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November 7, 2013
4 Ideas for 2014; Businessperson of the Year; Best of 2013; Avoid Dreamliner!
November 21, 2013

Update China; Ohio State Football; Save a Fireman’s Life; Crowdfunding Video

"…keeping you great"


"Crossing the river by feeling stones" — the perfect motto for entrepreneurs, describing how they navigate their way through the marketplace one step at a time, this quote is attributed to Deng Xiaoping, who explained this is how he would lead market reforms in China in 1978. Significantly, this phrase was repeated by the top Chinese Communist Party officials Tuesday upon releasing their much awaited Third Plenum decisions. It's always this Plenum that sets the direction of China for the coming decade. And the summary (this Shanghai Daily piece provides a concise overview if you scroll down the article)? – deep reforms moving the country to a more market-driven economy. Take two minutes to inform yourself on what's happening in the second largest economy in the world.

China's New Free Trade Zones — I'm in Shanghai all this week with EO and YPO and though the NY Times looks like it has a good overview of the Plenum decisions, I'm blocked from viewing the publication as well as YouTube and various other websites (I hope the reforms eventually fix this in the next decade)! Nevertheless, everyone is bullish on the country and we're excited to be supporting, with the guidance of our new Chinese partner Eric Schmidt, some significant growth firms in the region with our tools and techniques. There is specific interest in the new Free Trade Zone established in Shanghai a couple months ago. Here's a WSJ China piece on the opportunities this may provide.

New Fire-Free Zone — after the devastating Arizona fires that killed 19 Yarnell firefighters, Jim Moseley, one of the founding board members of EO and skilled trombonist who performed the last couple years at our Summits in Phoenix, is developing a fire blanket using NASA technology that dramatically outperforms the current blankets. He's looking for donations to help complete the project, a labor of love for Jim. Here's his crowdfunding-like site if you're inclined to help out with a few dollars.

New Fundraising Free Zone — the SEC has finally issued its rules, all 500+ pages, allowing anyone to invest in crowdfunded ventures, not just accredited investors. Unlike Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which are more retailing websites letting people advance purchase new products/services; true crowdfunding lets you raise up to $1 million from as many people as you like with just a few restrictions. One of the champions of crowdfunding, Sherwood "Woody" Neiss, has shared this short video which provides more details on the new law.

New Way to the End Zone — …and last, here's an insightful NY Times article on how Urban Meyer assembled "a collection of nine main assistants unlike any other in college football." Since recruiting this coaching staff The Ohio State University Buckeyes have been undefeated!
Here are a few of the many key takeaways from the article, the first equivalent to Topgrading's "virtual bench" idea as Meyer anticipated going back into coaching:

Urban Meyer started with a notepad, the first page blank. He scribbled "OC" and drew a line underneath. Same with "DC." And "OL."… Those headers stood for various assistant positions — offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offensive line coach — and underneath them, Meyer wrote the names of potential candidates. He kept the list on him, in his suit pocket, as he analyzed college football games for ESPN in 2011. He tracked statistics, made notes in the margins, scratched names off…Meyer figured he would eventually coach again, and he knew that his next head coaching job, his fourth, would be different. His staff would NOT be stocked with loyal assistants who understood the Meyer Way and its demands.

The spouses matter too…

He also paid attention to the coaches' wives. He had seen others "create conflict in our programs." (So) he scheduled a family night, in which players ate with the assistants' wives, each Thursday, attendance mandatory.

It's all about alignment and practicing how to practice:

Each assistant received a manual, Meyer's coaching bible, with tabs for "recruiting" and "schedules" and "weight training," every detail laid out. He sat down the Assistants the first time they met and went through it all, page by page… He talked about alignment, one of his favorite words. He detailed his philosophy. He brought his staff out to the practice field and practiced how they would conduct practice. He cared little, through the spring of 2011, about schemes and actual plays.

It's a fascinating piece with lessons on how a CEO should assemble and support his/her management team. Thanks to Gazelles coaching partner, and HUGE Buckeyes fan, Dr. Jon Iveson, for sharing this link.


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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.