Profile for Robert Morris > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Robert Morris
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6
Helpful Votes: 1878

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
by Josh Linkner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.31
33 used & new from CDN$ 9.16

5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't constantly challenge your status quo, you can be certain that someone else will., June 19 2014
In a previous book, Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner offered "a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity," one that requires highly-developed mental and emotional discipline. He introduces a methodology, a five-step process, that he calls "Disciplined Dreaming." He interviewed more than 200 people whose creativity has driven their success. What he learned is shared in that book. For example:

o Define a "creativity challenge" (e.g. answering an important question, solving a serious problem or taking full advantage of a major opportunity)
o Prepare (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally) for the process by which to create or reveal a correct answer or effective solution
o Discover various "avenues" by which to reach that answer or solution
o Ignite forces (i.e. "juices") with various techniques to generate an abundance of creative ideas
o Launch the process by which to realize (literally, to make a reality of) each of the best ideas within a framework provided in Chapter Ten.

What we have in his latest book, The Road to Reinvention, is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel about how reinvention can help individuals as well as organizations to "drive disruption and accelerate transformation." That is, take what "disciplined dreaming" creates to the next stage: actualization. It is imperative to understand that reinvention is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. Linkner's primary objective is to help as many people as possible to master the skills needed when embarked on that challenging, sometimes perilous process.

The tools needed for transformation include these:

o Rapid Reinvention: Identify and eliminate whatever blocks or delays progress (Pages 25-26)
o What If...: Free the imagination so that it can pose possibilities, options, alternatives, etc. (48)
o Make what you now offer obsolete: Replace whatever it is with whatever is much better (69-72)
o Fire the Cannon: Select internal and external targets to attack (91)
o Creating Excellence, Step by Step: Remember, improvement is an on-going process (108-109
o Becoming a Firebrand: Market as if your "life" depended on it...because it does (129-130)
o Hot Seat: Linkner offers brilliant advice on how to obtain direct, BS-free feedback (149-150)
o Disrupting a New Customer Segment: How to prepare to compete in a new market (169-170)
o Six Habits for Reinvention: To be developed by everyone involved (193-194)
o More, Less, Stop: More of what? Less of what? and What to stop thinking and doing? (222)

In Leading Change, James O'Toole suggests that the strongest resistance to change tends to be the result of what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." When challenging the status quo, never underestimate the determination of those who created it and now defend it. Those who read this book will be much better prepared to avoid or overcome cultural resistance. That said, whatever status quo they then establish can best be sustained only if they are committed to on-going reinvention of what they do and how they do it. As Richard Hawkins correctly reminds us, "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché."

Josh Linkner is a five star, world-class pragmatist with an imagination on steroids who is driven to understand what works, what doesn't, and why, then share what he has learned with as many people as he can. In my opinion, this is his best work...thus far. I am eager to see where his insatiable curiosity and disciplined dreaming take him next. Meanwhile, I highly recommend his blog at which you can sign up for a free subscription to his weekly E-letter.

Business Strategy: Plan, Execute, Win!
Business Strategy: Plan, Execute, Win!
by Patrick J. Stroh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.30
28 used & new from CDN$ 19.25

5.0 out of 5 stars How to formulate and then execute strategies that will help you achieve your objectives at work and everywhere else, June 18 2014
Just as in residential real estate, for every house there is a buyer, I am convinced that for every business book, there is also a buyer and I think there are many people who will benefit substantially from the approach that Patrick Stroh takes to the content he provides. The last time I checked, Amazon offers 73, 377 books that cover one or more aspects of business strategy; 16,462 of them are classified within the "Management" category. Obviously, there is no shortage of information, insights, and counsel concerning strategy, both inline and in print. Fortunately, Customer Reviews such as mine can help those who read them to decide which source(s) will most likely be most relevant to the given needs and interests.

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of Michael Porter's observation, "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." I agree with Porter as well as with Stroh: "Creating a strategy that you in turn drive into actionable plans and goals with associated metrics is invaluable. Execution is everything. Great executors of business strategy create conditions in which people":

o Know what to do because accountabilities are clear.
o Know how to do it because they have the right skills.
o Are motivated to do it because they see how they are adding value to the organization.
o Have defined metrics by which to measure the nature and extent of impact.

I view strategies as "hammers" that drive "nails" (tactics) to achieve the given objectives. Stroh's approach is to focus on the essentials of that process. These are among the passages that caught my eye:

o Evolution of Strategic Planning (Pages 6-13)
o Desirable skills and core competencies (37-42)
o Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen (57-62)
o Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (62-69)
o 21 Movies: Six Lessons on Business Strategy (74-88)
o Being the Boss (93-96)
o Five Themes of Business Parables from the Bible (109-123)
o Typical Questions the Sharks Ask All Presenters (126-132)
o 13 Lucky Models and Methods (142-153)
o Potential failures to be avoided (158-160)

I presume to add that the original meaning of the word "strategia" means "generalship," hence the importance of the material provided in Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Carl von Clausewitz's On War. Hunt for Red October (1990) is one of the films on Stroh's list in Chapter 4 and it is also on my own list of war films that illustrate valuable leadership lessons. Others on that list include Fort Apache (1948), Paths of Glory and Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Tunes of Glory (1960), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and 12 O’clock High (1964).

In only 166 pages, Patrick Stroh manages to provide an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that will probably be of greatest interest to those now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked on one. That said, effective leadership and management are needed at all levels and in all areas of any enterprise, whatever its size and nature may be. For that reason, I strongly recommend this little book of great substance to anyone who is determined to accelerate their personal growth and professional development.

Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success
Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Let your light so shine before men....", June 17 2014
Those who have read one or more of Sylvia Ann Hewlett's previously published books (notably When the Bough Breaks, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets, and Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor) already know that she is among the most intelligent, sensitive, intuitive, and practical business thinkers within subject areas that range from talent evaluation to organizational transformation. Her focus in her latest book, Executive Presence, is of special interest to me because, for more than 30 years, I have worked with corporate clients to help accelerate the development of talent needed at all levels and in all areas of their operations. I am already well aware of the importance of what she characterizes as the three pillars of executive presence (EP):

o How you act (gravitas)
o How you speak (communication)
o How you look (appearance)

Fair or not, more often than not, candidates for a position who have less merit but greater EP have a decisive competitive advantage over candidates with greater merit but lesser EP. "The amazing thing about EP is that it's a precondition for success whether you're a cellist, a salesperson, or a Wall Street banker." Hewlett wrote this book to help her readers "crack the EP code." Although doing so "can be onerous and sometimes eats into your soul, this work and these struggles will allow you to flower and flourish. Once you've demonstrated that you know how to stand with the crowd, you get to strut your stuff and stand apart. It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinges on what makes you different, not what makes you the same as everyone else."

I agree while presuming to add that many people (I among them) have never been comfortable with developing EP. In fact, as Hewlett explains in her exceptionally interesting Prologue, she had the same problem while attempting to gain admission to "Oxbridge" (she was accepted by Cambridge) and later when she began her first job as an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College. Over time, both she and I have learned how to present ourselves more effectively. If we can develop some EP, almost anyone else can...if doing so serves their purposes. Hermits have no need for EP.

Clearly, Hewlett agrees with Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." The self-development program she recommends in this book can help a person to reveal more effectively who they genuinely are and suggest who they can become. Authentic (key word) qualities of character connote gravitas, "that weightiness or heft that marks you as worth following into the fire. Gravitas is the very essence of FP. Without it, you simply won't be perceived as a leader, no matter what your title or level of authority, no matter how well you dress or speak. Gravitas, according to 62 percent of the leaders we [at the Center for Talent Innovation in NYC that she founded] surveyed, is what signals to the world that you're made of the right stuff and can be trusted with serious responsibility."

With all due respect to the power of charisma, some of the most evil leaders throughout history possessed it, as did some of the most highly-principled leaders. Frankly, I've always thought that charisma resembles an expensive fragrance: it smells great but don't drink it. There can be no authentic EP without gravitas but that is only one of the three "pillars." Hewlett also explains how to communicate much more effectively, to become more presentable, and in this instance I am again reminded of a Passage in Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." I'm sure that many agnostics and atheists see the need to increase their EP.

Brilliantly, Hewlett explains both how and why.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of her coverage.

o Cracking the EP Code (Pages 5-10)
o The Right Stuff (15-18)
o Speaking Truth to Power (25-27)
o How to Deepen Your Gravitas (39-44)
o Command a Room (54-60)
o How to Polish our Communication Skills (74-77)
o Enhancing Appearance: Tactics (100-105)
o Difficult Conversations -- But Extraordinarily Important (111-113)
o Tactics: How to Get the EP Feedback You Need (116-122)
o A Narrow Band of Acceptability (128-131)
o Gravitas (138-142)
o Bleached-Out Professionals (149-156)
o Tactics: Authenticity vs. Conformity (158-164)
o Understand the Diversity Dividend (165-167)

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is convinced (and I agree) that ordinary mortals can crack the EP code and master the skills that will "let their light shine before men." That light will be powered by gravitas. Also, she urges her reader to be reasonable about making whatever changes in attitude and behavior mazy be necessary to increase EP. Being yourself can be both good news and bad news. What's the point of continuing to be an authentic jerk? A constant whiner?

And I presume to add one more point: Developing EP is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. (Hewlett calls it a "journey.") Be flexible, be resilient...and above all else, be patient but committed. Bon voyage!

The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator's Guide to Creativity
The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator's Guide to Creativity
by Marty Neumeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.29
29 used & new from CDN$ 12.90

5.0 out of 5 stars How to become - if not a genius - at least someone who thinks more creatively and enjoys life more, indeed much more, June 12 2014
I have read and reviewed all of Marty Neumeier's previously published books and consider his latest, The 46 Rules of Genius, the most important...thus far...because it will have wider and deeper impact. How so? Neumeier agrees with Tom and David Kelley (among others) that almost anyone can think more creatively if (HUGE "if") they are determined to think more creatively about how they think.

In his recent book, Metaskills, he identified and examined five talents that people need to develop in order to thrive "in an age of increasing man-machine collaboration." They are "feeling, or empathy, and intuition; seeing, or systems thinking; dreaming, or applied imagination; making, or design talent; and learning. None of these needs a high I.Q. What they need is a high regard for creativity." The 46 rules are creative rules. "They're general guidelines to help you envision, invent, contribute, and grow."

It is noteworthy that Rule 1 is "Break the Rules," hence a paradox: "Here's how to resolve the Genius Paradox:

1. React to the rules by embracing them or breaking them.
2. Observe the results.
3. Rewrite the rules from your own experience.

"You'll find there ARE rules for creativity -- YOUR rules. They may not be the ones that others follow but they'll be true and useful to you."

Neumeier carefully organizes and presents his information, insights, and counsel within four Parts, each of which poses a critically important question that many (if not most) of his readers have and to which he then responds:

1. How can I innovate?
2. How should I work?
3. How can I learn?
4. How can I matter?

He includes an observation by Arthur Schopenhauer with which I wholly agree: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see."

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which merchants offer fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now offer additional excerpts that suggest the thrust and flavor of Neumeier's thinking:

o "Caution: The 46 Rules of Genius is not for everyone, for the simple reason that not everyone can be a genius. This is not usually a failing of native intelli9gence. It is more likely a lack of (a) will, or (b) skill." From the preface, "What Is a Genius?" (Page 21)

o "The framework [of a problem] is the boundary drawn around it. the 'rope of scope' that keeps it from sprawling to infinity. It narrows the focus, suggests a direction for the work, limits the investment, and determines how success is measured. If the framework is wrong, everything else will be wrong." (23)

o "Too much freedom can lead to mediocrity. Why? Because without boundaries there's no incentive to break through them. A real genius has no difficulty redefining a brief or defying convention. It's second nature. But give a creative person too much freedom, and you'll get a final product that's over-designed, over-worked, over-budget, and under-focused. The greatest gift you can give a genius is limitation, not license." (26)

o "The 'dragon pit' is the gap between WHAT IS and WHAT COULD BE. It's a space filled with discomfort, darkness, and doubt. Most people would rather grab the first rope thrown to them -- WHAT IS -- rather than stay and fight the dragon guarding WHAT COULD BE. But WHAT COULD BE is where the ideas are. A genius is someone who can tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty, while generating as many ideas as possible." (31)

o "Learning to learn is a metaskill -- a skill applied to itself. It multiplies your knowledge and accelerates your progress. When you learn to be your own teacher, you can acquire any skill you put your mind to. You can quickly build a new skill on the roof of the last one. You can move laterally from one skill to the next by bringing deeply understood principles to related disciplines. The ability to direct your learning is personal growth squared." (79)

o "Without the skills of your craft, you might be able to come up original ideas. But you'd have difficulty making your ideas stick -- demonstrating, developing, testing, and sharing them. Skills bridge the gap between thinking and making. There are no skills without practice -- practice is the exercise gym of genius." (110)

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye throughout Marty Neumeier's thoughtful and eloquent narrative and, obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of his coverage. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of him and his work. His latest book is another brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy
Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Here’s an “owner’s manual for having a more successful life” on the job, at home, and everywhere else., June 11 2014
Many years ago, I realized that people cannot control the future but they can control how they respond to what happens in the future. This insight led to two separate but related conclusions: Most limits are self-imposed, and, What our life becomes is largely the result of the decisions we make. These remarks serve as an introduction to my thoughts about Own Your Future. It was written by Paul B. Brown with Charles F. Kiefer and Leonard A. Schlesinger and focuses on valuable life and work lessons that can be learned from "the best entrepreneurs": those who have launched or re-launched successful companies.

Time-Out: Ted Turner did not launch Turner Advertising Company; he saved it after his father's suicide. I think he is among the greatest entrepreneurs in business history. Those who have "learned about navigating uncertainty in order to increase the odds for success" in their personal and professional lives, as Brown characterizes it, include but are by no means limited to founders of start-ups.

Brown suggests this formula (i.e. ALBR) for success ("if there is one") in the book's Introduction: "Figure out "what you truly want to do. Then, once you know: Act, Learn. Then Build (off of what you find). And then Repeat (the process)." This is what successful entrepreneurs do. "After all, there is nothing more uncertain than starting a business, and these people have done it successfully. What has worked for them will work for" those who are unwilling and/or unable to launch a business of their own. My own opinion is the material in this book will be of greatest interest and value to those who are currently unemployed or underemployed.

These are among the subjects discussed in the book that are of greatest interest to me:

o How and why so many companies and even industries as well as jobs no longer exist
o The worker skills and talents companies will always need
o How and why six hours a day (about 300 a year) should be devoted to career planning
o More, much more than networking is necessary, indeed imperative
o The value of developing an entrepreneur's risk-averse mindset
o How to test and then validate or reject or modify a career or job "possibility"
o Why becoming and then remaining employed is a never-ending process

My own experience suggests that changing a career (which I have done five times) is far more complicated and more difficult than changing a job. Also, if at all possible, retain your current job until you can replace it with another. Finally, if out of work, becoming employed is a FULL-TIME job.

These are among the lessons that Brown, Kiefer, and Schlesinger learned from dozens of interviews and additional research.

1. Entrepreneurs don't like risk (much less seek it out) but realize that there really is a correlation between risk and reward. They are especially adept at minimizing risk without being risk-averse. They are bold but not reckless, prudent but not timid. They tend to make excellent decisions based on the best information they can obtain. They are masters of "Ready. Aim. Fire!"

2. They seldom (if ever) fall victim to paralysis by analysis. As indicated, they work hard and smart when making a decision and then are aggressive. They pounce on real rather than self-delusional opportunities. They also realize that, sometimes, making no decision is the best decision. According to the lyrics of Don Schlitz's popular song, they know "when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

3. They are firm believers in taking "baby steps," mini-initiatives that Peter Sims advocates in his brilliant book Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. "They follow this Act. Learn. Build. Repeat. model until they either achieve what they want, decide it can't be done, or choose to do something else." It is worth noting that leaders in almost all of the companies ranked the most innovative, however those companies may be in most respects, advocate a "fail fast and learn fast" process.

Everyone who reads this book will find something of substantial value. And again, a point that is made frequently in the narrative: a person doesn't have to launch a new company qualify as an entrepreneur, although Ted Turner certainly does. Nor does a person have to be a corporate executive to think like an entrepreneur. People will own their future only to the extent they develop -- and then -- apply that mindset. Thomas Edison said it best long ago: "Vision without execution is hallucination."

Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business
Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business
Price: CDN$ 17.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Here's a multi-dimensional paradigm shift that will become a tsunami,, June 10 2014
Where to begin? This book covers so much and covers it so well that I find it difficult to decide how to proceed. Mark van Rijmenam's objective is provide the information, insights, and counsel that business leaders need to develop and then implement an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy for their business. As he observes, "Big Data is changing how organizations operate and are managed. It also changes how society works and how consumers live. The impact of Big Data on society will be big, but it remains to be seen how society will impact Big Data." With regard to Big Data trends that all executives need to understand, he identifies and examines seven:

1. The Mobile Revolution: Each day, millions of new people worldwide become connected via computers and smartphones. "In addition, the rise in tablet sales is enormous. Mobile devices require a different approach when dealing with Big Data."

2. Real-time Big Data's Value to Organizations: "The ability to analyze terabytes of data from various sources is interesting and can provide lots of insights, but analyzing terabytes of data the moment they are created anywhere in the world offers even greater possibilities."

3. "The Internet of Things": This is probably the biggest trend, the most significant trend within Big Data. "When we connect the unconnected, completely new possibilities will arise that were previously never thought of. In such a misconnected world, even the smallest things will have big implications."

4. The Quantified Self: "The quantified-self movement is to consumers what Big Data is to organizations. Not only do organizations want to know what is going on, consumers also want to know what they are doing and how they can improve their behavior."

5. Big Social Data: Big social data focus "focuses on the vast amounts of data created on social networks. There are hundreds of social websites that continue to increase in membership. All those members generate massive amounts of data that can be analyzed by companies to provide additional insights."

6. Access to Public Data: "The availability of public data is a trend that cannot -- must not -- be underestimated. Governments around the world are seeing the advantages of Big Data. They are opening up databases that were funded with public money."

7. Potentialities of Gamification: These "can help organizations generate vast amounts of data in a user-friendly and engaging environment." Later, observes, "The gamification of business is not just a tool for effective marketing campaigns. Gamification will revolutionize the way organizations connect with consumers, and it will create extremely valuable Big Data that can enhance a company's database."

"Normally, trends last only a few years. While Big Data is the megatrend [or paradigm shift], these seven trends form a crucial part of how organizations should address the challenge of Big Data. They will continue to exist in the coming decade and should form n important consideration in creating any Big Data strategy."

And with regard to generic big data uses and benefits that all organizations need, he identifies eight:

1. Truly get to know your customers, all of them and in real time.
2. Co-create, improve, and innovate your products in real time.
3. Determine the nature and extent of risk that your organization faces.
4. Personalize your website and pricing in real time toward individual customers.
5. Improve your service support for customers.
Note: If you want them to become "evangelists," this is the best way to achieve that.
6. Find new markets and new business opportunities by combining your own with public data.
7. Better understand your competitors and, more importantly, stay ahead of them.
8. Organize tour company's operations much more effectively, and save money.

"Of course, these generic uses are just a small indication of the massive possibilities of Big Data, but it shows that Big Data provides endless opportunities to add business value and help you stand out from your competition. Each organization has different needs and will require a specific Big Data approach."

He includes mini-case studies of companies that illustrate Big Data applications from which valuable lessons can be learned. They include, in alpha order, Amazon, Apple, Catalyst IT, John Deere, Disney, Nike, Hertz, Morgan Stanley, TomTom, and Zynga.

This book will be of special interest and benefit to those who are eager to learn how Big Data can help their companies to create or increase demand for what they offer. More specifically, The material in Think Bigger will help them to find new markets and leads: What are people saying and looking for, what are they thinking, who are they, and how can this result in finding new markets?

o Drive repeat sales: Recommendation engines and how knowing you customer results in more personalized sales.

o Reduce prospect research time: Time is important in making a sale. Faster response times can improve your conversion rates.

o Predict future sales: Which areas are important, and, how can you combine data to predict sales?

These are among the dozens of other business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of van Rijmenam's coverage.

o The Seven Vs (Pages 5-12)
o Eight Realities of Big Data You Should Already Know (12-17)
o Four Guidelines Organizations Should Follow When Using On-the-Go Data (30-31)
o The Internet of Things (36-43)
o Gamification (53-56)
o Big Data Tools and Types of Analysis (62-69)
o Big Data Ethics (80-85)
o Key Characteristics of Information-Centric Organizations (96-98)
o Big Data Roadmap (123-127)
o Big Data by Industry: Consumer Goods: (157-161)
o Big Data by Industry: Education (161-165)
o Big Data by Industry: Financial Services (169-174)
o Big Data by Industry: Manufacturing (185-189)
o Big Data by Industry: Retail (207-211)
o Big Data by Industry: The Future of Business Analytics (227-231)

I agree with Mark van Rijmenam that the future of Big Data is unsure, as the Big Data era is unfolding. "It is clear, however, that future changes will transform organizations and societies. Hopefully, this book made clear that Big Data is here to stay, and organizations will have to adapt to the new paradigm....Therefore, start developing your Big Data strategy, as there is no time to waste if your organization also wants to provide products and services in the upcoming Big Data era. Good luck!"

I add my own good wishes to his while presuming to suggest two other points. First, everyone involved in formulating and then executing an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy must have developed a Big Data mindset, one that can accommodate the eight realities discussed in Chapter 2. Also, leaders in companies that embark on that process must think in terms of resource investments rather than costs and those resources include hours as well as dollars. The worst Big Data mistakes tend to be going cheap and/or underutilization. In this context I am again reminded of Derek Bok's response when president of Harvard and besieged by irate parents after a tuition increase: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

Management (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
Management (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
by Brian Tracy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 10.76
31 used & new from CDN$ 2.73

5.0 out of 5 stars "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." Peter Drucker, June 9 2014
This is one of the volumes in The Brian Tracy Success Library. Thus far, the others focus on motivation, negotiation, time management, and leadership, all published by AMACOM. Tracy has already written one or more books of greater length and depth that examine these and other major business subjects. What he has now done with each of the volumes in the series is to condense consummate skill the most valuable information, insights, and counsel within a 100-page format, in this instance the most valuable lessons he has learned about management.

Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers essentials that include how to delegate productively, eliminate distractions and concentrate attention on high-payoff activities, identify key result areas, hire and fire effectively, build a staff of peak performers, hold meetings that work, foster team spirit, communicate with clarity, set the right example, and make sound decisions quickly. He selected 21 specific subjects or themes and devotes a separate chapter to each. These are management capabilities that must be developed at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

I was especially interested in what he has to say about one especially important dimension of management: Building peak performers. According to Tracy, "Psychologists have identified seven key managerial behaviors or conditions that you can create to motivate [or inspire to self-motivate] the people under your direct control, in turn raising their self-esteem and increasing their performance."

1. Challenge Them: "The number one desire of people in the workplace is work that is interesting, meaningful, and draws upon the very best talents they have. People want to feel challenged and full engaged in their work."

2. Give Them Freedom: "People enjoy and appreciate having a maximum of freedom to do their jobs. Managers should constantly practice giving each individual as much freedom as possible to achieve an agreed-upon goal.

Note: In 1924, William L. McKnight (then chairman and CEO of 3M), observed, "If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need."

3. Give Them Respect: "People have a great need to be respected by other people whose opinions they value, especially their bosses. Employees need to be able to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns to their boss -- and they need to feel that the boss genuinely respects their ideas, whether or not the boss accepts or agrees with them."

4. The Friendship Factor: "People like to work for and with others they think care about them as individuals. You express warmth when you ask people for their opinions or judgment. You convey warmth to your staff members when you talk to them and ask them questions about non-work issues, such as sports and hobbies."

5. Keep in Touch: "Assigning someone a job and then forgetting about it is much more demoralizing to that person than if you give an assignment and then regularly check in with the worker. The more you check on the performance of a person completing an assigned task, the more that person feels that the job is important -- and, therefore, the person is important as well." But careful not to hover. There is a world of difference between being interested and being concerned.

6. Let Them Win: "Whenever you assign tasks that your employees can do well, and then they complete them, they have a success experience and feel like winners."

7. Expect the Best: This is one of the most powerful of all tools and techniques to raise self-esteem and self-confidence in others. When you express confidence in your staff members, they will usually do everything possible to show you that you are right."

And here's his final thought in Chapter Nine: "Make it clear that you believe in your people. Tell them that you believe in them. Even if you are not quite sure, pretend a little. Your positive expectations of other people will seldom lead to improvement."

I presume to add a thought of my own: The best managers have self-discipline sufficient to managing themselves effectively. Only then can they manage can they earn others respect and trust and only then can they manage them effectively.

* * *

This brief samples is representative of the quality of information, insights, and counsel that Brian Tracy provides throughout this volume. Bravo!

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help as many people as possible to achieve their personal and business goals faster and easier than they ever imagined. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his Amazon website.

How I Did It: Lessons from the Front Lines of Business
How I Did It: Lessons from the Front Lines of Business
by Harvard Business Review
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.56
31 used & new from CDN$ 14.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting-edge perspectives on the unique leadership challenges at the CEO-level, June 9 2014
There were 14 editors involved with these essays, written by 34 CEOs, originally published in the Harvard Business Review column. They were copy edited by Martha Spaulding and Daniel McGinn then edited the material for this collection. The essays are organized within six key business areas such as "Telling the Right Story" and "Finding a Strategy That Works." According to the Editors in the Introduction, "The essays in this book are singular contributions to this tradition [of wisdom-based decision making]. Like case studies, they take readers inside the C-suite, but they go further, giving inside detail and perspective about the decisions made by the chief executives themselves -- told in their own words."

With regard to the collection's title, the CEOs share a wealth of information, insights, and counsel how and why they have been able to make the most difficult, therefore most important decisions for their respective companies. However different these leaders may be in many (if not most) respects, they seem to share (at least to me) several defining characteristics.

o They ask the right questions and listen intently
o Welcome, indeed demand principled dissent
o Thrive on challenges
o Are impatient with -- rather than intimidated by -- ambiguity
o Are results-driven
o Encourage and reward productive collaboration at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise
o Possess superior decision-making skills
o Focus on a problem's root(s) rather than on its symptoms
o Celebrate others' achievements
o Are leaders "for all seasons"
o Agree with Thomas Edison: "Vision without execution is hallucination"
o And with Peter Drucker: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

Prominent contributors include

o Angela Ahrendts, "Turning an Aging British Icon into a Global Luxury Brand" (Burberry)
o Tony Hsieh, "Going to Extremes for Customers" (Zappos)
o Jeffrey Immelt, "Sparking an American Manufacturing Renewal" (GE)
o Anne Mulcahy, "Why Succession Shouldn't Be a Horse Race" (Xerox)
o Vincent Nayar, "Persuading His Team to Leap into the Future" (HCL Technologies)
o Eric Schmidt, "The Enduring Lessons of a Quirky IPO" (Google)

It is important to keep in mind that these essays are personal accounts that, as a result of brilliant editing, seem to be direct responses to a reader's question, "How did you do it?" For example:

To Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Angelo American plc: "How did you create safer working conditions for Angelo American employees?"

To Daniel P. Amos, CEO of Aflac: "How did the noisy duck increase and enhance visibility and recognition for Aflac?"

To Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel and chairman of Satya Capital: "How did you create a telecom infrastructure in Africa from scratch?"

To Ellen Kullman, chair and CEO of DuPont: "How did you respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with the $7-billion acquisition of Denmark's Danisco?"

To Andrew C. Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings: "How did you do ensure that the acquisitions of Alamo and National would be cordial rather than hostile?"

You get the idea. In fact, I suggest to those who read this book for the first time that they begin each essay with two separate but related questions in mind: What were the difficult objectives to achieve? and How did you and your associates do it?

I presume to add that second question because, as indicated in one of Tom Davenport's recent books, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer "an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance": [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, "the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control."

All of the CEOs who contributed essays to this volume would be the first to point out that, with all due respect to importance of makes especially difficult decisions, these decisions have little (if any) value unless and until effectively and productively implemented. That means but-in and commitment at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. For that reason, this volume could have just as easily be titled How We Did It.

Once again, I am reminded of my favorite passage in Lao-tse's Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

by Sophia Amoruso
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.44
34 used & new from CDN$ 14.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a personal memoir in the picaresque tradition, June 6 2014
This review is from: #GIRLBOSS (Hardcover)
Some readers could be deterred by a writing style that may seem to resemble narcissism on steroids. Other readers who are not put off by the constant self-references (there are almost 50 in her brief Chronology) and melodramatic assertions (e.g. "The only thing I smoke is the competition") will find remarkable wisdom as well as candor in Sophia Amoruso's lively discussion of the various stages of her personal growth and professional development...thus far.

She certainly learned her lessons the hard way. Her epiphany or turning point occurred in Seattle when she was arrested for shoplifting: "Getting caught stealing was the straw that broke the getaway camel's back...I eventually came to terms with the fact that living free doesn't always mean living well, and there are certain truths I had to reckon with. I was starting to realize that Liked and wanted nice things, and if stealing wasn't going to enable me to get them, I was going to have to try something almost too conventional for me -- getting another job." That was in 2005. Today, she is the 30-year-old CEO of a $100-million-plus business, Nasty Gal, that has a fifty-thousand-square-foot office in Los Angeles, a distribution and fulfillment center in Kentucky, and three hundred and fifty employees.

These are among the subjects of greatest interest to me:

o The nature and extent of influence that her childhood had on her adolescence
o The impact of her parents' divorce (2001)
o The life lessons learned while living in Seattle
o Why and how Amoruso launched Nasty Girl Vintage (2006)
o The most valuable business lessons learned since then
o The extent to which her life prior to 2006 helps to explain the company's success
o The most valuable lessons that females (i.e. #GIRLBOSS wannbes) will learn from her experiences
o Material that will also be of interest and value to a #BOYBOSS or a male who aspires to become one

The nine "Portraits of a #GIRLBOSS" provide some of the most interesting material in the book: Christina Ferruci, Buying Director of Nasty Gal (Pages 48-50); Madeline Poole,, @MPnails (72-74); Alexi Wasser,, @imboycrazy (96-98); Norma Kamali, Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur (146-147); Christene Barberich, Refinery29 Editor in Chief (175-177); Jenné Lombardo, Founder of the Terminal Presents,, @JenneLombardo (197-199); Leandra Medine, and author of Seeking Love, Finding Overalls (213-215); and Ashley Glorioso, Senior Stylist at Nasty Gal (228-231).

This material serves to support one of Sophia Amoruso's themes throughout her book: there is no one profile or job description for a #GIRLBOSS. This emphasis on individuality is probably what Oscar Wilde had in mind when suggesting, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."

The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business To Win in the Mobile Moment
The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business To Win in the Mobile Moment
Price: CDN$ 4.26

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the entrepreneurial mindset is uniquely capable of exploiting and creating the mobile mind shift, June 5 2014
According to co-authors Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, and Julie Ask, "The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context [i.e. time of day and location] and moments of need." Moreover, "A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context." A rapidly increasing number of buyers have that expectation and thus it is imperative for sellers to formulate and then implement a strategy that will accommodate that expectation. "Serving customers with mobile is easy to imagine, but very difficult to achieve. Why? Because your company and its processes and information systems were never designed with mobile moments in mind. Your technology is too rigid, your processes too linear, and your organization too siloed. The expectation of customers in their mobile moments massively disrupts these well-intentioned but calcified ways of doing business."

What to do? How to re-engineer one's business to win in the mobile moment? Schadler, Bernoff, and Ask wrote this book in response to this question. They provide a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that are based on real-world experience (for better or worse) from which valuable business lessons have been learned. For example, these are the mini-case studies that Schadler, Bernoff, and Ask include:

o How Walgreens Turned Mobile Influence into Cross-Channel Revenue (Pages 70-71)
o Trane's Sales Partners, Armed with Tablets, Close Business Faster (76-78)
o Clorox Manufactures Moments by Fighting Stains (89)
o Coca-Cola Borrows Its Mobile Moments in China (93-94)
o Withings and a Host of Developers Create Mobile Wellness Moments (104-107)
o How Phillips Develops Products with Engagement Built In (107-108)
o The Clear Benefits of Mobile-Enhanced Streetlights (110-111)
o Hailo Connects Taxi Drivers to Passengers in a Mobile Moment (117-119)
o Flipboard Renders Beautiful Magazines Complete with Full-Color Ads (121-123)
o Vodaphone Delivers Mobile Payment Services to Herders in Africa (125-126)
o Evernote Plugs an App Gap in Note Taking (137)
o Concur Engages Business Travelers on a Cloud Technology Platform (153-154)
o Chinese Realtor Anjuke Creates More Leads through Better Analytics (160-161)
o Making Delta Flight Attendants As Empowered As Their Customers (177-179)
o How IHG's Mobile Team Succeeds with Agile Development (191-192)
o The Role of the Mobile Center of Excellence (195-198)

Granted, these are all large organizations with abundant resources. However, there are lessons to be learned from their initiatives that can be of substantial value to small-to-midsize companies.

The mobile mind shift is best viewed as an on-going process rather than as an ultimate destination or single event. As Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, and Julie Ask correctly observe, "Ten years from now, any business not built on mobile moments will seem as outdated as a cassette player," if indeed that company even exists at all. Hence the importance of mastering the skills needed to complete not one but a series of IDEA cycles. Everyone involved in that process must therefore develop a mobile mindset, one that is ever alert for opportunities to design the mobile engagement within an appropriate context (i.e. platforms, processes, and people) and then evaluate results and make necessary modifications so that subsequent mobile moments have much greater impact. "The mobile mind shift will rock your world. It's inevitable. The only question is whether you or someone else will do it first."

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20