Webinar 12/15: The Art of Communication: Your Competitive Edge

The Art of Communication

Date: Thursday, December 15
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Jim Stovall and Raymond Hull

Click here to register for this webinar

Who we are, what we believe, and everything we stand for goes from theory to reality when we communicate. In this Soundview Live webinar, The Art of Communication, Jim Stovall and Dr. Raymond Hull use their decades of combined experience, research, and natural abilities to powerfully illustrate the specifics of effective communication.

Stovall’s revealing stories mixed with Dr. Raymond Hull’s straightforward, factual approach combine to make this a must-read for businesspeople, salespeople, entrepreneurs, teachers, pastors, academics, and anyone wanting to improve their lives.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to consider your audience to adjust your communication style.
  • What your non-verbal communication says about you.
  • The importance of communication through conduct.
  • How to develop active listening skills.
  • The importance of creating a comfortable environment for effective communication.

Choose to Learn, Choose to Grow

Image result for learn and growYou know you can do more with your career. And the future is going to demand more of you. The problem is you are so busy keeping up with the day-to-day that you can’t prepare for tomorrow. It’s time to stretch, to prepare for tomorrow’s workplace and put yourself in control of the career of your dreams, according to Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick in Stretch.

To remain relevant in spite of change, you need to know how to learn in any situation, open your thinking to a world beyond where you are now, connect to the people who can help you make your future happen, see experiences that will prepare you for tomorrow, and stay motivated through the ups and downs of a career so you can bounce forward.

Not only is your engagement all on you, but your development is, too. Research shows that the number one attribute executives value in employees is a high degree of education and qualification. Yet fewer than one-third reported that their companies offered incentives or benefits related to obtaining more education, whether it was degree-oriented or job-specific.

You must continue to learn and not just in a classroom or in other formal learning settings. In a sense, we must all learn a living because, as people interviewed have said, “It’s on me to develop myself.” You must learn on the job, often “on the fly” if you are to have any hope of keeping up.

A strategy for learning on the fly is to commit to a mindset that you have the capacity to learn and grow. With a growth mindset, opportunities to learn will abound, and you will find yourself more open to new experiences, and you will be more likely to achieve the skill improvement and professional development goals you set for yourself.

Even if you have a defined career path at your company, you may not be willing to follow that prescribed plan. You need options in order to maximize your personal development.

The reward of an ever-expanding network is powerful and often transformational. Networks facilitate collaboration on the job, assist in meeting your overall career goals, and provide support in celebrating life’s successes and rebounding from its disappointments.

Building diversity into your networks prepares you to anticipate change and make sure you have the resources to stay relevant at work. It’s your personal system to access when you need to understand changes in your field or industry.

Understanding what you want your network to do for you can help you determine its ideal size and makeup. When you change to a new role, you must also think about what and how your network needs to shift.

The best network stretches you. Every time you are with them, you feel you have upped your game and are thinking a little differently. Since we can’t maintain close connections to everyone in our networks, focus on the five you could groom to help you thrive.


ihwx-8fd59217-c6a8-4cf2-be3e-f4fea5c7c320-171-150For more insights on growth and learning, subscribe to our Executive Edge newsletter.

Friday Book Review! The Elegant Pitch by Mike Figliuolo

bookOne day, Mike Figliuolo and his team went to his boss to make a recommendation for action. Another team was present with its own recommendation and went first. The leader of the other team handed the boss the team’s 25-page presentation in support of the recommendation. The boss threw the 25 pages across the room and said, “Talk to me! What do you want? I’m busy. I don’t have time for all this paper.” As Figliuolo recounts in his book, The Elegant Pitch, “They were surprised. We weren’t. We knew better, and our presentation was three pages.” The Elegant Pitch is a tutorial on how to get recommendations accepted by making presentations that tell decision-makers everything they need to know — not everything you know. This may seem obvious, and yet most people never make the distinction, Figliuolo writes. Instead of carefully parsing down their presentations to the most salient and compelling points, they try to include every single supporting point, hoping that the cumulative weight of the argument will carry the day. The typical process for developing a recommendation, writes Figliuolo, follows four steps: 1) gather large amounts of data and do excessive amounts of analysis; 2) identify insights from this excessive analysis; 3) assemble all of the analysis into a comprehensive 30- to 60-page document to show the rigor of the analysis; 4) present this tome in a two-hour meeting, impressing decision-makers with the depth of the insights. Does it work? Not usually, writes Figliuolo.

The Structured Thought Process

To make presentations that lead to accepted ideas and recommendations, Figliuolo argues that the data-heavy and analysis-heavy tomes should be replaced by what he calls the “structured thought process.”

This process follows nine carefully defined steps that, he writes, must be followed in order:

1. Define the Question. What is the problem and why does it need to be solved? Absolute clarity is essential.

Click here to read the other 8 steps.

The Best Place to Work by Ron Friedman, Ph.D

bestplacetoworkIn The Best Place to Work, award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioral economics, neuroscience and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. Combining powerful stories with cutting-edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation and stronger performance. Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains how learning to think like a hostage negotiator can help you defuse a workplace argument, why placing a fishbowl near your desk can enhance your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. Brimming with counterintuitive insights and actionable recommendations, The Best Place to Work offers employees and executives alike game-changing advice for working smarter and turning any organization — regardless of its size, budgets or ambitions — into an extraordinary workplace.

• Why successful teams make more mistakes than other teams.
• How the design of our workplace impacts our performance.
• Six insights to delay the adaptation that erodes happiness.
• Why the best managers focus on themselves.
• How to provide daily opportunities for autonomy, competence and relatedness.

Friday Book Review! Play Bigger

readinglist_playbiggerWhat do Uber and Birdseye frozen foods have in common? They are what the authors of a new book, Play Bigger, call category kings. Category kings are unique companies that revolutionize industries by inventing entirely new categories — and then dominating that category. Play Bigger is written by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson and Christopher Lochhead, three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who co-founded a consultancy focused on designing category king companies — the name of the book is the name of their consultancy; a fourth co-author is long-time technology journalist Kevin Maney. The authors begin by defining the term “category.” A great category, they write, “solves a problem people didn’t know they had, or solves an obvious problem no one thought could be solved.”

On a visit to the Arctic, Clarence Birdseye, who created the frozen food category, watched the Inuit catch a fish and throw it on the ice, where it would instantly flash freeze. Birdseye’s reaction was not, “Finally, the solution to the problem of frozen food!” — for the simple reason that frozen food was not a concept and, therefore, not a problem. The founders of Uber, on the other hand, realized that their concept would solve a problem familiar to nearly anyone who has been near a city: the often frustrating experience of trying to hail a cab. It was an obvious problem but not one that people thought could be solved.

Finding the Missing

A vision for a new category, write the authors, often emerges from what they call a “missing” — the recognition by entrepreneurs that there is something missing in the market and that their solution can fill the gap. Marc Benioff realized that the cloud offered a way to provide CRM solutions without the expense and hassle of software. Leaving Oracle, he founded a new company called Salesforce.com, which would become the king of the cloud-based salesforce automation. An inventive idea, however, is just a small initial step in the category king strategy. The authors tell the story of a company called Jawbone. Among its inventions was a small headset that connected wirelessly to cell phones — just as states were passing no-hands regulations for drivers. However…(click to continue reading this review)


FREE Webinar with Nick Gianoulis – tomorrow @12PM ET

ihwx-c98d796e-39c2-498f-b9b6-768fd51b4279-200-175Fun as a Competitive Advantage
Date: Thursday, December 1
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Nick Gianoulis

Register for this FREE webinar!

Whether you’re a believer in the proven theories that fun in the workplace can lead to endless business benefits, or just starting to wonder if this may be true, you’ve come to the right place.

In this FREE Soundview Live webinar, Fun as a Competitive Advantage, Nick Gianoulis will show you how to take the traditional (and sometimes expensive and ineffective) concepts for fun at work and turn them into customized, brief, cost-effective and highly impactful experiences.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The foundations on which to develop a positive and productive culture
  • The specifics of what to do, where to start and how to implement fun in your workplace
  • How to spark conversation, ignite team unity and boost employee engagement across your company

Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For

51dzn4smhhl-_sx322_bo1204203200_You’ve been promoted to leadership — congratulations! But it’s nothing like your old job, is it? William Gentry says it’s time to flip your script. We all have mental scripts that tell us how the world works. Your old script was all about “me”: standing out as an individual. But as a new leader, you need to flip your script from “me” to “we” and help the group you lead succeed. In Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For, Gentry supports and coaches you to flip your script in six key areas. He offers actionable, practical, evidence-based advice and examples drawn from his research, his work with leaders, and his own failures and triumphs of becoming a new leader. But this book is more than a series of best practices — it’s your guide to internalizing a leader’s perspective. Gentry helps you flip your script so you’ll know what to do to help yourself and the team you lead succeed. That’s the kind of boss everyone wants to work for — and the kind of boss who accomplishes the most. Get started flipping your script, and become the kind of boss everyone wants to work for.


• Why becoming a new leader brings a sea change in roles and expectations.
• The six ways you can “flip your script” to become a boss everyone wants to work for.
• The importance of non-verbal communication among leaders.
• How to adjust to new relationships with subordinates and teams.
• How to gain a leader’s perspective and develop and focus on others.

Friday Book Review! Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger


invisible-influence-9781476759692_hrWho Makes Our Decisions?

In a provocative new book called Invisible Influence, Wharton professor Jonah Berger explains that we are not the independent thinkers making well-informed decisions and choices that we might think we are. The reason is that many of our decisions and choices are made based on what others are doing. This is called social influence, and in Invisible Influence, Berger demonstrates, through scores of stories and academic research, the power of others on our decisions.

What Makes a Hit

For example, Berger describes an experiment by Princeton sociologist Matthew Salganik based on a website where people could download free music (actual but obscure music that no one knew). Salganik provided a list of songs to choose from, and included in the list how many other people had downloaded the song. Eventually certain songs began to attract more and more downloads, while other songs elicited much less interest. Over time, the chasm between the popular and unpopular songs grew wider and wider. Most people were attracted to the songs that most people had already downloaded.

However, the most surprising stage of Salganik’s experiment was yet to come. Salganik, writes Berger, decided to create eight different websites but with exactly the same list of songs and the same rules. Only the listeners were different. Over time, the same chasm between popular and unpopular songs appeared. The popular and unpopular songs, however, were different for each of the eight websites. Salganik thus demonstrated that if any song started to gain momentum, the mimicry gene kicked in: People decided that was the song they liked best. (Quality plays a role, but smaller than we might think).

Click here to continue reading this review, or sign up for our FREE Executive Book Alert newsletter to receive business book reviews in your inbox every month!


Great Teams by Don Yaeger

Image result for great teams don yaegerWhat makes a team great? Not just good. Not just functional. But great? Over the last six years, long-time Sports Illustrated associate editor Don Yaeger has been invited by some of the greatest companies in the world to speak about the habits of high-performing individuals. Yaeger was approached by his most consistent client, Microsoft, to develop a talk on what allowed some teams to play at a championship level year after year. What do some organizations do seemingly better than most all of their opponents? Yaeger took the challenge. He has conducted more than 100 interviews with some of the most successful teams and organizations in the country. From those interviews, he has identified 16 habits that drive these high-performing teams. Building on the stories, examples and first-hand accounts, each chapter in Great Teams comes with applicable examples on how to apply these characteristics in any organization. Great Teams is a powerful companion for thought leaders, teams, managers and organizations that seek to perform similarly. The insight shared in this book is sure to enhance any team in its pursuit of excellence.


• The four essential pillars and 16 characteristics that set a Great Team apart.
• The synergistic leadership style of Great Teams.
• The importance of culture in Great Teams and organizations.
• How Great Teams embrace change and manage conflict.
• How Great Teams avoid the pitfalls of success.

Friday Book Review! Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez

160627143727-chaos-monkeys-book-780x439A Visit to the Entrepreneurial Zoo

In 2007, digital advertising veteran Antonio García Martínez left Goldman Sachs for the startup world, joining one ad tech startup before launching his own startup, which he would eventually sell to Twitter for $10 million.

Martínez describes his adventures in Silicon Valley in colorful (and sometimes lurid) detail in a new book entitled Chaos Monkeys. The term refers to software invented by Netflix that tests a product’s or website’s robustness. A chaos monkey, as Martínez explains, is the digital equivalent of a “chimpanzee rampaging through a data center,” destroying the place by randomly yanking cables or smashing boxes. Symbolically, he writes, “technology entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, pulling the plug on everything from taxi medallions (Uber) to traditional hotels (Airbnb) to dating (Tinder)… Silicon Valley is the zoo where the chaos monkeys are kept, and their numbers only grow in time… The question for society is whether it can survive these entrepreneurial chaos monkeys intact, and at what human cost.”

Taken out of the book’s context, these paragraphs may position Martínez as a concerned observer of the zoo. In truth, however, Martínez was a joyous participant in the zoo’s antics, describing a place where extremes — in money, risks and sex — are celebrated. It is also a place where business is combat and few rules of traditional business seem to apply.

Martínez’s fascinating description of the sale of his ad tech startup to Twitter, which includes a chapter appropriately titled “Acquisition Chicken,” offers a case in point. In the early discussions, Martínez and his two co-founders reject Twitter’s offer of $5 million, a sum that in Silicon Valley is equivalent to a low-ball offer. As Martínez explains, given that “the market price for acquired engineers in the Valley then was anywhere from half a million to $2 million each… $5 million for three hires plus intellectual property Twitter might use… was way too cheap. We hadn’t risked everything from our finances to our sanity for just over a million each that would take four years to earn.”

Martínez decides to dangle the company in front of Yahoo, which passes on the company. However, they are interested in poaching Martínez, who must then decide whether to abandon his fellow entrepreneurs. This type of situation, he writes, is typical for the Valley.

Click here to continue reading this review or sign up for our free monthly Executive Book Alert newsletter.