"...keeping you great"
"...keeping you great"
"...keeping you great"
"Demand everything. Expect nothing."
Bill Kreutzmann, co-founder and drummer, the Grateful Dead
More on the Grateful Dead below...but first
Built to Sell -- as I noted in my endorsement of John Warrillow's latest book Built to Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell, if others wouldn't pay a fortune for your business, do you have a business worth growing? John's fable-like story describes the dilemma particularly service and information-based firms have in creating a business that isn't solely dependent on the assets that walk out the door each evening. BTW, I've invited Warrillow to keynote the Fortune Growth Summit Oct 19 - 21, Ritz Carlton Orlando (great room rates).
8 Steps for Creating a Sellable Firm -- Warrillow outlines 8 steps for creating the elusive "elegant" company -- one that runs and grows almost effortlessly -- and makes it much more sellable. Warrillow was kind enough to share his book with me while in draft form so I was able to begin to put his ideas in place within Gazelles in 2009 and witness the impact. Jump to page 139 to the chapter entitled "The Model for Selling Your Business" (though his fable leading up to his summary is quick and enjoyable reading) and sit down with your team and review the 8 steps at your next weekly breakfast (Council) meeting. Step 4 -- Stop Accepting Other Projects -- is the hardest step from my perspective.
Fortune Global 500 Released -- last week's insight went out just before the latest list was released, so this is already old news, but Wal-Mart is back on top as the largest company in the world with $408 billion in revenue. Royal Dutch Shell is a distant #2 at $285 billion. Besides scanning the list, here's THE Fortune article to read -- how companies are figuring out how to sell to any customer anywhere in the world. The key is staying focused and then reaching out globally in clever ways (i.e. Hermann Simon's Hidden Champions lessons). BTW, 60% of Wal-Mart's new square footage growth will be outside the U.S. BTW2 -- only 2 of the top ten global firms are
Intel Announces Record Revenues, Gross Margins, and Profits -- and investment banks are starting to rehire. For Intel, it was their enterprise customers (large firms) that drove the demand for chips -- and particularly those enterprise customers poised to benefit from the 1.4 billion new middle class consumers popping up in
LESSON -- Hook Your Wagon to Global Players -- for small to mid-market firms, the key is hitching your wagon to those Global 500 (or any substantial) firms that are riding the wave of these new middle class markets. This is why I highlight these firms and want you to read these articles -- get aligned with them! Hopefully, Gazelles will have some great news about aligning ourselves with a couple of these giants in the near future -- lions that can help us reach more gazelles.
Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead -- announced this morning, deadheads and best-selling marketing strategists David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan will release their first collaboration Aug 2 entitled Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. This is a serious marketing book -- I read a couple chapters David gave me when we shared the stage at Microsoft's WPC this week. More on this when the book comes out -- but didn't want to be behind the news curve yet again (thus why I delayed the insight until Friday!). FYI, David Meerman Scott is keynoting our Fortune Growth Summit as well.
Please Spy on Us -- Thomas Freedman, in his 14 July NY Times column, takes a good news/bad news view of the recent Russian spy story -- and why the
"...keeping you great"
Weekly Insights Now on Kindle -- for those that would like these weekly insights automatically delivered to your Kindle can subscribe at this link. Thank you to Dave Norman, pastor of
"Summer of Love" -- this is Appletree Answers latest "untheme" for the quarter. Notes CEO John Ratliff "our 3rd quarter theme is basically to take a breather, we have been going 100mph and everyone needs a little break so we are going for all fun." Several companies find, after pushing on themes quarter after quarter, that it's nice to take a break from a heavy numbers-driven focus and do something off-beat.
Embarrasses Himself Again -- continues Ratliff "we launched (the theme) with this YouTube video (in my opinion the best way to launch a theme). $500 all in for production and filming. Make friends with a videographer aspiring to be a filmmaker and be compelling and magically the price drops precipitously. He has more fun than we do shooting these!" Here's a link to their 5 minute theme video. At 2:52 Ratliff explains the theme and his rationale for taking a break if you want to skip where Ratliff embarrasses himself, once again, in the beginning of the video.
Making Dreams Come True -- While Appletree continues to achieve record revenues and EBITDA each quarter, they have also continued their "Dream On" initiative where employees submit dreams that would like fulfilled. Notes Ratliff "Our latest interesting dreams granted are making a donation to an aids foundation for an employee that lost his life partner and we bought a tombstone for an employee that lost their grandmother a few years ago and could not afford one, those are the morbid ones but I think it helps our people understand the program. The fun one is we have an overweight employee that dreamt of meeting Jillian Michaels from the TV show The Biggest Loser. We are putting her on a 5 day "fitness" cruise with Jillian in the fall and we are working every channel we can to get her some private one on one time while on the cruise. Ironically, it is 3 days after she is getting married so instant honeymoon too, and that was just luck."
Reaching the Peak -- Australia-based Shine Lawyers just completed their latest quarterly theme entitled "Reaching the Peak." And they not only reached the peak, they exceeded it and had to put a flag pole on top of their mountain graphic so they could keep climbing. Notes Patricia Cranfield "all the branches and departments who met their goals are planning celebrations on mountain tops: panoramic restaurants, penthouse apartments, picnics in parks on cliff tops...all over
Tech Support Watching the Numbers -- David Oliphant, Director of Business Development for NationLink Wireless sent this note to his CEO, Andy Bailey "Today at 3:00 or so, Mike is down in our area and tells me that we're only $2300 from reaching blue over yellow, which is cool by its own merit. And I'm thinking tonight, what a cool company that our lead Tech Support person is not only aware of this, yet focused on it and hoping we can exceed the number today, the 11th day of the month." Notes Bailey in response "this is a perfect example of what happens because of measuring, reporting, and using the rock habits."
Pick a Theme and Drive Performance!
"...keeping you great"
Strategy! -- Rosetta Stone was one of the top IPOs last year by "moving early to a next battleground"; AFLAC has a "hidden" advantage most in the
One-Hour Strategy Session -- Author of Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile, Krippendorf is our latest one-hour monthly online seminar. As you reconsider your strategy moving forward, gather your management team together and take an hour and learn from one of the top strategic thinkers in the world (like having Kaihan in the room with you). Then discuss how you might apply these key strategies to your own market situation. Here's a link to learn more and sign-up to watch. And we always have a money-back guarantee, so no risk or worries if you don't find it valuable -- just let us know.
Quarterly Theme Time -- today is the start of a new quarter for most companies (and a new fiscal year in places like
Driver vs. Outcome -- and it's important to focus on a driver vs. outcome for the single measurable goal (what we call a "Critical Number", a term borrowed from Jack Stack's Great Game of Business). For instance, you might be tempted to pick a revenue goal for the next three months, however, it's better to decide "what is the most important activity our team needs to focus on in order to drive revenue" and make that your critical number for the quarter i.e. we need to land 20 new contracts from a list of 200 companies we've compiled (this is our actual focus this quarter).
Priorities and Meeting Rhythm -- here's a really short 27-second video Australia-based BluewireMedia produced of me noting the importance of setting three priorities and then executing through an effective daily and weekly meeting rhythm.
Daily Huddle Impact -- and this note from Dr. Ilan Lieberman, Director of UK-based Angel and Bowden Ltd, a medical legal firm, "daily huddles have become part of the team's life (since attending your Feb 23 workshop). Big improvement in communication and improvements in efficiency at every level, much of it small but all incremental like a coral reef." He goes on to note that all these small changes make a big difference over time. And the team was unsure about it to begin with. They do it standing up, no more than 5 minutes, and now won't give it up. "Very positive impact on moral and locus of control," concludes Lieberman.
Didn't Wake Hitler -- this insight is short since I'm on my "boys-only" trip with my sons this week. We're touring the WWII sights surrounding the famous invasion of