Four Thoughts to Chart Your Course in 2015

Soundview Author Insight Interviews are great additions to many Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In each interview, authors have the opportunity to reveal new interpretations or insights on their material. Soundview subscribers are often provided with exclusive insights drawn from the author’s direct application of his or her work with global companies.

Here are four great thoughts to consider as you chart your organization’s course for this year:

“If someone says ‘You’ve got to close the deal more efficiently,’ that could mean completely different things. The first task when you’re receiving feedback is to notice how general a lot of the feedback is. If someone says ‘close the deal more efficiently’ or ‘be more assertive,” rather than filling it in on your own, you’ve got to ask. You have to follow up and say, ‘Okay, so, you’re noticing that I’m not being as assertive as you think I could be. Can you go into some more detail? Give me a sense of what you’ve noticed me doing. What could I do that would be better from your point of view?’” – Douglas Stone, co-author (with Sheila Heen) of Thanks for the Feedback.

“What happens is that many successful people fall into the success trap. The trap is they believe success is a permanent condition, as if you’ve arrived and you’ll always be there. The reality is that success happens in the context of many external factors. Today, those factors are changing at a rate like none other in history. What happens is that if we believe that we’ve arrived and we can simply cling to the previous ideas and maintain the status quo and expect to enjoy the same level of success, we’re only kidding ourselves and setting ourselves up for disaster. The best of the best, the companies and the individuals that sustain success over time, are the ones that reinvent early and often.” – Josh Linkner, author of The Road to Reinvention.

“If you think of your organization as a funnel where time and talent and money are poured, they come together through processes and behavior, and the choke point in that funnel is emotion. Certainly, I experienced it when I was running divisions of companies and then later on as an owner of my own business, often because we had not been clear about our purpose. We had not been clear with others about what we expected of them. Because of that lack of clarity, combined with the emotion, that creates a real choke point for organizations.” – Greg Bustin, author of Accountability.

“One of the ways we [break the cycle of constant feature updates] is to get back in touch with the needs or jobs to be done for our customers. Oftentimes, there’s new product line extensions and new bells and whistles added to products which only usually increases the complexity of the product. It doesn’t serve the customer’s true need. The common core of both strategy and innovation is insight. The insight for most businesspeople is what’s going to drive the most value for customers.” – Rich Howarth, author of Elevate.

Top 12 Halloween-Titled Business Books of All Time

Happy Halloween from Soundview! Today we are celebrating by counting down our Top 12 Halloween-Titled Business Books of All Time. Covering a wide range of subjects and proficiencies, we find these books to be some of the best and most helpful for business professionals in every field.

1. The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field
by Mike Michalowicz
2. Be Different of Be Dead: Your Business Survival Guide
by Roy Osing
3. Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from the Inside Out, and What to Do About It
by Tom Rieger
4. The Orange Code: How ING Direct Succeeded by Becoming a Rebel with a Cause
by Arkadi Kuhlmann & Bruce Philp
5. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
6. The Soul of the Corporation: How to Manage the Identity of Your Company
by John Kimberly & Hamid Bouchikhi
7. The Wizard and the Warrior: Leading with Passion and Power
by Lee Bolman & Terrence Deal
8. Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics
by Jackie Huba
9. Treat Your Customers: Thirty Lessons on Service and Sales That I Learned At My Family’s Dairy Queen Store
by Bob Miglani
10. Selling Is Dead: Moving Beyond Traditional Sales Roles & Practices to Revitalize Growth
by Jason Sinkovitz & Marc Miller
11. Angel Customers & Demon Customers: Discover Which Is Which and Turbo-Charge Your Stock
by Larry Selden & Geoff Colvin
12. Spooked: Espionage in Corporate America
by Adam Penenberg

We’d like to know: what do you think of our Halloween countdown? Did we miss any of your favorite Halloween-titled books? What are some of your favorite business books of all time?

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!