If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.
— R. Buckminster Fuller Designer, inventor, futurist
Purpose moves people to make the world a bit better for all,” notes Naomi Simson, Co-Founder and Director of Big Red Group, the largest experience marketplace in Australia and New Zealand. “We have an ethos of valuing experiences over material goods.”
With a purpose to “shift the way people experience life,” her company offers over 10,000 experiences people can gift and enjoy. Her long-term goal is to “serve an experience, sustainably, every second somewhere on earth” by 2030, up from one every 2.5 minutes in 2017 when she reset the firm’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).
Her journey with Scaling Up began in 2005 when her team attended Verne’s two-day Rockefeller Habits workshop in Sydney. There she set her first BHAG — to serve up 2 million experiences by 2015. This was quite a leap — 250x — from the 7500 experiences they had served up since the founding of the firm.
“Yet, we got there two years early and at the time we set it. ..it was sooooo improbable and hard to imagine,” exclaims Naomi. “We proved it was possible.”
Naomi’s original purpose for launching RedBalloon in 2001, when she left corporate life to become a mum in 1996, was “to spend more time with her little ones Natalia (now 20) and Oscar (now 18).” Her desire was to play with the children during the day and run RedBalloon at night. 22 years later her firm is on course to generate a quarter billion in revenue and more importantly, continue to scale its impact of providing people with experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Dutch entrepreneur Hester Anderiesen Le Riche is on a similar purpose-driven path. Founder of Tover, she wants to change the way the world looks at people with cognitive challenges. “How do we accomplish this?” explains Hester. “With serious games with a proven track record of positively influencing quality of life. Playing for a better existence. That’s what we call ‘purposeful plays’
Bootstrapping the business, for the first seven years, Hester raised capital and has scaled revenue eight-fold in five years. Tover offers 100+ games in 14 countries. And working with our Dutch coaching partners, she has also raised her own game. Originally targeting a BHAG of one million players per day over the next decade, she has 30x’d her goal to serve 30 million players per day by 2030. She’s upping her impact.
Don Wells, Chief Empowerment Officer for the San Diego-based non-profit Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), has his organization on purpose as well: “To engage a caring community to help transition-age foster youth achieve self-sufficiency and well-belong.” Currently serving 1600 foster youth annually between the ages of 18 and 26, his team originally set a BHAG to 10x their impact in the community to 16,000 youth annually in ten years.
Initially skeptical if the Scaling Up methodology would be helpful for a social venture, Don and his team attended a couple of sessions with a Scaling Up coach. As Don describes, “it started to change our thinking of what was possible.” As a result, the team stepped up their vision and presented to their board a credible plan to serve 100,000 youth annually by 2032.
Notes Don, “we came out of those sessions with a new resolve and the tools to make it happen.” It resulted in a statement where JIT is committed to “Building a nationwide Reliable, Responsive, Real ‘100K Community’ of life-changing choices and transformative impact for young people impacted by foster care.”
Don shares how “100K Community” is now the rallying cry for JIT over this next decade and
he and his team are excited for the possibility to have a much greater impact in supporting foster youth who are aging out of the system.
Scaling Purpose and Profit
Naomi, Hester, and Don are three of over 80,000 organizations around the globe using the Scaling Up/Rockefeller Habits tools and techniques to scale their impact while increasing their revenues, their capital raises, and their cash (donations). Dozens are detailed in the following pages and hundreds of mini-case studies and articles are available at www.scaleups.com.
For all of us at Scaling Up — and our 200+ coaching partners on six continents — what gives us great joy is helping you and your team scale easier with less drama. Increasing your financial performance is critical: doubling your cash flow, tripling your industry average profitability, and dramatically increasing the valuation of the firm. All this helps you sleep better at night and makes it a lot more fun to scale.
Yet it’s not just about the money. Scaleups (you!) are the unsung heroes of their local and global economies — generating most of the net new jobs and innovations in their respective communities. And directly, you are responsible for the livelihoods of millions of people. This is a responsibility we take seriously in supporting you and recognize the pressures this creates for you and your team, especially during chaotic times — and it’s expected to be chaotic the entirety of these “roaring 20s.”
Creating a great culture where people can thrive; provide products and services that delight customers; and generate extraordinary returns for all this effort, is what brings us joy. And whether your purpose is to spend more time with your family or have a significant impact in your corner of the world, for over 40 years we’ve been helping organizations of all sizes and geographies scale up successfully. These tools and techniques have stood the test of time so long as you and your team have a growth mindset and willingness to learn.
Most Important Routine/Habit
Leaders are learners! When Larry Page, CEO of Google was asked how he learned to run a company, he responded “I read a lot.” For instance, he read three books on how to name things. Bill Gates, for decades, maintained his famous “Think Week”, devouring a record 112 books/articles/whitepapers during one session.
Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, reads 3 hours per day. His goal is to find just one idea he can use to give him and the over 150 companies in which he’s invested an edge in the marketplace. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal development priority is reading a book every two weeks, exceeding by two the number of books (24/year) Topgrading author Brad Smart found separated A-player executives from B and C players.
And Charlie Munger, reflecting on the 50-year record of investing by his partner Warren Buffett, credited “his (Warren’s) first priority would be reservation of much time for quiet reading and thinking, particularly that which might advance his determined learning, no matter how old he became.”
All these accomplished biz leaders know one thing — nothing interesting can come out of your thoughts that you don’t put in first. Having a natural curiosity and thirst for learning separates the good from the great in our experience. Happy learning!