Book Review: Becoming Your Best

Becoming_Your_Best

by Steven Shallenberger

With the high demands and pressures in today’s workplace, it seems you have to sacrifice your personal life for your job. However, Steven Shallenberger, states that as a leader you can succeed in business and live a happy life at the same time. In Becoming Your Best, Shallenberger reveals the 12 principles for developing a culture of excellence within your organization. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

In each chapter, Shallenberger explains the 12 principles in detail. Of the 12, the first principle “Be True to Your Character” refers to having a strong character. “It is best to be strong in the initial moment of choice, but if you blow it, you will often have an opportunity to make a correction. We all have moments of weakness and poor judgment, but the ability to self-correct is critical if we want to build a strong character and a life of fulfillment and meaning,” writes Shallenberger. 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.

The group of 12 principles is the common denominators that all successful leaders possess. Becoming Your Best will give you the knowledge and tools to not only improve your life as a leader, but the lives of your employees as well.

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.

How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

THE LEADERSHIP THAT GUIDED THE DIGITAL AGE

After his phenomenally successful biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators, stays in the technology field, but this time with a group biography of the wide variety of people who created the digital age. Through its rich details and Isaacson’s fine storytelling, The Innovators reads more like a sprawling epic novel than a treatise on technological founders. The first character he introduces is a surprising one: the daughter of the 19th century Romantic poet, Lord Byron.

Lady Ada Meets Charles Babbage

For many people, the age of computing begins with Charles Babbage, the British aristocrat who conceived and built mechanical devices to help people calculate and do other tasks mechanically — thus lightening the thinking load of man. But Babbage needed money, and lots of it, to pay for his “Difference Engine” and especially his more sophisticated “Analytical Engine.” Enter Ada, Countess of Lovelace, Byron’s only legitimate child and an adept mathematician. As Babbage’s collaborator and publicist, one of her tasks was to translate a French description of the machine for the scientific periodical Scientific Memoirs. Knowing more than the original French author about the machine, Ada decided to write some “Notes from the translator.” These “Notes” would earn her place as one of the earliest founders of the digital age because — extrapolating far beyond the mechanical devices of her boss — they conceptualize, for the first time, the idea of a computer: a machine that could, in Isaacson’s words, “store, manipulate, process and act upon anything that could be expressed in symbols: words and logic and music and anything else we might use symbols to con-vey….This insight would become the core concept of the digital age: any piece of content, data, or information music, text, pictures, numbers, symbols, sounds, video could be expressed in digital form and manipulated by machines.” The Notes also included, in step-by-step detail, how what we now call a computer program or algorithm would work.

Collaboration and Leadership

Moving through the years, from the 19th century to the 20th and the 21st, Isaacson carefully lays out the history of the two strands of the digital age — computing and . networking — telling the stories of the famous and not-so-famous who piece-by-puzzle-piece would construct the world we live in. Isaacson emphasizes that such a world was not created by lone inventors who single-handedly pushed the technology forward in leaps. Instead, technology advanced through a quiet insight here, a new system there, which were then connected to another insight or system or technology to finally create the breakthrough. Occasionally, one person would indeed give the technology a major push. Tim Berners-Lee correctly deserves full credit as the man who almost single-handedly conceived the World Wide Web. However, in most cases, The Innovators is a story of intense and sometimes complicated collaborations — symbiotic collaborations from which innovation could emerge. Leadership is an important component of the process. Isaacson details the great and not-so-great leadership that guided the history of technological progress. For example, Gordon Shockley, who led the team that invented the transistor, never succeeded as a businessperson; tired of Shockley’s ham-fisted leadership, the team February 2015 started their own company, sponsored by the rich inventor and playboy Sherman Fairchild. The compelling stories will keep you turning the pages of The Innovators.

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.

Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset

Not All You’ve Heard
The axiom “attitude is everything” has been stated by so many motivational speakers and writers over the years that many of us simply accept it as fact. If so many people believe it, it must be true, right?

Wrong, says leadership expert John Maxwell in The Difference Maker. He maintains that while attitude is important, there are certain things it cannot achieve. It cannot change people into something they’re not. Attitude cannot replace competence, experience or personal growth and it cannot change the facts. Maxwell gives an example of two people applying for the same job. One has skills, talent and 10 years experience, but a so-so attitude. The other has a super attitude, but no experience. Who gets the job? “Probably the one with the greater skills and experience,” writes Maxwell. “Why? Because a great attitude will not make up the gap.”

Attitude as an Asset
Despite the “cannots,” Maxwell writes, attitude is a primary component in determining our success. While it can’t alter what exists, it can influence our future via how we choose to deal with things we encounter in everyday life. “The happiest people,” he notes, “don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they make the best of everything.” Essentially, if we expect bad things, he says, we get them. Conversely, we often get good things by expecting them.

By applying attitude correctly, we can make it one of our most powerful assets. To this end, Maxwell stresses, it’s something we control; it’s a matter of choice, not circumstances, how we deal with a particular situation. To do so, we need to first evaluate our current attitude, create the desire to change it, then rearrange our thoughts to do so.

This is largely done by making an effort to allow our thinking to run in positive channels. Maxwell believes negative thoughts lead to negative beliefs, which in turn lead to wrong decisions and actions, creating a pattern of bad habits. Developing the proper attitude can reverse this vicious cycle. He also maintains that attitude adjustment isn’t a one-time event; it’s something we have to manage daily.

Point by Point
To change our attitude, Maxwell claims, we have to overcome what he calls the “Big Five” major attitude obstacles. “When you can learn to deal with them in a positive way,” he says, “you can face anything else life may have in store for you.”

According to Maxwell, the first hurdle is discouragement. If not handled correctly, discouragement can make someone give up instead of facing the situation. This involves not becoming fixated or paralyzed, but viewing things from different perspectives and taking the best road possible for your personal well-being. The mix includes introspection, having the right expectations and making the right decisions.

The second hurdle is change, something that most people resist. The key here, Maxwell allows, is to objectively examine why we’re opposed to the change. Once that’s established, we need to determine how to make the change successful and positive, keeping in mind that all change has a price to which we must be willing to commit.

Problems are the third obstacle. “Our perspective on problems, not the problem itself, usually determines our success or failure,” writes Maxwell. To this end, the difference between problem-spotting and problem-solving can be crucial. Tackling a problem head-on and working out the best way of dealing with it can often turn into an opportunity for personal or professional advancement.

The fourth obstacle is fear. Here, Maxwell invokes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” as far more than rhetoric. Maxwell contends that if permitted to run rampant, fear can generate inaction, weakness and more fear, which can be destructive. Rather than waste energy by being afraid, we need to realize the limitations fear places on us. It’s only by properly handling what we’re afraid of, he says, that we can overcome fear and achieve our full potential.

Last, Maxwell discusses failure. The premise is simple: If we fail or make a mistake, we need to learn from it and go on. Otherwise, we run the risk of letting it defeat us. By seeing failure as a teacher rather than a limit, we remain capable of taking risks – something necessary for success.

Why We Like This Book
While some might argue that what Maxwell offers is simply common sense, the book goes far beyond. Written in a light, almost chatty style that uses examples, anecdotes and quotes from Abraham Lincoln to Yogi Berra, it provides many points of entry and shows how anyone, if determined, can indeed make his or her attitude make a difference. Copyright (c) 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries