"...keeping you great"
"A fool with a plan will beat a genius without a plan every time." T. Boone Pickens' advice from his father
Lessons from the Mexican Tequila Crisis -- Gene Towle, founder and CEO of Mexico-based Softec, sent me this lively note earlier this week "talking to my US friends I realize that they are living through something similar to what I lived through in 1995 with the Mexican Tequila Crisis. Just as I survived, they can as well. I'd be happy to share my experiences: Our companies went from +5M net worth in 1994 to -5M by 1995 and rebounded to just over +500M by 2008." So I took him up on his offer -- always willing to learn from a guy who builds a net worth of a half billion!
Tuesday, March 31, 11:58am -- 12:30pm EST (US) -- Complimentary teleconference with Gene Towle. Join me as I interview Gene for 20 minutes and let you fire questions at him for 10 minutes. Here's a link to register your email address to receive log-in info.
"Bold leaders in tumultuous times always have at least one crash" -- take three minutes and read Thomas Friedman's latest NY Times column -- research from Presidents that have survived crashes compiled by Stan Greenberg. Friedman's final paragraph summarizes the lessons "You can't be too honest in describing big problems, too bold in offering big solutions, too humble in dealing with big missteps, too forward in re-telling your story or too gutsy in speaking the previously unspeakable." Seems like sound advice for leaders of growth firms who regularly face crashes of people, strategy, execution, and cash.
Ezypay Doubles Quarterly Targets Using Themes -- it's time (April 1) for most companies to pick a critical number and drive it home with a quarterly theme. Celeste Kirby-Brown, Sales and Marketing Director for Australia-based Ezypay sent along this note "we attended your training session in February 2007 in Sydney and implemented the Rockefeller Habits into our business. Since then nearly every part of our business (except costs!) have grown dramatically. This is one of the best things that Ezypay has ever done - our staff loves it and it is a great management tool. Ezypay assists businesses to maintain cash flow and we recognise that whilst in part the current economic climate has contributed to our success we still attribute our strong growth to the Rockefeller Habits. For example last quarter alone we grew revenue by 20% for the quarter across Australia and New Zealand. This quarter we set a goal which doubled last quarter's target and we have already achieved this half way through the quarter!"
WARNING: The Following Video Might be A Little Risque -- continues Celeste "I thought that you might get a laugh from our current quarterly theme Revenge of the Nerds. We have used this theme because we are focusing our energy on improving systems and developing technology based products. Here is a link to a video that should make you laugh. The video was part of the quarterly theme launch that involved a bunch of nerds (fictitious Ezypay IT department) discussing life, the business and their involvement. The video is a thought bubble when of one of the Nerds (our CEO - Trent Brown), imagined what it would be like to be cool. The making of the video was done prior to the launch and the staff involved, whilst knowing it was for the launch, did not know the theme or what it represented. This of course added to the intrigue and excitement in the office and assisted with staff buy-in as a result of the process." NOTE: it's often critical to take a quarter and let your systems catch up with your growth -- congrats to Ezypay for picking this theme.
"Our-Habits Fell Apart in 2008" -- this is how Mason Arnold, "Cookie Monster" and founder of Texas-based Greenling started his recent note to me. He continued "we didn't create a one-pager or goals, primarily due to poor accountability management. We have recommitted as a team and created our '09 one-pager (Strategic Plan) that I'm happy to share." And I've posted his latest One-Page Strategic Plan and a couple others on our new wiki http://www.aboutus.org/Gazelles_Best_Practices_%E2%80%93_One-Page_Strategic_Plans. Please send me your latest one-page plans, I'll blank out the numbers, and post for others to see -- we get lots of requests for examples and these are helpful. BTW, Greenling has a neat service, delivering organic food directly to your home. I know he's stoked about the Obama's organic White House garden.
T. Boone Pickens, the rest of the story -- and this note from Vince Virga, President of California-based SGIS a leader in Cyber-Security for Federal government agencies. "I went and saw T. Boone Pickens and the CEO of AutoNation this morning and T. Boone told a great story. T. Boone was taking a while to get through college. His father pulled him aside after his fraternity initiation and indicated that he and T. Boone's mom were worried about him. They felt that T. Boone's timeframe for successful completion of college was different than his. He then told him that he needed to have a plan to figure out what was going to be the quickest route to graduation. He told T. Boone, "A fool with a plan will beat a genius without a plan every time." His parents were afraid in his case that they had the absolute worst case on their hands: A fool with no plan.... Anyway, T. Boone figured the quickest way to graduation involved getting his degree in geology. That was his plan. Turned out to be a good one."
The Most Famed Experts are Wrong the Most -- and this nice summary of research by UC-Berkeley professor Philip Tetlok, noted "expert on experts." Beware of the most vocal black and white experts.
"Save the Date" for the new Growth Series -- 90 minutes of monthly executive education from the top thought leaders of our times -- stay ahead of the competition:
Tuesday, April 21 -- David Meerman Scott -- New Rules of Marketing & PR -- 1pm -- 3pm EST (US) Wednesday, May 20 -- Dr. Victoria Medvec -- Negotiation Strategies in Turbulent Times -- 11:58am -- 1:30pm EST (US) Tuesday, June 23 -- Keith Ferrazzi -- Who's Got Your Back: The 3 People That Will Change Your Life -- 11:58am -- 1:30pm EST (US)