In May, I both attended and served as an instructor at the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The program brings together 65 entrepreneurs—each a founder or co-founder of a business that grosses more than $1 million—for four days at the MIT Endicott House in Dedham, Mass.
In the past, this program has been called the “Birthing of Giants” and is considered one of the most prestigious entrepreneurial training programs in the world. In the class I attended, there were 66 top entrepreneurs from Spain, Russia, Dubai, Qatar, France, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil and the United States as our students.
Here are some of the key takeaways, from the brand and employees to the customers.
The “Boss” & The Brand
Here are topics the entrepreneurs were most interested in learning about:
- Growing the business and making it scalable.
- Managing fast growth.
- Creating a culture of disciplined execution with high levels of accountability.
- Building a high engagement culture that attracts top talent.
- Dealing with aggressive and new competition.
- Adapting and changing business models.
- Focusing and not being distracted by other opportunities.
Your brand promise must be functional, economic and emotional. As Jack Welch says, “If you do not have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” Be obsessive about the essential question.
- Care about the people in your business…and care enough to listen.
- Accountability equals empowerment.
- The formula for business success: (T+C+ECF) x DE = Success. (Talent + Culture + Extreme Customer Focus) x Disciplined Execution = Success.
- The five factors for being a great strategic thinker are: 1) business knowledge; 2) experience in your market and in business; 3) taking time to sit back and look for the patterns; 4) seeing a pattern and getting a flash of insight and then taking massive action; 5) disciplined execution on your strategic insight.
The key to building a world-class company and career is: KNL.
Knowledge: You must be knowledgeable and competent at something that is highly valuable in the marketplace.
Network: A lot of the right people need to know that about you—people who can tell hundreds or thousands of other people about how great you are.
Love: You must be a person of honesty, integrity and love. If you are a loving, kind, high-integrity person and a lot of the right people know that about you, and they also know that you’re very good at something that is highly valuable in the marketplace, you have everything you need to build a solid and successful business.
The three key elements of excellence are: focus, discipline and action. You must be extremely focused on your “philosophy of excellence” for both your life and your business. You must have the discipline to go out and execute that every day. Not just talk about it, not put it on a poster on the wall, but to actually live it in every part of your business and life. Action, the amount of action you apply, directly determines the amount of results you will get.