"...keeping you great"
Additional Rooms at Growth Summit -- 40 rooms per night just came available at the Fortune Growth Summit in Phoenix Oct 23 - 24, more info below but first...
Dare to Disagree -- serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan, author of Willful Blindness, keynoted the TEDGlobal event last month. This week her outstanding 13 minute talk went live online. Entitled "Dare to Disagree" she makes a case for why openness is not sufficient to build an enduring company; your team must deeply disagree and support an environment where conflict flourishes - if not, you'll suffer from willful blindness.
Turn Up the Heat -- many, like Pat Lencioni, have emphasized this need for constructive conflict, but Margaret's riveting stories and examples left me feeling like our weekly meetings need to take conflict up a notch or two. I was so impressed I invited her to keynote our European Growth Summits (Barcelona 21 May; Amsterdam 22 May; Munich 23 May; and London 24 May). She has a new book on competitiveness coming out in 2013 as well.
Cheesecake Factory Healthcare -- I'm also a big fan of Dr. Atul Gawande and his writing, especially his book Checklist Manifesto. This week's New Yorker Magazine features an extensive article by Atul on how the healthcare industry should take a lesson or two (or 100) from The Cheesecake Factory. A medical doctor himself, he hints at a great deal of "willful blindness" in his own profession. Thanks to Nathan Gray, founder of EarthTrain, for pointing me to Atul's article this week.
Breaking the Bank -- in the United States, the military budget has accounted for a steady 5% of GDP since WWII, including the past 10 years fighting two wars; in turn, medical costs, including the war on cancer, have risen to over 15% of GDP. This is the economic chokepoint that must be solved. Please send Atul's article to every medical leader and congressional delegate you know.
Railroaded -- and nothing broke the banks like our transcontinental railroads, making a handful of men, like Leland Stanford of Stanford University fame, exceedingly rich at the expense of the American taxpayer (and the Native Americans). I just finished reading Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White. 150 years later we still have a handful of business leaders in bed with politicians collectively getting rich at the expense of taxpayers around the world while giving us overpriced and inferior services (healthcare, banking, and education being three of the biggest boondoggles). Big remains the enemy of great - to entrepreneurs and our way of life.
Brigadier General Rickett -- and this note from retired British General Johnny Rickett in response to my insight last week on The Leadership Challenge, "I follow all your weekly insights with interest. To be cynical about leadership I cannot resist quoting Field Marshal Montgomery as saying 'You either have it or you haven't!' I agree to a certain extent leadership can always be developed but in the end it is either there or it isn't." I couldn't agree more...
Level of Leadership -- ...so, if you take Elliot Jaques' idea I discussed a few weeks ago that your leadership time horizon is pretty much baked in (you either have it or haven't), the level of leadership you obtain might be somewhat pre-determined; however, at any one level you can further develop your leadership skills - and that's the power of The Leadership Challenge.
Outstanding Tour -- BTW, we met Brigadier General Rickett a few years ago when touring Normandy Beach. He came highly recommended as a military historian and guided our family on an amazing private tour - and has remained connected to our family ever since (I credit him for my oldest son's love of history). You can learn more about his services at www.battlefieldsdirect.com.
Additional Rooms at Growth Summit -- 40 rooms per night just came available at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, site of our upcoming Fortune Growth Summit in Phoenix Oct 23 - 24 (another group in the hotel moved their event). And those forced to book next door at the sister property have been moved over as well. I know some of you were upset that we were already sold out at the main hotel, so grab rooms if you're thinking of coming.