New Executive Summary: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

bigBookWhat if, rather than you serving your business, your business served you? What if you could turn a profit from your very next deposit? And what if you had the power to guarantee that profitability? It’s possible, and the solution is simpler than you think. Mike Michalowicz, the author of perennial bestsellers The Pumpkin Plan, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and Surge, has developed a counter-intuitive cash-management system that has helped tens of thousands of small businesses break out of the doom spiral and achieve instant profitability. Now, you can do it too. Treating profit like an afterthought, secondary to growth, usually has the effect of running your business into the ground. Profit First takes a behavioral approach to accounting and flips the formula: Sales – Profit = Expenses. Just as one of the most effective weight-loss strategies is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Michalowicz shows how to take profit first and spend only what remains on expenses. With this one change, you will instantly transform your business from a cash-eating monster to a profitable cash cow.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• Why following four principles can simplify accounting and make it far easier to manage a profitable business by just looking at bank account balances.
• How taking your profit first both enforces frugality and inspires industry-changing innovation.
• That a small, consistently profitable business can be worth much more than a large business that struggles to sustain itself.

Friday Book Review! Upside by Kenneth Gronbach & M.J. Moye

Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead

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Early in his book Upside: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead, demographer Kenneth Gronbach tells a story from his advertising days — he is now an independent consultant — in which his firm lost one of its biggest and most profitable accounts ever: America Honda Motorcycles.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese motorcycles had enjoyed booming U.S. sales, and there seemed no end in sight. Yet, suddenly and for no discernible reason, Gronbach writes, the bottom fell out of the Japanese motorcycle market. “We ran the television, radio, billboard and newspaper ads for about 180 dealers from the tip of Maine to Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.,” he writes, “and then waited for the usual tidal wave of customers. It never arrived.” By 1992, the era of the Japanese motorcycle was over.

What happened? It was not until 1996 that Gronbach understood the reason for the Japanese motorcycle market’s mysterious disappearing act: It was all about generations.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, baby boomers — those born between 1945 and 1964 — were in the key 16- to 24-year-old motorcycle-buying age. By the mid-80s, boomers had aged out of the market and were replaced by 16- to 24-year-old Generation Xers. And here was the problem, Gronbach writes, a problem that strikes to the core of the theme of Upside: There were much fewer Gen Xers than boomers.

Gronbach explains: “The diminutive Generation X that followed the Boomers simply did not have the critical mass of 16- to 24-year-old men to satisfy the needs of the market left behind by the Boomers.”

Business is a question of supply and demand, and for Gronbach, many businesses are not paying attention to one of the fundamental components of supply: the number of people buying. In the first part of the book, Gronbach lays out the numbers, dedicating a chapter each to the six generations in the U.S. market today, from the G.I. Generation, born between 1905 and 1924, to Generation Z, born (or will be born) between 2005 and 2024.

Gronbach offers some interesting perspectives on the generations. For example…(click here to continue reading this review)

New Executive Summary: MOVE by Patty Azzarello

Move-thumbToo many new initiatives lose drive and direction before they finish. At the beginning, when a team first commits to implementing a new strategy, there is a great energy and enthusiasm — driven by the allure of the end goal. But then comes the long, dangerous part in “The Middle,” where everything needs to get done, obstacles inevitably spring up, and people feel a strong temptation to revert to the old ways. MOVE explains how to keep your team focused, motivated and resilient enough to push through the unavoidable, chronic challenges that derail most change initiatives. Some of the most recognizable brands in the world use the MOVE methodology to ensure their change strategies don’t stall. Business transformation expert Patty Azzarello explains the four components of a prosperous business transformation and exactly what it takes to keep everyone moving the new strategy forward. The MOVE Model will help you make sure that everyone stays engaged, maintains momentum, and that your initiatives succeed.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:

• The key elements in an execution plan that guarantee accountability and momentum.
• Empowering tools for transforming the team you have into the team you need.
• A powerful new way to think about leading and communicating to genuinely engage people throughout the implementation.
• Using communication to produce results and build trust

Friday Book Review! Stretch by Scott Sonenshein

y648In 1985, the American beer market was dominated by three companies, Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Stroh’s. The third may elicit the response, “Oh yeah, whatever happened to them?”

What happened, according to Rice University professor Scott Sonenshein, is that Stroh’s was a “chaser.” As Sonenshein explains in a new book, Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, a chaser is a person or company that is constantly chasing more and more resources. In the case of Stroh’s, chasing meant growing ever larger through serial acquisitions, until the company finally crumbled under its own weight.

The opposite of chasing is “stretching”: those who know how to do more with less. During the same period that Stroh’s was on its growth binge, a small company named Yuengling, which had a fraction of the resources that Stroh’s had, was using its limited resources to carefully and incrementally increase its capacity and its market reach. Eventually, the former beer giant Stroh’s would be liquidated, while Yuengling would become America’s largest domestically owned beer company.

According to Sonenshein, stretchers have a completely different mindset and different behaviors than chasers. Instead of constantly undervaluing or squandering their resources, stretchers recognize the value of what they have and act accordingly. For example, Sonenshein tells the story of a store manager stuck with a shipment of poorly made dresses that were not selling. Instead of putting them in the trash, the manager, Ethan Peters, cut off the straps and sold them as “beach cover-ups.” Click here to continue reading this review. 

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Image result for radical candor kim scottFrom the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. While this advice may work for everyday life, it is, as Kim Scott has seen, a disaster when adopted by managers. Scott earned her stripes as a highly successful manager at Google and then decamped to Apple, where she developed a class on optimal management. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, the “Radical Candor” method. Radical Candor is the sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on one side and ruinously empathetic on the other. It’s about providing guidance that involves a mix of praise as well as criticism — delivered to produce better results and help employees achieve. Great bosses have strong relationships with their employees. Radical Candor offers a guide for those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and anyone who has a boss.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• How to build radically candid relationships with your team members.
• How to get, give and encourage guidance.
• Techniques for avoiding boredom and burnout on your team.
• Things you can do to get stuff done together — faster.
• Understand why radically candid relationships with your employees will allow you to get the results you want.

Extreme Teams by Robert Bruce Shaw

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Great achievements are almost always the work of great teams. But most leaders rely on decades-old ideas and practices about teams developed by companies that have lost their edge. Times change and so must our teams. Those who cling to outdated views of teamwork and team-building will be left behind. So, what do you need to do to create a team that can successfully face the challenges of today’s world? To answer that question, Robert Bruce Shaw examines the work practices of innovative, high-growth companies such as Whole Foods, Pixar, and Netflix. These firms became ground-breaking leaders in their industries, in part, by boldly rewriting the rules of teamwork. Extreme Teams provides a detailed analysis of how the leaders at these companies think and operate — and, in particular, describes their approaches for creating high energy teams that deliver extraordinary results. Filled with success stories from some of the most exciting firms operating today, Extreme Teams will push you to think about teams in new ways. It is filled with pragmatic suggestions that you can use to move your team to the next level of engagement and performance. It is for those who want to go beyond traditional approaches to teamwork and build truly great groups.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• How to build a new team or turn around an unproductive team.
• Establish clear, concise and obtainable team values.
• Create an innovative and cooperative company culture.
• Redefine and embrace conflict in order to produce results.

Ask More by Frank Sesno

downloadWhat hidden skill links successful people in all walks of life? What helps them make informed decisions, inspire creativity and forge stronger connections? The answer is surprisingly simple: They know how to ask the right questions at the right times. Questions help us break down barriers, pinpoint solutions and explore new ways of doing things. Yet, most of us assert more than we ask. We talk more than we listen. Imagine how much more effective we would be if we flipped the equation. Ask More puts questions at the center of every conversation. Author Frank Sesno, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, has spent decades questioning global leaders and everyday people alike. He draws on his formidable interviewing skills to break down the art of inquiry into 11 categories of questions, each designed for a different purpose. In an age of instant answers, fly-by facts and relentless clickbait, Sesno makes a passionate appeal to observe carefully, listen intently and ask more. He reveals a process of inquiry that can change your life — and might even change the world.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• How strategic questions can define a mission and forecast success — or failure.
• To use diagnostic questions to get to the heart of a problem.
• When to use confrontational questions to hold people accountable.
• Why mission questions help nonprofits fundraise more successfully

Friday Book Review! The Signals Are Talking by Amy Webb

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There is “no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” “The personal computer will fall flat on its face.” With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to smirk at these quotes from 1977. However, the person responsible for both quotes was not some anti-technology Luddite. Kenneth Olsen was the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC, and one of the first people to conceive and build a computer meant to be used by just one person.

Olsen turned that insight into a company that by the 1980s would reach $14 billion in sales and employ 120,000 people. However, as Amy Webb, of the Future Today Institute, documents in her brilliant book The Signals Are Talking, “Olsen was shackled by his immediate frame of reference … Outside his view of the present, there was a revolution underfoot.” This revolution included, according to Webb,

  • The establishment of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a network of computers linking programmers in several universities, and the development of Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which made it possible to remote-access the network.
  • The appearance of personal computer models built by Atari and Commodore and a small computer built in a garage by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
  • Programming advances that led to games created by programmers for computers; computer-generated graphics; a digital bulletin-board system to post messages.

These quiet but eventually significant events are examples of what Webb calls “signals” that foretell the future but often go unnoticed because they are on the fringe. From Olsen’s “mainstream” perch at the head of a multibillion dollar company, he never saw these signals on the fringe that would cause his company to disappear by the end of the 1990s…(click here to continue reading)

Mastering Civility by Christine Porath

Image result for Mastering Civility by Christine Porath Incivility is silently chipping away at people, organizations and our economy. Slights, insensitivities and rude behaviors can cut deeply and hijack focus. Even if people want to perform well, they can’t. Ultimately incivility cuts the bottom line. In Mastering Civility, Christine Porath, the leading authority on workplace incivility, shows why it pays to be civil and how people can enhance their influence and effectiveness with civility. Combining scientific research with fascinating evidence from popular culture and fields such as neuroscience, medicine and psychology, Porath makes clear what’s really at stake regarding civility, helps individuals evaluate and improve their own behavior and provides valuable strategies for how leaders can find and keep employees who help to create civility in organizations. Mastering Civility provides managers and employers with a much-needed wake-up call, while also reminding them of what they can do right now to improve the quality of their workplaces.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• The physical, psychological and monetary costs of incivility for individuals and organizations.
• Why you can be civil and get ahead.
• To evaluate your own civility and concrete strategies to improve.
• A four-step plan for organizations to improve civility.
• How to respond if you are the target of incivility.

Friday Book Review! If You’re in a Dogfight, Become a Cat! by Leonard Sherman

Speed Review: If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat!For many businesses, writes Columbia University professor Leonard Sherman, competition is a dogfight between rival firms viciously battling each other for market share. In his evocatively titled book, If You’re in a Dogfight, Become a Cat!, Sherman argues that the most successful strategy is not to engage in the dogfight but to do something completely different — to become the metaphorical “cat” of his title.

Sherman, who has been a partner, managing partner and senior partner at blue-chip consultancies such as Booz Allen Hamilton, J.D. Power and Associates and Accenture, offers a specific prescription for becoming a cat. This prescription is based on three strategic imperatives that, he writes, drive sustained profitable growth.

The first strategic imperative is continuous innovation, which is not an imperative for its own sake but is required in order to deliver the second strategic imperative: meaningful differentiation that is recognized and valued by customers. Meaningful differentiation, in turn, is enabled by the third strategic imperative: business alignment. Business alignment, writes Sherman, is “where all corporate capabilities, resources, incentives, and business culture and processes are aligned to support a company’s strategic intent.”

The Australians Are Coming!

Welcome to the U.S. wine market in the year 2000. Not only is the market crowded, but breaking into the U.S. is even tougher because most Americans prefer beer to wine. Yet, somehow, a new wine from a small vineyard in southeastern Australia would become the top-selling imported wine in the U.S. within five years after introduction. The secret? Casella Family Brands, which made and sold the upstart wine, decided to act like a cat. (click here to continue reading)