Scaling Up: Strategies That Will Help You Win Big

Speaker Summary and Takeaways from our chat with Verne Harnish

Growth Compass
4 min readNov 24, 2020

The Growth Catalyst Program is now in full swing and we started out with a BANG! For our opening keynote speaker, we hosted the one and only, Verne Harnish! Joined by over 100 people from across Alberta, Harnish was a big hit, with his keynote address focusing on scaling strategies, barriers, and how to execute on your growth advantage.

The session in brief:

Harnish introduced us to the four decisions that every business owner and leader must make when scaling up, including People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. For each of these strategic imperatives, Harnish offered a summary, practical case studies, and insights into the valuable tools available to business owners and leaders on the scaling up journey. In this blog, we highlight some key takeaways.

3 Key Takeaways:

1. “The heart of being successful is articulating a strategy and executing against it”


Everyone’s claim to fame is that their company is different from all of their competitors, but if you have the same price as everyone else, and you sell the same products as everyone else, you are not different.


If you can’t say it simply, it’s going to be hard to execute. Once you determine this, to scale, you must execute it everywhere on the globe. Determine the one or two words you own in the market, and capitalize on this differentiator.


Having Focus and discipline is key in executing the strategies needed to scale. Companies that are aligned on goals across all departments are the most productive. It can be helpful to instill a ‘rhythm’ through daily meetings, where teams seek to understand both their personal and strategic goals and help isolate any potential roadblocks. Deploying one of Harnish’s operating frameworks can help put these goals into perspective and better determine how to best allocate your resources in the most efficient way. Communication is key.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your promise on how you will delight your customers?
  • What are you doing to back it up?

[see Strategy: 7 Strata + Rockefeller Habits Checklist tools]

2. “See the glass as ¾ full, and don’t stop”


Those leaders who possess a strong internal locus of control are more likely to believe an outcome is a result of their own actions. Those with a strong external locus of control are more likely to attribute outcomes to external factors, such as the economy. Allied with ambition and grit, the belief in oneself ensures that you not only have confidence in your capabilities to succeed, but you will also sustain the momentum. Harnish referenced sporting events where the team who has a significant lead over their opponent can let their confidence detract, resulting in them sacrificing their advantage. Remain ambitious. Implementing the ¾ glass mindset is key in not losing your lead!

Starting to second guess yourself? “It’s not about having the right answers, it’s about asking the right questions”. No one has all of the right answers. What is important is figuring out better questions to ask.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the number one thing you need to be working on?
  • Based on your performance so far, what should you stop, start, or continue doing?

3.“Make it easy!”


This must occur both internally and externally.

To promote this within the organization, it is necessary to make things easier for your employees by giving them accountability and the ability to get things done. When this occurs, employees will be able to get the work done, thus leading to the scaling of the business,

Harnish describes the number one job of an organization’s strategy to make it easy for customers and their customers. If you are able to increase ease of both adoption and utilization of your product or service, this will lead to the scaling of your business.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What do we have to do to make things easier?
  • Is your company easy to find? Easy to spell? Easy to use?
  • What do you need to do next to make it easier to do business?

Tools to Use:

  • Access Verne Harnish’s One Page Tools for Scaling Up the Business to help implement the strategies above here!

About the Speaker

Verne Harnish is the founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), with over 14,000 members worldwide, and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” held at MIT, a program in which he still teaches today.

Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 180 partners on six continents, Harnish has spent the past three decades helping companies scaleup.

He’s the author of the bestseller Mastering the Rockefeller Habits which is translated into 9 languages; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times, for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. His latest book Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) has won eight major international book awards including the prestigious International Book Award for Best General Business book.

About the Growth & Resiliency Speaker Series

The Growth & Resiliency Speaker Series is brought to you by Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Growth Catalyst program in collaboration with Alberta Innovates, the province’s innovation engine. The Speaker Series is supported in part by the Government of Canada, as part of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.

To learn more, watch previous keynotes, or to preview what’s coming next, visit us on:

About the Growth Catalyst Program

Led by Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Growth Catalyst is an intensive program designed to spark the creation and set the foundation for executing a growth strategy by CEOs and their senior leadership teams.

To learn more about the program and apply, visit us at:



Growth Compass

Growth Compass delivers evidence-based insights and intelligence on business growth and scaling