After having read and reviewed so many business books, I now share brief comments about what I consider to be the 25 most valuable business insights and the books in which they are either introduced or (one man’s opinion) best explained. Here are 16-20.
16. PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT: First, determine which tasks are most important. Then, make performance expectations crystal clear to each of those whose performance will be measured. Next, co-determine with them what the metrics for measurement will be. Third and finally, review measurement data after 45-60 days and revise (if necessary) (a) performance expectations and/or (b) the criteria by which performance is measured.
Transforming Performance Measurement
Analytics at Work
Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris, and Robert Morison
17. PERSUASION: This is the art and science of convincing another person or persons to agree with what they are asked to think, believe, or do. The basic requirements include eloquence, conviction, logic, and clarity as well as sufficient information to justify the given proposition or action. The most persuasive people respond effectively to a question that may only be implicit: “What’s in it for me?” One of the most effective persuasion strategies is to appeal to enlightened self-interest.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
18. POWER: This is probably one of the most difficult terms to define because it has both positive and negative connotations and can be experienced in so many different dimensions (i.e. mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual). As Thoreau, Ghandi, and then Martin Luther King, Jr. suggest, non-violent resistance can have great power; we also know what other forms of power can do in response to that resistance.
Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t
The Elements of Power: Lessons on Leadership and Influence
Terry R. Bacon
19. PRODUCTIVITY: Get the most and best results from the least consumption resources (e.g. time, energy, materials). It is imperative to know what those desired results are, first. Otherwise, Peter Drucker’s observation applies: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Experts recommend that, in meetings and conversations, focus on discussion of what must be done, not on what to discuss.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm
Now…Build a Great Business! 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market
Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy
20. SELLING usually requires these components: a seller, a buyer, and a product and/or service of some kind. The term is also used with regard to convincing people (getting their “buy-in”) such as during change initiatives or during a negotiation (“I’ll buy that”). Whatever the situation, the challenge to anyone selling is to possess the right information (i.e. accurate, sufficient, relevant, and verifiable) and present it effectively (i.e. convincingly).
Selling to the C-Suite: What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top
Nicholas-A.C.-Read and Stephen J. Bistritz
1. Develop their people skills. Many highly analytical people seem to prefer computers and data to other people.
2. Push for more and better data and analysis. Eliminate unenlightened, impulsive, intuitive, and hasty decisions. Redundant verification is imperative.
3. Hire smart people and give them credit for being smart. Recognition and appreciation are important to all workers, of course, but analysts seem to have a greater need for a stimulating and supportive environment. Sometimes they also need protection from knuckle-dragging bureaucrats.
4. Set a hands-on example. As an analytical leader, you are expected to lead by example: Have a passion for fact-finding and rigorous analysis, for brainstorming with other analysts.
5. Sign up for results. That is, commit to a quantifiable goal to be achieved by effective analytics.
6. Teach. Be as passionate about learning as you are about sharing what you have learned. Delight in others’ achievements. Also, the best way to increase understanding a specific subject is to teach it to others.
7. Set strategy and performance expectations. Set business objectives and select metrics to quantify progress while pursuing them.
8. Look for leverage. Maximize opportunities for “multiplicative” applications to create value-added benefits to an improvement.
9. Demonstrate persistence over time. Analytical leaders are “pluggers,” not “grasshoppers”…Bunsen burners, not sparklers.
10. Build an analytical ecosystem. Analytical leaders seek out any/all collaborations and alliances that will make maximum use of the data and analysis needed to make smarter decisions, to take more effective actions, and to achieve better results.
11. Work along multiple fronts. Analytical leaders know that no single application or initiative can achieve success all by itself, nor can any one person. They proceed on multiple fronts with a portfolio of projects.
12. Know the limits of analytics. The best analytical leaders know when to trust and use their intuition. They vakue enlightened hunches. They blend art and science in decision-making. Analytics work best with details but it is also important to see the Big Picture.