We all know that business owners are looking for answers to their growth concerns, not more questions. When you talk to a business owner about the Non-Negotiable Rules, they have a tendency to get a bit ‘prickly’ because entrepreneurs don’t really like rules.

The value of the NNRs are quite simply:

They help a business owner figure out what they don’t know
They help get that business owner thinking about areas of their company they hadn’t thought about before
They focus the business owners efforts on the mission critical aspects of their stage of growth
They give that business owner headlights into the future to be prepared for what’s coming
They provide a rallying point for the entire company

The facilitation of the Non-Negotiable Rules exercise during an X-Ray is where 80% of the issues you’ll be capturing, show up.

The conversations are:








It’s worth your time to help a business owner solve the Non-Negotiable Rules for their stage of growth While the X-Ray allows the business owner and his/her team to do a deep dive into their current NNRs and the two earlier stages of growth, you can also engage a business owner in a conversation centered around their NNRs.

If you are meeting with a Stage 4 business owner, here are a series of questions you can become curious about in order to 1) get a conversation going and 2) help that business owner drill down into areas that need their attention.

RULE #1: HIRE AND EFFECTIVELY TRAIN PROFESSIONAL DEPARTMENT MANAGERS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE, ACCOUNTABLE AND PROACTIVE. • Have you defined clear roles and responsibilities for all department manager positions? • Do you meet weekly to support department manager’s commitment to reach their goals? • Do you reward managers when they demonstrate proactive signs of leadership?

RULE #2: CREATE STRONG, HIGHPERFORMING DEPARTMENTS THAT ARE CONFIDENT, CAPABLE AND ABLE TO SERVE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS. • Has each department established clear, measurable goals and objectives that show up in performance reviews? • Do your departments hold weekly meetings centered around key health indicators? • Do all managers establish, get approved and manage their department’s budget?

RULE #3: ALLOCATE 5% – 10% OF GROSS REVENUES TO IDENTIFY, ACQUIRE AND IMPLEMENT NEW SYSTEMS. • Do you and/or your team identify key systems required to sustain enterprise health and improved performance? • Have you established research practices that help you acquire key systems? • Do you have a plan in place to organize and execute the implementation of those key systems?

RULE #4: IDENTIFY AND SET IN PLACE THE COMPANY’S CORE MASTER PROCESSES WITH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM. • Have you identified the top 10 to 15 master processes needed to create and sustain the company’s health? • Is there a plan in place to design, document and refine those top 10 to 15 master processes? • Do you understand the importance of implementing and making the necessary improvements to the top 10 to 15 master processes?

RULE #5: ESTABLISH A STRICT PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEMPLATE. • Have you done the research and designed a clear, consistent process to manage internal projects? • Is there a process in place to train all management staff on the project management template? • Are you focused on communicating and training all staff on the company’s project management template?

The 7 Stages of Growth research provides us with the rules of the road to help business owners focus on critical issues associated with the different stages of growth. Each stage of growth has 5 Non-Negotiable Leadership Rules that provide specific guidelines on what activities to take seriously. Each activity is designed to create a solid foundation from which to grow.

Make it a point to introduce your business owners to their own NNRs. When you are not sure what to talk about when you are meeting with a new prospect, provide them a glimpse of their NNRs and watch their reaction when they realize the NNRs are talking directly to them.

I cover all of the Non-Negotiable Rules in my series of books on the 7 Stages of Growth. Looking for a gift for a client? Or a great resource? 

Find them here:


Questions? I’m just an email or phone call away and I’m here to help.


Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!