"...keeping you great"
We're more a training company than a restaurant company.
Henry McGovern, Founder
Give and Take -- this is the title of one of the top 5 biz books of 2013. More below on this #1 ranked professor at Wharton, but first...
Ignore Economic Predictions -- as various pundits spin up their predictions for 2014, my December "Growth Guy" column implores you to ignore all their predictions. At roughly $72 trillion, the global economy offers plenty of opportunity to build as big of a company as you like. Instead, there are three key trends you should heed as you make plans for next year and beyond. Please take three minutes to read (at least scan the three main subheads for the trends).
Over 18,000 Employees -- celebrating its 20th anniversary, Poland-based Amrest has grown from just a couple restaurants when I first met founder Henry McGovern to over 18,000 employees with locations throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, US, and China. Henry noted in his remarks at their 20th celebration in Turkey, reflecting back over the years, the quote above. As one of the pioneering GazellesPro members, Henry's team is the reason we launched our online Growth Institute so we could support development of talent in various countries to fuel the rapid growth of his business as he aims to become the largest restaurant chain in the world surpassing McDonalds and Yums (KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell). Congratulations Henry and his team at Amrest!!
All Growth Firms are Training Companies -- the moment Henry made his comments it occurred to me that ALL growing companies are training companies first. As Henry emphasized, the only way to grow a company is to grow the people first - otherwise the company risks outgrowing the management team. In Russia alone this past year, as the company jumped from a couple restaurants to almost 80, Amrest committed to over 20,000 hours of management training. From Jack Welch committing $50 million for Crotonville; to the Container Store's 160 hours of training per year for their retail sales associates; to CJ Advertising's book club where employees are paid to read (CJ is featured in the latest Growth Guy column); the best growth firms are first and foremost ALL training companies.
Key Role for CFOs -- last week in Latvia and Russia I recommended to several CFOs they read the classic book Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations by Thomas Stewart. Since payroll is likely the largest expense; and people the most important asset - it only makes sense that the CFO be actively engaged in maximizing this asset. One way is to set and track the number of hours of ongoing educational development each supervisor, middle manager, and senior executive receives like most professions require (doctors, lawyers, and accountants). And as Stewart outlines in his book, it's critical that the CFO - and broader accounting profession - develop better measures (KPIs) to track the true value of the intellectual capital in the business, which he outlines in detail. Intellectual capital is the new wealth of organizations - so measure and maximize!
Speaking of KPIs -- Thomas Friedman, in his Sunday NY Times column, notes in Dubai "3,600 K.P.I.'s are loaded on an iPad dashboard that the ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, follows each week." Take one minute to scan this column and go right to the second to last paragraph to see what the government of Dubai is doing to provide transparency and customer service to their citizens. Thanks for Dave Sibley, White Lodging, for alerting me to this interesting piece.
Adam Grant's Give and Take -- if you're looking for a well written and insightful read (or gift) during this holiday season of giving, pick up a copy of the huge best-selling book Give and Take. Then come hear author Adam Grant keynote the Leadership Summit May 13 - 14, Orlando. What's fascinating is that some givers do worse than takers, but when givers do it right, they win big - so it's not as straight forward as one might imagine. It's why I love the practicality and specificity of Grant's research and writing. GazellesPro and book club members will receive a copy of Adam's book next week.
Highest Rated Teacher -- Grant is Wharton Business School's youngest full professor and recognized as its single highest-rated teacher; one of the world's top 40 business professors under 40; and one of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite social science writers. His award-winning studies have appeared in Quiet by Susan Cain, Drive and To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink, and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. All this is to say that Grant is the guy who has taught some of our all-time favorite authors. Adam received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (tough loss to Ohio State Saturday), and he is a former record-setting advertising director, junior Olympic springboard diver, and professional magician. Again, it's worth the trip to Orlando just to meet and hear Grant teach!!