Must Watch Documentary -- Thomas Friedman, the acclaimed NY Times columnist and author, featured Steve Mariotti and NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) in his Sunday column entitled " More (Steve) Jobs , Jobs, Jobs, Jobs." He also mentions a recent documentary called "Ten9Eight" that should be watched by every student in the world (I showed it to my children) -- it's how a dozen students made it through NFTE's national business plan contest -- very well done! Take 3 minutes and watch the trailer then order the film, show it to your children, and donate a copy to your school -- the world needs more jobs and only entrepreneurs can get the job done.
Reducing Insanity -- a critical step in building a sustainable and profitable growth firm, that isn't driving everyone increasingly insane as the company gets bigger, is to focus on processes. Everyone thinks in terms of functions -- sales, operations, finance, HR, IT, etc -- however, once a company gets over a handful of people, most of what a company does flows across these functions i.e. how do we bring on a new customer? Sales has a roll, finance might have a roll, operations has a roll, IT has a roll, etc.
What Are Your 4 to 9 Processes? There are normally four to nine of these "horizontal" processes which you must name, map, and assign someone accountability just like you would a function i.e. Jan is accountable for how we bring on a new customer; Sebastian is accountable for how we develop and deplore new courses; etc. These processes represent the "how to" manual of the company once you have the steps identified and documented.
Process Accountability -- because a process cuts across several functions/departments, there might be some perceived turf battles. Assigning someone accountability for a process doesn't mean they are the new boss of everyone nor have increased decision making. Their job is to monitor the process (time, cost, accuracy), let the team know if there's any issues, and lead a regular meeting to fix or improve a particular process. And using Lean techniques to map and improve a process, the focus is to reduce the time of a process which also decreases the cost and improves repeatability. So, who are the key process owners? It's as an important decision as who heads up each function.
Spanish Incubator Processes -- while several of the processes are similar across many companies (though "how" you do a particular process is really the key to differentiation), there are some that are special to your firm. GrupoIntercom, the internet incubator I'm working with in Barcelona, has a process for attracting and selecting companies to become involved with the incubator. They also have a unique process for getting a company from concept to monetizing their internet portal with specific metrics to monitor progress.
Process for Living Longer -- in an earlier insight I mentioned the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest . Here's a short summary of the finders along with a 15 minute presentation by the author Dan Buettner at a TEDx conference. The last minute covers the nine strategies if you want to skip ahead. My mid-life crisis friends running marathons, please take note!
Heading To Russia -- and Rest of Europe -- I start my European tour of the EO Chapters tomorrow. First stop is St. Petersburg, Russia where the 15 members are bringing 100 of their executives -- they are serious about business. Then Geneva Feb 2; Zurich Feb 3; Munich Feb 9; Berlin Feb 10. London and Dubai scheduling next.