3i program – Hotze Health and Wellness Center 4




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Verne’s

Weekly Insights

2003

Verne Harnish

Gazelles, Inc.

21246 Dubois Court

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-858-2400
Table of Contents


3I Program – Hotze Health and Wellness Center 4

ADVISORY BOARD SUGGESTIONS 6

ADVISORY BOARD FOLLOW-UP SUGGESTIONS 8

B-PLAYERS – REACTION TO USA TODAY ARTICLE 12

BADOWSKI, JACK WELCH’S ASST, WRITES MUST READ BOOK 14

BLUE MAN GROUP – DETAILED OPERATIONS MANUAL 15

BUFFET’S ANNUAL LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS 16

CASH CYCLE CALCULATION 17

COMPETENCY-BASED PAY 18

DELL BEST PRACTICES 19

EMAIL SUGGESTIONS – PART 1 21

EMAIL SUGGESTIONS – PART 2 25

GIGEX – THANK YOU NOTES 26

GILLETTE AND CEO JIM KILTS’ SIMPLE FORMULA 29

GOOD TO GREAT – THOUGHTS ON COMPENSATION 31

HEALTH ALTERNATIVES 33

JIM COLLINS – HIGHLIGHTS FROM HIS PRESENTATION 36

JIM COLLINS – HIGHLIGHTS PART 2 37

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES – HOW TO CALCULATE 39

PETER COORS ADVICE 40

JOE HOOVER – SAVES $100,000 USING CRITICAL NUMBER 41

SETH GODIN – PURPLE COW MUST READ 43

QUARTERBACK RATING – MODEL FOR COMPANY METRIC 45

QUARTERLY PRIORITIES AND THEMES 47

QUARTERLY PRIORITY – 12 WAYS TO IMPROVE CASH 49

QUARTERLY THEMES – ICC DECISION SERVICES SAVES 160 HOURS PER WEEK 51

REAL ESTATE MORTGAGES 53

SALES TIPS 55

SALES TIPS PART 2 57

SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE – GOOD TO GREAT IMPLEMENTATION 59

THANK YOU NOTE ETIQUETTE 61

THANK YOU THURSDAYS 63

THANKSGIVING – SOW LAVISHLY 64

U.S. ECONOMY – HOW TO MEASURE WELL BEING 65

VIGILANT INTERVIEW ON LEADERSHIP 67

WAL-MART – JIM COLLINS’ THOUGHTS 68

WEEKLY REINFORCEMENT OF THEME – LESSON FROM DELL 69


3I Program – Hotze Health and Wellness Center
HEADLINE: Hotze Health and Wellness Center (www.hotzehealth-wellness.com), just outside of Houston, TX, implemented the 3I program we teach in the “Rockefeller Habits” two-day program. Since last April they’ve received 1166 ideas from their 40+ staff members, helping to drive a 23% increase in business and improved customer service. A quick overview of the 3I program along with their summary email to me is below. Attached is a more extensive two-page overview of a successful 3I program.
DETAILS: Most suggestion programs fail within a few months of implementation. Yet, a business needs a constant stream of ideas for increasing revenues, reducing costs, and making things easier for their customers and employees. The 3I program, created by Jimmy Calano, founder of CareerTrack, works in that it provides a structure and rhythm for making this happen on a monthly basis. In essence, you require each manager to submit 3 ideas each month (Hotze requires it of all staff members). These are then reviewed at the monthly “learning” meeting we recommend as part of an effective meeting rhythm. Noted Monica Luedecke, EVP of Hotze, in her follow-up email to me “It is almost frightening to think how good companies could be by implementing this simple, fun, innovative discipline.” Here’s her original email to me that provides some additional details and modifications they made to the process:
April 15, 2003
Dear Verne,
Greetings from Houston! With this email, I wanted to thank you and quickly update you regarding the impact of one of your sessions we attended last year in April.
One of the presenters, Jim Calano, discussed the 3 Idea Memo Project which he recommended be incorporated into businesses attending the Gazelles Training Course. Upon our arrival home, we gathered all of the staff of our 3 businesses, advised them of the program, and added it as a mandatory monthly discipline for all staff members. We changed the program a bit by adding a fourth objective, essentially, improving guest service. Additionally, we increased the incentive from $20/idea to $50/idea for the top 10 ideas each month, and to $1000 for the top idea of the year, and $500 for the next top 4 ideas of the year. Since April of 2002, between the 40+ staff members, we have had 1166 ideas turned in, of which a whopping 751 have been implemented, 85 are still being considered, with the balance of the rest of the ideas either tabled or duplicates.
This program is wonderful because it encourages all-out participation in the growth and direction of our businesses by every staff member, not just by the leadership team. Everyone loves to feel as though they are contributing to the success of an organization, and this program helps to underscore that principle. Additionally, taking time to think and to brainstorm, which initially seemed like a big chore to some who were not accustomed to that role, has now become second nature. The other benefits, of course, are that the areas covered by the 3I Memo Project: save money, make money, increase efficiency, and improve guest service, are all covered every month. This translates to constant improvement in these critical areas. One of the reasons we enjoyed a combined business growth of 23% last year is due to the implementation of the 3I Memo Project.
Thank you for all you do to promote entrepreneurial business growth and development. We appreciate your diligent and enthusiastic work and have enjoyed applying what we have learned from you and your staff to our businesses.
Warmest regards,
Monica Luedecke

Executive Vice President

Hotze Health & Wellness Center

281.579.3600 ext. 218

Exploring natural solutions to health problems is the focus of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. Our goal is to enable you to enjoy a better quality of life, naturally, by strengthening your immune system, and increasing your energy level.

ADVISORY BOARD SUGGESTIONS
HEADLINE: Advisory Board suggestions – 1) get one; 2) avoid group meetings; 3) assign each a specific focus; 4) compensation is customized to each; 5) better than Board of Directors. Share with me your experiences and I’ll compile and email back to everyone. Thanks to Mike Maddock, president of Maddock Douglas, an advertising, branding, and marketing firm out of Chicago (www.maddockdouglas.com) for suggesting this topic.
DETAILS: Mike is forming an advisory board and emailed me last week for suggestions – his email is below which includes some of his thoughts about setting up the board. Here are my suggestions:


  1. Get one – it’s been one of the most valuable things I’ve done for Gazelles and I’ve seen it pay huge dividends for clients that have one.

  2. Avoid Group Meetings – many of you may disagree, but I found organizing advisory board meetings to be such a hassle for everyone, enough to make me want to end the process. And my advisory board doesn’t need more contacts, so meeting each other isn’t worth the headaches of scheduling. Instead (and several friends with advisory boards have done the same) I work with each advisory board member one-on-one. I’ll have one of them fly in for a half-day; I’ll meet with another for breakfast; mostly I seek their advice and help via email or the phone.

  3. One Favor at a Time – and when I do meet with them, it’s for a specific reason and/or focus. For example, this year I asked John Cone’ (former head of Dell Learning) to help me nail down the GE, Dell, and Southwest Airlines benchmarking events. He was just in a few weeks ago and we set the focus for 2004 to have him help us move into the online learning space. I had breakfast with Boyd Clarke, CEO of the Tom Peters Company, two days ago to get his advice on marketing. Bill Gladstone, one of the top author agents in the country, is working with me on a potential book deal with Microsoft. Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL and investor in Gazelles, is going to send out a letter to 5000 CEOs on our behalf. And my longtime advisor, Arthur Lipper, former owner of Venture Magazine, emails me weekly, sending me articles advising me from moving to Malaysia!!! There’s more, but I’m sure I’ve bored you enough. But I can tell you that the help I’ve received from my advisory board is considerably greater now then when we met as a group – and it’s a whole lot easier for everyone.

  4. Compensation – when I was holding quarterly meetings, I paid my advisors to attend to the meetings. Today, their “compensation” is tailored to each of them. I pay John Cone’ a daily fee and expenses for his visits. Bill Gladstone gets 15% of any publishing deals he does for me. Boyd Clarke and I exchange favors and help. Ted Leonsis is an investor and dear friend whom I’m paying back. Andrew Sherman, my lawyer and close friend, receives some nominal fees each year for legal work. And Arthur Lipper gets a piece of my wealth when the value of my company exceeds a certain number!

  5. Better than a Board of Directors – especially given the SarbOx regulations. I originally structured a Board of Directors. However, after a few formal meetings, I remember Arthur Lipper recommending to the Board that they disband and form an Advisory Board instead – mainly because I was too lose of a cannon and they didn’t want the fiduciary responsibility that comes with being a formal board of directors (I was all full of myself during the boom, boom, years – I know, some of you are thinking that hasn’t changed, but 9/11 humbled me -- some!!!).


BTW, how do you get a board? Just ask. And keep asking. It took me two years to get John Cone’ to agree to help me. The key to keeping them is to act on their suggestions.
Again, let me hear your suggestions and best practices and I’ll compile and email back to everyone. If you don’t have an advisory board, make it a goal for 2004. Below is Mike’s email:
Verne,
I am about to establish an advisory board. It will be made up of folks I respect who could be, but are not clients. My goal will be to cover finance, operations, sales and marketing with the board members.
The plan is to pick a warm place in late January, fly them in for golf/spa/and a day of their counsel. In your experience is this enough to get people (who like me) to participate? Any ideas on what may make it more worth their while? One thought I had was to bring in a great speaker...or I could just pay them.
Thanks for your counsel.
Mike

ADVISORY BOARD FOLLOW-UP SUGGESTIONS

HEADLINE: Board of Advisors follow-up. Several of you wrote back with concrete Board of Advisor examples and stories – they are below. And Arthur Lipper, former owner of Venture Magazine, grounded because of the fires in San Diego, took the time to write a piece entitled “1Boards of Directors vs. Boards of Advisors for privately owned companies - Are they necessary or simply a nuisance?” It’s attached.
BULLET POINTS:


  1. Frank Holt, CEO of Holt Sublimation Printing and Products Co, (fholt@holtsublimation.com – YPOer that manufacturers holiday flags among other things) sent a detailed explanation of his Board of Advisors.

  2. Brett Sheldon, CEO of Salvo Real Estate (www.SalvoRealEstate.com), suggests reading “The Board Book” by Susan Shultz.

  3. Randy Rollinson, LBL Strategies, Ltd. (www.lblstrategies.com) out of Chicago (whom I’ve known for years) offers a comprehensive service for putting together boards.

  4. Michael Mahoney, CEO of Adonix (www.adonix-inc.com), has hired an executive search firm to help him select an advisory board – and he referenced an article in FSB magazine entitled “Playing the Board Game” – here’s the link:

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/smallbusiness/managing/articles/0,15114,360368,00.html


  1. Jeff Prouty, Prouty Project (www.proutyproject.com) was adamant that your board meet quarterly. “1+1+1+1 can only equal more than 4 if they meet.”

  2. Karen S. Usher, President and CEO of TPO, Inc. (www.tpo-inc.com) credits her advisory board for driving 85% growth in revenue last year and 35% this year – she outlines how she chose them.


DETAILS: Below are their emails to me in the order listed above:
Verne-

 

One Sunday afternoon, I sat down on my patio to list the 3 mistakes I had made in the last several years.  I determined that I wouldn't have made any of these mistakes had I held myself accountable to a group of experienced businessmen who I respected.  I immediately established a Board of Advisors in May of this year.  My Board:

  1. Has a total of 7 members including me.  They include a leading turnaround specialist, an executive search specialist (headhunter), my attorney, my accountant and a very talented and proven entrepreneur.  Why did I choose these types of executives?  In particular, the turnaround guy helps me face and make tough decisions.  The headhunter reminds me of developing my executives to be the best and he's in tune with my strategy so that if I need a new executive, we get started right away on the search.  My attorney is one of the best in the state in working on corporate and tax matters and I leveraged his contacts to build this Board.  Likewise for my accountant.  They all believe in me and they are all willing to help me to stay out of trouble and to succeed.

  2. I pay 3 of the members a quarterly fee as well as a daily meeting fee

  3. I pay 2 of them an hourly fee (my attorney and accountant)

  4. Our meeting rhythm is as follows:

    1. I provide them a written memo of strategic and financial progress monthly

    2. We meet quarterly and this is critical for my executives to be scrutinized and praised in person.  You can set ANYONE's schedule well in advance.  If you can't then they are too busy to help you anyway.  A good advisor will make time for you.

    3. We have an annual planning meeting to review the next year's financial and strategic goals

 

The strategy is young but it is all ready paying dividends in many ways.  I could go on and on.  I hope this helps.

 

Frank Holt

Chairman / CEO

Holt Sublimation Printing and Products Co

Hello Verne:

I just read your latest email newsletter on Advisory Boards with much interest!  Recently, I began working with a colleague named Cindy Burrell to help privately held companies put together Strategic and Synergistic Advisory Boards.  We agree completely with you that a thoughtfully composed Advisory Board is "Better than a Board of Directors".  

 

* Good for the Advisors--because there is no fiduciary or management authority

* Good for the CEO--select people with specific expertise that will accelerate and advance the company's plans and goals

 

What do we do?  

 

* Evaluate the company's strategic goals and recommend 6-8 areas of expertise for the Advisory Board

* Assist the CEO in recruiting people "out of their comfort zone"; do not immediately think of people who are already giving paid counsel (lawyer, accountant, banker); think of others who will help the CEO stretch and achieve strategic goals

Our Backgrounds:


* I have over 20 years of strategic planning and board development experience.  I have worked with approximately 2500 organizations in helping them focus, make better decisions and grow.  
* Cindy Burrell has more than 20 years of executive search experience, including Board Director searches and consulting with entrepreneurial companies to form Advisory Boards.
Randy Rollinson
LBL Strategies, Ltd.
www.lblstrategies.com

Verne,

"Advisory Boards" is a timely topic for Adonix.  We are forming one now and I'm excited.  I've retained an executive search professional who is very well connected and experienced with boards.  He's doing this as a loss leader for us so we are paying only a fraction of his customary rates.  I'm not a fan of headhunters but in this case I'm sold on his value add.  Our guy has the connections, clout, experience and objectivity to help us get this right.

 

One mentor I asked for advice warned against conflicts of interest on boards.  One of her first advisory board members secretly competed for a major project and stole work from her.  She also counseled me to look for folks with personality and a sense of humor - the meetings can be pretty dry otherwise.

 

Finally, I found the following article in FSB that gives some good advice FORTUNE SMALL BUSINESS Playing the Board Game Don't manage your business alone. Whatever your size, a board can bring in bucks, back you up, and do some (smart) back-seat driving.FORTUNE SMALL BUSINESS Thursday, January 6, 2000 By Anne Ashby Gilbert

Michael Mahoney, CEO Adonix

From: Jeff Prouty [mailto:jeff.prouty@proutyproject.com]
 

Verne, advisory board meetings are a must if 1+1+1+1 is ever going to equal more than 4....they need to be part of your "rhythm and rituals"...first Tuesday of April, July, October, and January, for instance...and you can always do the one-on-one stuff in addition....my early morning two cents....Jeff.
Verne,
About 18 months ago I got the suggestion to set one up from a colleague at a CEO roundtable that I attend. My presenting problem was, “I’ve reached my current natural limits on learning how to be a CEO, I’m not getting enough consistent and targeted professional development from groups like roundtables, and I don’t have time for full-time school.  How can I keep on learning and, more importantly, learning in real time on real issues that I’m facing?”  The suggestion from the colleague at the roundtable was, “Form an advisory board, but aim high, go for areas where you/the company specifically need help, and don’t forget to get an expert in the area where you are already working.”  That last suggestion was a puzzler until my new friend explained.  He said that the flashlight of energy shown on the new areas where you would be learning produce the risk that your attention will start to drift from those areas where you already feel strong – so have someone on your group to help you pay attention to the “old hat” stuff as well.

Well, I formed the AB just over a year ago and it has exceeded predictions and expectations in regards to meeting the need I’d laid out.  I went for 2 members first – one to bolster my skills in finance, strategic relationships and senior teams (Ron Kaiser) and one to support our continuing efforts in service quality (Tucker Schuldt, SVP Sodexho). Will hopefully be adding a senior woman to the group in the area of marketing sometime around the turn of the year (patience, patience).  Tucker also plays the dual role of having come up the HR side of the house, so helps keep our focus in place in the areas we know best.

During their tenure (last year and this), we’ve grown 85% and 35% respectively.  We’ve transitioned the entire leadership team into new roles, managed a major trade market infringement scenario, and I’ve worked out our business plan for the next 4 years.

We meet quarterly, I compensate them for time and expenses, and we chose to meet together or individually depending on schedules and meeting topics.  It turns out that Tucker and Ron like each other so when they don’t get to talk, they do ask after each other.

Best regards,
Karen S. Usher, President and CEO
TPO, Inc. www.tpo-inc.com

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