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On March 3, 2015, Giovanni Feroce, an Iraqi war veteran and successful entrepreneur, spoke as the Keynote at our Grand Summit Conference in Charleston, SC. As a student and educator on leadership practices, I captured some of the salient points.

When negotiating you must live by this motto: “I’m not better than anyone, but no one is better than me”

If you’re a two million dollar company and want to be an eight million dollar company, what actions are you taking? # 1 should be is marketing. You must operate at battlefield speed.

There are four phases to war, that also relate to business operations:

  1. Prep the battlefield- Drop leaflets; Create a strong desire
  2. Cross the line of departures
  3. Active combat
  4. Securing and Stabilizing: The most dangerous part and relates to a company’s life cycle

Use the banks’ money: If you owe the bank $100,000, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $1,000,000, the bank has a problem.

Regarding your people: Go to battle with the people who give you 125%. Do not settle for the people who operate at 75% capacity.

As a leader, ask yourself:

  • Who am I as a person
  • What will I do with my life
  • Who will I do it with

To engage your employees and get 125%, ask them three questions:

  1. What were you hired to do?
  2. What are you doing?
  3. What would you like to do?

Employees who are not doing what they would like to be doing will not be engaged.

You cannot run a war, or company, without systems. Create systems anyone can plug into. Otherwise, you’ll be that person. Where is your single point of failure? Fix it and create a system that can be repeated. With systems, you can run your business from anywhere.

Every week, Giovanni asks his employees for an “SIT-REP” (short for a situational report). This allows him to understand his business.

It consists of the following:

  • Their three main efforts
  • Three supporting efforts
  • What they did the week before
  • What they’re doing next week

The color code the SIT-REP: Red (not begun yet), Amber (started), Green (completed).

He looks for people to join his team who have high “SA” (Situational Awareness). During the Iraq war, Giovanni was part of the central command. General Tommy Franks consulted daily with him because he had the highest SA – understanding of exactly what happened yesterday and the outlook for today. How high is your SA? Those with the highest SA get promoted because they know what’s going on with all of the projects.

Operate at battlefield speed and prepare to take casualties. If you’re not engaging, you won’t get results. Things will go wrong. Don’t beat yourself up. Move on. Done is better than perfect. Giovanni talked about the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). MDMP always has three courses of action. If Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B becomes the new Plan A. Don’t think about it too much. If Plan A doesn’t work, move quickly onto B. MDMP also uses the following phases.

  • NMC (non-mission capable)
  • IMC (initial mission capable)
  • FMC (fully mission capable)

When you are FMC, you must cross the line of departure. The US had initially planned on going into Iraq via Turkey. When Turkey blocked us, we moved to the next entry point.

Giovanni also talked about getting “Earned Media”.

  • Find a charity; donate time and money. Example: 15% of proceeds will go to support ____ (our charity).
  • In donating, contribute a big check (get on the news) ….. Payable over 10 years.
  • Become an expert in your field and speak on the radio on Saturdays
  • Call in a snow day to the radio so it gets announced
  • Look for public service announcement opportunities

Lastly, Giovanni shared the importance of having a vision and working backward (from B to A). “B” is where you’re going. Every decision you make should be with “B” in mind. If you want to be a big company, make big decisions. Think of yourself as that big company. Share that vision often and broadly!

All the Best!


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