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. 

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.

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How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace

You 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. Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace gives you the confidence and knowledge you need to achieve your goals in an ever-changing world. Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick — established experts and the collective winners of dozens of awards in the field of personal development and learning — offer evidence-based guidance on obtaining the skills you will need to thrive in tomorrow’s workplace.

Stretch offers advice, valuable insights, anecdotes and recommendations to make achieving your goals practical and within reach. 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, seek experiences that will prepare you for tomorrow and stay motivated through the ups and downs of a career so you can bounce forward.

Stretch offers five practices to help you start, enhance and lengthen your career by anticipating the needs of tomorrow’s work environment. Don’t become obsolete. Instead, stretch to achieve your potential.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• The global megatrends that will affect your future.
• The three stretch imperatives and the five practices that will allow you to fulfill those imperatives.
• The top 10 capabilities you will need for the future.