Verne Harnish Growth Tools Workshop at YPO Miami

Earlier this month, I attended a Verne Harnish Growth Tools Workshop in Miami as part of a YPO Miami event. YPO, also known as the Young President's Organization, is  a global networking and professional development organization which connects young CEO's and executives to learn with and from each other. While I promise to write more about YPO at another time, it is events like this one that makes my membership and participation in the organization such an amazing experience and important part of my development as an executive. Here's what I learned at this workshop:

Verne was able to grab, and then hold the attention of 200 YPO members and their executive teams for eight straight hours. From time to time I looked around the room, and found that most participants were frantically taking notes, and paying rapt attention to his message. I rarely saw anyone scrolling through their iPhone- a big indicator of Verne's powerful message and delivery, especially with this uber-connected crowd.

"Scaling Up" your business simply means that your are growing your capacity to meet higher demands. Verne's approach to scaling up is not only easy to understand, its easy for any CEO or executive to implement. He breaks down the tools into four sections, People, Strategy, Execution, and CASH, and then provides step by step strategies for implementing these tools to help you scale up your business.

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Picture courtesy of Verne Harnish website

PEOPLE: Before you can navigate your company's success, you must identify your own personal goals. After you analyze yourself, you can then successfully focus on your company. Before you begin scaling up, you must determine whether or not your company and infrastructure are prepared for growth and whether or not you have the right teams and people in place to accomplish this goal. Once you decide your company is ready to grow, identify which employees or teams own the different parts of your operations. Set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs ) for everyone, and then hold them accountable. By creating a Function Accountability Chart (FACe), you have a tangible road map for accountability for your employees, while a Process Accountability Chart (PACe)  keeps your  processes on task.

STRATEGY: Once you have evaluated your people and your processes and made any adjustments, it's time to examine your business strategy. Do a "deep dive" and explore the strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as any overarching industry trends. These three variables will help you identify what customers are looking for or chasing after, what solutions your business can offer, and what needs it can not successfully meet. Use these metrics to create a strategic plan based on your core values and an evaluation tool based on specific and measurable 90 day goals.  

EXECUTION: Once your people and strategy are in place, its time to execute your plans. According to his "Rockefeller Habits Checklist", Verne stresses that accountability is the key to success. He believes that in successful organizations:

  • The Executive team sets the tone for the organization.
  • Everyone agrees on priorities.
  • A consistent rhythm of communication is established, and information is disseminated quickly and efficiently.
  • Everyone is accountable.
  • Employee feedback is systematically optimized for analysis.
  • Reporting and analysis of customer feedback is as important as the reporting and analysis of financial information.
  • Market position drives strategy.
  • Employees are encouraged to communicate about KPIs.

CASH: Once your people, strategy, and execution are solid, it's time to find the capital to make your scaling a reality. Verne believes that by reducing your Cash Conversion Cycle, your company can accelerate your cash collection. This infusion of cash will help you scale at a faster pace.

This workshop was full of information- and every attendee walked away with action items to use within their companies, myself included. I plan to share more details about the program, and our progress during the next few weeks.