Harvest the Low-Hanging Fruit

This is the time of the year when the apples are ripe at the orchard near us. I always like to get there early in the season because there are still plenty of apples down low on the branches that are easy to reach and pick. That is so much easier than later in the season when you have to climb a ladder or pick less than the best fruit that others have skipped over.

This is of course where the business term “low-hanging fruit” came from. Most companies have customers and markets that are easy to exploit without a lot of effort, if you know where to look. That’s where Jeremy Eden and Terri Long come in.

Eden and Long have made a business out of helping companies find and harvest their low-hanging fruit, and they recently published a book by this name. We’ve invited the authors to join us for our Soundview Live webinar Eye-Opening Ways to Improve Productivity & Profits, where they will reveal some of their 77 ways to boost productivity and profits. Among the ways they will explain are:

• Put a price tag on everything to stop the waste.
• Value engineer your products to eliminate what your customers won’t pay for.
• Ask, “But do we know that is true?”
• Brainstorm in a new way, to find problems not solutions.
• Stop ignoring your introverts.
• Push work down to the lowest-paid person capable of doing it.
• Take simple and low-tech over sexy and high-tech.
• If you want the money, spend the time.

Join us to hear more about these harvesting methods and many more, and bring your questions for Eden and Long to answer during the webinar. As always, our weekly Soundview Live webinars are free for subscribers. If you subscribe for $99 you’ll have your money back after just two webinars.

New Summaries to Make an Impact

We all want to make an impact. Whether you’re trying to close a big sale, communicating a message to your clients, or leading your employees through effective decision-making, you are looking to make an impression. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you make an impact in the workplace.

Now available for download:

the_innovative_sale

– by Mark Donnolo

The Innovative Sale by Mark Donnolo. Sales and creativity expert Mark Donnolo details six Innovative Sale principles –– pattern, variety, unity, contrast, movement and harmony –– that can be used to create better value propositions and assess your team’s Creative Quotient for Sales. This guide will help you incorporate creativity into your sales practices and better understand your customers.

 

 

brief

– by Joseph McCormack

Brief by Joseph McCormack. Senior marketing executive Joseph McCormack offers a step-by-step approach to getting to the point quickly and delivering every message with maximum impact. Brief describes how to use BRIEF maps, narratives and visual media to make your message more compelling. A master of brevity says less and gets more done –– learn how.

 

 

 

judgment_on_the_frontlines

by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy

Judgment on the Front Line by Chris DeRose and Noel M. Tichy. Management experts Chris DeRose and Noel M. Tichy explain why frontline employees are so important and why it is crucial to involve them in decision making. Judgment on the Front Line provides a five-step process for building a frontline-focused organization and includes examples of frontline leadership in action.

Is Being Busy Impairing Your Productivity?

In What Keeps Leaders Up at Night, business psychologist Nicole Lipkin writes “Keeping busy may make you happy, but at some point excessive busyness can overwhelm your coping capabilities. That’s when we become too busy to win. Excessive busyness can impair performance and produc­tivity, making you increasingly forgetful, fatigued, and prone to poor decision making and problem solving.” In a Soundview Author Insight interview, she points out there are ways to recognize if you’re too busy to win:

Being too busy to win speaks to the constant battle most of us are fighting in this constantly wired and connected global community that we live in. When you think about it, our brains are kind of like these shelves from IKEA. You set it up, and over time you forget the directions said you only can put 50 pounds on the shelf. So you keep piling books on that shelf, and tchotchkes on that shelf, and you ignore that the middle is starting to sag. You put another book on, another book on, then snap, and your shelf breaks, and you act surprised. Well, our brains are equivalent to a shelf from Ikea.

As we start piling more and more on, that shelf starts sagging. Most of us completely ignore the symptoms of that sagging shelf, and we keep allowing more and more things to pile up on it and inundate it. Some of the symptoms, which I’m sure you’ve experienced from time to time, I know I have, are let’s say going to the supermarket or store and completely forgetting what you went there to get, or rereading over and over the same paragraph in a book and retaining absolutely nothing or forgetting simple things, struggling with sleep, or struggling with staying asleep, and the list goes on and on and on.

The thing is, unless you have significant mental health illness or are struggling with a significant learning disorder, as humans, we’re supposed to be able to remember what we went to the supermarket for. We’re supposed to be able to read a paragraph, get it, and move on to the next. We’re not supposed to be in a chronic state of edginess or agitation.  These are the signs that our shelves are sagging, but most of us ignore them and chalk it up to just life. The problem is, the more you ignore these signs and symptoms, the worse you get. The truth is, and we all know this, you can’t be great when you’re too busy. A ball or two is going to drop. We just need to stop and pay attention, because the signs are very, very obvious.

In the interview Lipkin also expresses the challenges every leader faces and how to overcome them. She also talks about what causes “good boss gone bad” syndrome and how to self-diagnose. Soundview subscribers can log in to their online libraries to listen today!

Book Review: A Team of Leaders

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

There is no shortage of problems to be solved within an organization. The difficulty arrives in the form of the environment in which employees and leaders attempt to create solutions. According to consultants Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff, the path to more collaborative (and productive) solutions is to create a culture in which everyone has the freedom to lead. In their book A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative and Deliver Results, the authors outline the Five-Stage Team Development Model to help your organization forge a new path. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Gustavson and Liff perform an important service for executives early in A Team of Leaders. They redirect the search for a culprit in today’s lack of personal leadership from the people that comprise teams to the structure of the team itself. “In order to address the problems once and for all,” they write, “teams need to change their design.” The authors then proceed to outline the design components that form the individual areas that need addressed. These include the systems, processes, knowledge, management and visual management of a team.

A Team of Leaders demonstrates how you can use a better team design to maneuver through the Five-Stage Team Development Model. The ultimate goal, as explained by the authors, is to reach Stage Five. This is the stage in which your team has higher standards, revitalized energy and deeper commitment to work together. This frees up the leader to work on the broader issues of an organization. With carefully plotted ideas that correspond to solving immediate and future challenges, A Team of Leaders will be a welcome addition to any executive whose team is tangled up in process rather than geared toward success.

Turn Your Mobile Device into a Classroom

It’s been five months since we launched SoundviewPro, to provide free video business courses for people looking for efficient ways to improve their business skills.

During the past several months, we’ve added many courses on leadership, management, personal development, professional development, computer skills and more. Courses are being added weekly as we continue to build a strong base of content to match the needs of our business customers.

Every course is free of charge and consists of a group of classes broken up into short video segments. The short videos allow for easy display on mobile devices and tablets. Each trainer is an expert in their field and Soundview brings that expertise to bear in these concise skills courses.

When a customer signs up to take a course, an account will be established for them which includes their personal information and also tracks their courses and stage of completion. They can view a course one class at a time, viewing videos as they progress. While customers can view courses for free, supplemental learning materials including tests, additional readings and a certificate of completion are available for purchase.

Here is just a sampling from the subjects now available at SoundviewPro.

Leadership:

Leading Successfully Through Challenges and Obstacles with Paul White

Helping Successful Leaders Get Even Better with Marshall Goldsmith

Management:

Solving Today’s Employee Engagement Challenges with Les Landes

Installing an Accountability-Based Culture for Success with Julie Miller & Brian Bedford

Communication:

Becoming a Powerful Business Presenter with Stanley Ridgley

REAL Talk – Creating Real Conversations for Results with John Stoker

Personal Development:

Building Brand [You] with Cyndee Woolley

The Five Keys to Experiencing Extreme Personal Productivity with Jones Joflin

Technology Skills:

Microsoft Excel 2010: Introduction with Robert Devine

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010: Fundamentals with Donna Zarbatany

Please check out the courses and let your colleagues know about this free resource. Our goal is to transform the way business people learn the skills they need to move forward in their business and career.