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
Here’s Terry Bacon’s response:
1. The value of versatility. “Throughout her life, Angelou has expl9red many facets of herself and has been able to integrate her perspectives to form a truly unique view of life and human experience. The lesson for business people: Don’t become too narrowly focused as you develop your knowledge and skills.”
2. The value of introspection. “In her life and through her art, Angelou has taken a deep look inside herself, and with the honesty with which she communicates what she’s learned makes her insights potent and meaningful. Much of her power comes from being an authentic leader. The lesson? An important part of the knowledge you need as a leader is self-knowledge. Daniel Goleman considers it an essential part of emotional intelligence.”
3. The value of spirituality. “At the heart of Angelou’s life and work is a deep sense of connectedness with the world and other human beings. She communicates the spirituality of being without insisting that it be religious. The lesson for the rest of us: Business does not exist in a vacuum. Business operates in a sociocultural web. An important way of knowing is to appreciate the interconnection s between your company and its products, your customers and their customers, your suppliers and their suppliers, your mission and values and those of every other culture in which you operate, and your processes and by-products and our global environment and its sustainability.”
I highly recommend The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as well as Bacon’s The Elements of Power, published by AMACOM (2011)
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Terry Bacon is President and CEO of Lore International Institute and a recognized expert in talent management, consulting, executive coaching, behavioral differentiation, and business development. He is a prolific author, having written or co-written more than eighty books, research reports, and white papers, including What People Want, Winning Behavior: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently, Adaptive Coaching, and The Behavioral Advantage. He cordially invites you to visit www.LoreNet.com.