Don’t Be Blind-Sided in a Crisis

If your company or community was facing a major crisis, who would you want to coach you through it? Someone with experience in dealing with crises of course. How about someone like Bruce Blythe?

Blythe and Crisis Management Institute offered onsite crisis consultations to more than 200 companies in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, as well as for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in 1992 and 2005, corporate and commercial air crashes, an Ecuadorian jungle rescue of kidnap and ransom hostages 2001,a Coca Cola truck/bus crash in Texas that killed 23 school children in 1989, earthquakes in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and multiple workplace shootings.

With that kind of experience, we just had to invite him to share with our subscribers how they can deal effectively with the crises that come up around them. Here is what Bruce promises to provide during our 60 minute webinar: A Manager’s Guide to Crisis Leadership.

• Crisis Response – Blythe places you in a simulation as an unprepared manager blindsided by an active shooter loose in your building.
• Crisis Preparedness – Blythe then guides you and your teams to analyze foreseeable risks, evaluate existing controls, add new ones, test and re-evaluate a realistic Plan.
• Crisis Leadership – Blythe cites examples/case studies to demonstrate what top-notch leaders would say and do during and after a disaster.
• Quick responses with detailed checklists for managing 9 major incidents.
• How to address victim’s families – dos and don’ts for communicating tragic news with empathy and dignity in person and through representatives.
• How to support employees in returning to work and productivity after a disaster or workplace violence.

So gather your team together on December 2nd at 12:00 pm ET and plan a discussion time after the webinar. Subscribers attend for free, but even if you pay the $49 registration fee that’s a great deal for your whole staff to get crisis management training. Bruce will also be taking time at the end of the session to answer your questions.

The Lenovo Way

MERGING EAST AND WEST IN A GLOBAL BRAND

In The Lenovo Way, Gina Qiao, Senior Vice President of Global HR, and Yolanda Conyers, Lenovo’s Vice President of Global HR Operations and Chief Diversity  Officer, tell the incredible story of the world’s number one PC maker, Lenovo. Originally called Legend, Lenovo was some 15 years ago a little-known (outside of China) computer company started by a survivor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. That Liu Chuanzhi was able to build a computer company in China that could compete with the likes of Dell and Apple was already a success story; that his company, now renamed Lenovo, would be able to successfully acquire in 2005 the iconic IBM PC business, which was actually four times the size of Lenovo, was a feat of perhaps unprecedented business skill and daring.

Within Lenovo, the acquisition was described as the snake eating the elephant. Not surprisingly, the digestion of said elephant was a tumultuous, often frustrating process, chronicled in The Lenovo Way by two of its key players.

Gina and Yolanda

The experiences of Gina Qiao and Yolanda Conyers in many ways reflect the frustrations of the post-acquisition experience for both the Chinese and the non-Chinese managers and employees of the new behemoth.

When English was announced as the official language of the new company, Gina knew exactly three words of English: “hello,” “goodbye” and “thank you.” Arriving at the headquarters of the American firm her company had just acquired, she was refused entry by the gatekeeper, who told her she had to do better than say she had “a meeting with Peter.”

In one important strategy brainstorming session, Gina was silent in response to a proposal from her American counterpart because she disagreed but did not want to be disrespectful. The American counterpart took her silence for approval and pushed through the proposal. Gina eventually learned to use the phrase “I am not comfortable” to communicate her respectful concerns.

Yolanda soon discovered that her Chinese colleagues were seething over what they saw as her overly aggressive, straightforward style. Eventually, Gina would sit her down and give her an extensive list of pointers about what not to do. Examples: no group emails; don’t say you disagree, which shows disrespect; take the time to build individual relationships; wear a jacket to work — dress can also be misinterpreted as a sign of disrespect. Eventually, Gina would move to the U.S., and Yolanda would eventually move to China, enhancing their understanding of other cultures.

The integration challenge was heightened by the fact that there were what the authors call “three rivers,” referring to the three different corporate backgrounds of Lenovo’s executives: Lenovo, IBM and Dell (a number of key people brought in after the merger, including the new CEO of Lenovo, Bill Amelio, as well as Yolanda Conyers, came from Dell).The Lenovo veterans were seen as “unyielding and unwilling to communicate” by others; the IBMers were seen as “slow-moving and entitled”; while the Dell hires were seen as “aggressive and arrogant.” With vastly different languages, national cultures and corporate cultures to overcome, the fact that the new Lenovo not only survived but thrives is a testament to its leaders, including the authors of the book.

The Lenovo Story

In some ways, The Lenovo Way is misnamed. There is, indeed, a Lenovo Way, which consists of four Ps (plan before you pledge, perform as promised, prioritize the company first, and practice improving every day) and Lenovo’s Protect and Attack strategy, which is focused on protecting and exploiting current advantages while always looking for new growth areas. And given Lenovo’s global success, after some difficult post-acquisition years, its strategies for success in the age of globalization should be carefully heeded. However, it is the successful integration of the Chinese and Western cultures that is truly at the heart of this book — and its greatest lesson.

The one drawback to the book is that the voices of Gina Qiao and Yolanda Conyers are lost, since the text refers to them in the third person. Nevertheless, these two incredible women from opposite sides of the world will encourage everyone to believe that the most insurmountable cross-cultural challenges can be overcome with patience and an open mind.

The Best Business Books of 2014

This proved to be an interesting year for business books. In a year during which world governments and corporations have struggled with economic pressures and internal breakdowns, strong leadership has been desperately needed. This was reflected in the business books that rose to the top of many people’s reading lists. At a time when trust in leaders has diminished even more, executives should take time to read and learn from these summaries.

The complete list of 30 books is included below, all of which have been summarized by Soundview as part of its subscription offering. To read descriptions of the individual titles, go to Best Books of 2014 . They are also available for purchase individually.

Work with Me – Barbara Annis & John Gray
Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers – Anthony Mersino
Springboard – G. Richard Shell
Disciplined Entrepreneurship – Bill Aulet
Finding Allies, Building Alliances by Mike Leavitt & Rich McKeown
Compelling People – John Neffinger & Matthew Kohut
Coaching for Breakthrough Success – Jack Canfield & Peter Chee
The 80/20 Manager – Richard Koch
Focus – Daniel Goleman
Choosing Change – Walter McFarland & Susan Goldsworthy
The Learned Disciplines of Management – Jim Burkett
Grounded – Bob Rosen
Hacking Leadership – Mike Myatt
Leadership 2030 – Georg Vielmetter & Yvonne Sell
Absolute Value – Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen
Moments of Impact – Chris Ertel & Lisa Kay Solomon
A Team of Leaders – Paul Gustavson & Stewart Liff
Flex – Jane Hyun & Audrey Lee
Brief – Joseph McCormack
The Innovative Sale – Mark Donnolo
Elevate – Rich Horwath
The Purpose Economy – Aaron Hurst
Accountability – Greg Bustin
Thanks for the Feedback – Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen
The Road to Reinvention – Josh Linkner
Overfished Ocean Strategy – Nadya Zhexembayeva
How the World See You – Sally Hogshead
The Responsible Entrepreneur – Carol Sanford
Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does – Susan Fowler
Pitch Perfect – Bill McGowan & Alisa Bowman

We’re already working on summaries of the top books of 2015. If you ‘d like to have these titles in your library, become a Soundview Member. You won’t regret it.

New Summaries to Improve Your Skills

The ability to carry out our positions in the most effective and efficient way is often neglected in order to get the job done on time. However it is important to your career and organization to reflect on how processes can be done better or more effectively. Developing skills that can be applied to both your professional and personal life can lead to your highest potential. Learn how to improve your skills by being a better motivator, better communicator, and take better risks with these three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

pitch_perfect

by Bill McGowan and
Alisa Bowman

Pitch Perfect by Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman

In our professional and personal lives, situations rest on how well we communicate. Bill McGowan, media guru and correspondent, teaches you how to get your message across and get what you want with pitch perfect communication. In Pitch Perfect, McGowan shows you how to construct the right message and deliver it using the right language, verbally and nonverbally. Throughout the book, he distills his ideas into seven principles leading readers to effective communication.

 

why_motivating_people

by Susan Fowler

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does by Susan Fowler

Top leadership researcher, consultant, and coach Susan Fowler suggests stop trying to motivate people because it doesn’t work. In Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does, Fowler builds upon scientific research on human motivation to present readers a model that will help leaders guide their employees toward motivation that not only increases productivity and engagement but that gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Knowing what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work, and what does will help leaders bring change in their organizations.

 

little_bets

by Peter Sims

Little Bets by Peter Sims

It is always rewarding when you take a risk and it pays off. In Little Bets, bestselling Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, you should make a methodical series of little bets, low-risk actions taken to test an idea. This book offers readers a new way to explore and develop new possibilities with engaging accounts of innovators around the world who capitalized off their little bets.

Escaping the “Self-Employment Trap”

Many entrepreneurs, write the authors of Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back, don’t know the difference between growing a business and “growing a job.” A job is the responsibility of one person. In contrast, a business functions through a number of individuals in key roles, each with their own sets of responsibilities. In other words, authors Jeff Hoffman and David Finkel write, if as an entrepreneur you are working 70 hours a week because you alone are still responsible for the four core systems of your business finding prospects, closing sales, producing and delivering the product, and collecting on what you are owed you haven’t built a business, you’ve built a job. And sustaining such a job is not possible unless you sacrifice other aspects of your life.

The Self-Employment Trap

In Scale, Hoffman and Finkel lay out seven principles to help entrepreneurs escape the trap of every aspect of the business moving through them — what they call “the self-employment trap.” The first principle is understanding the concept of building a business, not a job. To clearly lay out the difference, they offer a business growth model based on three levels:

Level One is the preparation for launching the business and includes the business plan and making sure the business is viable.

Level Two Early Stage is getting the business off the ground. This is when you start to build a customer base and reach profitability.

Level Two Middle Stage is when you escape the self-employment trap by starting to build out the four core systems described above. Level Two Advanced Stage is when you’ve established a management team, and the systems keep the company running.

Level Three is the exit stage: As an owner-entrepreneur, you can sell the business or be a passive (and proud) owner of the business you launched from scratch.

Many entrepreneurs stay stuck in Level Two Middle Stage because they are focused on operating the business — selling to prospects and delivering the product — and are not taking the time to build a base that will allow others to take over “the job” they are now doing alone. The remaining principles in Scale are intended to help entrepreneurs break out of Level Two Middle Stage.

Through principles two and three, entrepreneurs learn to build a solid foundation for future growth. Principle two covers systems and controls for the business, while principle three offers tools to clarify the market and identify competitors.

Principle four, “Create the Right Strategic Plan,” helps entrepreneurs to do their homework so they can pick the best strategy for their company.  Principle five — “Learn to Read the World So You Build Tomorrow’s Marketplace,” is focused on keeping the company up to date.

In principle six, “Overcome the Predictable Obstacles to Scaling, Pillar by Pillar,” the authors show how to scale the sales and marketing, operations, finance, team and executive leadership pillars of the business.

The final principle is “You Do Have Time to Scale Your Company.” The authors offer a “time mastery system” that will refocus time and effort on tasks and responsibility of true value — and eliminate the work that you should not be doing in the first place.

Hoffman, a former CEO in the Priceline.com family of companies, and Finkel, a successful business coach, have written a practical guide filled with tools and methodologies — many available online — that will help many entrepreneurs finally break free of the exhausting and frustrating self-employment trap.