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These CEO Coaches Literally Wrote the Book on Making BIG Happen

Guests: CEO Coaching International’s Mark Moses, Don Schiavone, Craig Coleman, and Christopher Larkins.

Quick Background: In 2016, Mark Moses’ book Make BIG Happen asked CEOs four questions that can transform businesses:

  • What do you want?
  • How do you get what you want?
  • What could stand in the way of you getting what you want?
  • How do you hold yourself accountable?

Now, Mark and three of his colleagues at CEO Coaching International have expanded upon that framework and detailed the proven system that we use to help CEOs achieve exponential growth.

“Our clients kept asking us, what is it that leads some firms to sell their businesses for nine figures or more,” Mark says. “We wrestled down the rhythms and concepts of this execution framework to help companies perform at the highest level.”

Their new book, Making BIG Happen, debuted at #5 on The Wall Street Journal hardcover business bestseller list and hit #1 on Porchlight Book Company’s best seller list. On today’s show, Mark, Don, Craig, and Chris dig into how the Making BIG Happen System works, client success stories, and the leadership mindset that separates so-so companies from the ones that grow BIG.

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Keys to Making BIG Happen

1. Establish and Maintain the Seven Making BIG Happen Rhythms

“The basis here is taking best practices, and forming them into a habit,” say Don Schiavone. “There’s seven key business rhythms that if you follow them religiously, you will get extraordinary growth in revenue.”

  1. Challenge Core Identity: We suggest every two years CEOs dust off that vision, mission, and culture, and make sure that it’s all still relevant.
  2. Develop an Annual Plan: Being religious about developing that annual plan to achieve your long-term vision.
  3. Execute a 13-Week March: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. A 13-week march, developing quarterly goals, being adamant about testing and hitting those goals, and then applying those learnings.
  4. Stay on Track: Every month, reviewing your financial performance. How are we doing against our goals and our company dashboard? What’s our strategic assessment of what might have changed that could require us to take new action.
  5. Hold Yourself Accountable: As your CEO coach, we meet every other week to hold you and your management team accountable to the rhythms, to what you said you were going to do, and the specific and measurable activities that will ensure you achieve those outcomes.
  6. Focus on the Outcomes: Every week, have “move the needle” sessions with your cross-functional teams, have leadership team sessions with your management team, department sessions, and one-on-ones to make sure you’re adapting and being super tactical to achieve the results.
  7. Increase Productivity: Win the day. Focus on A players. Perform self-assessments and give candid feedback.

2. Apply the Make BIG Happen Four-Question Framework to Take Action

Once your company has internalized these seven rhythms, CEOs can circle back to the four Make BIG Happen questions armed with the tools and best practices they need to solve problems and achieve top goals.

For example, our Crystal Ball Exercise helps CEOs answer the question, “What do I want?” But setting that top-level goal is just the first step in an iterative process that often leads CEOs to surprising revelations.

“I had a client using the Crystal Ball Exercise,” says Craig Coleman, “whose vision of success was that they would beat their sales goals for the year because they hadn’t in the prior two years. The specific and measurable activities were all around adding sales reps, driving new accounts, adding more orders, and growing sales. But as we worked together and unpacked their sales funnel, we saw that the company was losing a lot of revenue just by virtue of an inventory shortage that was causing 80% of their orders to be only partially filled. And in fixing that problem, mathematically, we would literally be exceeding the sales goals. It just became very clear where the team should put their focus: solving that issue in order to hit their sales goals, rather than signing new customers who would be disappointed by having unfulfilled orders or new sales reps who would get discouraged by the fact that the company was having a fulfillment problem.”

3. Leveraging Our Proven Tools to Accelerate Your Success

Craig’s story illustrates the powerful synergies that are possible when you combine the Making BIG Happen rhythms with our proven tools and the expert guidance of a CEO coach. Our system is so effective, flexible, and durable that it even allowed many of our clients to continue high-growth trajectories during the pandemic.

“One of the things that helped our clients is we have a process,” Chris says. “If you want to grow aggressively, let’s sit down and give you peace of mind. Let’s take a look at your cash. How many months of cash do you have on hand or how much do you need? And by using the Cash Bridge Tool, we’re building a bridge from one end of a mountain to the other. What tweaks do you need to make to your business to give you the peace of mind you need? And in some cases, we had some clients that didn’t have to make many adjustments during COVID. We had others that had significant adjustments during COVID, and that tool allowed them to battle test their assumptions.”

Two of our CEO coaching clients who really mastered the total Making BIG Happen package are Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir. Their company, TaskUs, was at $6 million in revenue with 800 employees when they started working with CEO Coaching International eight years ago. After we coached TaskUs to over $700 million in revenue, Bryce and Jaspar sold 60% of the company to Blackstone for over $500 million. Two and a half years later, TaskUs went public for $3 billion. Today, they have 42,000 employees in offices all over the world.

“We were absolutely disciplined every single quarter,” Mark says. “It wasn’t only about meeting annually. Every quarter we would get together with their leadership team to plan out what it was that we were going to achieve, and who owned what, by when, to drive that outcome and that discipline. It’s been a huge, huge success story. Are they smarter than anybody else? I don’t know if they are or not. They’re pretty smart guys, but they are very disciplined about following this framework to drive the results that they’ve driven.”

Mark and the team at CEO Coaching International like to say that there are three kinds of CEOs: those that Make BIG Happen, those that let things happen, and those that ask themselves, what happened? What separates the CEOs in these groups isn’t some innate genius, a revolutionary product or service, or luck. It’s the commitment to execute on these proven principles and the accountability that an experienced CEO coach provides.

“What’s super inspiring to all of us in our organization is our clients have had 49 exits, and more than 80% of them are over $100 million to $1 billion,” Mark says. “Five of them were over $1 billion. The system works, and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist. You just need to have the desire to execute the system. And if you do, you too can Make BIG Happen.”

Top Takeaways

1. Set the rhythms that will become the heartbeat of everything your company does.

2. See what you want and make an actionable plan to achieve it.

3. Commit to the process with help from a CEO coach who will hold you and your team accountable.

The Make BIG Happen System

Learn more about the proven methodology for CEOs, entrepreneurs, presidents and founders of companies that helps them drive extraordinary growth in their businesses. The rhythms, the questions and the tools are all explained.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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