Growth Comes through Better Execution – An Interview with Tom Meyer, Certified Gazelles International Coach

Tom Meyer

Tom Meyer

Tom Meyer, founding President of Thomas E Meyer & Associates, has been a Business Advisor, Coach, & Consultant for over 30 years. He is an expert at growing mid-market companies by strategic planning, execution, cash management, and people decisions; he helps clients achieve enterprise transformation via process improvement.

He is a Certified Gazelles International Coach, and has provided management coaching, consulting, & mentoring to CEOs, COOs, Admirals, and Senior Level Executives in the US and China.

Each Spring, Tom Meyer presents a Scaling Up Workshop in the Dallas area. Click here for information about his May 14, 2019 workshop.

(Tom Meyer sponsored the March First Friday Book Synopsis.  Thanks, Tom).

Here is my interview with Tom Meyer, conducted in March, 2019. (Note:  RM is Randy Mayeux; TM is Tom Meyer):

RM– Tom, let’s start with a clarification and definition. What is a Certified Gazelles International Coach?

TM – Gazelles’ globally recognized coaches leverage the most effective tools and evidence-based best practices to help you achieve results using the trademarked One-Page Strategic Plan outline and Rockefeller Habits Checklist.  Certified coaches will help you assess your goals, identify barriers to growth and develop a personal plan for your company to successfully scale up.

Gazelles Certified Coaches undergo a rigorous training and testing process to become certified and must be recertified annually to ensure we are up to date and meet Gazelles Standards.

With more than 150 coaches worldwide, Gazelles Coaches have helped scores of executives and leadership teams achieve their most ambitious business goals with client companies achieving over $25 Billion combined annual Revenues.

RM — Why would a company need to hire such a coach?

Tom's coaching, and this workshop, are based on the principles found in the book Scaling Up

Tom’s coaching, and this workshop, are based on the principles found in the book Scaling Up

TM – If you’ve gotten as far as you can on your own, Gazelles’ Coaches can help you take your business to the next level. Using proven Scaling Up strategies, your personal coach will advise you on how to successfully execute your strategic plan, build and maintain a corporate culture that consistently achieves results, stay accountable to your company’s mission and goals, and develop new strategic relationships and partnerships to dramatically increase your profitability.

Companies hire Gazelles Coach because they want to achieve a level of Excellence and performance that they have not been able to achieve themselves. Most have studied the Scaling Up process, read the book, Scaling Up—How a Few Companies Succeed and Why Many Fail, heard the testimonials of successful clients, attended a Scaling Up public workshop, and believe that a coach, and the Scaling Up process, is the best way to achieve their 3-5 year growth goals.  One of my CEO clients recently confessed, “I know we would never have done it ourselves; we don’t have the discipline!”

RM – What are some of the key barriers to growth for a company?

TM – Typically the three biggest barriers to growth are:

  • Leadership
  • Infrastructure: Systems & Process
  • Market Dynamics

Those are three huge challenges.  It is the reason that only 4 of 1000 Companies make it to revenues of $10,000,000. It is that hard!

The other huge issue is the 4 Decisions that must be made correctly and a mistake in any area can damage the growth and profitably dramatically or even take the company under:

  • People- Do you have the Right People in the Right Seats doing the Right Things? For those on board for > 1 year, would you rehire all?
  • Strategy-Is the strategy driving sustainable revenue growth? Do you have a written success plan for the next 3-5 years?
  • Cash Flow-How do you manage with internal cashfor sustainable growth?
  • Execution- Is the company executing your plan without drama and with industry leading profitability.

RM — There must be companies, and CEOs, who are not “good clients” for someone like you.  What makes a company a bad client company?  What makes a company a good client company?

TM – A good client has a CEO/Owner who: 1) Is a Learner 2) wants to do better than currently doing and 3) Is Coachable.  Must also be willing and able to afford a coach and consider that an investment vs an expense.

A bad client is one who wants to do everything his/her way, doesn’t delegate, and thinks he/she has all the answers.  A company that is struggling financially is not a good Gazelles Client and may need a turnaround coach.

RM – Why is it not enough for a CEO, and other leaders of a company, to simply read some books about strategy and execution?  Why do they need an “outside” coach to come in and help them out?

TM – One reason is that most CEOs are not experienced at the changing levels of challenge as they grow from startup to Scaling Up; therefore, they screw up.  It would be like reading a book about basketball in high school and then trying to play at an NBA level. Even a great basketball player or golfer needs a coach to move up to the next level of achievement, to stop doing things that hurt them, and to gain new skills.

Another reason is that for CEO’s, generally only an outside Coach can successfully ask the tough questions and hold a CEO accountable.  That is what I get paid to do.  The former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt answers that question so well on YouTube – “Why do I need a coach?”

A third reason is that even experienced CEOs & their teams are usually not successful at executing their plans.  Studies by the big Accounting and Consulting firms show that 91% of organizations do not succeed at meeting their annual plans. They are stuck with their existing organizational paradigms and processes. An outside Coach helps break those paradigms.  I did that in China at the request of Morgan Stanley. Client grew from $80 M to $500 M in 5 years after changes in processes and leadership style and the CEO gave me credit for teaching him to be a CEO.

RM – Do you have statistics on the results for companies bringing in someone such as a Certified Gazelles International Coach?  What kind of track record do you, and your fellow coaches, have with companies?

TM – Our track record historically has been documented as our clients are compared/contrasted to their competitors.

  • 2-3 X the profits and cash flow
  • > 5 X the value
  • And 2-3 X the annual growth of their market place.

Most of my clients grow 15-25% annually once they start Scaling Up with me as a coach.  I have only ever had one client who gave up after 6 months saying “Scaling Up was two hard!” Most clients stay with Gazelles coaches for up to 3 years and many up to 5.  I am still Coaching one CEO since starting in 2013.

Best references are clients like Jimmie Dale of Baker Brothers Plumbing & HVAC, who used Scaling Up to grow from $20,000,000 to almost $50,000,000 before selling to private equity. Most DFW people know of Baker Brothers, and can listen Jimmie’s Testimonial by clicking here.

And here is a more comprehensive Case Study video of Jimmie and Baker Brothers, in New Orleans on Stage with Verne Harnish and me at a Gazelles Summit.

RM – How do you stay current, at the leading edge of the trends and challenges facing companies today?

TM – Yes, Randy that is critical. I read extensively, network, regularly attend Rotary, Success North Dallas, First Friday Book Synopsis where, I get the key content to over 20 books a year, and other DFW meetings. As a Gazelles Coach, I get 40-50 hours of training and recertification annually, plus a weekly newsletter from Verne Harnish and continual weekly updates.  By attending Gazelles Summits twice a year, like the one coming in Atlanta in May, I get to hear 8 of the best business writers and speakers present the latest issues and books. I also have access to 150 other Coaches all around the world at the Summits and on our Coaches Gammar network where I can ask and learn from experts about a specific question. Most importantly, I keep learning from my clients who are confronted with the big changing issues of the business world, like my client in McAllen, TX, who tells me about illegal immigrants at $6-8/hr working for competitors, and geopolitical issues including tariffs being his biggest challenges as he imports from China and sells to US, Mexico, and South American customers.

RM – What other question(s) would you like to answer; and what is your answer to that question/those questions?

Question: when asked by a new CEO, what do you do as a Gazelles Executive Business Coach?  

TM – After initial introduction, my simple answer (my elevator speech) at a meeting or on the golf course is: “I coach CEOs to: 1) grow their business profits 2) have more fun and 3) spend less time managing their business.”

It is amazing how often the immediate response even on the golf course is, “We need to talk!”

RM – How are you different than the over 1000 others in Dallas who offer themselves as Coaches.

TM – As Gazelles we are trained to answer, “What is our Gold Medal as a Coach?” My Gold Medal is in the area of Execution – Meeting and achieving the plans and goals of the organization. The reason that I excel in that area is a combination of education and personal experience. With an MBA from Harvard and a Nuclear Engineering degree from the Naval Academy, I was educated in two of the best Universities in the world to be a critical thinker and problem solver. As a Nuclear Submarine Officer, I learned the disciplines of Execution as we chased Russian Submarines, had missiles that could knock out 48 Russian Cities and war centers, or if we made a mistake, we could contaminate harbors, kill people, or sink a ship.  As a Manager and Executive with two of the finest Fortune 500 companies, I received incredible business training and experience on how to manage people, develop and launch new products, and how to grow a new acquisition in Dallas from $25 million to $200 million in 4 years by acquisitions and new products.  I also bought my own company with Venture Capital Partners, and as CEO grew it 80% in 3 years, and sold it for 6X our purchase price.  That breadth of experience is seldom seen in other coaches in Dallas.

I help clients achieve exceptional growth through better execution and sharing what I have learned over many years.

Question – Why should I attend the May 14 Gazelles Scaling Up Workshop led by Coach Tom Meyer at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas?

TM – The best answer to that comes from Shane Hobbs, CEO, of Dalworth Restoration – “It was a leap of faith to call Gazelles Coach Tom Meyer. I read the book “Scaling Up” and attended the Workshop. Tom was brilliant in how he confidently educated my team and has transformed the way we think and communicate. I am incredibly happy with the impact of the Gazelles program, and firmly believe Dalworth will reach and surpass our sales goal!”

Note – Dalworth grew 28% the first year after doing Scaling Up with no increase in numbers of employees!

Other reasons are: you will learn many things you didn’t know about Scaling Up; be reminded of things you know but aren’t doing; and will leave with a 3-year written plan for successfully Scaling Up.  Why wouldn’t you come, if you want to Scale Up your organization?  And, if you register by tax-day, April 15, I will give you a FFBS special discount to get the lowest price. Click here to send me a direct e-mail.

And Randy, I know you attended this  workshop in an earlier year, and, learned, and contributed.

Thanks for the interview and sharing with your readers.

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