September 2014 Evolution Partners Newsletter

Don’t talk about growing revenue. Talk about growth in GP or GP%, maybe even NP

– Bo Burlingham


A word from Brad

Finally last weekend was my wedding day. After what felt like biblical levels of preparation, finally the big day arrived, and apart from a front approaching at the right time requiring us to go inside for the ceremony, everything went off without a hitch.

I am happy to announce that I have been selected as one of only 7 people globally to deliver Outthinker strategy workshops and represent Kaihan Krippendorf in Australasia.

I am looking to run a 2 day public workshop in January for businesses wanting to build their One Page Strategic Plan. Unlike our Scaling up workshop in November, this will be dedicated to a select group of entrepreneurs working to build their plan. If you are interested email me here.

Core Values example

McIntosh Perry is a Canadian based engineering firm and Gazelles customer who released their Core Values to the public in April. With each Core Value is a clearly defined explanatory statement to ensure everyone knows exactly what’s expected. See their Core Values here.

Core Values in practice

In November 2008 terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai India. As a business manager this is surely one of the worst possible scenarios one could face. And yet, throughout this ordeal staff who had the opportunity to run instead stayed to help and protect guests, sometimes losing their own life as a result. Harvard professor Rohit Deshpande analysed the culture to uncover the recruitment and training embedded in the Taj, and how it played out on that fateful day. Learn about how Core Values count when it matters in this short article.

Having a bad day?

Having a bad day? Remember that in April 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800. Now it’s worth $65 Billion.

Will robots replace managers?

In many companies data is replacing intuition to provide faster, smarter decisions. IBM is also offering $100m venture capital for companies willing to create Artificial Intelligence systems for business to run on it’s Watson computer. As thinking, learning machines become more embedded in society, what is the challenge for managers in their role, and what will it mean if your competition use AI for it’s decision making? Scan the McKinsey article here.

CEO Think time

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates consistently set aside one week per year, known as ‘think week‘ where he would go to a secluded area, take a few books, a few key metrics from the business as well as ideas from staff and consider the future of the business.

Of course the first response when we ask clients is ‘I don’t have time’ to which our response is always ‘you don’t have time not to’. For Gates, many of the best ideas to crush the competition came from these think weeks.

So what is best practice for ‘think week’?

1. Set the time aside early

2. Ensure it is genuine, remote alone time, without operational interruptions

3. Choose no more than 5 sets of critical data (reports) on strategic data to review with the time horizon of the past 2-5 years…e.g. Gross margin by month for the past 5 years

4. Ask what is this strategic data telling me as CEO?

5. Ask how should this impact\influence our future strategy?

Gazelles Dictionary of Terms

Building a One Page Strategic Plan and trying to understand the difference between Rocks and Key Initiatives or Brand Promise? Download the Dictionary of terms here.

Customers strike to reinstate CEO

Infighting in the New Jersey Demoulas family, owners of the successful Market Store chain has gone on for decades but when Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted by his cousin in June both customers and staff staged a protest which caused the usually packed stores to have only a trickle of customers. Learn more about how he turned it around and bought the company here.

10 crucial personality traits of entrepreneurs

Inc. has released a list of the top 10 traits of entrepreneurs finding that the Inc. 500 leaders have 2-4 times compared to average. See the results here.

Brad Giles

Evolution Partners


4Q conversations

The Rockefeller Habits checklist is a measuring tool we use to determine the progress of a company.   6.1 states “All executives (and middle managers) have a 4Q conversation with at least one end user weekly”. So what is a 4Q conversation and how can you use it?

In mid sized firms many managers can find they very rarely speak with customers they don’t have a personal relationship with. We recommend speaking with end users and asking these 4 questions;

1. How are you doing?

2. What’s up in your industry?

3. What do you hear our competitors?

4. How are we doing?

When was the last time someone from your management team had a conversation like this with an end user? What insights would you have into your customers needs if your managers regularly asked these questions?

Download the Rockefeller Habits checklist here.


Growth Facts

Companies with a business plan are twice as likely to secure funding and on average grow 36% more than those without a plan.


Thought Leader

Joseph Grenny – Crucial Conversations
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High discusses how to handle disagreements and high-stakes communication. It is written on the premise that when you are stuck in any situation–whether it’s at home or work–there is a crucial conversation keeping you from accomplishing the desired results. If you can learn to speak up in these crucial moments effectively, then you can accomplish the results you are after. The authors studied successful communicators over a period of 25 years and concluded that what typically set them apart from the rest of the pack was their ability to deal with crucial conversations. They possess a skill-set that is easy to learn and allows them to face any situation with nearly anybody–no matter power, position, or authority. Buy the book here or watch a powerful 45 minute video here.





Thursday 6th November Perth – Scaling Up Workshop In conjunction with the release of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2 – Scaling Up we will be hosting a public workshop on 6th November to provide an overview of tools and new concepts introduced within the book and how you can implement these into your business. Pre Registration here with details to follow.

Gazelles Growth Institute

Our online training portal containing 65, 1-3 hour videos from thought leaders from around $15 each per month is the perfect way to raise the knowledge of your management team.

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