Actually, what Carmine Gallo examines with both rigor and eloquence are no longer “secrets,” nor are they insights of proprietary significance to Steve Jobs. On Pages 10-11, Gallo identifies and briefly discusses the seven principles in his book. For example, #1: “Do What You Love,” a portion of Teresa Amabile’s admonition expressed in an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review, “do what you love and love what you do” (1993); as for #3, “Kick-Start Your Brain,” Doug Hall wrote a book, Jump Start Your Business Brain, that was published in 2001 and he claimed no authorship of that admonition.
My point is, the value of Gallo’s book is not based on any the head-snapping revelations it provides; rather, on the analysis he offers of a truly unique person who co-founded a truly unique organization, and who then established and nourished a culture within which innovative thinking continues to produce, in Jobs’s familiar words, “insanely great ideas.” Ironically, it is possible but unlikely that Jobs and Apple would have succeeded to the extent they later did were it not for the “insanely great ideas” that he and Steve Wozniak encountered during a visit to Xerox PARC in 1979. Long ago, Thomas Edison observed, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” An “insanely great” idea will not achieve “insanely great” breakthrough success without “insanely great” execution.
I also presume to assert that, with all due respect to Jobs, credit for the extraordinary success that Apple has achieved thus far must be shared by hundreds (if not thousands) of people who have been or are now centrally involved at every management level and in all areas of operations. It comes as no a surprise what the principles are that have driven Jobs but they have also served as also the values of the company’s culture. Gallo devotes a separate chapter to each of these principles/core values — citing hundreds sources and real-world examples – that reveal their impact on what is done and how it is done throughout the entire Apple organization. He concludes each of Chapters 2-15 with three “iLessons” that emphasis key points in the material just covered. For example, in Chapter 14, The World’s Greatest Corporate Storyteller:
1. Tell your story early and often. Make communication a cornerstone of your brand every day.
2. Make your brand story consistent across all platforms: presentations, website, advertising, marketing materials, social media.
3. Think differently about presentation style. Study Steve Jobs, read design books, and pay attention to awe-inspiring presentations and what makes them different from the average PowerPoint show. Everyone has room to raise the bar on delivering presentations, but rising to the challenge requires a dedicated commitment to improve and an open mind.
Note: In this same chapter (i.e. #14), Gallo also identifies and discusses Three Keys to Communicating Value and Seven Guidelines for Selling Your Ideas the Steve Jobs Way. Of course, potentially valuable as this and other material throughout the book may be, it remains for those to read it to summon or develop the skills required to put it to effective use.
I also recommend Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, Alan Deutschman’s The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, Leander Kahney’s Inside Steve’s Brain, Expanded Edition.
But there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit; there is no prosthetic for that.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman)
You can sense it everywhere. We are down, living in a down time. Our morale is not very high – in fact, it is very low. We are fragile.
We are worried. The economy is shaky. Our mood is sour. The recovery is uncertain, and feels uncertain. Jobs are not too plentiful. People are …insecure. We lack confidence.
In the midst of this “down time,” I have thought quite a bit about something I used to do in my old life. I spent the first chapter of my life in full time ministry. And for about a decade, I traveled the country speaking for a company specializing in “church growth,” trying to help churches grow in number (you know, get “bigger.”) I look back on those days with a lot of sad/mixed/unsure feelings.
Lately, I have been thinking about one of the presentations I made over and over again. It was “Building Morale in the Local Church.” It was adapted from work done by Dr. Charles Mylander. The handout for that presentation has long disappeared into the world of “I wonder where that went?” But I remember a few points, like: if people feel that their best days are behind them, then their best days are probably behind them. And if people believe that their best days are ahead of them, then there is a good chance that better days are ahead.
I was usually “hired” to give this presentation for older churches – churches that used to be bigger, with more people, especially more young families. Frequently, these congregations were sad; almost desperate. They wanted me to come in and give them an infusion of hope. It was not an easy assignment.
Consider these thoughts about church morale (I found it here):
When members are excited about the future of your church and overall morale in the congregation is high, it becomes much easier to achieve significant church growth. When people are unenthused about what is happening in your church, they are far less likely to invite their friends or to have the energy to engage in outreach efforts.
Well, this really is a transferable concept to the corporate and organizational world.
In a lot of companies, industries, regions, there is the worry that “our best days are behind us.”
I sat in Vail, Colorado with three remarkable women last Saturday. They represent some foundations that intend to put their resources into making education better – much better. They are starved for books and projects that provide actual solutions. They’ve heard just about all the descriptions of the problem that they care to hear. They know the problem — they want solutions! They hunger for optimism.
Don’t we all?
On the flight, I read a substantial portion of the fine book Freedom, Inc: Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth, by Brian M. Carney and Isaac Getz. Bob Morris gave me a copy, and told me that this was the best book he read the year it came out. Now, Bob reads a lot of books, so if this is the best one of the year, it is worth a look. And, it is good – really good.
Though the book is about corporate culture, building a company that really does flourish today and tomorrow, it has a lot to say about morale.
Low Morale, bad. Low morale = low energy, little hope, shrinking motivation.
High Morale, good. High morale = high energy, great hope, seemingly endless motivation.
Here’s a quote from the book, from a man named Dave Ward, a union official:”
“The company needs to get to the root of the problem, which is low morale…”
“No employee can do a good job if his manager is always glowering.” “Being in a good mood” would become one of the company’s four values. (Jean-Francois Zobrist, Favi)
The book has terrific suggestions: ”give people real freedom; trust them, actually trust them; don’t act like a police force…” the list is endless.
The obvious, central truth is that the people you have, and the “attitude” they have toward their work, make the difference. The right people, with the right attitude, and the freedom to act, all lead to success.
There is a lot of talk about “employee engagement.” I think employee engagement is the “how” — and when it is genuinely present, the outcome is high morale. If the people in your company have high morale, you have a better shot at a really great future. If your people have low morale… probably not so great a future.
Remember the Lieutenant Colonel’s warning:
But there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit; there is no prosthetic for that.
Here is an article written by Geoffrey James for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
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Most business books are mediocre; some are even useful. However, there are a few business books that are so idiotic in concept that it’s incredible that they got published. And there are also a few business books that got popular by encouraging toxic corporate and management behaviors.
This post contains my personal list of the worst business books I have ever seen or read. Some are famous, others obscure, but all of them are, IMHO, first class turkeys that would have been better left unpublished.
[All ten were on The New York Times bestseller list. Here are his first five. To read the complete article with his comments, click here.]
#10: Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for the Business Revolution (1993)
James Champy and Michael Hammer
The reengineering concept caught on like wildfire and when the dust settled, analysts and researchers concluded that few, if any, of the so-called reengineering efforts had a beneficial effect on the corporations that attempted them. Meanwhile, reengineering immediately became weasel-speak for downsizing, giving it respectability as a corporate strategy. Even today, companies use the term “reengineering” to justify eviscerating companies in order to jack up the stock price, while producing little or no lasting value
#9: Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership (1996)
Laurie Beth Jones
The real-life Jesus espoused a communal lifestyle with no private ownership of property. For over a thousand years, Christianity forbade the lending of money at interest, which is the soul of the business world. Since there’s no real meeting point between actual Christianity and the business world, all this book did was confirm the notion — already common among the ranks of top management — that the CEO should be treated like a god.
#8: The Fifth Generation: Artificial Intelligence and Japan’s Computer Challenge to the World (1983)
Edward A. Feigenbaum and Pamela McCorduck
This now-obscure text described how the Japanese government was investing hundreds of millions of dollars to create machines that could think and encouraged the U.S. to do the same. Japan’s AI investment turned out to be a monumental failure that consumed several billion dollars, channeling much of Japan’s high tech community into a technological dead end. Similar amounts of money invested in the United States (mostly in the form of private equity) similarly went down the toilet. Almost 30 years later, and strong AI (i.e. machines that emulate human intelligence) is no closer than it was back then.
#7: Radical E: From GE to Enron Lessons on How to Rule the Web (2001)
Joel Kurtzman and Glenn Rifkin
The authors must have excreted square pieces of adobe when Enron imploded a few months after they published this high tech manifesto. However, it wouldn’t have mattered much, since the book was full of recycled dot-com bromides and strategies that mostly didn’t pan out as the Internet outpaced the ability of most named companies to take advantages of the trends.
#6: Countdown Y2K: Business Survival Planning for the Year 2000 (1998)
Peter De Jager and Richard Bergeon
The Y2K turnover generated a slew of books, but this one was responsible for much of the Y2K overspending inside thousands of business. While Y2K bugs did exist, they were never a major threat requiring “survival”, as evidenced by the complete lack of the worldwide disasters that the authors predicted. In the end, companies wasted tens of billions of dollars on unneeded hardware and software upgrades, creating a dip in computer purchasing in the following years. That, combined with the crash of the dot-coms, helped propel the economy into a recession.
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Geoffrey James has sold and written hundreds of features, articles and columns for national publications including Wired, Men’s Health, Business 2.0, SellingPower, Brand World, Computer Gaming World, CIO, The New York Times and (of course) BNET. He is the author of seven books, including Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite (translated into seven languages and selected by four book clubs), and The Tao of Programming (widely quoted on the Web as a “canonical book of computer humor”.) He was also co-host of Funny Business, a program on New England’s largest all-talk radio station and has given seminars and keynotes at numerous corporations.
Here’s the latest list of Hardcover Business Best Sellers. The New York Times publishes this on the first weekend each month.
Here’s one observation – look at the how long a few of these have been on the list. The “champion” for the longevity prize has to be the Ferriss book, The 4-Hour Work Week, which came out in April, 2007. Gladwell’s Outliers came out in November, 2008. Both still on the best seller list. Amazing! Plenty of others from the list have been around quite some time!
|1||DELIVERING HAPPINESS, by Tony Hsieh. (Grand Central, $23.99.) Lessons from business (pizza place, worm farm, Zappos) and life. (†)|
|2||OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell. (Little, Brown, $27.99.) Why some people succeed — it has to do with luck and opportunities as well as talent — from the author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point.”|
|3||THE BIG SHORT, by Michael Lewis. (Norton, $27.95.) The people who saw the real estate crash coming and made billions from their foresight.|
|4||SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. (Broadway Business, $26.) How everyday people can effect transformative change at work and in life. (†)|
|5||THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, by Dave Ramsey (Thomas Nelson, $24.99.) Debt reduction and fiscal fitness for families, by the radio talk-show host. (†)|
|6||GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS, by Robert I. Sutton. (Business Plus, $23.99.) How great bosses differ from the just so-so, or worse. (†)|
|7*||THE MENTOR LEADER, by Tony Dungy. (Tyndale House, $24.99.) The former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team offers tips for helping to inspire growth. (†)|
|8||THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss. (Crown, $22.) Reconstructing your life so that it’s not all about work. (†)|
|9||THE ORANGE REVOLUTION, by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. (Free Press, $25.) A guide to building high-performance teams capable of transforming organizations. (†)|
|10*||STRENGTHS BASED LEADERSHIP, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. (Gallup, $24.95.) Three keys to being a more effective leader. (†)|
|11||AFTERSHOCK, by Robert B. Reich. (Knopf, $25.) Looking at the future of the United States economy, the Clinton-era labor secretary fears that inevitable national belt-tightening could trigger a political convulsion.|
|12||REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. (Crown Business, $22.) Counterintuitive rules for small-business success, like “Ignore the details early on” and “Good enough is fine.” (†)|
|13||DRIVE, by Daniel H. Pink. (Riverhead, $26.95.) What really motivates people is the quest for autonomy, mastery and purpose, not external rewards.|
|14||SUPERFREAKONOMICS, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $29.99.) A scholar and a journalist apply economic thinking to everything: the sequel.|
|15||THE ONE MINUTE NEGOTIATOR, by Don Hutson and George Lucas. (Berrett-Koehler, $21.95.) Simple steps for reaching better agreements. (†)|