Scaling Up

How a Few Companies
Make It…and Why
the Rest Don't

BUY THE BOOK Irish Independent Article

About the Book

It's been over a decade since Verne Harnish's best-selling book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits was first released. Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't is the first major revision of this business classic.

10 years ago when searching for the best possible execution tools for fast growth companies Paul O'Kelly discovered Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. Within week Paul joined Verne Harnis in a workshop in Seattle. Since then Paul has integrated the system into his work and with other Gazelles Certified Coaches has contributed to Scaling up in 2015.

In Scaling Up, Harnish and his team share practical tools and techniques for building an industry-dominating business. These approaches have been honed from over three decades of advising tens of thousands of CEOs and executives and helping them navigate the increasing complexities (and weight) that come with scaling up a venture. This book is written so everyone -- from frontline employees to senior executives -- can get aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm. There's no reason to do it alone, yet many top leaders feel like they are the ones dragging the rest of the organization up the S-curve of growth.

The goal of this book is to help you turn what feels like an anchor into wind at your back -- creating a company where the team is engaged; the customers are doing your marketing; and everyone is making money. To accomplish this, Scaling Up focuses on the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. The book includes a series of new one-page tools including the updated One-Page Strategic Plan and the Rockefeller Habits Checklist™, which more than 40,000 firms around the globe have used to scale their companies successfully -- many to $1 billion and beyond.

Running a business is ultimately about freedom. Scaling Up shows business leaders how to get their organizations moving in sync to create something significant and enjoy the ride.

Praise for Scaling Up and Paul O'Kelly

"Scaling Up addresses the second half of the venture ball game, something often lost in all the hoopla about incubating disruptive innovation during the first half. Half-time scores don't matter—it's all about how you finish the game. So get yourself into Verne's locker room for a great half-time pep talk, and then get yourself out on the field to play a great second half."

- Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm

"By asking the right questions, Paul showed me a perspective I simply didn't have. He helped us tackle the real problems, not the ones that were just the most visible. I count my investment in Paul's expertise as the best I've made""

- Gerard Vroomen, Co-founder of Cervélo, Canada; founder of Open Cycle, Switzerland and currently working to develop MTM Team Qhubeka into one of the a world leading professional cycling teams with a global fan base.

"Verne delivers more value per page than anyone else in the business!"

- Henry McGovern, co-founder and Chairman of AmRest (WSE: EAT)

"Paul always gets to the heart of the problem and finds opportunity. Other advisors ran away, Paul seemed to thrive in a difficult situation, and as a result, our business learned to thrive too, regardless of the challenges."

- Paddy Kelly, CEO Tegral, Athy, Kildare and Etex Group, Europe

"Fast-growing companies ?not small ones or big ones ?create almost all the jobs and innovation in our economy, and Verne has been an invaluable guide to leaders of such companies, like me. Scaling Up helps us put in place the disciplines critical to building a significant business."

- Graham Weston, Chairman and CEO, Rackspace (NYSE: RAX)

"Paul O'Kelly is a genius; there's no other way of putting it. His professional commitment in designing, facilitating and following up after the workshop was impeccable. His understanding of the sensitivities and creation of the process and roadmap to enable us to work through virtual minefields was outstanding. His calm, temperate, yet challenging manner in execution was something to behold, and brought real breakthroughs.?

- Jamie Fuller, Chairman, SKINS, Switzerland.

"Verne's tools and techniques have been key to scaling up Benetton to become the #1 international fashion brand in India. They work!"

- Sanjeev Mohanty, CEO, Benetton India

"Paul is a truly exceptional coach and facilitator. He has gone above and beyond to understand both myself and our business, getting critical context so he can do the best possible job of helping us make significant, impacting changes as leaders, as a leadership team, and a company. Paul has done a tremendous job of helping me and my colleagues get a laser-like focus on what is really important, for ourselves and for our business.?I would unreservedly recommend Paul as either a coach, facilitator, or both. He is truly world class."

- Colin Cox, CEO, DemonWare (ActiVision), Vancouver, Canada

"Verne Harnish is more committed to helping companies grow than any other person on the planet. Really. He's also radically practical in his approach and that is reflected throughout this terrific book."

- Patrick Lencioni, president, The Table Group; best-selling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage

"When I canvased for recommendations for a strategy and change management facilitator the one name that kept coming up was Paul O'Kelly.

Paul has worked with KEMP since 2011 and has been instrumental to our continued success and growth. His ability to rapidly understand and positively influence the DNA of a company is world class."

- Ray Downes, CEO, KEMP Technologies, New York (now growing at 40% pa)

"Verne Harnish has once again proven he's the Growth Guy. Scaling Up is packed with the tools to help you bust through the barriers to growth and climb learning curves faster. But don't let your leadership team carry the load alone ?multiply your impact by sharing the book with every employee on your team."

- Liz Wiseman, best-selling author of Multipliers and Rookie Smarts

"Paul O'Kelly has acted "as a prop or scaffold, allowing major reconstruction of the management team. This involved the redefinition of roles and some major changes within the leadership team and shareholders ?we have now begun to work more "on the business", rather than "in the business"? Precipitating change quicker than we would have been able to do on our own. Getting us to face the brutal facts about our business, our industry and our team. Crystallising a strategy. Creating alignment within the team. Giving us the framework to uncover the silent heroes within our organisation."

- Fergus McArdle, CEO, Height for Hire, now based in the UK.

"Imagine walking into a library and finding one book that captures the ideas of all the books in the library. Scaling Up is that business book. You will not have to go any farther."

- Jack Stack, founder and CEO of SRC Holdings; best-selling author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome

"We've hired Paul to develop a series of long term strategies since 2000, and his focus and direction has meant that every one of those has delivered the outcomes we hoped for and more. As a result, Paul has become an integral part of our business and he's the first person we call when we're heading into uncharted territory."

- Martin Horan, CEO, BioTector Analytical Systems, Cork, Ireland.

"We've scaled up our company from a single office near Calgary to 2,000 employees in 165 locations across Western Canada. Verne's tools and techniques have been critical to helping us drive and manage this growth during my 20 years as CEO ?and ultimately to freeing me up as the founder to pursue other interests."

- Scott Tannas, founder and Vice Chairman, Western Financial Group; senator, Canadian Parliament

"The idea of guiding a company from the small tide pools to the big seas of business can be exhilarating, but also daunting without a detailed set of directions. Scaling Up provides those directions, along with a remarkably detailed map for how to get there safe and happy."

- Robert B. Cialdini, best-selling author of Influence

"Delivers the practical lessons that most B-schools don't. If you want to grow your business faster, buy Scaling Up, turn to Chapter 14, and read 'The Power of One.' Not next week. Not tomorrow. Now."

- John Mullins, professor of entrepreneurship at London Business School, and author of The Customer-Funded Business, The New Business Road Test, and (with Randy Komisar) Getting to Plan B

"Scaling Up is a blueprint for building a growth company. With this book, Verne has pulled back the curtain on how the fastest-growing companies in the world fuel their growth. Scaling Up gives you an insider's view into the inner workings of the most successful companies on earth. A must-read for an ambitious entrepreneur."

- John Warrillow, founder of The Sellability Score and author of The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry & Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

"I didn't think it possible to discuss Strategy and Cash in the same book--or People and Execution in the same book for that matter--but Scaling Up deals with all four topics in a compelling way. Verne Harnish and team have found juicy examples and simple rules that will help any growing business avoid costly mistakes. A great read for entrepreneurs and anyone trying to be a personal engine for growth in any organization."

- Richard A. Moran, CEO of Accretive Solutions and author of Navigating Tweets, Feats and Deletes

About the Author

Verne is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) and chaired for 15 years EO's premier CEO program, the "Birthing of Giants", held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with hundreds of partners on six continents, Verne has spent more than 30 years educating entrepreneurial teams.

The "Growth Guy" syndicated columnist, he's also a regular columnist for Fortune magazine. He's the author of Scaling Up, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and, along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne chairs annual Growth Summits in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia and continues to teach in the MIT-based executive program he founded.

Residing in Barcelona, Spain, he's married with four children and enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Table of Contents

THE INTRODUCTION Tools for Scaling Up

  1. 1 THE OVERVIEW People, Strategy, Execution, Cash
  2. 2 THE BARRIERS Leadership, Infrastructure, and Market Dynamics


  2. 2 THE LEADERS The FACe and PACe of the Company
  3. 3 THE TEAM Attracting and Hiring
  4. 4 THE MANAGERS Keeping and Growing (Educating) the Team


  2. 2 THE CORE Values, Purpose, and Competencies
  3. 3 The 7 STRATA OF STRATEGY The Framework for Dominating Your Industry
  4. 4 THE ONE-PAGE STRATEGIC PLAN The Tool for Strategic Planning


  2. 2 THE PRIORITY Focus, Finish Lines, and Fun
  3. 3 THE DATA Powering Prediction
  4. 4 THE MEETING RHYTHM The Heartbeat of the Organization


  2. 2 THE CASH Accelerating Cash Flow
  3. 3 THE ACCOUNTING Driving Profitability
  4. 4 THE POWER OF ONE 7 Key Financial Levers


  1. 1 NEXT STEPS 5 Things to Do Now
  3. 3 INDEX

Paul O'Kelly

Paul O'Kelly has been working with Verne Harnish and his team for 10 years. He was Europe's first Gazelles International Certified Coach. For 27 years he has specialised in strategic thinking, leadership, high performance team development and execution. He works excusively with leaders and teams who are deeply committed to growth, positive change and making sustainable breakthroughs. He is a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Center Coach and has deep experience in applied Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry, in business, education, professional and amatuer sport, and not for profits.

Paul is currently working with clients in Ireland, USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Middle East and Africa, and with teams from Asia and Australia. His current clients include global leaders such as ActiVision of USA, Generali of Italy; and ETEX Group Belgium. Irish clients include several technology companies and household names such as Bord na Móna, Tegral and Bank of Ireland. He is working with fast growth companies such as KEMP Technologies, New York; Guidion, Amsterdam; Height for Hire, Ireland, UK, Slovakia, Hungry and Crest Solutions, Cork, Ireland.

Paul has delivered the Mastering the Rockefeller Habits public workshop in Ireland with Verne Harnish, and in the UK and Ukraine. He is regularly invited to speak at international events and faciliate learning workshops. These include Big Business Day, Riga, Latvia; EuroGeographics European Conference, Belfast; Axor Executive Forum, Ukraine; the ALTO Global Conference, London; and is a moderator at the 4th Annual Irish International Business Network "Opportunity Conference" in New York.


The 4th Option team is made up exclusively of highly expereinced consultants and coaches with proven ability to define clear and measurable plans; implement the Scaling Up System to ensure the plan gets delivered; build a culture of alignement and accountability and purpose, that makes your company a place people want to work, and winners in your market.


Key resources highlighted in Scaling Up

Note: Some websites require that you register or pay to access the full text of articles.

Phase 1

  • Meeting with CEO
  • Personality Profiling of Management Team
  • Preparatory work and reading by Management Team
  • 2 Day Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Workshop with Management Team
  • Coaching Call with CEO
  • Follow-up Execution Planning Meeting with
  • Management Team
  • Coaching Call with CEO

Phase 2:

  • Phase 2:
  • 3 Monthly On-Site Meetings
  • Bi-weekly accountability check-ins
  • Full access to Gazelles International Certified Coach

Phase 3:

  • Quarterly on-site facilitated planning sessions for balance of year
  • Bi-weekly accountability check-ins
  • Monthly Coaching Call with the CEO

Phase 4

  • 2 Day OffSite Annual Planning Workshop

Contact Us

Call Us
+353 87 257 6042

Follow us on Twitter

Join us on Facebook

Read our Blog

Read more from