alphabet; Originals; #1 Routine; Batch Balance Backbone; Veritaaq
February 4, 2016
What killed Nokia; What great brands do; Richard Branson event; Live Streaming Summit
February 18, 2016

Super Bowl Lessons; Visioneer Movie; Pal’s Crushes It; Top 16 for 2016

"…insights for scale-ups"


No One is Worthless — congrats to my home team, the Denver Broncos, for winning the Super Bowl. Management lessons below, but first…

Next Online Scaling Up Master Class — starting March 2 (though you can jump in at any time), more info below, but second…

Visioneer — for the next 10 days (starting today) there is a free online pre-screening of Emmy Award winner Nick Nanton's movie about the life of Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X-Prize and Singularity U (and author of Bold, one of my favorite books). Titled "Visioneer" grab some popcorn and watch this 53-minute documentary with your family – it's excellent and will inspire everyone to be bolder! Here's a link to access which includes a 2-minute trailer.

Fast Food Chain Crushes It — 10 times the order accuracy and four times the speed, Pal's, a chain of 26 restaurants with over 1000 employees, is the only restaurant chain to also win the coveted Malcolm Baldrige Quality award. And they've crushed employee turnover. Notes this HBR article:

In 33 years of operation, only seven general managers (the people who run individual locations) have left the company voluntarily. Seven! Annual turnover among assistant managers is 1.4 percent, vanishingly low for a field where people jump from company to company and often exit the industry altogether. Even among front-line employees, turnover is just one-third the industry average.

Character and Coaching — with a workforce that is 90% part-time and 40% between the ages of 16 and 18, the keys to Pal's success are it's hiring, training, and coaching practices. First, they hire for character, which is measured using a 60-point psychometric test based on Pal's historically best performers. A new employee then receives 120 hours of initial training and then is continually educated and coached throughout their time on the job. Notes CEO Thomas Crosby:

All leaders are teachers, whether they realize it or not, so we have formalized a teaching culture. We teach and coach every day.

To keep the leadership sharp, they have a Master Reading List of 21 books they must all read – and every other Monday Crosby invites five leaders from different locations to discuss one of the books.

Three Lessons — the short HBR article (2 minutes) which adds lots of important details to what I've highlighted, summarizes three lessons:

  1. The best companies hire for attitude and train for skill.
  2. Even great people need constant opportunities for improvement.
  3. Leaders who are serious about hiring also have to be serious about teaching

Pretty short and sweet and simple – not sure why everyone doesn't follow these three lessons. And Crosby's final note at the bottom of the article is worth the time to click and read!

Frost and Sullivan's Top 16 for 2016 — I'm a little late with this list, but as you continue to do your strategic planning for 2016, looking at Trends (our Scaling Up SWT tool) that will likely impact your industry and company, I've not found a better list of trends than the one Frost and Sullivan publishes each year. Take a look at this Forbes article. The Gazelles' team looked at the list which is impacting several key decisions:

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility as a Differentiator – we've launched a new division called Gazelles Social Initiatives (thanks Gil Bonwitt and Devin Schain) to work with the non-profit sector. And our new ScaleUp cities initiative will invite local non-profits to participate.
  2. Augmented Reality – OK, not quite the same, but we've been privately "streaming" our Summits for our top customers (GPro). We're now making this available to everyone and eventually, with augmented reality, let you experience it as if you're truly sitting in the summit.
  3. The Next 11 – countries on fire include Mexico, where I'll be leading a couple workshops March 7 and 8 – and nearby in Panama March 1 and Guatemala March 3. Later in the year we're targeting Vietnam and other growth countries.

And it's good to be going back to India as its economy is expected to out-grow China's for the first time. Take 3 minutes at your next "council" meeting to scan the list.

PPR's 20th Anniversary Lessons (Gazelles case study – sort of) — one of our longest standing customers (and dear friends), Dwight Cooper and his team at PPR Talent Management Group, a leading nurse staffing organization, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Cooper shares 7 key life lessons from scaling up the business. Notes Cooper:

As it turns out my quest to learn how to run a business taught me how to live a happy, healthy and productive life. Here are seven of my favorite lessons I have learned along the way.

Absolutely take 1 minute to scan down through his 7 insightful and universal lessons for enjoying the journey. Dwight, thank you!

No One is Worthless — congrats to my home team, the Denver Broncos, for their gritty win in the Super Bowl. It was a perfect display of the "theory of constraints" as Denver's #1 defense constrained the Panther's hotshot quarterback and Denver's coach constrained its own quarterback, calling plays that minimized Peyton Manning's chances of messing up! And as the saying goes, "no one is worthless, they can at least serve as a bad example," Panther's quarterback Cam Newton showed how NOT to be a good sport in the face of defeat. I wouldn't let my 8-year-old get by with the kind of pouty-faced behavior we saw displayed by Newton. Have your children watch Newton's press conference for a good lesson in how not to behave – a perfect teachable moment.

Worried About Execution (Scaling Up Master Class)? — have you completed your One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP), but its execution needs help? Then focus on learning and implementing the Rockefeller Habits Checklist. It may look intimidating and if you try to implement all of these habits at once you will drive everyone crazy.

The key is to focus on 2 or 3 each quarter and give your team the time to learn and implement.

If you want help, I recorded more than 100 minutes of video where I analyze each one of the Rockefeller Habits with detailed examples and success criteria. To access it, check out on the Scaling Up Master Class.

The next Scaling Up Online Master Class will start in less than a month (March 2). If you want more information please visit or email Juan Gonzalez at [email protected].


Align Software puts everyone on the Same Page – Literally! See, in real time every person in your organization and how they are progressing on their priorities – alongside how they Align to the Company Priorities! Scale Up your Rockefeller Habits implementation with – on your computer and on your phone.

Better Book Club — What's your team reading? Increase your books read per team member. Easy, Proven, and in the Cloud at


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 Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients.

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.