How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation


Why do some projects deliver under budget and ahead of schedule, while others cost more and take longer than expected? More important, which products work better: the quick and thrifty or the slow and expensive?

In a story-filled blend of quirky pop culture and practical engineering insight, Dan Ward’s F.I.R.E. answers those questions and more. Ward’s extensive research and firsthand experience show how the world’s top technologists consistently deliver best-in-class results on shoestring budgets and cannonball schedules, and using skeleton crews.

But this is not just a book about how to win. With unflinching candor, Ward shows how the FIRE method, even when followed wisely and well, can result in a flop. Taking a deep look at several negative outcomes, he shows how to make failures optimal rather than epic.

F.I.R.E. provides strategic concepts for leaders, decision-making principles for managers and practical tools for people working on anything from spacecraft and fighter jets to websites and children’s toys. Technology professionals and curious amateurs alike will come away with a deeper understanding of effective product design.


• Build strategies for speed.

• Streamline your designs.

• Design your products and processes with less cost.

• Unleash the power of small teams and short meetings.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.


Turning Uncertainty into Breakthrough Opportunities

attackersadvantageThe forces driving today’s world of structural change create sharp bends in the road that can lead to major explosions in your existing market space. But exponential change also offers exponential opportunities. How do you leverage change to go on the offense? The Attacker’s Advantage is the game plan for winning in an era of ambiguity, volatility and complexity, when every leader and every business is being challenged in new and unexpected ways.

Ram Charan, harnessing an unequalled depth and breadth of experience working with leaders and companies around the globe, provides tested, practical tools to help you:

• Build the perceptual acuity to see around corners and detect, ahead of others, those forces — especially people, who are the catalysts of change — that could radically reshape a company or industry.

• Commit to a new path forward despite the unknowns, positioning your business to make the next move ahead of competitors.

• Make your organization agile and steerable by aligning people, priorities, decision-making power, budgeting and capital allocation and key performance indicators to the new realities of the marketplace.

The Attacker’s Advantage provides a stark and simple challenge: Stay in a legacy world of incremental gains or defensiveness, or be an attacker by creating a new world, scaling it up quickly, ahead of the traditional players.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.


Our Recent Choices for Best Business Books of 2015

This month our summaries are all about speed. Persuasion Equation talks about ways to speed up the negotiation process, The Attacker’s Advantage explores ways to detect market changes in advance in order to move more quickly to take advantage, and our bonus summary F.I.R.E. presents ways to accelerate innovation.


Persuasion Equation

The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way

by Mark Rodgers

This insightful guide by Mark Rodgers reveals what drives decisions and introduces the persuasion equation –– a powerful combination of factors proven to speed agreement. Learn how to set your persuasion priorities and perfect the five-step persuasion process in order to gain buy-in from those around you.


The Attacker’s Advantage

Turning Uncertainty into Breakthrough Opportunities

by Ram Charan

Ram Charan provides proven tools to help leaders embrace uncertainty and develop the skills to be better prepared to lead. The attacker’s advantage is the perceptual acuity to detect ahead of others forces that could radically reshape a market space so you can position your business to make the next move first.



How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation

by Dan Ward

Dan Ward introduces the FIRE method in which strategies are built for speed and designs are streamlined, all at less cost. You’ll learn that the project leaders who embrace speed, thrift, simplicity and restraint tend to deliver affordable equipment that is available when it’s needed and effective when it’s used.

If you’re a Soundview subscriber, check out your new titles in your online library today. And if not, click on a title to purchase it; or perhaps now is the time to Subscribe and get these great titles and much more to strengthen your leader skills.

A Transformational Capability, Hidden in Plain Sight

This guest blog features Karl Danskin and Lenny Lind, authors of Virtuous Meetings.

Large group meetings aren’t what they used to be.  In the last 10 years, the most fundamental aspect of meetings has transformed: the role of the participant. A revolution in organizational capability and effectiveness has occurred, hidden in plain sight. What only became possible around 2005, will be commonplace in 2025.

Along with the internet and interactive websites and media and now “social media” came the ability and expectation of giving one’s feedback – having one’s say.  During the same time, internet input devices became ubiquitous. So reading and then writing in response to one’s world has become commonplace.

Within the context of meetings, especially large ones, smartphones and iPads have become commonplace too. Consider this situation: a large meeting, convened by an organization that has important designs and objectives for the participants. Each participant has a computer of some sort on their person (at least a smartphone).  Each participant is brimming with thoughts and feelings after hearing the CEO tell about the way forward … What would happen if you activated a wireless internet in that room, with some software that opened a screen on all those devices that asked, “What insights are you having?”  And then the CEO, and everyone in the room, could review and discuss those insights after they’d been themed quickly …

This situation describes a transformation – the shift from a meeting designed for mostly one-way communication, from the stage to the participants, to a meeting designed for frequent two-way communication, from the stage to the participants and back again to the stage … and then from the stage outward again, with thoughts about what the participants were saying.  Two-way.  Cycles of communication. Deep understanding.  Like dialogue, except now possible in large groups of hundreds or thousands.

Finally, because old habits die hard most large meetings are designed now just like they were 50 years ago – as one-way communication events.

Consider those possibilities in your own context, and bring those thoughts to this Soundview Live webinar: A New Model for Thinking About Large Meetings.  We will explore this capability and its profound impact on meeting outcomes.

For anyone who is remotely connected with organizational effectiveness and/or large meeting design and facilitation, this webinar should rock your world.  Organization leaders, welcome.

Escaping the Pressures and Stressors of Leadership

Our guest blogger today is Mike Figliuolo, the co-author of Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results.  He’s also the managing director of the leadership development training firm, thoughtLEADERS, LLC (

The pressure on leaders is increasing every day. Calls for “doing more with less” echo through the halls as ever-escalating expectations create a great deal of stress for leaders. The investment of a leader’s time, energy, and attention (“leadership capital”) is a critical choice leaders make every day.

The options for delivering on these heightened expectations are limited. Sure, leaders can step on the proverbial gas pedal and work harder and longer to create more “leadership capital,” but time is a non-renewable resource—play that game too long and the stress will add up. The cumulative effects of these stressors can be devastating.

When leaders overwork themselves, their teams tend to do the same. People stay at the office until the boss leaves; their stress levels are correlated with those of their boss. Eventually, team members get burned out and some look for new jobs that will be less stressful.

When they quit, they leave their leader shorthanded with an open role to fill. That vacancy increases the leader’s stress and puts an additional burden on the other team members to pick up the slack. This negative performance spiral then picks up speed with no sign of slowing down.

You may have gotten stressed out just by reading this hypothetical situation—that’s because it’s all too real. This brute force approach to increasing leadership capital isn’t sustainable.

If you want to avoid the problems that come from overworking yourself and your team, the only viable option is being more efficient with how you spend your time and energy. How can you be smarter about how you’re investing your energy to get the best results you can at work while still having a life outside of it? Do a better job understanding where you’re investing your leadership capital by assessing which of your team members are consuming the most of it, then change your approach to leading them.

If you’re investing too much time and energy and not getting results in terms of performance, either change the way you’re leading them or figure out how to be more efficient with your time. Another alternative is to build their skill such that then don’t demand so much attention from you.  This isn’t about categorizing people in boxes – it’s about understanding your behavior relative to theirs.  If you get either one of those to change, you should be able to improve results and expend less energy in the process of doing so.

To learn more from Mike Figliuolo on handling the challenges of leadership, join us for our Soundview Live webinar: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results.

How Adaptable are YOU?

Today’s guest blogger is Tony Alessandra, CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account.

What IS Adaptability?

The concept of adaptability, as developed by Dr. Michael O’Connor, co-author of The Platinum Rule®, is a two-part process.  It combines flexibility with versatility.

  • Flexibility is your willingness to adapt. It is your attitude.
  • Versatility is your ability to adapt. It is your aptitude.

The first half of the high adaptability formula – Flexibility.

Confidence + Tolerance + Empathy + Positiveness + Respect for others = FLEXIBILITY.

  • Confidence – you believe in yourself, you trust your own judgment and resourcefulness.
  • Tolerance – you are open to accepting opinions and practices that are different from your own.
  • Empathy – a deep understanding of another’s situation.
  • Positiveness – a positive attitude leads to positive events in your life.
  • Respect for others – the sincere desire to understand and consider other people’s choices, commitments and needs in relation to your own.

BEWARE!  These are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:

  • Rigidity -“It’s my way or the highway”
  • Competition with others – “I’m smarter, prettier, etc., thank you”
  • Discontent – “No, I don’t like it this way.  Why can’t we…”
  • Unapproachable – “Don’t bother me unless it’s worth my time and you agree with me”
  • Difficulty with Ambiguity – “Let’s nail this down right now”

The second half of the high adaptability formula – Versatility.

Resilience + Vision + Attentiveness + Competence + Self-correction = VERSITILITY.

  • Resilience – knowing how to overcome setbacks, barriers and limited resources.  If you keep on going until you succeed, that is resilience.
  • Vision – having the power to imagine, be creative, and suggest alternatives.
  • Attentiveness – knowing when to act and when not to act. It means paying attention to more than your own needs.
  • Competence – begins with expertise. In addition, it also involves a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your specialty. It means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
  • Self-correction – once you initiate a project, you ask for feedback and place a high priority on problem solving, not on being right. It is being able to say, “I think this approach isn’t working.  I’d better try something different.”

BEWARE!  There are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:

  • Subjectiveness – “This is the way it looks to ME”
  • Bluntness – “That’s a stupid idea!”
  • Resistance – “This is the way we’ve always done it”
  • Single-mindedness – “It’s my goal and nothing else matters”
  • Unreasonable Risk-taking – “I’m going to jump, won’t you come with me?”

Adaptable people meet other peoples’ needs and their own. They know how to negotiate relationships in a way that allows everyone to win.  With adaptability, you are practicing what I call The Platinum Rule® – treating other people the way they want and need to be treated.

To hear more from Tony Alessandra, join him for our Soundview Live webinar on August 27th: Turning Every Business Encounter into a Mutual Win.

What Could You Learn From Our Latest Summaries?

Our September summaries are all about what is best for employees. Whether it’s corporate education, empowering employees through lean practices, or developing employee character, this set of summaries offers a wealth of information to strengthen your company.



Learning to Succeed

Rethinking Corporate Education in a World of Unrelenting Change

by Jason Wingard
Corporate learning expert Jason Wingard proposes that to keep ahead of the competition, organizations should shift to embracing learning across the ranks and become dynamic learning organizations. With a dedication to learning initiatives, a company will be better equipped to make the decisions that will ensure its future.

The Lean CEO

Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence

by Jacob Stoller
Many companies and CEOs are finding that to do more with less, that they can find solutions in Lean management techniques to deliver sustainable financial results, empower and motivate employees, break down internal silos and build solid partnerships with customers and suppliers. Journalist and facilitator Jacob Stoller explains the methodology by including in-depth interviews with CEOs who have established Lean as a corporate-wide management system.

The Good Ones

Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees

by Bruce Weinstein
Ethics expert Bruce Weinstein presents 10 crucial qualities associated with high-character employees that can enhance employee satisfaction, client relationships and the bottom line. Character refers to the most important qualities that define a person’s identity and it is revealed not by words but by actions. The qualities are honesty, accountability, care, courage, fairness, gratitude, humility, loyalty, patience and presence.

If you’re a Soundview subscriber, check out your new titles in your online library today. And if not, click on a title to purchase it; or perhaps now is the time to Subscribe and get these great titles and much more to strengthen your leader skills.

50 Ways to Enhance your Presence and Impact at Work

Our guest blogger today is Simon Tyler, author of The Impact Code.

Much has been written about leadership and impact. Corporate impact, specifically, is a term which seems to have a lot of style, but often very little substance. You are advised to change your appearance, use the right body language and so on.

But here’s the crux: without wisdom, without purpose and authentic intention, irrespective of dramatic style upgrades, your impact is rendered impotent and empty. True leaders and innovators – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs – are considered ‘great’ due to their passion, and their belief in their purpose. People wanted to follow them and their ideas.

Without a sense of what motivates and inspires you, a new suit or different haircut will do little to improve your leadership potential. The Impact Code challenges you from the outset to examine your purpose as the first step towards creating a powerful positive impact on the world and those around you.

How often have you asked yourself:

“What am I passionate about?”

“What do I stand for?”

“What would I like people to say about me, and what I have done?”

… and actually written down your immediate responses?

Your current leadership impact is revealed in the answers to these core questions. It tells a story to those around you, making a statement about who you are and how you go about your journey. It’s about how you create lasting and meaningful impact.

In my role as coach and mentor, I observe senior managers and directors, every one of them leaders, in that they have willing followers, but only a few demonstrating executive presence.

I have identified five interlinked channels for executive presence. The consistency with which it is delivered, makes the impact more potent.

In The Impact Code I refer to these as The Five Aspects of Leadership Impact, and I will discuss them at the Soundview Live webinar on August 20th.

  1. Visual impact
  2. Presence
  3. Connection
  4. Verbal impact
  5. Your leadership footprint

In practice, all five aspects are in play much of the time. Becoming mindful of how you use the aspects of impact prepares you to enhance both the strength and consistency of your message.

During the webinar I will discuss a leader’s impact journey. Powerful, authentic leadership can be identified by four escalating outcomes:

Attraction – People are attracted to you and to your ideas. They may, or may not, be able to explain why, but they gravitate towards you in a room and are eager to hear what you have to say.

Appetite – Your connection with individuals amplifies their initial attraction; they are now actively aware of their interest in your ideas, your team, your company, and they want more.

Advocacy – People are deeply and passionately aware of your ideas and motivated to advocate them to others – they support your cause verbally, they discuss it with peers, creating a buzz around you and your vision.

Action – Your passion and leadership create a palpable and obvious response in others. They take new, inspired action, and do something directly as a result of their involvement with you. You create change through the actions of others. Your impact is spreading more widely and is not restricted to the people you meet in person.

During the webinar I will help you notice positive and impactful perceptions of yourself and your work, not only in a business setting, but in other areas of life too. Heightening your self-awareness, becoming more deliberate, will enhance your impact and accelerate the pace of the change and also bring many of the material, emotional and spiritual rewards you seek.

Join us on August 20th for our webinar with Simon Tyler: 50 Ways to Enhance Your Presence and Impact at Work.


By Daniel F. Prosser, Author, ‘Thirteeners – Why Only 13% Of Companies Successfully Execute Their Strategy And How Yours Can Be One Of Them’

There are two kinds of strategic planners I’ve encountered in the world of business and both of them are ALWAYS right. Which one you are most like?

Our first strategic planner sits down with their team and goes through all the right motions, has a grand dream they think they are committed to accomplish. They might see a big possibility for their future, yet with an almost unconsciousness, immediately and automatically follow their idea with, “but…” As in, “This is a great idea, BUT I just don’t think we are capable of making that happen this year”. Or, “That would be nice, BUT….” The word may not actually be spoken – yet often it is. Regardless, this is the word that runs the show; limits the possible future. And, what’s even more interesting is that everyone who thinks this way makes themselves absolutely correct in their statement.

The second strategic planner follows the same process for strategic planning for the year and yet they do something completely different with their idealized future. They W.

Huh? What is W?  Look very closely. What you’re looking at is the international symbol for putting your butt on the line. That’s right – there are two different types of strategists (leaders actually) and the ones who have the best chance of fulfilling on their dreams and plans are the ones who give up the word ‘But’ and literally take the risk of putting their butt on the line for what they want, regardless of the risks.

More leaders silently succumb to their ‘but’ and avoiding having to actually put their W on the line.

Why would this be a problem? Well, the shocking news is that 87% of companies fail to execute their strategy each year and then wonder why. To be clear – this isn’t the only reason they fail. But, (there’s that word again) it’s a very serious problem because what happens next when leaders are being observed and followed –their thinking and their fear of risk, becomes embedded as a hidden practice that gets repeated within their organization.

Just the mere silent indication that there’s any sort of resistance to “what’s next” creates what I call a cultural meme – a meme is an unspoken idea, behavior, or practice that spreads from person to person within a culture. Memes carry invisible or hidden messages – conversations actually and that is what really runs your company. You’re not aware of them because they are in the background. Memes operate like a virus to undermine and sabotage your best intentions – the things you would most like to have happen in your life or your business. When you understand memes and specifically the memes that operate in your workplace you literally take your power back to be able to say how it’s going to be and then have it be that way.

To earn more, join Daniel Prosser at our Soundview Live webinar: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy on August 13th.


5 Steps to Transform Your Team’s Passion into Execution of Your Strategy

This blog was first published by Daniel Prosser on

Every company leader wants to feel they’ve done everything possible to fulfill on their strategy every year. Leading studies show that while as many as 95% of companies have done the planning and created a cogent business plan or strategy, at least 87% of those companies won’t follow through and meet those goals this year, next year, or any year. And furthermore, it’s not the strategy that is usually at fault.

Keep this up every year and it won’t help that people, more likely your very best people, will ultimately begin leaving to find a better place to employ their talents. After all if you worked hard (and I think you are) to make a difference and it’s not working, what would you choose to do? It only makes sense.

You can do something about this in your company even if you don’t have all the right people on the bus just yet. Companies that have changed their thinking have put their companies on a course for actual 2 – 3X expansion of their current bottom-line performance. This is especially common among those companies known as ‘Best Places To Work’.

This is not fantasy thinking. Any company can do this. The difference between those companies who do it and those that don’t is those who do are willing to first uncover and confront what’s in the way, and then give up their current system of limited and limiting thinking. Gallup found that companies that do change their thinking see an average of 2.6 times more growth in earnings, 12% higher customer advocacy, 18% higher productivity, and 12% higher profitability. Every bit of those improvements wind up on the bottom line.

“Almost every significant breakthrough has been the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking” – Stephen R. Covey

The companies who produce these kinds of results have first identified what is standing in the way of their forward progress and then – they shift their current thinking, they unhook their current model; they shift their current paradigms. They literally go to work to transform the way they are ‘being’ versus concentrating on what they are ‘doing’ as a company, by adopting a new system in which they’ve literally risked their present ways of thinking to build a more powerful and profitable future.

What exactly did they shift?

  1. An Awareness of the conversations and beliefs that undermine and sabotage future performance and a new Awareness of what is truly possible once that truth has been told.
  2. An enduring vision of the future that puts everyone on the exact same page; a future that empowers people, can’t be forgotten, and won’t disappear or go out of existence.
  3. A strategy that eliminates the need for survival tactics and empowers employees and other stakeholders to take responsibility for causing breakthrough results.
  4. A future-focused culture that gets the constraints left by past performance out of the way of having what you say you want and create the connections people need with each other and to the activities (roles/goals/responsibilities) that are consistent with the vision.
  5. An accountability system that gives people back their power to produce ‘real measurable results’ using a new structure to support what the organization is committed to.

The challenge in shifting to a future based company is to maintain accelerated forward progress. To do this the leadership have to give something up. They need to give up being right and believing they have all the answers.

Once they set their egos aside and are promoting a more relational culture, they can then stop managing people and start managing the promises people make as they establish effective accountability and become more effective at managing promises that close the gaps between what is possible and current performance.

To learn more about the conversations that can move a company into the top 13%, register for our Soundview Live webinar with Daniel Prosser: Become One of the 13% That Successfully Execute Their Strategy.