CEO BrainFood

005 Business Acceleration by Design

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael discusses the concept of business acceleration by design. Specifically, Michael identifies Exponential Organizations, or EXOs, such as Amazon, Google, Uber and Intel and provides examples on how each is growing their business in unprecedented ways. He talks about the importance of cash as a vehicle for business growth and identifies the four components of the cash conversion cycle. Finally, Michael lists the eleven main attributes of an EXO company, which range from algorithms and dashboards to leveraging assets and experimentation.

Episode Notes

00:56 – Introducing today’s topic, Business Acceleration by Design
04:30 – Attribution Framework
05:35 – Acceleration and the Flywheel
07:04 – How Vanguard utilized the Flywheel
09:29 – Intel and Moore’s Law
11:47 – The medical device industry
13:09 – How cash is a vehicle for business growth
14:53 – Amazon’s cash conversion cycle
15:54 – The four components of the cash conversion cycle
19:35 – Exponential Organizations
21:16 – How thinking big can lead to creating a legacy
22:38 – Eleven attributes of an EXO company
28:06 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food


“The definition of strategy is a unique and valuable position that’s been established that’s different from the competitors.” (04:02)

“Once we grasp how to create Flywheel momentum in our particular circumstance and apply that understanding with creativity and discipline, we get the power of strategic compounding.” (06:37)

“Cash is absolutely the fuel for growth, a primary one. And, we know that growth really drains cash.” (13:20)

“To achieve exponential growth, you must first think really big.” (20:18)

“If your ‘why’ doesn’t give you goosebumps, then you probably have some more work to do on it.” (23:14)

“The fastest growing and best EXOs leverage data and algorithms to scale in ways that are possible today that weren’t possible even five years ago.” (24:43)

“Uber is the largest taxi company in the world and they don’t have any taxis. Airbnb is the largest hotel chain in the world and they don’t own any properties.” (25:07)


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

Jim Collins Website


Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance

Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

The Metronome Effect: The Journey To Predictable Profit

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)