At the tail end of a company’s startup phase, the same opportunities that generate revenue and fuel growth also bring new challenges. Companies must hire and train rock-star team members, scale operations, prioritize opportunities, “wow” customers, and clearly communicate strategy throughout the organization—all while bringing on new clients and driving profitability.

Startup leaders don’t have time for theory when they’re growing at breakneck speed. They need a blueprint for profitable scalability, a toolbox of plug-and-play tools, and direction on maximizing execution. That’s where Don Wenner’s book Building an Elite Organization comes in.

Don is a master of scaling high-growth, high-profit entrepreneurial companies. In his book , he walks readers through the Elite Execution System his company and other highly successful organizations use to drive growth and improve profitability. I recently caught up with Don to learn why he decided to write the book and his favorite idea he shares with readers.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

I’ll begin by stating that I read a lot of books, mostly those based on business scaling and achievement, written by inspiring entrepreneurs. Almost every book had their own strategy and singular game plan. Herein lies the issue. There wasn’t one simplified system that included the best strategies, those that worked. So, I selected the “best of” strategies and operating systems, refined them and created the DLP Elite Execution System (EES), best practices for scaling a high-growth, high-profit company rolled into one.

EES is what allowed DLP to grow by 60% year over year for 13 years. First, we started implementing this system with not for profit organizations in order to help them grow. Then, our borrowers began to ask how we were achieving such high levels of success. We outlined each step and implemented them into a Mastermind weekend. The results were incredible! We received amazing success stories on how EES was the greatest accomplishment that ever happened to their businesses. This was the moment I knew; I needed to write a book in order to share this all encompassing system with business owners around the world.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

My favorite and specific actionable idea from the book is definitely the 20 Mile March, a concept that originally came from Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. Collins compares the historic race between explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsenin to reach the South Pole with today’s business strategy for clear, concise, and successful growth. Scott and Amundsen both led teams but their strategies couldn’t have been more different.

One marched his team a consistent 20 miles each day, no matter what. The second led his team with a dependency on outside forces: weather, landscape, etc. The second team might have marched 30 miles one day and none the next. As you can guess, the first team won.

This is how DLP operates and we like to call it our secret weapon. We continue to march forward day after day, month and month, and year after year, regardless of the prevailing conditions. And, this is what has also allowed us to hit the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for eight years in a row. It is also what allowed us to keep rolling through the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20 Mile March is the key to success.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

The 20 Mile March has always been a philosophy of mine, even before DLP became what it is today. When I first got into real estate at a pretty young age, I made it my goal to be # 1 in my office and I knew what I had to do day after day in order to reach that goal. I committed myself to it and then made it happen. I had to work hard, day after day, and I also thought outside the box. My goals continued: one goal would be reached and another would be started.

Recently, one of my goals for the company was to hit $1 billion in assets under management. As always, I knew what we had to do day after day in order to reach this goal, and last year, I’m excited to report that we achieved $1B in AUM.

It’s all about taking the daily actions, no matter what the outside world is trying to dictate. This same strategy applies to my personal life, as well. I make sure that I’m setting and reaching goals within my family; taking those same daily actions in order to establish great relationships (including taking the time to coach my two boys’ flag football and basketball teams).