Quite by accident, I stumbled upon a cache of videos that brilliantly dramatize the key pounts in major works of authors who include David Allen (Getting Things Done), Jeanne Liedtka (The Catylyst), Chester Elkin (The Carrot Principle), Jason Jennings (Hit the Ground Running), Tim Sanders (Saving the World), and Norm Brodsky (The Knack).
What makes this discovery even more amazing is that the videos are featured by BNET, The CBS Interactive Network of business resources. I subscribe to its online newsletter and have blogged about many of the articles it has featured.
David Allen is the patron saint of personal productivity. Find out how he can help you get things done. If you’re not familiar with David Allen, you’ll probably be hearing more about him soon. Allen is a personal-productivity expert with legions of fans and a bestselling book under his belt, and he’s poised to break through to mainstream corporate America. In the meantime, his GTD (Getting Things Done) program is already changing the way people think about work flow. BNET explored the Allen mythos to find out who he is and why his followers swear by his techniques. We also explain how to get started using his program, talk to Allen himself, and interview three senior managers who use GTD to make their staffs more productive. Update: CNET interviewed David Allen at the 2007 Under the Radar conference.
To check out the Allen “Book Brief,” please click here.
To check out one or more of the other 45 “Book Brief” videos, please click here.
Please click here to visit the BNET homepage at which you can check out all of the vauable resources it provides and sign up for the free subscription to its online newsletter.
Billy Graham is now 91-years-old with Parkinson’s disease. In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. He hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, “We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.” So he agreed.
After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, ”I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the “Man of the Century.” Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
“It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
“The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’
“Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
“The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’ Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Having said that Billy Graham continued,
“See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.
“You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried.
“But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing.
“I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.”
Holiday Wishes: May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door.
Many of us agree with Billy Graham: “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.”
Form Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church, from a conference in 2007:
“Is your learning band width getting wider or narrower as you mature as a leader… Expand your learning band width.”
The point is simple: learn from many, from multiple backgrounds, even from those you might not agree with on certain issues. A leader must continue, continually, to be a learner…
(Bill Hybels said this in the midst of a 7-minute presentation that you can watch here).
Here is another outstanding interview in the McKinsey Conversations with Global Leaders series. To watch the conversation in a video interactive, or download a PDF of the transcript, please click here.
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Schlumberger’s CEO reflects on the future of oil, the importance of investing in R&D, and the lessons he’s learned about leading a borderless company.
Source: Operations Practice
Andrew Gould, CEO of oil-field services giant Schlumberger, presides over 80 offices worldwide and a company that, as he describes it, has no national identity. In this video, the latest in our interview series McKinsey conversations with global leaders, Gould shares his views on why leading such a global company successfully requires a belief in meritocracy and equal opportunity across geographies, why oil production will remain strong despite the rise of alternative energies, and why science and innovation form the bedrock of Schlumberger. Ivo Bozon, a director in McKinsey’s Amsterdam office, conducted the interview.
There’s Still Time To Register For This Friday’s First Friday Book Synopsis – Where Good Ideas Come From & Doing Both
Our monthly event, the First Friday Book Synopsis, is this Friday.
We meet at the Park City Club at 7:00 am, close to the intersection of Northwest Highway and the Tollway. Great networking, great food – and both books are definitely worth your time. Both Bob Morris and I have multiple blog posts prompted by Steven Johnsons’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. Bob Morris just posted his review of Doing Both. Read it here.
Just click here to register for Friday. I hope you can join us.
One of the most self-defeating mindsets is suggested by the admonition, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Obviously there are situations when there are two options that are mutually-exclusive. However, most of the time, when facing a choice, it is a mistake to select only one and dismiss all others. Inder Sidhu does not advocate “a balanced compromise between two objectives, but a mutually reinforcing multiplier in which each side makes the other better.” He cites comments included in Built to Last (1994) co-authored by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras when discussing a highly visionary company “that doesn’t want to blend yin and yang into a gray indistinguishable circle that is neither highly yin nor highly yang; it aims to be distinctly yin and distinctly yang – both at the same time, all the time. Irrational? Perhaps. Rare? Yes. Difficult? Absolutely.”
Sidhu devotes the bulk of his lively narrative to explaining how exemplar companies such as Apple, BYD, Cisco, GE, Google, IBM, and Procter & Gamble achieve these strategic objectives:
• Improving the core business while conducting disruptive innovation
• Strengthening current account relationships while adding new ones
• Fine-tuning what is done well while transforming or eliminating what isn’t
• Creating customer evangelists while creating steadfast partners
• Thriving on “Main Street” while exploring “the road less traveled”
• Doing it right and doing what is right (i.e. what matters)
Obviously, doing both (of whatever) is not always possible or, when possible, advisable. Also, any lessons learned from the exemplar companies such as those Sidhu examines (especially Cisco) must be modified to accommodate the specific needs and resources of much smaller organizations.
With all due respect to the value of these lessons, I think the single greatest benefit of this book is the mindset it can help its reader to develop. Although Sidhu does not cite them and their books, he has clearly been influenced (albeit indirectly) by business thinkers such as Henry Chesbrough (Open Innovation and Open Business Models) and Roger Martin (The Opposable Mind) as well as Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouilllart (The Power of Co-Creation). Their major recommendations track almost seamlessly with Sudhu’s own:
1. Be open-minded to possibilities, whenever/wherever they occur
2.Respect and examine those that are plausible, especially if unorthodox
3. Seek out collaborations that are mutually-beneficial
4. Welcome each “failure” as a precious learning opportunity
5. Juxtapose (for rigorous scrutiny) contradictory ideas and options
6. Embrace change as an ally, not as a threat
7. Achieve constant improvement with a discovery-driven process
8. Welcome and support principled dissent
9. Cultivate and nourish an insatiable appetite for learning
10. Challenge what James O’Toole characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom”
I also highly recommend the aforementioned books by Chesbrough, Martin, and Ramaswamy and Gouilllart as well as Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, Henry Mintzberg’s Management? It’s Not What You Think!, and The Talent Masters co-authored by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.
Here is an article written by Joanne Cleaver for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
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Girlfriend, your business is not about you. It’s about your customers.
That’s the hard lesson that a lot of women business owners are learning as the recovery sputters. The Center for Women’s Business Research just released its biennial survey of what’s going on in the heads of women business owners. (To be fair, the survey is sponsored by Key Bank.)
Turns out that women business owners are hoping for cheerier times, just like most small business owners.
http://www.nfib.com/Portals/0/PDF/sbet/sbet201011.pdfThey’re feeling better about next year because they are seeing the results of tough decisions made this year. Over half either have just raised prices or are about to. Meanwhile, 41% drove a sales increase. But just as many – 38% - reaped a gain in net earnings, as saw a drop – 39%.
My conclusion: the recession has sobered up many women who started their own companies giddy with the prospect of having a lifestyle business. Their initial ambition was personal self-direction and to get away from The Man. But then they discovered that there’s always a Man. He’s the customer. You are not in business unless you work for him. In fact, if you’re a successful entrepreneur, you replace one Man with lots of Men. (Yes, yes, of course I know that women are clients and customers too. Just stick with the metaphor, ok?) That means you have to sharpen your pencil and fine-tune your returns.
Easy growth can mask sloppy management. The low tide of a recession exposes that.
A separate survey, conducted earlier this year by Guardian Life, found that in companies of up to nine employees, everything revolves around the owner.
That is not a recipe for growth. The Guardian survey found that at companies with fewer than 10 employees, the focus was ‘just trying to maintain business as usual.” If your vision is limited to your immediate circle, and if your ideas are so big that you can continue to raise your own roof and do it all yourself, then you might achieve a tidy income being the sun in your own little solar system.
But if you are looking to build a bigger solar system, you will quickly find that your staff must take on roles that do more than support you. At companies with 50 to 99 employees, half of the owners in the Guardian survey reported that their main focus was growth. Which explains why surviving a recession separates the women from the girls.
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Since 1981, Joanne Cleaver has been reporting on all aspects of business for national and regional newspapers, magazines and websites. Numerous magazine and industry “best employers for women” lists use the equity index she developed to rank companies according to the presence (or not) of women in their executive ranks. She also leads the research firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., where her team measures and supports the advancement of women in accounting, cable, finance and other industries. Yes, she has an opinion: that when women fully engage in all business operations, companies will make more money in more ways.