Strategically Lead with Three New Summaries

Effective leadership is all about strategy. Leaders need thought-out strategies to connect with their employees and customers to develop a unique culture within your organization. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you approach your management or leadership role with valuable strategies.

accountability

by Greg Bustin

Accountability by Greg Bustin Greg Bustin, business and leadership consultant, offers insightful concepts and practical examples from real-life experiences that will increase accountability and drive success for any type of organization in Accountability. He introduces the Seven Pillars of Accountability: character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation and evolution, and how to sustain a high-performance culture for a thriving business.

 

 

the_purpose_economy

by Aaron Hurst

The Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurst The Purpose Economy describes the shifts in American economy and set of ways in which people and organizations are focused on creating value. Globally recognized entrepreneur Aaron Hurst examines three types of purpose that are transforming the economy: personal, social, and societal. Based on his own personal experiences and interviews with other entrepreneurs, The Purpose Economy is a guide on how to transform your company and career to better serve the world.

 

elevate

by Rich Horwath

Elevate by Rich Horwath Elevate offers leaders and executives with an outline for developing advanced strategic thinking approach. Strategy expert Rich Horwath focuses on advanced strategic thinking that will drive results in the short-and long-term. His three-discipline approach breaks strategy down into its fundamentals: Coalesce, Compete and Champion and how to apply it to your day-to-day tasks.

Five Decisions Every Successful Leader Must Make

PIVOT POINTS

Making the Right Decisions at the Right Times
The debate of whether a leader is made or is born is irrelevant, according to leadership consultant Julia Tang Peters in her book Pivot Points. Through in-depth interviews with selected leaders followed by a carefully targeted survey of 500 professionals, Tang Peters confirmed that successful leadership is invariably a journey that involves five “pivot points” – five pivotal decisions that serve as the catalysts to a leader’s careers. Thus, the successful leader differs from others not through innate leadership ability or acquired knowledge and experience but through the ability to evolve: to make the key decisions in their careers when they’re needed, in the words of Tang Peters, to “change the story and hold themselves accountable.”

The Five Pivot Points

The five pivot points in a leader’s career, writes Tang Peters, are the launching point, turning point, tipping point, recommitment point and letting go point.

The launching point is the decision of leaders to do more than their jobs, she writes. It is the decision early in their careers to achieve mastery in certain skills because work has become more than just about making money. They have goals and aspirations and are motivated to achieve them.

The turning point occurs when leaders want to take their business to the next level just when a pressing need or opportunity gives them the chance to do just that – if they make the right decisions. The turning point, according to Tang Peters, lays the foundation for them to become leaders in their fields.

The tipping point is when leaders become fully engaged in the art of leadership. They are at the height of their power. They have a team that takes care of the substantive responsibilities, freeing them to focus on visionary leadership both inside and outside of their organizations.

At some point in the leadership journey, there will be turbulence and significant change that forces leaders to reconsider where they are and where they are going. The recommitment point, writes Tang Peters, “is primarily a decision to recommit to self – to their North Star.”

Inevitably, there is in the journey of all leaders a letting go point – when it is the right time to leave, “a time of strength so that others can carry on the work.” This can be an emotionally challenging time for leaders given their passion and commitment to the work over so many years. But it is also the time when leaders build their legacy.

Five Leaders

Tang Peters illustrates her five pivot points through case studies of five leaders – two in their 80s and three in their mid-50s. The ages are important, as identifying the five pivot points in a career is most accurately done at the end of a career. Thus, for the younger leaders, the author writes, “the decision points having the greatest impact on their entire careers may look different later and are yet to come.”

Nevertheless, the case studies bring to life Tang Peters’ theoretical framework. For example, for marketing entrepreneur Bud Frankel, founder of Chicago-based marketing powerhouse Frankel and Company, the pivot point that had perhaps the greatest impact on his career was the launching point: when he decided that rather than struggle to be a partner in a PR firm, working for people such as his boss who admitted to Frankel that “he didn’t want to work that hard,” Frankel realized that he had to start his own firm to reach his dreams.

For Bridge2Rwanda founder Dale Dawson, the most important pivot point in his career was “letting go” – specifically letting go of a business career that had made him very successful and wealthy. Dawson had been a partner at KPMG at 30 years old, then built the investment advisory unit at Stephens Inc., the firm behind Walmart’s IPO, before buying, turning around and selling a retail truck parts company. At 46 he was financially set for life, and that, as Tang Peters explains, is when he let go, deciding to leave his business comfort zone and instead launch a nonprofit that advances economic development for the very poor of Rwanda.

With the detailed stories of these leaders, bolstered by two chapters that encapsulate the lessons to be drawn from their examples and Tang Peters’ additional research, Pivot Points offers a new mindset for leadership development: It’s not who you are or what you learn that makes you a leader; it’s making the right decisions at pivotal times in your career that turns leadership potential into reality.

The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking

The inability to elevate thinking in order to set strategic direction can have devastating long-term effects on an organization. Research by The Conference Board has shown that 70 percent of public companies experiencing a revenue stall lose more than half of their market capitalization. Additional research attributes the primary cause of these revenue stalls to poor decisions about strategy.

Rich Horwath, in his book Elevate, points to 10 strategy challenges faced by today’s companies:
1. Time
2. Commitment (buy-in)
3. Lack of Priorities
4. Status Quo
5. Not understanding what strategy is
6. Lack of training/tools for thinking strategically
7. Lack of alignment
8. Firefighting (being reactive)
9. Lack of quality/timely data and information
10. Unclear company direction

One of the key issues Horwath points out as a problem for companies, is their confusion about what strategy really is. There is confusion between Goals, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics. Horwath provides a tool he calls the GOST tool, to help companies clarify what strategy really is, and to separate it from goals, objectives and tactics.

He also provides what he calls the three disciplines of advanced strategic thinking:
• Coalesce: fusing together insights to create an innovative business model.
• Compete: creating a system of strategy to achieve competitive advantage.
• Champion: leading others to think and act strategically to execute strategy.

If your company struggles with strategic thinking, then we invite you to join us and Rich Horwath for our next Soundview Live webinar, The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking, on August 21st. Rich will unpacked these strategy concepts, and take your questions.

Book Review: Judgment on the Front Line

Judgment_on_the_front_line

by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy

Ever wonder why in some organizations the key to success are the frontline leaders? It’s because those companies value their employees’ creativity and experience. Frontline employees can be a huge asset because they have insight into what customers want. In Judgment on the Front Line, management experts Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy explain why frontline employees are so important to organizations and why it is crucial to involve them in decision making. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Many companies don’t know how to give frontline associates a useful tool kit for problem solving. DeRose and Tichy explain that most organizations don’t know how to evaluate the risk of giving employees more responsibility to exercise their own judgment. Leaders will learn that it is not a risk but an opportunity to value frontline employees’ opinions. In Judgment on the Front Line, you will learn how to implement frontline leadership in your company and how to involve frontline employees in decision making.

The authors write about a five-step process for building a frontline-focused organization. These steps can help leaders to build or rebuild their companies from the front line to use the knowledge of these employees. The first step is to connect the front line to the customer. “The CEO and senior team have three fundamental responsibilities in step 1: Understand changing customer needs based on feedback from customers and employees. Ensure that the organization’s capabilities match the customer promise. And connect the front line to delivery and improvement of the customer value proposition.” Judgment on the Front Line goes on to list the other steps in this process. The other four steps are teach people to think for themselves, experiment to implement, break down the hierarchy, and invest in frontline capability. Throughout the book, the authors provide many examples of how some companies are using frontline leadership successfully and how investing in your frontline can be beneficial and deliver greater results for your organization.

Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World

AGILE SELLING

What Really Makes the Difference in Sales
Asked by a client to explain her success, sales consultant and author Jill Konrath realized that the most successful salespeople had attributes that went beyond their sales techniques and skills. “Because they were just ‘things’ I did, I had totally disregarded their importance,” she writes in her new book, Agile Selling. Specifically, Konrath writes, it was her ability “to rapidly acquire knowledge and develop new skills, combined with the flexibility and strength needed to withstand challenges and leap on opportunities” that she believes gives her and other highly successful salespeople the edge. Getting up to speed quickly and rapidly adapting to changing conditions are the two core elements of what Kornath calls “sales agility.”

Such agility is especially valuable today, in the age of self-educated buyers who complete 60 to 70 percent of the sales process on their own. Only after acquiring the information they need to make a choice, Konrath writes, do buyers call in a few vendors and start negotiating. Thus, sales success today, she explains, depends on knowing more about the buyer and his or her business, providing value through ideas, leadership and guidance, and providing buyers exactly what they need when they want it and how they want it. Quickly.

Konrath also emphasizes that sales agility requires a new mindset, one that keeps sellers moving forward through challenging times. The first step is to recognize that sales success is a choice, not a right. There will be struggles and doubts, she writes, but agile salespeople decide that they are going to choose success over failure. To achieve this, they have the mindset that obstacles are opportunities; simply taking this attitude, neuroscience shows, reenergizes the brain. Agile sellers also reframe failures as learning experiences and believe in continuous improvement: for them, performance goals are “getting-better” goals.

From Chunking to Prepping

The bulk of the book consists of short, snappy chapters that provide techniques and strategies for learning new information and picking up new skills quickly and acquiring the habits that allow sellers to bounce back more easily from setbacks and stay motivated. For example, Konrath offers six rapid learning strategies that bypass the trial-and-error learning of the past. These strategies are:

• Chunking, or breaking down big subjects into smaller, more manageable chunks.
• Sequencing, or prioritizing the chunks of small topics.
• Connecting, which is the highly valuable practice of linking new skills and information to something you already know.
• Dumping, which is the habit of storing information out of your head and into a place where you can find it later.
• Practicing, a basic habit often overlooked by sellers but which can make a big difference.
• Prioritizing, which is the practice of not attempting to multitask, but rather recognizing that for the best productivity and effectiveness, you need to choose and focus on one activity at a time.

Konrath’s guidance for picking up new skills fast is equally insightful and easy to digest. She offers, for example, the clues that a seller can use to know if he or she is losing the connection with a buyer, including raising of the eyebrows (revealing skepticism), tapping of fingers, heads moving slightly back and forth, uncommitted responses, lack of eye contact and crossed arms. Another chapter offers “recovery” strategies, as when a sellers puts off a buyer because of excited over-aggressiveness (the best strategy: take a step back by explaining, “I get really excited about how we might be able to help, but I don’t know enough about your business, yet – tell me more”).

In the last section of this info-packed book, Konrath focuses on the success habits that agile sellers possess. In a chapter called “Optimize Your Attitude,” for example, Konrath tells the story of a salesperson whose results were being “killed” by the recession. When she accompanies the salesperson on a call, she discovered that he started every pitch with, “So, how’s the recession impacting your business?” The conversation, Konrath writes, went down from there.

Konrath is a veteran sales consultant. In Agile Selling, she shares the wisdom of the highly successful who know that it’s not just about degrees or experience; mindset, attitude and the right habits can make the difference between success and failure.