|"…keeping you great"
Spring "Rockefeller Habits" Workshops Announced — Cedar Rapids, Seattle, Denver, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Austin, Halifax, Vancouver, Portsmouth, Toronto, Portland, and Madison. Dates and details under EDUCATION below.
5 Ways to Launch a Business on the Cheap — not quite the title FORTUNE chose for my latest Venture column, but if you know someone stuck in a big company and wants to launch a business, the column might be helpful. Thanks to insight readers Chuck Sacco, Eddie De La Cruz, and Clint Drawdy for sharing their corporate escape stories. The column is online and in the February 27 issue on the newsstands.
Using Rap to Run Companies — looks like I'm not the only raging fan of Ben Horowitz (and his blog), partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Take 4 minutes to read this insightful Feb 20 NY Times article on Ben and how he uses rap to run and advise firms. Notes Horowitz "All the management books are like, 'This is how you set objectives, this is how you set up an org chart,' but that's all the easy part of management (OK, that hurts!)…the hard part is how you feel. Rap helps me connect emotionally."
Board Clash — to further quote the NY Times article: "Recently, for instance, one of the entrepreneurs that Andreessen Horowitz financed clashed with a disparaging board member. Mr. Horowitz advised the executive that he was being too deferential and needed to show his strength. He said he sent the executive 'Scream on Em,' a rap song by The Game, because its "super aggressive" lyrics — so aggressive that none can be printed in a family newspaper (or my insights!). "I couldn't have explained what I was talking about quite right, but he called and said, 'I've been listening to that song every day, and everything is better,' " Mr. Horowitz said." It's one of the more fun biz articles I've read in awhile – worth the 4 minute distraction – then download some of the rap he suggests for various situations!
Ownership Thinking — we're sending out to book club members, today, Brad Hams' book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit (read the first 4 pages of Chapter 2 first). Former President of Mrs. Fields Cookies in Mexico, I've known Brad for over a decade through his close association with Jack Stack and the Great Game of Business. I consider Brad's new book the implementation manual for Jack's philosophies of ownership thinking (different than employee ownership), critical number usage, and incentives.
Biggest Mistakes with Incentives — Brad, who is also keynoting the FORTUNE Leadership Summit May 15 – 16, Atlanta with Jim Collins, tackles incentives right upfront — read the first four pages of Chapter 2 when you get the book and it will pay for your time. There is a right and wrong way to set up incentives – and they are too expensive to waste. One key is to make sure the incentives are self-funded i.e. the improvements being incentivized actually generate cash to fund the incentives. In turn, people mistake incentives for ownership thinking – it's actually the fourth step, not the first – and Brad explains why in those first four pages of Chapter 2.
Anchor or Wind — my latest analogy – does it feel like your growing team of employees is a heavier and heavier anchor you're dragging behind you or are they providing ever more wind to your back? Brad's book will help you turn an anchor into wind!
Beijing Bound — I'm heading to China next week – excited to get back to that dynamic country.