Building an Elite Organization

Physical Copy:


By: Don Wenner

Rating: A-

The author is a man after my own heart. He is an avid reader, still relatively young in his career, has built a strong owner-operator business of commercial real estate, and is committed to continuous and never-ending improvement. Possible Bromance ensuing…

The book is his playbook, which is a mosaic of many of the classic business book’s strategies and tactics. I think we could be best friends…


An Elite Organization is built by implementing the Elite Execution System, which is comprised of the four quadrants: Strategy, People, Operations, and Acceleration.

Quadrant One: Strategy

The test of whether you are a true strategist is not whether you have great ideas. It is whether you have the discernment to select the right ideas. It’s the ability to take all the ideas, all the possibilities, all the different ways you can grow, and choose the best of the best to focus your resources around.

Quadrant Two: People

Finding, screening, hiring, onboarding, and retaining the Rock Star A Players.

Quadrant Three: Operations

Operate with excellence using various concepts and tools like: The 20-Mile March, Use Rocks (90 day goals), WIGs (Wildly Important Goals), hold productive meetings, stay organized.

Quadrant Four: Acceleration

Build momentum and grow exponentially using the first 3 quadrants. Sounds like the Traction step from the book Traction about the Entrepreneurial Operating System.

The points that really stuck out as unique to me were from the People Quadrant: Defining a Role and from the Operations Quadrant: The Twenty-Mile March.

People: Defining the Role

The first step in finding and hiring Rock Star A Players is describing the role you will be hiring for.

Role: Sit down and write out the role of the person you need to hire.

Responsibilities: After defining the new hire’s role, the next step is to determine and write down the actual activities that the person will accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. An ideal number of responsibilities is 8 to 16.

Expectations: Precisely write down the measurable results that you need from this role. Needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Key Numbers: These are derived from the expectations. Each of the key numbers for each team member should be connected to the overall goals of the company and explained in a way that each person understands how their efforts fit the overall company goals.

This concept of writing down what you want a role to look like prior to searching for the right fit continues to show up over and over again. I liked his prescription on how to do that.

Operations: The 20-Mile March

He mentioned this concept over and over throughout the book as his company’s secret sauce. This was my first exposure to the concept stated in this way. The 20-Mile march is your company’s way of doing things laid out in 20 simple steps. It is there for everyone to see and understand.

  1. Have a purpose: Your team needs to understand why they do the things they do.
  2. Have a plan and clear goals: You need to be able to effectively communicate your vision.
  3. Live your company’s core values: Lead by living your core values. Your team will follow.
  4. Achieve your Rocks: Set and achieve your short term goals. This builds momentum.
  5. Achieve your WIGS: Set and achieve your long term goals. This changes lives.
  6. Increase your positivity: Negative energy sucks the life out of people. Choose to look for the positive.
  7. Be accountable and hold your team members accountable: “A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results.”
  8. Solve issues: As a part of setting your 90 day goals, Identify, discuss, and solve your most pressing issues.
  9. Participate in driven for greatness: Seek continuous and never-ending improvement.
  10. Grow your level of leadership: A leader’s development is never finished.
  11. Utilize checklists: Create checklists for all routine tasks. It frees up minds to solve issues.
  12. Utilize the elite weekly productivity: A tool to document your quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals for your role.
  13. Have clear alignment: Ensure all goals are aligned with the overall company vision and communicate that alignment. 
  14. Build your Grit: Do what you say you will. Over time your grit muscle will grow.
  15. Be obsessed and hungry: The person who is willing to hustle the most and outwork the competition is going to be the person left standing.
  16. Build habits and do the activities that drive results: Focus on activities that yield results not just busy-ness. 
  17. Track your progress: “What gets measured gets improved.”
  18. Prospect and sell: Everyone in the business should be telling the business’s story to drive revenue. Not just the sales team.
  19. Stay on your 20-Mile March: Encourage your team to maintain these principles: meeting your commitments, tracking your progress, and being intentional by regularly setting new goals.
  20. Take massive consistent action: There are no shortcuts. Just do what you say you will consistently over time.


The author has been very intentional when reading books from business experts. He has built a how to playbook for his company. We should all be writing these Quality-System-like books and stories to educate our people. People respond to stories. We need to get better at teaching through story. Recommended. 

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