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Verne Harnish Verne Harnish is the Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 180 partners on six continents. Verne chairs the annual ScaleUp Summits and serves on several boards, including Chair of The Riordan Clinic, Co-founder and Chair of Geoversity, and Board Member of the Million Dollar Women community.

Verne is the Founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a peer-to-peer network for entrepreneurs with over 14,000 members worldwide. He is also a keynote speaker and the author of multiple best-sellers, including Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up — which has been translated into 23 languages and won eight major international book awards.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Why did Verne Harnish write a book focused on compensation?
  • Mistakes leaders make when setting up compensation plans
  • Important perks to include in your plan — and why they should be different from other companies
  • Verne shares examples of companies that gamified and crafted innovative plans
  • Advice for leaders in more traditional industries who want to shift their compensation methods 
  • How much does compensation drive candidates?
  • Why bonuses can backfire
  • How you should approach profit-sharing models and independent contractor compensation
  • The key to creating the right plan — and the business books Verne recommends

In this episode…

Nowadays, employees are gravitating towards non-traditional compensation plans. But what’s the benefit of exploring new incentive methods?

Verne Harnish says that there’s a strategic advantage in crafting a cutting-edge compensation plan. You’ll stand out from competitors, drive more candidates to your company, and bring your team closer together. However, there are some key techniques to find success in a new compensation method. You shouldn’t copy another companies’ plan — it should be a distinctive plan that aligns with your organization’s culture and customer. Want to learn more about the value of differentiating your compensation plan?

Listen to this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, where Verne Harnish, Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, is interviewed by Co-hosts John Corcoran, Dr. Jeremy Weisz, Elise Holtzman, Joshua Chin, and Adi Klevit. Verne shares everything business owners need to know about compensation plans, including where to start, important perks to consider, and mistakes leaders make when drafting their compensation methods. You don’t want to miss it!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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About Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran

Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the Co-founder of Rise25. He has been involved in podcasting for 11 years and was a Senior Producer for one of the early business podcasts; he assisted in putting all of their systems in place and helped them add volume, feature, and edify various business leaders.

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John Corcoran is a recovering attorney, an author, and was a former White House writer and speechwriter to the Governor of California. Throughout his career, John has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and has run his boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

John has been the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast since 2012. He has interviewed hundreds of CEOs, founders, authors, and entrepreneurs, from Peter Diamandis and Adam Grant to Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo.

John is also the Co-founder of Rise25, a company that connects B2B businesses with their ideal clients, referral partners, and strategic partners and generates ROI through their done-for-you podcast service.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:04  

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media, we feature top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.


John Corcoran  0:20  

All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. You know, we have a little different format here today. So I’m the moderator for this discussion along with an all star group of co-hosts. We’ve got my Co-founder, Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, who I’ll introduce in a moment. I’m also the co-founder with Jeremy of Ries25 will help connect B2B business owners to their ideal referral partners and prospects using done for your podcast and content marketing. But first, our guest today is Verne Harnish. Verne is the founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization known as EO, which I belong to it’s amazing organization over 16,000 members worldwide. And he chaired for 15 years he was premier CEO program held at MIT a program which he still teaches today. He’s also the founder and CEO Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 200 partners in six continents. And Verne has spent the past four decades helping companies to scale up also the author of multiple books, including the best-seller mastering, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, the Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, with a foreword by Jim Collins, and Scaling Up: Rockefeller Habits 2.0, which has been my personal business Bible, and it’s never farther than an arm’s length away at all times. And his latest book, Scaling Up Compensation rocketed to number one HR book on Amazon. And that’s what we’re gonna be focusing on today in this discussion. Now I’ll turn it over to my co-founder, Jeremy, who will introduce our co-hosts,


Jeremy Weisz  1:37  

Verne, this is gonna be amazing. You know, I was listening to you for two hours last night with Joe Polish and some other ones. So I want to introduce the panel of co-hosts first. In this episode, we’re going to be published across all of our podcasts. I’m Dr. Jeremy Weisz. I run And we have Elise Holtzman, founder of Lawyer’s Edge which provides coaching consulting and training programs to law firms. She’s also the host of the Lawyer’s Edge Podcast, say hi, Elise, so people know it takes Joshua Chin CEO of Chronos Agency, which helps e-commerce brands increase revenue with email and SMS, and he’s the host of the eCommerce Profits Podcast, Josh, thanks for being with us. Adi Klevit is a process consultant and productivity expert, and is the host of the Systems SimplifiedPodcast, buddy, thanks for being No. John, you devoured Scaling Up Compensation. So I’m gonna let you start. I know you have abundance of questions. So start us off.


John Corcoran  2:36  

Yeah, I just thought we’d start with a really broad topic. So first of all, I mean, Verne, I joked about it being the business Bible, but there’s so many different topics that you’ve touched on. And what I wanted to know, for starters, is, you know, why zero in on this topic, why compensation? Why now?


Verne Harnish  2:51  

Well, why now is the great resignation. And what’s interesting, you know, compensation has just always been four or five on the list, as long as you’ve got some of the other good stuff in your culture. But it has gone to number one. And I think people come into the pandemic are like, you know, I want to have some resources. And I want to be rich like everybody else, and they’re seeing what’s happening with crypto and all of that. So people have said, Hey, and by the way, it’s an interesting, original definition of compensation, which is compensation for injury that you’ve received at work. And I actually think that a lot of folks see it as, hey, you’re just having to bribe me to stay in this situation. And then a couple of things happen, you saw, Google made the decision that they were going to lower the pay of workers who chose to remain remote, instead of coming back to the office. So that really opened up the conversation. And then I thought it was even interesting, more interesting, Harley Davidson decided this year, that they’re going to grant all 4500 of their workers equity in the company. And so it’s a new day relative to compensation. And workers wanting to get compensated for the work that they’re doing, 


Jeremy Weisz  4:10  

Verne, about that mistakes leaders make and setting up compensation plans and what to do about it. Because, you know, as you talk about in your books, you know, we start off, and we’re kind of feeling our way through these things. So I’d love for you to talk about the mistakes leaders make with setting up the compensation plans.


Verne Harnish  4:26  

Yes, well, first, that they copy somebody else’s. One of our first print design principle, how do you turn this largest expanse into an a strategic advantage? You know, the drives energy in the business instead of being a downer? I mean, that’s what’s sad. There, your large expense often becomes a downer inside the organization. So the first thing is, like your strategy has to be different. And it has to match both your culture and what is the second biggest mistake. Everybody thinks that this is a conversation between the employee and the company. What’s best For the employer, what’s best for the company, but there’s a third person in this relationship, and that is the customer. And so ultimately, you’ve got to make sure that the incentives are designed to align with what it is that you need to deliver for the customer. And there, we hope we brought some important conversation.