Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Breakthrough Company by Keith McFarland

In January I reviewed the best-selling book The Breakthrough Company, which I thought was a GREAT read. Since that time author Keith McFarland has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and traveled the country on his book tour.

This week he came to Austin, Texas. The company I work for, vcfo, along with two other sponsors (USI and Staubach) hosted Keith for a private luncheon with 125 local executives. He spoke for over an hour sharing his insights on how companies can "breakthrough" and soar to greater heights.

According to McFarland, break though companies all know the following three things:

1. It is not what you make, it is what you make of it. Many of the most impressive companies are not from the cool and trendy industries that you might think. Many are old school manufacturing or distribution businesses that are not "sexy"....but are consistently successful.

2. There is no personality profile of a successful CEO. How they "wire" their business is more important than how they are "wired". The great leaders do not make it all about them, but instead they "crown the company"...not the individual.

3. It is not just about getting the right people, it is getting the people right. Many leaders will complain about not having the right people instead of laying the blame on a failure in management. Top companies create a place where ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Keith also talked about how successful companies have an atmosphere that encourages people to try new things. Too often business leaders discourage innovation bypunishing failure. Breakthrough companies reward those who help the company learn, even if that lesson comes from a stumble along the way.

Additionally the executives in the companies that excel have created a situation where those around them are not "yes men". They thrive in an environment with "insultants" who are willing to take on the tough issues no matter what people think of them. These "loyal opposition" help businesses see the real problems
that face the company.

Below is a short video from Keith McFarland's Austin appearance:

If you have not yet had the chance to read Keith's book, The Breakthrough Company, I suggest you pick up a copy and discover all that he discovered in five years of research into these companies.

Have A Great Day


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