Staying On Top of Issues That Can Make or Break a Company

We have just released our latest batch of executive book summaries, and they cover the gamut of business subjects and issues. But they do have one thing in common: they provide critical information to help you stay up on the latest issues and innovations in order to continue to succeed.

powerofthanks

The Power of Thanks by Derek Irvine and Eric Mosley

Globoforce executives Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine explain how a Culture of Recognition can boost employee engagement and loyalty, stronger teamwork, a more innovative culture, increased customer satisfaction, as well as greater profitability and organizational health. Ultimately, they show how to build a better workplace for employees.

leadershipblindspots

Leadership Blindspots by Robert Bruce Shaw

Robert Bruce Shaw helps leaders to identify weaknesses, threats and other vulnerabilities that can impair effectiveness, results and even their careers. Shaw reveals how blindspots operate and why they persist, but also provides techniques for recognizing them and taking action before they create lasting damage.

dataism

Data-ism by Steve Lohr

New York Times reporter Steve Lohr explains how big-data technology has its benefits and its drawbacks, which raises questions about the wider implications for everyone. Lohr lends insight into what’s ahead, suggesting that individuals and organizations will need to exploit, protect and manage data to stay competitive.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the individual titles to purchase and download them right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

giveandtake

For generations we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion ,hard work, talent and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. Give and Take illuminates what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation and leadership skills have in common.

Adam Grant examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder, while others sink to the bottom. In professional interactions, it turns out that most people operate as takers, matchers or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own groundbreaking studies, Grant reveals that these styles have a dramatic impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Praised by social scientists, business theorists and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary. This visionary approach to success has the power to transform not just individuals and groups but entire organizations and communities.

Over the past three decades, in a series of groundbreaking studies, social scientists have discovered that people differ dramatically in their preferences for reciprocity –– their desired mix of taking and giving. The two kinds of people who fall on opposite ends of the spectrum are called takers and givers.

Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of others’ needs. Takers believe that the world is a competitive, dog-eat-dog place. They feel that to succeed, they need to be better than others. To prove their competence, they self-promote and make sure they get plenty of credit for their efforts.

The opposite of a taker is a giver. In the workplace, givers are a relatively rare breed. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. Whereas takers tend to be self-focused, evaluating what other people can offer them, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them. These preferences aren’t about money: givers and takers aren’t distinguished by how much they donate to charity or the compensation that they command from their employers. Rather, givers and takers differ in their attitudes and actions toward other people. If you’re a taker, you help others strategically when the benefits to you outweigh the personal costs. If you’re a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefits to others exceed the personal costs. If you’re a giver at work, you simply strive to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas and connections with other people who can benefit from them.

In the workplace, give and take becomes quite complicated. Professionally, few of us act purely like givers or takers, adopting a third style instead. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.

Giving, taking and matching are three fundamental styles of social interaction, but the lines between them aren’t hard and fast. You might find that you shift from one reciprocity style to another as you travel across different work roles and relationships.

It’s clear that givers, takers and matchers all can –– and do –– achieve success. But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses. People tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch. In contrast, when givers win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them. Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.

 

A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office

FROM THE CORNER DELI TO THE CORNER OFFICE

In Winners Dream, SAP CEO Bill McDermott describes his journey from his blue-collar roots in Amityville, New York to becoming CEO of the largest business software company in the world. Unlike many CEO books, Winners Dream is structured not as a book of lessons but as a straightforward chronological autobiography — although nearly every page is infused with business wisdom told through compelling stories.

Know Your Customer

One of the earliest business lessons McDermott offers comes from when McDermott is not even out of high school. When the small deli where he works is emptied out by robbers, the owner decides to sell what is now just a shell. McDermott, with help from his parents and after talking down the price, buys the tiny store, stocks it and starts hunting for customers — not an easy task with the competition of two major convenience store chains within a few blocks. “I was David amidst Goliaths,” McDermott writes. “What, I thought, did I have that the Goliaths did not? What could my little deli give people that 7-Eleven and Finast could not?” To get the answers to these questions, McDermott realized he had to ask another question: “Who is my customer?”

The young high school businessman determined that he had three types of customers: senior citizens from a nearby senior home, local blue collar workers and high school kids hanging out after school. For the seniors, many of whom did not like to leave their homes, McDermott set up a delivery service. For the blue-collar workers, many of whom were paid on Friday and broke on Sunday, he set up a credit system — they could buy on credit during the week but had to pay with the next Friday paycheck. For the high school students, he offered something exceedingly simple: they could all go in the store. At that time, the major chains only let students in the stores in small groups because of the fear of stealing. Thus, McDermott writes, kids with money in their pocket were forced to wait out in the cold.

McDermott’s high school experience offered him a clear lesson: To succeed in business, you must give your customers what they want — and that means you must know what they need. It was a lesson that would guide him when he had moved far from the corner deli.

Drive and Empathy

A successful retailer even in high school, McDermott was clearly born with a fine business acumen. But he also inherited a very strong work ethic from his parents and was driven by ambition and confidence. When he applied to Xerox and was told that HR would be contacting him with a response, McDermott asked the last interviewer to hire him on the spot instead — which he did.

For McDermott, passion, planning and confidence are key success factors for a business career. But perhaps even more important is empathy — understanding the needs of the people you sell to and you work with. It was empathy that made his small deli a success during high school, and when in 2010, as SAP CEO, he was working on a new strategy to strengthen the future of the largest business software company in the world, the questions he asked are surprisingly similar: Who exactly are our customers, and what do they want? For SAP, customers were any possible end users of technology. And what they wanted was compatibility with multiple mobile devices and access to cloud computing — and those are the areas in which SAP would move forward.

Winners Dream is subtitled A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office. It is a journey that illustrates, with every step, inspirational business guidance and solid leadership lessons for anyone striving for a similar journey in their lives.

Book Review: Overworked and Overwhelmed

overworkedandoverwhelmed

by Scott Eblin

Do you ever feel swamped at work? You have emails to reply to, deals to close, problems to resolve, and deadlines to make. The task are piling up on your desk and you feel overwhelmed. You are not alone. Top leadership coach, Scott Eblin, provides simple routines to reduce stress and sustain peak performance in Overworked and Overwhelmed. Eblin makes his practice of mindfulness simple to offer actionable hope for anyone whose stress level is up. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“Through awareness and intention, the mindfulness alternative sets you up for high performance. It helps you identify the difference between extrinsic interference that you can’t control and the intrinsic interference of thoughts that can keep you from performing at your full potential,” writes Eblin. He defines what mindfulness means as “managing the gap between your thoughts and actions,” and then how to practice it by understanding the internal and external factors of your stress. He also offers different physical, mental and spiritual routines to practice mindfulness in your life. Eblin presents seven principles for choosing and following the routines that work best for you. “Strive for rhythm, not balance” is the first principle, which helps you develop a rhythm for all your responsibilities at work, home, and community.

Overworked and Overwhelmed is for anyone who feels frustrated or struggling to express their full potential and live their highest purpose. This book will help you discover your true purpose and define what success means to you specifically.

Take Back Control with These Three New Summaries

Feeling as if you have no control over your work or job duties can lead to job stress. When the stress of constant connection and rapid changes in the marketplace start affecting your performance at work, applying new processes to your daily routine could bring great success. Learn how to take back control and handle the high demands by developing mindfulness, collaborating with others, and knowing when to think like a rookie with these three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

overworkedandoverwhelmed

by Scott Eblin

Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin

Top leadership coach Scott Eblin provides simple routines to reduce stress and sustain peak performance and a personal planning framework for creating desired outcomes. Overworked and Overwhelmed offers practical insights for any professional who feels like his or her RPMs are maxed out in the red zone. Eblin makes his practice of mindfulness simple to offer actionable hope for today’s overworked and overwhelmed professional.

 

the reciprocity advantage

by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn

The Reciprocity Advantage by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn

Leading forecaster Bob Johansen and business developer Karl Ronn share a model for creating new growth for your business using the underutilized resources you already own that you can share with others. They describe a model for collaborating to do what you can’t do alone. The Reciprocity Advantage shows readers how to leverage new forces like cloud-served supercomputing into scalable and profitable growth for your organization.

 

rookie smarts

by Liz Wiseman

Rookie Smarts by Liz Wiseman

In a rapidly changing world, constant learning is more valuable than experience or mastery. Leadership expert Liz Wiseman explains how to reclaim and cultivate the curious, flexible, youthful mindset of a rookie in order to keep up with what’s needed from employees. In Rookie Smarts, Wiseman details the four modes of the rookie mindset that lead to success.