Tuesday, January 15, 2008

 

Unleashing your fast-growth company

If you asked me to boil down two keys to a successful company, it would be discipline and communication. Each of these functions have multiple applications, but the successful leverage of each is critical to creating and maintaining momentum and growth in any business.

Few people understand this better than Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and coach to some of the nation's fastest-growth companies. His book, seminars and coaching tools help companies narrow in on the few, critically important things that will fuel exponential growth, empowering those companies with a set of operational tools to achieve success.

If you're new to the Rockefeller Habits, start with my interview with Verne below. If you're thirsty for more, check out his Web site and read the book. Well worth the investment.



You have a 20-second elevator ride to describe The Rockefeller Habits. What are they?
A set of ageless disciplines for keeping everyone aligned, informed, and focused in growing a business. The results of using the habits are dramatic increases in revenue, profit, valuation, while decreasing the time it takes to manage the business so a leader can do more market facing activities.

What do successful, fast-growth companies have in common?
The right people in all functional areas; a focused and differentiated strategy, with a way to block competitors; a disciplined and mistake-free execution process; and they don’t run out of cash!!

Why do many fast-growth companies stall in the middle of the hockey stick?
The business, industry, and/or market outgrows the executives running the business – they simply fail to “keep up” via learning and coaching – the best, including the likes of Goldman Sachs executives, receive extensive education and coaching.

How much of success is about execution, vs. strategy & opportunity? Will the right strategy direct itself, or do executives need to focus on tactics as well?
The right strategy can make up for average people and sloppy execution – and if that strategy also has a “catalytic mechanism” as Jim Collins describes in his Harvard Business Review article, then, yes, the strategy will direct itself in a way


You talk a lot about communication and meeting rhythm. Why is that so important?
If you want to move faster, you have to pulse faster. An effective daily meeting rhythm facilitates quicker learning and response. And as human beings, we need talk time to more fully engage our grey matter.

Who else has inspired you as a management guru?
Just look at the extensive faculty we’ve hosted for our Summits – its why we host them – it takes a village of gurus to educate executives of growth firms – Jim Collins, Seth Godin, Geoffrey Moore, Fred Reichheld, Robert Cialdini, Pat Lencioni, Neil Rackham, Jack Stack, Bob Bloom, Jim Gilmore, etc.

In addition to your book, what should fast-growth company executives be reading?
I have a top list of books, listed by function, on our My Gazelles section of our website – www.gazelles.com – and there are a half dozen key articles listed as well.

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