America's Cup -- it's ALWAYS a "who" question - plus technology as an
accelerator. In a gutsy move prior to race 6, the Oracle team replaced their
tactician with the most successful sailor in Olympic history, British star Ben
Ainslie. Combined with a team that appeared to move up the learning curve more
rapidly over the 19 days, they made adjustments to the Oracle boat which gave
Ainslie a technology (speed) advantage in what is being called the greatest
sports come-back in history. Great people, strategy, execution - and lots of
cash - always a winning formula!
Data Wins Division Title -- Billy Bean's baseball team, the Oakland A's of Moneyball fame, just clinched their division title. And as The Atlantic article points out, this year they truly are a team of no-stars, half the payroll, but better data used to pick the best overlooked players in the league. Take 3 minutes to read why the original 2002 team wasn't the miracle team Michael Lewis made it out to be in his book, but how this latest team is. Data both pushed the Oracle team up the learning curve and shaped a division champ in baseball.
PPR #1 Best Place to Work -- Fortune released their 50 Best Small and Medium-Size Companies to Work For list and Gazelles200 (now GazellesPro) founding member Professional Placement Resources (PPR) has taken the #1 spot for the US. In the top 25 the past ten years, this is their first time as #1.
Some of their best practices:
- PPR involves all of its employees in quarterly and annual strategic planning processes engaging the employees to work on the business rather than just in the business. The result is the implementation of hundreds of employee's ideas every year.
- PPR, a private company, regularly shares their financial statements with all employees.
- An annual Employee Appreciation month highlighted by PPR's version of the Amazing Race.
- An organizational commitment to gratefulness, including a peer to peer recognition program and Thank You Thursdays where all employees write 2 handwritten notes to peers, clients, vendors, friends or family.
- A commitment to supporting a healthy lifestyle with a gym, personal trainer, yoga instructor and free fruit.
- An organizational commitment to the community with paid time to volunteer and collaborative fundraising events that raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for local charities.
- Work life balance initiatives, highlighted by Unlimited Paid Time Off.
Notes CEO Dwight Cooper, "Our culture at PPR is built around
mutual trust and empowerment in our employees. Our commitment to upholding these
values, encouraging our employees to feel comfortable sharing their opinions and
creating a fun place to work creates the foundation for our 'best company' work
Here's a link to the full list.
Further Congrats -- also kudos to #3 on the list, the firm that answers Gazelles' phones, Portland-based Ruby Receptionists; #13 Hagerty, perennial Summit attendee which is a hidden champion providing insurance for antique cars; #17 InfusionSoft which supplies us our CRM system and just raised $54 from Goldman Sachs; and #19 Atlassian which has been mentioned many times in these insights. Have your head of HR click through the list to pick up "people" ideas for your company.
Best Workers -- notes Fortune, in an article about Dolf van den Brink's rise from management recruit to CEO of Heineken USA in 11 years, "These days, ambitious Gen-Xers and Millennials tend to bounce from company to company in their race to the top." Instead, it's helpful if employees return the favor of creating a great work environment by sticking around. For executives in growth firms, this is an insightful article about how to help your company grow as an employee and further your own career. What I found particularly interesting, when Brink was sent to the Congo to turnaround Heineken's fortune in that region, he relied on five cultural pillars he devised. Then when he became US CEO, he used four similar cultural pillars (values): "Be brave," "Decide and do," "Hunt as a pack," and "Take it personally." The article is worth 3 minutes to scan for ideas.
Ben Kerkhof, Compare Group -- this Dutch-based entrepreneur was one of 140 that attended my Rockefeller Habits workshop in Amsterdam last week. In this Google Hangout recorded on a travelling orange school bus (neat set-up), Kerkhof and myself discuss the hardest skill for an entrepreneur; his latest theme called Dragon's Den; and his BHAG. And I discuss how Facebook and Amazon have accomplished in 10 years what it's taken other companies 100 years. Its 19 minutes so best to listen as you answer email.