By Daniel Marcos, co-founder and CEO of Gazelles Growth Institute (GGI)
Continually learning from the wins and the failures of the successful companies that dominate in the global marketplace is probably the single most important concept I learned from Verne Harnish back in 2000. “If I have seen further, it has been from standing on the shoulders of giants,” a humble statement from Isaac Newton, summarizes my gratitude to the corporate leaders and experts who have taught me what I needed to reach my own level of accomplishment. In fact, this concept has shaped my foundation and career.
When I graduated with an engineering degree from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey Tech), I never expected my career to go down an executive-educational path, much less to build a community of lifelong learners. In fact, when I graduated in 1996, I had little business acumen, and Mexico didn’t have much of a platform for business education. This meant it was quite a challenge to develop my first online financial services company. I faced an enormous disadvantage compared to those who studied business and had the confidence and knowledge to make major fiscal decisions that left me feeling as though I was in the dark. At least I was aware of my disadvantage and knew it was time to finally get some solid business training.
With that resolve, I entered the three-year “Birthing of Giants” CEO program, now known as the Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP), one the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s most renowned learning programs. During these years, these programs transformed my career path irrevocably for the better. Primarily, I was exposed to an immense amount of knowledge and a wealth of real-world business know-how. For example, three months before each class began, 10-12 books would arrive on my doorstep via FedEx with notes stating: “To read before class.” I would then be expected to read these 300-page business books before my classes began.
Learning from the Giants
This progress does not even match the breadth of knowledge I received during actual classes. The program instructors were top-notch authors and experts who imparted a deep understanding of business principles, while still inspiring students to develop an innovative approach and, above all, to achieve success through habitual, focused attention. Learning from them was to experience standing on the shoulders of giants, which I realized was a necessary step in the process of becoming one.
Growing more Giants
When Verne’s course ended, our group had become such great friends and confidants that we decided to continue our education together for another eight years! Our collaborative knowledge was so strong and our commitment to each other so tight that we began mentoring each other on our personal paths toward becoming giants in our own right. I developed a deep respect for the power of learning and inspiration that comes from individuals committed to lifelong learning. I learned firsthand that teams that learn together, stay together and grow together.
Standingon the shoulders of giants and then helping others to grow into giants made me more powerful in the process. I expanded my business from Latin America into a 900-country operation with 1,200 employees worldwide. I then was able to sell it for a handsome profit. The confidence and experience gained from this accomplishment opened the door to co-founding Growth Institute with my original mentor, Verne. I’m following my passion of providing distance education supported by management coaching. We help others grow successful businesses step-by-step and to achieve their goals like I did.
Improving the System
Anyone who has taken Verne’s programs understands the importance of incremental progress … building improvement on top of improvement. That’s why I can’t help appreciating the potential online education holds for current companies to grow while saving and maximizing resources. By reducing travel, online business learning could save both time and money in an economy where everyone could use a great deal more of both. That’s why my current focus is to take the knowledge gained from those who have succeeded, the inspiration from peers and the understanding of improving over time, and deliver all three advantages to every entrepreneur as conveniently as those FedExed books arrived on my doorstep years ago.
Learning from the giants that went before us and from those around us is a formula for success, as long as there is a solid process for implementation. As online education grows, that dream becomes a reality.
Daniel’s BHAG is to help a million entrepreneurs build their companies faster and with less drama. For more information, contact [email protected].
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