Book Review: Low-Hanging Fruit

LowHangingFruit

by Jeremy Eden and Terri Long

Consultants Jeremy Eden and Terri Long define low-hanging fruit as the targets or goals that are easily achievable and do not require a lot of effort. Your business can achieve better results with greater ease by thinking small and reaching for the low-hanging fruit like many of the smartest companies today. Eden and Long share 77 of their most effective techniques for generating real performance improvements drawn from their success working with major companies. In Low-Hanging Fruit, the authors explain why leaders should not agonize over large-scale change efforts and ways to reduce costs. Instead, they show leaders how to go after small solvable problems and uncover the low-hanging fruit.

“True low-hanging fruit is within your reach. Harvesting low-hanging fruit produces bigger results with much less risk than those big projects on which companies rely, like strategic transformations and enterprise-wide systems! Individual pieces of low-hanging fruit come in all sizes — from those worth millions of dollars to those worth just a few thousand dollars. Collectively, it is your growth engine,” write Eden and Long. Of the 77 techniques outlined by Eden and Long, the first few help leaders and managers find ways to see problems easily, for example “Ask “Why?” Five Times to See the Real Problem.” This point illustrates the importance of asking “Why?” which will help you gain progress toward finding the right problem to solve.

If you think you don’t have the resources to be faster, better and more profitable, think again. Low-Hanging Fruit will help managers and leaders to boost productivity in their organizations by identifying and solving hidden problems.

Book Review: Game-Changer

Game_Changer

by David McAdams

People and businesses are constantly playing games in order to win advantage in everything from gaining customers to controlling market share. However, if they are not careful, they may end up strategically out-played. Duke economics professor David McAdams transforms the concept of game theory to introduce what he calls the “game-theory approach to life.” McAdams presents the benefits of using game theory to plot business tactics and gain insights, in Game-Changer. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“Game theory realizes its greatest business potential when leaders of a firm create the culture and organizational structures needed for everyone to thrive together. A game-aware management team can transform everything from how employees are motivated to how buyer and supplier relationships are nurtured, and much more. When used with wisdom and humility, game theory can be a powerful and positive transformative force,” writes McAdams. Outstrategize your rivals with McAdams’ six ways to change games: commitment, regulation, cartelization, retaliation, trust and relationships. He also introduces the idea of The Prisoners’ Dilemma. This dilemma presents the situation of two criminals that face the choice whether to confess or not, separately. Although confessing seems like the right choice, it will be the worst for both. McAdams explains how to recognize situations you are in to illustrate that self-interest is not always the best strategy.

By practicing game-awareness you will be able to recognize how to “change the game” to your advantage by learning to be a deeper strategic thinker. By being a deeper strategic thinker, you will increase the odds of winning all the games you play.

Three New Summaries to Lead Better

Leaders help themselves and their teams to do the right things. However, sometimes leaders need to re-think their vision or processes to improve their organizations. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go as a team or an organization to be successful. Learn how to be a better leader by developing a culture of excellence within your organization, asking the right questions, and becoming a strategic thinker to “win” with these three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

Becoming_Your_Best

by Steven Shallenberger

Becoming Your Best by Steven Shallenberger. In Becoming Your Best, Steven Shallenberger, states that as a leader you can succeed in business and live a happy life at the same time. Shallenberger reveals the 12 principles for developing a culture of excellence within your organization. These principles will help you reach your highest potential and drive the kind of innovation that turns good companies into industry leaders, all while living a well-balanced personal life.

 

 

Good_Leaders_Ask_Great_Questions

by John C. Maxwell

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell. To learn and grow into a successful leader, you need to yourself and your teams question, but the key is asking the right questions. John C. Maxwell presents the process of becoming a successful leader by examining how questions can be used to advantage, in Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. Maxwell shares leadership questions he has gathered from others and from his own experience that will inspire both seasoned leaders and new leaders to ask great questions to improve their leadership skills and careers.

 

Game_Changer

by David McAdams

Game-Changer by David McAdams. You can turn defeats into wins, if you have the vision to “change the game”. In Game-Changer, David McAdams uses game theory to out-strategize your rivals. McAdams discloses six basic ways to change games: commitment, regulation, cartelization, retaliation, trust and relationships. By learning to be a deeper strategic thinker, you’ll be able to “change the game” to plot business tactics and gain insights for your advantage.

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.

Let’s Stop Meeting Like This – Please!

What would happen if you made all of your meetings voluntary? Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program did just that. There are no mandatory meetings on Eric’s watch. He wanted people to be there not because of threats or politics but because they wanted to be there.

You may be like Eric, feeling that too many of the meetings you lead are time-wasting, energy-sapping affairs. Most may seem like useless gatherings endured at the expense of your “real work” – meetings that sabotage your organization’s goals and product while wasting human capital.

If this is the case then you’ll want to sign up for our upcoming webinar with Dick and Emily Axelrod. They have the answers for those of us who are frustrated with our present meeting strategy. In this webinar you’ll learn how to:

• Transform meetings into productive work experiences.
• Identify the habits that work for and against energy-producing, time-valued meetings.
• Identify the critical choices that meeting designers, leaders, and contributors make that transform meetings.
• Create a meeting environment where everyone puts their paddle in the water.

Join us on December 16th for Tools to Save Time and Get Things Done and get a head start on reworking your meeting strategy for the New Year. You’ll be happy you joined us when you’re meetings become productive again.