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Issue #1 | July 13, 2020 | Read Time: 4:41
Our First Issue! (Plus, how to plan in the middle of a pandemic…)
Welcome to the very first issue of “The Memo.”
While this is just the beginning, we happen to believe it’s the start of something very special, and we can’t thank you enough for being a part of it.
And just think, from here on out, you’ll be able to brag…
“I’ve been a subscriber since Issue #1…”
How cool is that? 🙂
Okay, enough with the sentimental stuff. Let’s get to it…
Last week, The Scalable Company leadership team held our (socially-distanced) Q3 strategic planning offsite.
As Scalable Insiders already know, this is a 2-day process where we select our Theme, Success Metrics, Strategic Pillars, and Key Initiatives for the quarter. And while it isn’t easy to devote two full days to planning every 90 days, I truly believe it’s the most productive thing we do as a team.
It’s so important, in fact, that we decided to devote this first issue to strategic planning and offsite, so without further ado, let’s get to this week’s “Big 3”…
Thing #1: The Ultimate Offsite Toolkit
Stripe’s COO open-sourced their offsite planning process, and it’s impressive, to say the least.
At The Scalable Company, we have a much simpler approach that is still highly effective, but if you’re looking for some ideas to spice up your company’s offsite, this is a great resource.
But at the end of the day, whether you follow our process, Stripe’s process, or pick and choose from both, the big takeaway is if you aren’t holding regular strategic planning sessions with your team, you should.
We recommend holding 2-day planning sessions every 90 days with a 90-minute check-in meeting at least every 30 days, so if it’s been more than 3 months since your last planning session and you don’t have another one on the calendar, then do it. Stop reading this email, and get it scheduled.
And look, I know you’re busy, and I know things are crazy and uncertain right now. But that’s precisely why pausing to plan is so incredibly important. So again, set a date. Do it now. Even if your team is small, heck, even if you’re a team of one, get it on your calendar.
Thing #2: Can your business endure the coming ice age?
Back in March, some business leaders (and world leaders, for that matter) believed that COVID-19 was merely a “blizzard”…something that would pass in a matter of weeks…maybe even days. Others argued it was a “winter” that would last months, and still others (the authors of this article, for example) suggested it would be an “ice age” that would usher in a “new normal” that would remain even after the threat had passed.
Well, we’re now 4 months into COVID-19 being “a thing,” and it’s clear that this is not merely a blizzard.
4 months is a season. Winter is here.
All that remains to be seen now is if the winter will end, or if it is just the start of a longer “ice age” that will require us to not merely “hunker down” for a season, but adapt to an entirely new environment.
At The Scalable Company, we freely admit that we have no idea what the rest of 2020 will bring. Things could get better. Things could get worse. We don’t know, and we’re pretty sure no one else does, either. But here’s what we do know: There’s no harm in preparing for the worst, especially when failing to prepare could result in your extinction.
Perhaps this season will pass and things will return to normal. Perhaps not. What leaders need to acknowledge, however, is that “wait it out” is no longer an option. If the ice age is coming, then now might be your last opportunity to adapt.
So plan and prepare while you still have time, and make those plans assuming that the “old normal” never returns. If it does, you will have weathered a powerful storm. If it doesn’t, you’ll be the fish that grew lungs when the ponds all dried up. Either way, the future will be yours.
NOTE: This article is written with religious non-profit groups in mind, but the advice and suggestions apply to for-profit companies, too. Please don’t ignore the message just because you don’t share the beliefs of the messenger.
Thing #3: How Gary Vaynerchuck invests in companies…and predicts the future
Gary Vaynerchuck is a controversial figure, but while you may not like his style, you can’t deny his results.
Recently, my business partner, Roland Frasier, and I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Gary about a topic he rarely discusses: How he chooses the businesses and trends to invest in.
It was an enlightening conversation, but I think my favorite part was his “50.1% Rule” for investing in people vs. ideas. For Gary, both the idea and the person leading the company are critical, but he has learned (the hard way, if you listen to the episode) that the person/team should get a slight edge over the idea, itself.
But that was just one of the many topics we discussed, so, whether you’re a “Gary Vee fanatic” and “Gary Vee hater,” I’m confident you’ll hear something different and learn something new.
P.S. If you aren’t subscribed to our Business Lunch Podcast, you should. Every week, Roland Frasier has candid conversations with business leaders and gets them to share details they normally don’t share anywhere else. So if you’re sick of the usual “tell us your story” podcasts and you’d rather eavesdrop in on real conversations, then Business Lunch is the podcast you’ve been waiting for.
- Remote Work: Quora is making the pivot to remote-first. Here’s what their CEO has to say about why and how they’re making the move.
- Growth: Here’s a Trello template you can use to organize and prioritize all your growth ideas
- Just For Fun: A psychologist became a poker champion in a year…here’s how she did it and what she learned.
Read This Book
The Art of Profitability is a pragmatic business book that’s required reading for all Scalable Equity CEOs and General Managers. While many books tell you how to grow, this book tells you how to actually make a profit, so it’s perfectly suited for the times we’re in right now. It’s also a relatively fun read compared to most dry business books.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s issue. If you didn’t, we’ll try to do better next week. If you did, could you do me a favor and share it with 2 friends and colleagues?
It would mean the world to us.
Thank you. 🙂
Co-Founder & CEO
P.S. If you like the memo, you’ll LOVE being an Insider.
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What is The Memo (a.k.a. the thing you’re reading right now)?
Every week, my partners and I send an email memo to our internal executive leaders (the people running our companies) sharing news and insights we believe they should know. Sometimes it’s an interesting article…sometimes it’s a new thought or idea…but it’s always something timely, tactical, and actionable.
Now, you can get the same memo…and you don’t even have to sell us your company. 🙂
What is The Scalable Company?
The Scalable Company is a collective of founders and entrepreneurs who have no idea what they’re doing, and are willing to admit it. You can read our “Accidental Entrepreneur Manifesto” here, and peruse our internal “wiki” of resources and best practices here.