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September 7, 2017

Tattoos on the Heart; Tattoos on the Wrist; THE TEN SPOT; Culture Power

"… insights for scaleups"


Tattoos on the Heart — this is the title of entrepreneur Father Greg Boyle's huge bestselling book. Subtitled "The Power of Boundless Compassion", his 11-minute 2017 Notre Dame Commencement speech is a humorous and moving address worth the time this weekend. And his story of building a multi-million business with only "homies" as workers from the worst neighborhoods in L.A. is inspirational.

Tattoos' Daily Huddle This 2-minute video shows Homeboy Industries daily huddle as Boyle explains the power of this important gathering. As one of the attendee's states "without the meeting the day wouldn't be right!" I agree. Thank you to Bob Shannon, Gazelles certified coaching partner, for sharing these moving links.

Tattoos on the Wrist — Kristen Wood, founder of the Canada-based "anti-spa" beauty bar chain called THE TEN SPOT, sent me this note:

wanted to share this bit of craziness with you – so, four of my staff sent me this photo. They all went out and got an "x." (our symbol) tattooed on their wrists. (I got one for our 10-year anniversary). Looks like our CULTure building is working!

Here's the photo – and below it is the back story.

Context for the X .  notes Kristen (she only uses CAPS for the company name!):

i got this tattoo for our 10th anniversary a year ago, and this weekend the team opening a new location in sault ste marie, as well as the franchisee, got matching tattoos and surprised me. the symbol, 'x.', is how we express the brand with X being the roman numeral for TEN and the period or 'dot' being the SPOT. We now use this is a de facto logo, incorporating it into our builds as part of very visible external signage, as well as all signing off our signatures with it, like the kiss represented by the 'x' in 'xo.'

Reminds me of the power of the Nike "swish" – what is your company's symbol?

What Makes Her Culture Strong — she continues:

i think we've really do have a lot going for us in the CULTure department. THE TEN SPOT's always had a bit of a 'party bus' or work-hard-play-hard vibe. i know of myself i have a big personality and can shock with my odd humor, so our head office has really become a place where people can be and express themselves. a few years ago, starting as a bit of joke but evolving into something meaningful, we landed on our purpose of 'making everyone feel like a TEN' and that also seemed to really resonate on a couple of levels. for one, it meant our company is focused on making everyone feel good about themselves, whether that's a peer in head office or at a store, or the guest receiving a service. secondly it was a way to re-appropriate some misogynistic language that sees men giving women ratings out of 10, and our mainly female workforce seemed to get that right away as well.

She goes on to note the "working with Gazelles, and working through Scaling Up, we've refined our values even further to really make THE TEN SPOT an environment for excellence and self-actualization. the best i can guess is that it's all these factors together." Of course, she signed it "x.k". Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your story.

EXITING: Thinking about selling the business for $40 million or more? Want to get 25% to 200% more than you thought? Request the whitepaper from the Exit Strategies Summit at Harvard from Denise Richmond at (610) 299-6466 or email at [email protected]


Have you ever wondered if working with a coach might accelerate your company's growth, exponentially? Do you have what it takes to move the dial from good to great? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients. Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

And if you're interested in becoming a world-class certified Gazelles International coach, please go to for more information. If you determine that we're a fit and wish to join our premier organization, we invite you to contact our Dir. of Coach Engagement at [email protected] or 877.217.2253 ext.700.


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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.