The 2018 CEO Coaching International Summit just wrapped in beautiful Newport Beach. We had such a wealth of insightful presentations from leading business thinkers and entrepreneurs that we can’t wait to start sharing some highlights from this year’s event.
First up is Mark Thompson, a New York Times best-selling author and leadership coach who has worked with such luminaries as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins, and Jim Collins. Mark also worked as Charles Schwab’s Chief of Staff and Chief Customer Experience Officer, and as the Executive Producer of Schwab.com, which today has assets over $3 Trillion.
Mark and his team have studied over 27,000 top organizations in 110 countries to figure out what separates merely good companies from the “Most Admired Organizations” in the world. Here are four highlights from Mark’s presentation that he shared with us at the 2018 CEO Coaching International Summit.
1. Be productively paranoid.
The Most Admired Organizations know the difference between good paranoia and bad paranoia.
Bad paranoia manifests itself as fear, or hiding from the brutal facts that are keeping your business from growing.
Good paranoia, as Mark says, “is the willingness to look at your competitors and what they are doing right.” You don’t want to copy your competitors, but let’s face it, some of your potential future customers are working with your competitors and you need to understand why. What are your competitors doing well that you need to at least match, and then what can you do even better to grab those customers?
2. Embrace change.
In 2011, a lightning storm burned down Richard Branson’s private island home. As Branson dealt with the aftermath, he realized that the fire could be a helpful metaphor for how strong CEOs at the Most Admired Organizations think about their businesses.
Did Branson want to build the same house? Did he want to use the same process? Employ the same building team? Or did he want to embrace this opportunity for change and build something different, and potentially, better?
Our client Grasshopper employed some of the same thinking when they saw change coming to the virtual voicemail space. We helped Grasshopper ask itself Three Provocative Questions:
- What am I doing now that I would stop doing in my new company?
- What am I not doing now that I would start doing in my new company?
- How would I compete to try to put my old company out of business?
Answering these questions led Grasshopper to “build a new house,” which eventually sold for $170 million.
3. Team players beat all-stars.
“Hire the best, no excuses” is one of our mantras at CEO Coaching International. But there’s more to being “the best” than just a sparkling resume and glowing references. You have to hire the best people for the job at hand, people who are going to put your aims as CEO ahead of their own ambitions.
Mark cites a groundbreaking two-year study Google performed on its own sales teams. Google is one of those companies that does not compromise on hiring top talent, so pretty much every employee is a 10/10. But Google wanted to figure out why some of its sales teams were outperforming the others by as much as 19%. Why, when every employee is an all-star, was there a 38% gap between the highest and lowest-scoring teams at one of the Most Admired Organizations in the world?
Says Mark, “Google realized that who was on the team mattered less than how the team worked together. Rather than focus on one person’s career success, the winning teams obsessed more over assembling players who wanted to make history together.” We see this in sports all the time. A team with good players who work extremely well together will usually beat a selfish team with stars.
As Google found, a person’s rock star status was less important than “the willingness of each member to commit serious effort to work together to achieve big hairy audacious goals as a team.”
Now, this doesn’t mean you should hire average performers who are good team players. Instead, you still should hire the best…who are also great team players.
4. Purpose, Passion, and Performance.
Look up “success” in the dictionary and you’ll find words like “fame, wealth, power” – all outdated notions of what a successful business is trying to achieve in 2018. Try recruiting millennial workers with this old-fashioned sensibility and you’ll be facing a brain drain in short order. Try pitching new young customers with that kind of one-dimensional branding and your business will dry up.
The Most Admired Organizations know that your business, and how you present it to the public, has to be about more than just pure profit. Mark says, “We found that every high achiever had three definitions of success that help them produce long term impact in their profession.”
- Purpose / Meaning: People who are driven to make a difference in the world.
- Passion / ThoughtStyle: People who are passionate about what they do and dedicated to continuing to doing it.
- Performance / ActionStyle: People who love to win and feel a sense of achievement.
So, is your organization set up to help your people thrive in these three areas? Enduringly successful people won’t settle for less than this and your business shouldn’t either. If your vision and values aren’t pointing towards something BIG, you’re going to stay small.
Thanks so much to Mark and all of the speakers and attendees who made the 2018 CEO Coaching Summit such a BIG success.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm coaches over 150 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s from 17 countries on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, becoming better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.