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Thursday, November 20, 2008

North Carolina CEOs Remain Confident & Focused

On October 29, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, strategy execution expert and CEO Gary Harpst spoke at a Six Disciplines North Carolina event in the Research Triangle Park area to local business owners and chief executives.

After Gary’s presentation, Six Disciplines North Carolina surveyed this elite group of executives about the business climate and their plans for the upcoming year. To summarize, business owners were generally upbeat despite the economic situation. Most expect revenues this year to be higher than last, and they project that 2009 revenues will top those of 2008. More than 50 percent expect to add employees in 2009.

Below are the results from the survey:

1. How will your 2008 revenues (this fiscal year) compare to 2007?
36 percent said lower, and 64 percent said higher.

2. How do you expect 2009 revenues to compare with 2008?
36 percent said lower, and 64 percent said higher.

3. How will your employment change in 2009?
7 percent expected lower employment, 36 percent said about the same, and 57 percent said higher.

4. What will be your organization's top priorities for 2009?
(Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)

  • 64 percent responded sustainable execution (improving team capability)
  • 57 percent responded top line growth (investing in sales and/or marketing)
  • 36 percent responded profitability/cost reduction commensurate with expected sales
  • 14 percent responded stabilization of the organization (hunker down; avoid big risks)

5. Which of the following topics would be of most value to you in Q1 2009? (Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)

  • 79 percent responded enhancing execution and performance
  • 43 percent responded effective strategic planning
  • 36 percent responded mining the customer's unspoken needs
  • 14 percent chose stimulating and focusing on innovation
  • 14 percent said marketing in a down economy
  • 14 percent selected succession planning
For additional insights from this survey, contact Craig Landwehr, Managing Partner of Six Disciplines North Carolina.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Six Myths of Strategic Business Planning

Eric Kurjan, President of Six Disciplines - The Ohio Group, offers this article in the Toledo Free Press, entitled "Myths of Strategic Business Planning".

Myth No. 1: “We’re too small of an organization to need strategic planning.”
Myth No. 2: “Strategic planning should only be done once a year.”
Myth No. 3: “We don’t need a strategic plan! Plans are too restrictive; we are entrepreneurial!” Myth No. 4: “We can do it ourselves — without any help.”
Myth No. 5: “Strategic planning interferes with our real jobs; we don’t have time.”
Myth No. 6: “Strategic planning is done when the retreat is over.”

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gaebler Ventures Interviews CEO Gary Harpst

Gaebler Ventures, a Chicago-based partnership that has invested in companies since 1999 and has established numerous innovative and market-leading enterprises, is a business incubator and holding company that develops and nurtures companies that are shaping the future.

To assist budding entrepreneurs, Gaebler interviews successful entrepreneurs and posts dozens of their stories here.

Recently, Gaebler interviewed serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Gary Harpst. You can read their interview, "Starting a Business Strategy Firm" here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Economic Acceleration Tour Comes to Columbus

Why is it that every business – even the best ones - struggle so much to sustain growth and profitability?

Why is that only 3% of businesses drive the overwhelming majority of economic growth and job creation in any given community? Why does it have to be only 3%? Can’t we do any better?

Perhaps more importantly, what are we going to do about accelerating growth for the other 97% of businesses?

Well, these issues frustrate CEO and best-selling author, Gary Harpst, but he has a plan, and wants to share it with you.

That’s why he's kicking off the 50-city “Economic Acceleration Tour: Breaking the 3% Speed Limit”, sponsored by Six Disciplines, in Columbus on December 10, 2008 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, from 8:00 – 10:30 AM. This event is co-sponsored by TechColumbus.Org.

Consider these facts about Columbus:

  • Columbus ranks 7th in the nation among large metropolitan areas for its number of “high-impact” companies, those that produce both significant revenue growth and expanding employment.
  • Yet only 3% (2.43 percent) of Columbus’ 82,810 businesses are considered to be high-impact.
  • On average, it takes a company almost 20 years to enter this high-impact stage. Yet, three out of four companies cease to be high-impact after just four years.

On December 10, Gary will be sharing this new vision and a specific plan for changing the economic development equation with business and community leaders in the capital of his home state of Ohio.

To register for this event, visit:

In attendance at the Columbus Economic Acceleration Tour event will be CEOs of small and midsized businesses, chamber of commerce executives, economic development executives, civic leaders, business incubator professionals, college and university business program chairs and faculty, quality program professionals, venture capitalists, private equity and angel investors, business coaches, management consultants, and professional service firm partners.

You're also invited to join Gary at an intensive private workshop (after the event) where he'll be coaching a select group of Columbus CEOs on how to craft a powerful strategic position – one that produces breakthrough results. Gary personally guarantees the return you’ll get by attending this workshop, as many of our clients would testify.

Hurry - space is limited to the first 7 participants! Register today at

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gary Harpst Video - Explains Execution Revolution

Watch this short video of CEO and Six Disciplines founder Gary Harpst, as he briefly explains some of the concepts from his best-selling book Six Disciplines Execution Revolution (a 2008 Top 10 book from Amazon).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Six Disciplines Showcased in Entrepreneur Magazine

The November 2008 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine showcases an article about Eric Kurjan, President of Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio.

In the article, Business Mentoring: Years of managing and running businesses inspired one man to help others do the same, Kurjan describes his journey, and why he's chosen to run a Six Disciplines Center.
The article ends with Kurjan saying he has no regrets about his decision:
"There is nothing more rewarding than to be sitting across the desk from my CEO client, and he or she looks me in the eye and says, 'You have made a difference in our business.' That is the best paycheck of the day."

CEO Gary Harpst Named To “Excellence 100” Top Thought Leaders List

CEO, strategy execution expert, and best-selling author Gary Harpst was recently named to the “Excellence 100” top thought leaders list by Leadership Excellence magazine. The publication, with a readership of over 250,000, has ranked the top thought leaders in management and leadership for the past 25 years.

The entire list of the top 100 thought leaders can be found at

“Those who make our Excellence 100 list possess a rare combination of traits and abilities,” says Ken Shelton, founding editor of Leadership Excellence. “They display both depth and breadth, local and global awareness, conceptual originality and practical experience with application, implementation and execution.”

The annual ranking of thought leaders who make the Excellence 100 list today possess a rare combination of traits and abilities. Here are the eight criteria:

  1. Preparation: academic and professional.

  2. Character: values, ethics, beliefs, purpose, mission, integrity, walk the talk.

  3. Principles: big message, point of view, tenets, main points.

  4. Personality: charisma, style, originality, authenticity, one of a kind.

  5. Performance: inspiring action, real-world performance, work ethic.

  6. Experience: beyond local and regional, more national and international.

  7. Expression: substance and style in writing, speaking, coaching, consulting, mentoring, training, or teaching.

  8. Influence: difference, results, change, transformation.
Harpst recently launched a 50-city speaking engagement tour, entitled “Economic Acceleration Tour: Breaking The 3% Speed Barrier,” where he is sharing this new vision and a specific plan for changing the economic development equation among America’s top communities. The tour is sponsored by Six Disciplines. To learn more about the 50-city Economic Acceleration Tour, visit

The economic acceleration plan comes from Harpst’s newest book, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier,which has been named a nationwide bestseller by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and BusinessWeek, and was named a finalist in the Entrepreneurship & Small Business category of the National “Best Books” 2008 Awards by The book details the elements of a complete strategy execution program, clarifies why it could only have happened now, and explains why such a program will soon become a mainstream requirement for all successful businesses in the future.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Amazon's Best Business Books of 2008

Amazon recently released their "Best of 2008" top 10 lists for Business & Investing.
Six Disciplines Execution Revolution, by Gary Harpst, was named #10 on the list of "Customer Favorites".
This year, they put their editors' picks and the year-end bestsellers for each category on the same page together, so you can easily compare. Click on "Editors' Picks" to see the editors' list of the best business and investing books of 2008. And click on "Customer Favorites" to find the bestselling business and investing books at during 2008.

New Book Review: Six Disciplines Execution Revolution

The November 2008 issue of Smart Business Miami offers a book review of Six Disciplines Execution Revolution by bestselling author Gary Harpst.

The review begins:

"There’s an old saying that once identified, a problem is already half-solved.The challenge is diagnosing and treating the right disease and not the symptoms.In today’s convulsive economic environment, that effort is growing increasingly difficult as business leaders confront challenges literally screaming for their attention. If asked, these leaders likely would describe their biggest problem as the issue they’re facing right at the moment.

While, on the surface, you can make a compelling case to tackle immediate issues,they are not the primary focus of running a business.

“No matter what the problems are today, they’ll be different tomorrow, and they will be bigger. There is onebusiness problem that, ifsolved, makes solving all other problems easier,” says Gary Harpst in his new book,“Six Disciplines Execution Revolution.”.....

Read the entire review here.