Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Top Ten Quotes from Soundview’s Author Insight Series

If you’re not a subscriber to Soundview Executive Book Summaries, one great reason to consider signing up is Soundview’s Author Insight Series. This free monthly MP3 features a 10 to 15 minute interview with an author whose book is summarized in that month’s edition or an upcoming guest for Soundview Live.

For those who have yet to hear the Author Insight Series or are new arrivals to Soundview. Here are 10 very memorable quotes from some of the authors who’ve spoken to Soundview Senior Editor Andrew Clancy:

1. “Excellence requires levels of discomfort that many people just aren’t willing to endure.” – Patrick Lencioni, author of Getting Naked

2. “If you want to be committed to a higher sense of purpose, you also have to be committed to being very transparent.” – Jim Champy, author of Inspire!

3. “I think to increase employee satisfaction it’s really healthy to get people to look on the inside and challenge themselves and ask themselves, ‘How can I do these things for myself?’ not ‘When are you going to do these things for me?’” – Marshall Goldsmith, author of Mojo.

4. “The best way to make a product free is to invent a new product that doesn’t carry with it the baggage of the pricing expectation of the old product.” – Chris Anderson, author of Free: Future of a Radical Price.

5. “It [isn’t] a matter of looking for millions [of people], it [is] a matter of looking for the right number of thousands.” – Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents.

6. “If people don’t have information, they often engage in commiseration.” – Ram Charan, author of Leading in the Era of Economic Uncertainty.

7. “What we find is that when accountability is predictable, people feel that they are being treated fairly.” – Roger Connors, co-author of How Did That Happen?

8. “For the sake of shareholder value and individual performance, we’ve just got to explode this cowardice that candor is something we run away from instead of something we run toward jealously.” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Who’s Got Your Back?

9. “[Former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli’s] private elevator became a negative symbol and leaders need to be very attentive to how powerful those symbols are. They need to mitigate the power of those negative symbols in a meaningful way.” – Tim Irwin, Ph.D., author of Derailed.

10. “The problem with price as a repositioning strategy is that all of your competitors have pencils. Your competitors can mark down prices as fast as you mark down your own. That’s simply a drive to the bottom.” – Jack Trout, author of Repositioning.

May’s Must-Reads Are Now Online!

Whether you’re a Soundview Subscriber or looking to become one, May is going to be a great month. The May summaries are now available online! We’ve got three must-read summaries of books packed with need-to-know business concepts and skills.

First up is Soundview’s summary of Adam L. Penenberg’s book Viral Loop. The growth of a company used to be planned in years. Technology has blessed commerce with the ability to shorten the growth cycle to months … and with dramatic results. Penenberg examines the viral nature of exponential online growth in a book that offers powerful strategies for executives.

Up next is a sequel three decades in the making. Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin’s Repositioning is an in-depth follow-up to a concept Trout briefly mentioned in his 1980 classic Positioning. Trout, the author of the landmark title In Search of the Obvious, brings his no-nonsense take on marketing to the topic of handling the “Three C’s” of business: competition, change and crisis. Readers may be surprised to learn which of the three Trout views as the most important to master.

Finally, we round out Soundview’s May edition with Brian Tracy and his latest release How the Best Leaders Lead. Tracy has an excellent reputation of teaching even the most veteran leaders a few new skills. This summary is no exception, as one of the top management experts of all time reveals critical insights for competing in today’s business landscape. Tracy has a long history with Soundview and it’s great to be able to feature his latest work.

If your schedule has you shouting “May Day!” let Soundview save you time while increasing your knowledge.

Great Tips on How To Hire

One of the most important aspects of an executive’s arsenal of skills is the ability to make smart hiring decisions. I contacted management expert Gerry Czarnecki for more information. He provided this guest blog post with some essential tips on hiring.

How to Hire

By Gerry Czarnecki, author of Lead with Love

Most leaders know that the most important, and possibly most difficult decision they will make is also the first decision they will make: the hiring decision. Unfortunately, most leaders are also simply not well prepared to make that decision. All too often, the bright, articulate and outgoing leader will make one fatal mistake in an interview process: talking too much. In an interview, the leader should spend 5% of the time talking and 95% of the time listening. If not, you’re not interviewing, you’re making a speech.

But assuming you are listening, how do you look for the right qualities in a candidate? My most important technique is to do a behavioral interview and listen intently. I also use aggressive follow-up questions to drill down on the experiences of the candidate. Here are some qualities you want in an ideal candidate:

1)    Values – Does this person share our organizational values? If not, then he or she will eventually be a misfit.

2)    Intelligence – It makes no sense to hire somebody who does not have the intellect to understand and complete the complex task of our modern world based in technology and an expanding base of knowledge.

3)    Desire – You want someone with the drive to achieve.

4)    Communication – In an organization, all associates must possess the ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple way. I always try to distinguish people who talk from people who communicate.

5)    Logic – The application of logical thinking and the ability to look for root cause of results is an essential trait in today’s competitive business landscape.

If you’re hiring a manager, there is one additional, essential quality to consider: the capacity to Love. This trait is in line with my message in Lead with Love. The core concept of the book is essential to a successful leader. Leaders must see their staff as humans first and resources second. Leaders can not allow themselves to be biased by the idea of liking or disliking individuals, they must love all their staff as humans. The well-being of all associates and the ability for the organization to achieve its goals is driven by the team is what creates the jobs and keeps them viable.

With over 40 years of experience as a leader, Gerry Czarnecki has been consistently committed to sharing his experience and vision by coaching organizations to achieve peak performance. Czarnecki helps companies achieve success by teaching effective leadership, focused strategy, superior organization and sound financial management.

For more information visit Gerry online at these sites:

And don’t forget Soundview’s newest summaries! Click here to see what”s new.

Did You Face the “Naked” Truth?

For those of you that were unable to attend, I wanted to share a highlight from today’s Soundview Live event with New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni.

During the course of the 60-minute event, Lencioni fielded some terrific questions from our attendees. The range of questions dealt with everything from applying Lencioni’s “Naked Service” technique to dealing with difficult clients and the best ways to get both service provider and client on the same page.

One of the questions that Lencioni receives the most about this topic is how uncomfortable the level of honesty is for many people. When asked if this approach ever costs anyone business, Lencioni had this to say:

“The irony here is that by demonstrating to your client that you will do whatever is necessary, even if it means jeopardizing the account, you ensure that the account will never be jeopardized.”

Lencioni went on to relay a story that while consulting with a major, well-known corporation, he was forced to say, “I think if you go through with this plan, you’re crazy!” Despite the fact that this level of honesty can be jarring and uncomfortable, Lencioni pointed out that he was able to make a difference because the client recognized that he had their best interest at heart.

Great advice, isn’t it? I think it’s a lesson we could all put into practice in our own businesses.

Keep your eyes on and this blog for an announcement about the release of the summary of Lencioni’s latest book Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty.

And if you haven’t joined us for a Soundview Live event, now is the time! Attendance is FREE for subscribers!

Prepare for the Naked Truth

What would happen if you told your best clients the truth … about their operation, about your own company’s mistakes, about your company’s strengths and weaknesses?

Have you ever wondered why your organization feels the need to appear perfect to its clients but accepts it when the client makes a mistake or causes frustration?

This Friday, our next installment of Soundview Live will delve into these questions and much more. Join us on Friday, April 23 at Noon (Eastern) when Soundview presents New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. Patrick’s presentation Overcoming the Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty serves as a preview to Soundview’s upcoming summary of Lencioni’s latest book Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty.

Lencioni will provide attendees with insights into the fears that cause our attempts to retain clients to backfire. I’ve listened to some of the preview materials and I can say that Lencioni isn’t kidding when he says the principles of naked service will make many people uncomfortable. However, he points out that this discomfort forces us to stay in a safe place, and safe places mean a complete lack of progress.

Tune in and let Patrick Lencioni and Soundview Live help your organization shed its fears. And remember, subscribers attend FREE!!

Remembering Prahalad and His Pyramid

Soundview was saddened by the news Friday of the death of management guru C.K. Prahalad. In addition to his writing and consulting exploits, Prahalad served as a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. While many students benefited from his tutelage, Prahalad treated the globe as his classroom. As noted in this report from The Wall Street Journal, Prahalad was a champion for the poor and viewed the impoverished as a vital part of the future of global commerce. He wrote about this subject at length in his 2004 best-seller The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, a book Soundview reviewed upon its release.

Prahalad was an excellent collaborator and produced two key works summarized by Soundview. He worked with Venkat Ramaswamy to create The Future of Competition, a book that delved into the role of the customer in the value creation process. In more recent times, Prahalad teamed with M.S. Krishnan to produce The New Age of Innovation. This book helped executives handle the crisis of the demand for instant gratification in their companies’ innovation efforts. Customers and resource providers need to be connected in a flawless, real-time solution. In a world where innovation theory shifts with each passing month, Prahalad’s book still retains valuable insights for executives.

Prahalad’s theories and management consultation were a vital part of connecting his native India with the industrialized West. His passing after a brief illness brings to a close a career that left an important imprint on the global management community. Prahalad was 68 years old.

Did You Solve the iPhone Mystery?

This post will certainly require a little audience participation (if you kind folks are up for it). Send me a comment and let me know if you ever noticed this little idiosyncrasy before. In many advertisements for Apple’s iPhone, the time displayed on the phone is 9:42. Sharp-eyed viewers and Apple fanatics have speculated as to the hidden meaning of the clocks always reading 9:42. Is this some sort of code communicated to the masses at the request of Steve Jobs?

According to this article from PC World, the mystery has been solved, and the reason for the repetition of 9:42 in every ad couldn’t be more simple. Marketing, at its core, is the art of making an impression. Sometimes the power of digital suggestion is all that’s required to lend a helping hand to the effort. I’m sure that some people will search for examples where 9:42 isn’t displayed, while others (like the person who responded to the PCW article) will debunk the Apple rep’s explanation.

This isn’t the first instance of consumers speculating over the time displayed in an ad. For example, if I mentioned the time 10:10, would you know where you see it most? For decades consumers have questioned why 10:10 is the time displayed on the face of a watch in any watchmaker’s advertisement. The theories on this are numerous. My personal favorite, which you may have heard before, is that 10:10 is displayed as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln. People who subscribe to this theory claim that Lincoln died at 10:10 p.m. on April 14, 1865 from the gunshot wound he received from John Wilkes Booth. By various accounts, this is completely inaccurate. Lincoln is believed to have expired at 7:22 the next morning. The most likely reason for 10:10, as far as I’m concerned, is the ability to display the watchmaker’s brand name without obstruction.

One thing about the iPhone that’s certainly not a mystery is the popularity of its applications. Soundview has some great apps for your iPhone, including a FREE “Top Business Summaries” app.

Take a Minute and Be Different

The rally of the stock market earlier this week had many commentators cautiously stating that the economy is finally starting to turn around. As the Dow rose above 11,000 for the first time since September 2008, companies across the United States continue to fight for survival. Times of difficulty are the ultimate test for an organization’s ability to adapt. The companies that survive the financial crisis and its lengthy recovery period are unlikely to resemble the same organization from five years ago.

What are the secrets to endurance and adaptability? Some would say that author Roy Osing is the keeper of this hidden knowledge. Osing, a leading senior executive in the Canadian telecommunications industry developed a survival strategy for his businesses that prevented them from suffering from decline and neglect. While the concept of a business cycle is universally accepted, there is nothing in its definition that states that the cycle concludes with the destruction of one business and the rise of another. A company that is capable of, and becomes efficient at, change creates an environment committed to sustaining the business.

Osing shows executives how to create the cutting edge necessary for survival in his book Be Different or Be Dead. For those interested in learning his methods, I’ve got great news! Soundview’s summary of Osing’s book is now available! Visit us at to learn more about this important title. You can also visit for more information on the book.

An Executive Skill You Can’t Ignore

If an executive were given the task of ranking his or her responsibilities on the job in order of enjoyment, mediating disputes between employees would probably fall in the bottom three. However, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, the situation is really one of opportunity. The ability to perform this action with poise, fairness and rational thinking can propel an executive to greatness.

I saw this great column by Cord Cooper at featuring author Harrison Monarth on the subject of conflict resolution. Monarth’s advice about separating the issues and sticking to the point are great reminders for any executive. Emotions run high in conflicts and it’s an executive’s role to reduce the “temperature” in the room and get all sides to focus on facts. The pace at which these interactions occur is a vital element to why they can quickly spiral out of control. The path to a faster resolution actually stems from the arbiter’s ability to slow the situation down.

Monarth provides some great points in this article. Monarth’s work in the area of executive skill-building helped draw our attention in the Soundview Editorial department. He is the author of Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO, a book we summarized in our recent April edition. It’s a great read and is available by clicking this link or visiting us at

A Revealing Event on the Horizon

I noticed this article from The Wall Street Journal concerning the drop-off in sales for Constellation Brands. With the economy still in a state of flux, one can never tell what the headlines will reveal in the business section. The economic pressures companies are experiencing in the current climate can cause them to take dramatic actions. There are some who argue that what a company really needs in this situation is to strip down its operation as it applies to customers and focus on the essentials.

One expert who feels strongly about this subject is author Patrick Lencioni. His new book Getting Naked helps businesses overcome the fears that cause companies to unintentionally sabotage client loyalty. Lencioni delivers his message through his preferred medium: the business fable. This is the same technique that powered his previous books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Silos, Politics and Turf Wars. Lencioni’s mastery of this technique enables him to craft an engaging story that draws readers in and allows Lencioni to set-up his message.

While the folks at Constellation Brands search for answers, I’d suggest anyone interested in increasing service to customers could tune in to our next edition of Soundview Live. Lencioni will be with us on Friday, April 23 at Noon (Eastern) for an hour of discussion on how to bring about Naked Service for the good of your clients … and your business.