How to scale up and dominate your industry with Verne Harnish

This week it’s been my pleasure to interview Verne Harnish bestselling author of The Rockerfeller habits about his new book ‘Scaling-up, how a few companies make and why the rest don’t.

We’re talking about what it takes to grow a business into an industry leader. In the interview we go through actionable tactics that you can put into use in your organisation and some of the examples that Verne has encountered through his work.
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His new book ‘Scaling-up: How a few businesses make and why the rest don’t’ is available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle & Audiobook), I can’t recommend it enough to anyone that is growing any kind of business or other organisation.

You should also check out the books website Scalingup.com where you can take a free 4D assessment.

Interview

Audio only
[podcast]http://www.tightship.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Verne-Harnish-interview-480p.mp3[/podcast]

Verne Harnish

Verne_Harnish
He chairs the ‘Birthing of Giants’ leadership programme at MIT, the founder of the Entrepreneurs Organisation a global network of Entrepreneurs, a venture columnist for Fortune magazine, named as one of the best minds in small business by Forbes and the list goes on. It suffices to say that Verne really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to growing industry leading organisations.

 

Transcript

Duncan: Welcome to the TightShip podcast, where we are in the pursuit of operational excellence. My name is Duncan Malcolm

Do you know how some businesses just hit a brick wall in terms of growth, and just don’t seem to be able to make the jump in revenue?

It turns out that it’s very common and that there are a number of things that you can do to drive your business forwards.

This weeks guest is a one of the world foremost experts in getting business beyond those glass ceilings and moving forwards.

I’ve had to re-record this introduction so many times because I can’t overstate how great it was talking to our guest and how blown away I am by his new book.

This week we’re talking to Verne Harnish, He chairs the ‘Birthing of Giants’ leadership programme at MIT. He’s also a bestselling author of the book Mastering The Rockerfeller habits, a venture columist for fortune magazine and has been recognised by Forbes as one of the top 10 minds in small business.

He also founded the Entrepreneurs Organisation a global network of Entrepreneurs and Gazelles an international network of growth business coaches.

This week we’re talking about his new book Scaling Up: How a few companies make it…and why the rest don’t. (Rockerfeller habits 2.0)

In this interview Verne has been really open with actionable tactics that you can use to help make your business more efficient and grow faster.

In particular we go into depth around how to make sure that everyone knows what they should be doing

and..

Around 1/2 way through he reveals a great technique to empower your employees to work better and more efficiently.

I hope you enjoy the interview and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thanks for joining us Verne, You’re the author of Scaling up, how a few companies make it and why the rest don’t. Could you give a little introduction to yourself about your background the book and where this has come from, The Rockerfeller habits and so on.

Verne – Good well started in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning business, HVAC business back when I was in college. Then launched this grouped called ACE Association … Entrepreneurs Michael Dell and Mark Cubit and in fact we threw a big party in fact for Steve Jobs when he got fired from Apple ’86 that led me then to launch YEO now today called EO the Entrepreneurs Organisation, we’re about 11,000 members worldwide and in ’91 I launched an executive programme called the ‘Birthing of giants’.

And the idea was for entrepreneurs who’ve got $1m – $5m+ businesses what could they really do to scale up and become a giant and it was in the process of driving that course at MIT for 15 years that we pulled together a bunch of tools and ideas and techniques and actually helped a lot of the entrepreneurs do just that and so it came together in a book. And I launched a company in ’97 called ‘Gazelles’ which I still run today and we’re about 150+ coaching partners around the world helping about 2,000 companies at any one time trying to scale up.

Which is what we’re here to talk about and living in Barcelona, Spain so just down the road from you.

Duncan – Oh wow, awesome. Today I’m in London, normally I’m over the pond and over the river into Spain. And Gazelles has grown phenomenally right you have over 100 coaches around the world that’s a serious size of organisation to keep going in that format.

Verne – Yeah, yeah, we’re trying to eat our own dog food Duncan and Scale-up.

Duncan – So we’re talking about scaling up the book that you’re about to release.

Verne – Yeah she’s out now, just got my copy

Duncan – Awsome. And that’s come off the back of the Rockerfeller habits, ‘Master the Rockerfeller habits’ that you released just over 10 years ago, and it’s a re-work if I’m right?

Verne – Yeah, it’s a significant we’ve learned a few things in the dozen years since it came out so we’ve updated the tools, we’ve added some tools and we really kind of expanded more into the…we went a lot more into strategy we added a lot more around the people issues which have really kind of been raging this year in 2014. And then we bulked up the cash side.

Duncan – Before when we were talking, I was saying this is really a, and it even says this in the introduction to the book there’s a lot of information in here. It’s a snickers bar of management strategy covering the core areas, you’ve got your people, the strategy, the execution and the cash.

It really is a huge amount of data and I think you’ve very cleverly wired in lots of other external resources, so that it in any one are without having to go off topic you can keep the focus. Across these four areas, people, strategy, execution, cash.

I’m assuming you see some priority in there where would you say that organisations who are at the beginning or at the beginning of this growth cycle where they need to get from where they’ve started up and found some product-market fit, where’s the most important part for them to start?

Verne – You know what, it’s really is dependant on the organisation, some guys have a great founding start-up team, so they’ve got the people thing initially taken care of, others you’ve got the lone entrepreneurs and even Brad Feld and their process with Techstars, you’re not even allowed to come in unless you go find a co-founder, someone to give you a hand. Some companies have built business models that are fuelling themselves so they don’t have the cash issues, others are bleeding cash and we’ve got to go in and focus in that next.

We really, first thing we do, we have an assessment online, guys can take for free online to figure out, do I need to right where I’m at, do I need to focus on People, Strategy, Execution or Cash next? And by the way, if you’re growing you’re going to have issues in all four…

Duncan – (Laughing)

Verne – But the idea is for you to focus. The other thing that’s interesting is we’ve been tracking entrepreneurs globally for the last 10 years in these four categories and it’s amazing how different it is from different parts of the world.
China, there real issue was, if we just had another trillion dollars of direct foreign investment (cash) we could go out and buy up more of the world. The west has had real issues, you know western Europe and the US on strategy, because the epicenter of the economic world kinda moved east of here slightly.

Umm..India, real execution issues as we’ve seen and why they’ve got a new leader in there [inaudible], just getting stuff shipped, you know infrastructure challenges in India no matter what your strategy and they’ve got a lot of smart people, it’s difficult to execute. So it really is regional also in which on you need to focus on next.

Duncan – The key here really is that businesses do get to a point, and I’ve experienced this myself in businesses that I’ve been involved with and startup and they find that the characters that bring it to life to bring it to the first two years, or three years or four years.

They get it to a point where they seem to hit a brick wall, things don’t seem to progress beyond the first few million dollars..and they struggle they really find it difficult to figure out, and I’m experiencing this now and colleagues in other businesses are and they see this where they go.

“I’m just not moving forwards, as the business owner I’m spending too much time doing everything myself, or I haven’t got enough people in the right place, or I haven’t given our the responsibilities or I haven’t set priorities for everyone to work on. Or there’s too many priorities or too few or no measurement or so much measurement and you’re right in terms of all of the different areas it’s definately subject to each different business.

If we were going to look at a normal situation are there that stand out in a regular situation as the most common things that people bump into?

Verne – I actually wrote right up front a chapter I called ‘The barriers’ and there are three that generally are common with any of the companies that are trying to scale up. In fact folks Duncan can go to scalingup.com and I offer that chapter for free. You can just download it and take a look at it. And those three barriers are: first and foremost are you able to grow the leadership fast enough to keep up with the organisation, because that’s what happens.

The organisation outgrows its people and if you want to x10 the company you need to x10 the team, you need to x10 their skills and so it’s this ability to develop the existing leadership team to keep up with the opportunities. And then you get above 50-100 employees and you start having middle management issues and if you just throw bodies at the problem it’s going to be a mess, so we talk about that leadership development first.

Second is, and this is an area that’s your expertise is the ability to build a scalable infrastructure which really comes down to process. You know we get so caught up in just getting our functions working, we’ve got sales and we’ve got marketing and we have accounting and all that. But as you know any of the real work that gets done in a company cuts across those functions. And we have a tool called PACE (Process Accountability Chart) where we sit down and say look what are the four to nine processes that really drive this business.

And they’re like hallway closets and garages, they get junked up pretty quick and you’ve got one or two choices. Either keep throwing bodies at it. We’re dying here in sales we need another sales person, we’re dying in operations and you just keep hiring and it just gets worse.

Or you can stop and look at the process, get it designed or re-designed and normally you can get about twice as much done with half the people if you’ll focus on it. But I’ll tell you most growth companies don’t pay enough attention to the process side of the business..

Duncan – Lets talk about that…one of the things that I think that you pull out that’s really really obvious and clear here both in the leadership and in processes and in making things happen and diversifying control from the leadership team or pushing it out a little is this concept of Accountability, Responsibility and Authority.

Which to..I don’t think most people understand what they’re meant to mean but you define those really really well and in a way that makes perfect sense and then this other concept that comes through again and again in throughout the book, that managers are not managers, they’re coaches, they’re there to enable their team. Can we talk about that a bit?

Verne – You bet, so lets go back you know it’s interesting. I have an issue with our entire industry, we throw around words like mission, vision, purpose, value, strategy, tactics, goals and no two people have the same definition and can you imagine any other industry where we don’t have a defined set of terms? Our telecom would collapse as a result. The same thing with those three words: Accountability, Responsibility and Authority and you know if nothing else they’re spelled different and so we ought to think about them differently. The example I use and we have this tool called the FACE tool, the Function Ability Chart is you need to be really clear and it’s tough as you start adding people.

Who’s accountable for a particular area, function or activity, so let me take a specific one, cash. Now obviously that’s critical to all of us thats critical to all of us that are scaling up. My CFO Kathleen has ‘accountability’ the ability to count. Her job is to track our cash, she gives me a cash report literally every day updates me what came in yesterday, what came out and what it looks like the next several months. But the authority for cash resides with me. Now, my has various spending limits that they can go to but anything significant, I’ve got the authority even though Kathleen has the accountability and my team because we pay attention to that number, all of us, we all have then responsibility, the ability to respond.

So we sign a lot of hotel contracts for the events that we do and my team knows that we’re adamant not paying big upfront deposits because that would be a real drain on our cash before we’ve got then the event that’s going to allow us to collect that cash. So just with cash it’s three different areas. CFO has accountability, I have the big authority and the rest of my time has responsibility and it’s important for us to understand those differences.

Duncan – Yeah I mean it’s very key, you make the examples in the book around how that in a lot of situations and this and it happens with a runaway effect. One person says something, maybe they don’t mean authority, but the person who gets the accountability for the task thinks ‘ah this mine and I’m going to own it and hide it away from the rest of the organisation’. When in reality it’s just you’re the one who’s on top of this, who keeps tabs to make sure that whatever is happening or isn’t happening in the right way.

Verne – Yeah to give it. You know we talk about it to give it voice. The person accountable is not boss doesn’t mean they know it all, do it all. You know almost any decision in the world, it’s better if you get a lot of peoples input. But their job is to scream, and scream and scream loud. If something’s going.

In my case with cash or a process or whatever the case might be and that’s the job of the person that’s accountable and it can only be one person.

Duncan – And then breaking down into defining the drivers of the organisation and you say drive, there’s six or seven key things that make an organisation move forwards and define those with some strong KPIs to actually help the organisation A, know what those things are that drive the organisation and then B, know actually as a health check to know what’s going on.

Verne – Yeah we have a simple checklist, you Jim Collins who was kind enough to do the foreword to my second book and has been a good friend, said very clearly ‘You’ve got to get the right butts in the right seats’, but you know didn’t give us a list of seats.

So we put together a one page tool that said look I don’t care if you’re a startup or a fifty billion dollar company, like when Michael Dell took back Dell, these are the fundamental activities that have to happen in every single company and you’ve got to be clear who’s accountable for each one of those and how we’re going to measure whether we’ve had success or not and it’s just a single piece of paper.

So it’s not big or complex, but boy does it help people get clear and see very quickly where they’ve got holes in the organisation that are probably holding them back.

Duncan – And defining those few things a lot of organisations have a vast array of processes but I’m sure that they can distill them shortly down to be able to say well actually the key thing that we really need to do is generate revenue, or the key thing we really create some….efficiency within our supply pipeline. What are the ones that people tend to miss out?

Verne – Well that’s what leads to what I think is the third critical barrier and it’s very simple, it’s marketing. Marketing effectiveness. If you look at, you’ve got sales, marketing operations, IT, HR you know the basic fucntions of a business.

I tell you that, the one that’s the weakness, that’s marketing. In fact Ed Roberts, the senior faculty member at MIT who did some of the original research in high performing companies found that the difference between a high performing company and one that wasn’t is was there an early key member of the team focussed on marketing versus you know the technology to build the product or whatever the case was.

And what’s critical is that marketing is needed Duncan as much to attract customers, I mean talent as is to attract customers. I mean people think about marketing just on the customer facing side but you need marketing to attract any of the key relationships, whether they’re investors, media that you need attention from, key employees or you’re just hiring folks into your call center and you’d like to get a decent flow of folks that you can choose from. It all comes back to the marketing function and so we dig into that and that barriers chapter.

Duncan – That definitely makes sense and if I look at the… I was recently european EMEA sales lead for stack exchange, Stackoverflow. Stackoverflow’s parent company and they have a seven stage process for their hiring. So for you to get into that organisations to make sure that you have cultural fit and that you also fit well within how they the competencies that they require they have seven stages.

But the only way that they’re able to have a seven stage hiring process in the same way that Microsoft have a four or five stage hiring process into their sales team, is that they, you know they have great marketing. Everyone knows who they are and that they’re a great company and they do a lot of effort to make sure that before you apply to a company that you can see all of the benefits that they have. So that when they get the good talent into that pipeline and seven stages is a fairly gruelling [laughing] way to get people in. That they stay in this process and they actually get out to the other end they’re a good fit.

Verne – Yeah we put forth a number and it’s an important KPI that, look for every open position you have, if you don’t have at least 20 high quality resumes, in other words a group of at least 20 people that are like ‘wow I’m gonna have a hard time choosing which of these 20’, either for my call center or for my receptionist or my CFO, you’ve already failed. You’ve already set yourself at a disadvantage and so that’s why the marketing component’s important.

And particularly guerrilla marketing because we don’t have a lot of money to spend on formal marketing activities so you’ve got be quite clever and that requires somebody full-time focussing on that side of the business.

Duncan – That makes sense, and then another part in your barriers section around leadership is around complexity of a team and how the very tiny growing of a team adding one person adds a significant number of layers of complexity.

What are the easiest ways for people to pull that complexity apart and simplify things so that when you add the third or the fourth or the fifth or the sixth that you’re not just getting a 5% incremental increase in productivity.

Verne: Well, first of all that’s to really consider hard why I need to add that fourth, fifth, or sixth person. I’ll tell you a quick story. So, we’ve got a client, nurse next door out of Vancouver, Canada, one of the faster growing franchises in North America. They’re providing nurse staffing for baby boomers like us who have parents that we want to keep out of the nursing home, and so they’ve been growing quite rapidly. And they had 28 people at their headquarters and the person who was handling payroll was just buried. You know, they were bringing on all these nurses and she was working 80-hour weeks just trying to keep up. And the company was looking at doubling in the next 12 months.

So, rather than throw more bodies at the problem, which is kind of what we’d have a tendency to do, they brought in a Lean expert. And a lot of people think Lean, the Toyota method, is just for manufacturing but it has a huge impact on the service sides of companies. Long story short, they brought in, revamped the process for how they handle payroll. And literally, in the next 12 months, they doubled the size of the company, yet headquarter team shrunk from 28 people to 22 through natural attrition. They put a couple others out in the field. And their head of payroll, John Deharth, the CEO, loves to tell this story. She comes into a meeting one week and she goes, “Look, I’ve got to admit something to you guys. I can’t find enough work to keep busy even 20 hours now, a week.”

So here, literally, they’re handling twice the business than when she was working 80 hours, and now she can barely keep busy for 20. That literally represents, Duncan, the kind of slop that exists in most of these growth companies that we deal with. And if we can clean that out, then we don’t need to add that third, fourth, and fifth person. So that’s what we want to focus on first.

Duncan: And if I’m right, she was rewarded with taking some time off.

Verne: She was, yeah. That was exactly the story. Rather than punish her, because if you punish people for this stuff, they’re not going to do it.

Duncan: And so, I mean, the lean and the agile thing is something that people are scared about and they hear about the lean startup which makes sense in terms of getting your product to market. And the only other seemingly extreme in the market, and this is mentioned again, is the six sigma approach where you get into very high detail in a very, sort of . . .

Verne: A little complicated for our bunch.

Duncan: A little complicated for an organization who is just getting to the 10 or 15 or 20 people mark. How can they apply LEAN in a normal sort of sensible way?

Verne: Well, we’ve got . . . I’ll promote here a little bit. That’s why we did a 90 minute online video with Guy Parsons. Guy is the co-founder of the Lean Institute. He himself ran a 20 million dollar company, so he’s one of us. And he really talks in a simple way, how we can apply some very simple ideas and tools to get your organization leaned out. And he’s adamant; it’s not about firing people. It’s about kind of cleaning out the waste and the dumb stuff that creeps in to jobs.

I’ll give you an example. So a good buddy of mine, Gene Brown, up in Ireland, running a waste management company. He walks by his assistant one day. She’s really busy and he needs her to do something. And he goes “What are you working on?” And she goes, “Well, this spreadsheet.” And he goes, “What spreadsheet?” And it was one that he had asked her to track for about six months, two years prior when they had really hit the crisis in Ireland but he hadn’t looked at it since.

I don’t think a lot of entrepreneurs realize it, but that their employees are scared of them. Even if you’re not scary, they know you’re busy. They don’t want to bug you and maybe ask you, “Hey, do you still need this spreadsheet?” They just keep doing this stuff.

So he actually set up an initiative for 90 days, it was this thing called Bin-It. And he gave everybody in his company, he had about 60 employees at the time. He gave everybody permission to bring up what they thought was stupid stuff. And they cleaned out about 25% of everyone’s activities and also saved a bunch of money as the result.

So you can make it really simple. I think it starts with just giving people permission to just speak up and say “Hey I think this is a dumb way that we’re doing this.” And particularly the new employees see stuff but they’re too scared to say anything because they’re new. And if you’ll just sit down with them 90 days later and say, “Hey, what do you see that we’re doing here that just doesn’t make sense?” And they’ll go, “Well, you know . . . ” and you’ll get her cleaned out. So, Lean’s a fairly simple process.

One last thing I’d recommend is a new book called “Scrum” written by the co-founder of Scrum, which you know is at the heart of most software development. But he’s really applied it to all of the areas of a business and its subtitle is “How to Get Twice As Much Done in Half the Time.” And I think, literally, we can do that in all of our companies.

Duncan: So it’s that kind of “What Would Google Do” for Scrum . . .

Verne: Yeah, you got it. For sure.

Duncan: . . . in terms of things. I mean I’ve seen that sort of wastage in process. I’ve worked in some very large corporations where the processes inside are so diluted and so insane that it’s very difficult to get anything done. And I guess in terms of small businesses taking small initiatives like small rewards, I had the best.

I had an amazing system that a company set up yesterday, to deal with the security. They were a finance, I think, organization and they needed to make sure that everyone was locking up their computers when they weren’t at their desk, when they were going to the restroom or whatever. And they implemented a very simple system where if you manage to get to someone’s computer that was logged in and you sent an email to donuts@companyname.com, the person who’s email address it was from had to buy everyone donuts.

Verne: Had to buy the donuts? Love it.

Duncan: I guess a similar type thing in terms of processes and things that people do on a regular business to give people permission and encourage them and sort of show that that’s possible, could be done around this in terms of saying, “Well, if you just highlight that this is something that’s not worth doing, then you could get some sort of pat on that back for it in the long run.” And it’s interesting . . .

Verne: Yeah, get it on a list on a wall. By the way, your comment brings up a really sobering statistic. When I share this, I think it’s a wake-up call for most small to mid-size companies trying to scale up. You know, usually, when I meet a CEO, the first thing I’ll say is, “How many employees do you have?” And the reason I do that is because I can almost always multiple times 100 thousand. I don’t care whether it’s pounds, euros, dollars. I’ll know almost exactly what their revenue is. You know, the average revenue per employee of a small to mid-size company is about 100 thousand. Large companies, two and a half times that; about 250 thousand on average. So even though we see these big, large companies as these bloated, bureaucratic messes, because they’re normally better at process, they’re able to extract about two and a half times the revenue per employee than we are. And we think we’re really lean, mean, and efficient.

So this KPI of revenue per employee is one of the ones on our one-page strategic plan that we get companies to obsess on and really focus on, and make sure that they’re moving the needle in the right direction. And when they go back and look over the last three or four years, they realize, in many cases, that that number has actually slipped and headed the wrong direction. So that’s a key number that we get everyone focused on.

Duncan: And your point around actually getting people to talk about problems in an organization is a very difficult one. If I think about most of the people I talk to, on the large part in the past, it’s been founders of businesses; people who are the CEO or were the CEO and have now sort of moved out of the function but still have that origin control or origin ability. And they’re very open about talking about the problems in the organization. They’re very happy to discuss what is or isn’t working.

But even in organizations where I’m inside consulting, I’ve just been working with a client this year to help them bring a technology department inside, the communication internally about things that don’t work or people that don’t work or systems that don’t work is incredibly limited. People are very scared about how they communicate upwards through their middle and upper management about things that aren’t working.

If you’re a business leader who was sitting here today, how would you say to get people talking? Not talking in a way that obviously you’re saying, “Well, I don’t think my colleague is as good as me and I don’t think they should be in this organization,” but in a way that they can actually help in a constructive way.

Verne: Yeah. Well, a couple things just to comment there. You know, in large companies, the issue is politics. In our smaller companies, the real issue is that we’re friends, and we don’t like to call our friends on the tough stuff. We don’t like to hold them accountable. Simple things, like we’re in a meeting and one of them is on their smartphone and not paying attention. If the CEO leader doesn’t call them on that, that just begins to kind of cause leakage in the organization.

Duncan: Or worse; they’re doing it themselves, right?

Verne: Yeah, exactly. So that’s where the daily huddle comes in. Besides the one-page strategic plan that we’re well known for, 40 thousand companies use it around the world, we’re known for this daily huddle. And the reason it’s important is if you don’t address the little stuff, it’s what turns into big stuff. And then the bigger it get, the harder it is and the more fearful people are of addressing the issues.

And the key agenda item . . . By the way, it’s the same agenda item that the leadership at Goldman Sachs reviews at 6 AM and 6 PM everyday, and that is, “Where are you stuck? What’s in your way of being really productive the next 24 hours?” And by getting those stocks out on the table . . . And by the way, in our Asian cultures, where they’re really worried about saving face, we have to kind of nudge them over the hump and get them there. But we can, usually, in about a year.

And once you get the stocks starting to flow, then you can see where the constraints are. You can see where the bottlenecks are and you can start to know where to direct your energy. So, a very simple routine is this daily huddle and particularly focused on, “What are the stocks? What’s in your way?” Very specifically of being able to move forward, and it’s the pattern of those stocks then that really tell you, you know, where we need to tackle issues. And this is how you start to get the truth out on the table which is what you’ve got to do.

Duncan: And that is definitely the other side of your book in terms of the key. You’ve got a lot of strategy and another way of thinking on how to approach things, and then the other side of it is routine. Just establishing things that happen on a regular basis that can be reviewed; that can be seen, that do happen, the rituals within the organization. I see this, working within software companies and with software engineers. Obviously they’re very familiar with Agile and Scrum, and the daily stand-up is very standardized for a very good reason because of the enormous costs that could go wrong in those areas.

But I have yet to see it very well applied within some smaller businesses where a daily stand-up within a sales team, or a daily stand-up within an operations, or an HR team. It makes perfect sense. I mean, I do it with my team every morning. We have a daily stand-up. We sit and we talk around, what are the things they can’t do because I’m in the way, what are the things that they need to do, and what are the things where they need other people to help them, or they need some guidance.

Verne: You got it.

Duncan: And then you’ve got the further routines, right? And so you’ve got your monthly routines. You’ve got your monthly manager meetings. You’ve got your town halls. This can be taken to quite a high level. I remember talking to . . . his name escapes me now which is terrible, but the founder of Sun Microsystems.

Verne: Yeah, Scott McNealy.

Duncan: Scott McNealy. And talking to Scott McNealy, one of the things that he really held to core to keep the culture of the organization going was his daily and weekly meetings where initially it was just him in a small room. And then it was him standing on top of a beer keg. And then it was him on a video conference across the world. But he really kept that going irrespective to make sure that no matter how big we grow, we’re still communicating. We’re still one organization. Everyone still feels connected and everyone’s going in the right direction.

Verne: Well in fact, we just reported yesterday at Fortune, you know we named our business person of the year. I’m the Venture Columnist for Fortune magazine, and we named Larry Page, you know, the CEO of Google. And it shouldn’t have surprised me, but one of his important routines is his TGIF or “Thank God It’s Friday” weekly meeting that he has where he addresses all the employees in Google every single week.

Now, they’ve moved it from Friday to Thursday, but they still call it the TGIF [inaudible 00:13:09] want to get this information out before the weekend.

But look, there are some fundamental routines that the CEOs of the very best, you know, most modern run companies still stick to. And this weekly communication to all the employees, whether you’ve got 20 employees or you’ve got 200,000 employees, is critical. And so as you know we’ve covered that stuff inside the book.

Duncan: Cool, excellent. Well okay, thank you very much for your time, Vern. I think we’re just heading up to time there. Your book’s just out, Verne Harnish, author of “Scaling up: How A Few Companies Make It And Why The Rest Don’t.” It’s available on Amazon, if I’m right. We’ll make sure there’s some links in there to get it.

And I think this is really a book that it should be posted by . . . I mean, in Europe we have to report our numbers centrally, but it really should be, I think something that every business leader gets. As soon as they hit a million dollars this should arrive in the post and it should say, “You must read this. Please read this so that you can take your organizations forward.”

Verne: Well, anything that you can do to help us do that, I absolutely agree with you and it really would be helpful.

Duncan: Excellent, thank you very much.

Verne: You bet. Duncan, thank you.