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Technology and Management Solutions, a management consulting and business coaching firm, announces that Theresa M. Szczurek, its CEO and founder, won the “Never Ever Give Up” Award from Gazelles International at its recent coaches summit in Dallas, TX. 

Especially in tough economic times a firm needs to continually revise its strategy and then be relentless in its implementation. Theresa Szczurek, a Gazelles coaching associate since 2006, stated “Never Ever Give Up is part of the ‘Pursuit of Passionate Purpose’ formula for success which I help my clients embrace and execute. Successful firms and individuals maintain integrity of effort regardless of difficulty; they never ever give up.  Passionate persistence produces extraordinary results.” 

Keith Cupp, head coach and President of Gazelles International, explained, “The award is given to the Gazelles coaching associate who is a role model in living true to our organization’s core value, Never Ever Give Up.  Theresa Szczurek always strives for excellence, asks difficult questions, and persists until the proper results are delivered.”

Gazelles International is a worldwide, premier association of Professional Coaches that assist growth companies in developing a Gazelles One-Page Plan and in implementation of "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" authored by Verne Harnish.  Gazelles Coaching Associates are independent Management Consulting firms which helps customers be fast growing companies through practical, follow-up implementation of best business practices. Coaching Associates are selected for their experience, professionalism, and abilities to effectively coach Clients to achieve their goals. Visit or 


Theresa M. Szczurek ( and



"To be a great company, you must have an upper bound on growth and have the discipline to leave some growth on the table," says Jim Collins, best-selling author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall. This may seem like a strange recommendation given that so many companies today are struggling to grow.

To make his point, Jim Collins posed a growth quiz to the hundreds of CEOs of Gazelles (those firms growing more than 20% per year for 4 years or more) at the recent Fortune Small Business Growth Summit in Dallas. You have the option of investing in either Firm A or Firm B. They are both in the same technology driven growth industry as early-stage entrepreneurial ventures having equivalent products and markets with good long-term potential. Firm A has an average net income growth rate of 25%; B's is 48%. Should you invest in A or B?

GROWTH CONSTRAINTS? Does your firm have limitations on growth? Jim Collins recommends that you set a minimum performance expectation to hit no matter what. What's the performance hurdle that you'll always hold even if it requires you to limit growth? In terms of performance, you may choose to maintain core values, ensure quality, not risk more than you can manage to lose in the worst of times, have a certain profit per year, sustain your culture, or not lose control of the company and how you manage it.

IS GROWTH THE MOST IMPORTANT SUCCESS FACTOR? In the example of firms A and B, firm A has a standard deviation (s.d.) on its average growth rate of +/- 7 and B has a s.d. of +/- 323. Additionally the range of A's growth rate is 20 to 44, while B's range is -397 to 1288. Eventually firm A was trading at $290 and B at $14. Furthermore, B had lost control of its destiny. This real example, with the identities hidden, shows that growth is not the most crucial factor.

Jim Collins further remarks on taking advantage of tough situations, "If your firm goes into turbulent times strong, you have the chance to shine. The difficulties will expose your strengths relative to others. If you go into challenging times weak, it will show your weaknesses. It is more important what you do BEFORE the storm comes, than WHEN the storm comes. A storm holds great opportunities and it is something you do not want to waste."

DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF COMPANY YOU HAVE NOW: Level I - a strong company (such as Intel), Level II - not as strong, or Level III - already weak (such as General Motors). Ask what you can and must do so as not to waste the opportunities from the storm. Take this as an assignment: establish two or three things you must do differently so that you'll never go into a storm other than as a Level I strong firm.

ESTABLISH SHOCK ABSORBERS. Another Jim Collins' suggestion is to build in shock absorbers to protect your firm. For example, reach a point where you could run your company for an entire year even if you would not receive one penny of revenue.

REVISE YOUR STRATEGY AND THEN ACT. Gather together your executive team, business coach, and advisors for a strategy session. This is the perfect time to revise your plan for the next year. Consider the following:
Determine your constraints on growth. What is the performance hurdle that you'll always maintain even if it limits growth?
Establish two or three things to do differently so that you'll never go into a storm other than as a Level I strong firm.
Identify and install shock absorbers to protect your firm.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and

copyright 2009.


Few business people realize that the number one exporter in the world in 2008 was not China, USA, or Japan.  The number one exporter was Germany.  Why you ask: because of the many small and medium-sized German businesses which are ranked in the Top 3 in the world in their industry.  These are the “Hidden Business Champions of the 21st Century,” as reported by Hermann Simon in his newest book by that name, and include firms such as Delo which provides special electronics for smart phones, Baader the leader in fish dissection systems, and Lantal experts in airplane interior design. 


Hermann Simon shared during the recent Fortune Small Business Growth Summit, “The champion firms include 1200 market leaders with an annual growth rate of approximately 10% which have generated over 1 million jobs and waves of innovation.”  These firms share the following characteristics.


1.  Set ambitious goals and aspire to be nothing less than world-class.  Their will, or passion to be the best, is the most important characteristic. 

2.  Fully focus and concentrate on what must be mastered.  The key is to avoid distraction.  Successful firms Uhlman and Flexi, for example, state:  “We only do one thing.”  They go deep, not broad, by refraining from outsourcing any core competencies, outsourcing non-core activities, conducting very secretive R&D, and avoiding strategic alliances.

3.  Expand regionally and internationally using product know-how.  Rather than going into unknown business areas, they go global with what they know well.  They follow their customers everywhere.

4.  Innovate continuously and in small steps:  it is the only way to sustainable market leadership.  The hidden champions spend at least twice as much on R&D than the typical average and many times much more.  Over 65% of these firms say both the market and technology are important factors of innovation.  They average five times the number of patents per 1000 employees while cutting the cost per patent to one fifth the average.  Brains are more important than a certain budget.  They have continuous improvement, rather than breakthrough innovation.  They are speedy in bringing new innovations to market.

5.  Stay really close to your customers.  These firms average five times as many employees having regular customer contacts.  They stay very close to demanding customers who drive performance and innovation. This factor is the number one strength even over technology and quality.

6.  Pay attention to clear competitive advantages.  Quality still counts. Their strategies are value-driven not price-driven.  They typically price at a 10 to 15% premium.  The most important competitive advantage is quality, innovation, and service, not price.  For example, advice and system integration can not be imitated and reside in the quality of employees. 

7.  Hire quality people and retain them.  Avoid high employee turnover.  These firms have more work than people.  They have a high performance qualification standard.  The hidden champions average 2.7% turnover per year, while the USA averages over 30% turnover. When employees leave, they take know-how with them.

8.  Lead authoritarian in the principle and flexible in the details.  These firms do not compromise on their values.  They are predominantly self-financed with only 8% having private equity and 66% family owned.  Many CEOs come into power young, have high continuity, and many more on average are female.


These simple guidelines have led many small and medium-size firms to market leadership.  It takes a long term perspective.  Make sure you passionately pursue your purpose with never-ending perseverance.


Theresa M. Szczurek ( and

Copyright © 2009 Theresa M. Szczurek. All Rights Reserved.