Soundview Executive Book Summaries


The Search for Personal Power

From time to time I like to point out a trend we’re noticing in the business books that come across our desks at Soundview, like innovation or leadership. But there are also trends in book titles. Book titles are what sell a book, and so they reveal what authors and publishers think are the greatest needs of their audience – the hot-button issues.

Most recently we’ve seen quite a few books that include “power” in the title. Here are a few examples:

Power is defined as the ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something; strength; might; force, the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy.

I’m no psychologist, but it would seem that in a period of economic instability, high unemployment, and rapid change, business people may be looking for a way to have some control over the world around them. Gaining power in business situations is one answer.

Power Listening helps you to shape (control) any conversation. Power Questions help you influence others. Power Habits can transform you to succeed. A Power Reputation can make your career. And the Power of Presence can unlock your potential to influence and engage others.

Do you see the common thread? The authors writing these books believe that we want to be in control of our situation and that they have the answers. They may be right if book sales are any measure. The Power of Habit is #7 on Amazon today. And a quick search of our archives brought up over 37 additional titles about power.

Are you looking for power and control in your current situation? Then you might want to check out these titles. And if you find that books like these provide what they promise, let me know.



Book Review: The Power of LEO
February 27, 2012, 11:59 AM
Filed under: Books in General, From the Editor, General Business, Leadership | Tags: ,

by Subir Chowdhury

Quality is of critical importance to today’s companies but the concept seems to cause confusion. According to noted quality expert and international best-selling author Subir Chowdhury, quality is frequently mislabeled as a destination rather than a continuous journey. Chowdhury is considered a global authority on the use of Design for Six Sigma, a distinction reflected in his book The Power of Six Sigma. He carries the importance of quality to a new level with his latest release The Power of LEO: The Revolutionary Process for Achieving Extraordinary Results, now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

The Power of LEO is Chowdhury’s effort to apply the principles of quality management to any organizational process. It follows a simple dynamic of three principles: Listen, Enrich and Optimize. Readers will understand the need for Chowdhury’s system within the first few pages. Chowdhury had an epiphany of sorts when he visited clients in the aftermath of a Six Sigma assessment. He asked members of the clients’ organizations how many of the Six Sigma solutions were actually implemented. In multiple situations, Chowdhury’s clients revealed that the solutions presented by Six Sigma were unable to be followed.

Chowdhury’s LEO system improves on other quality initiatives in its applicability across an organization’s leadership structure. Rather than rely on delegation methods that sequester responsibility for quality in various segments, the LEO principles centralize the concept of quality and make it a part of a company’s culture. Readers will find Chowdhury’s system easy to understand and implement. It will bring any company one step closer to the extraordinary results promised by the book’s subtitle.

To get your copy of The Power of LEO in any of Soundview’s multiple digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



How Does Your Company Rate?

Although we’re seeing some slight improvements in our economy in recent weeks, we still have a long way to go to a full recovery. However, some are looking beyond the present crisis and see signs of a strong economy in the future – that is for those that make the grade.

In Good Company, Laurie Bassi and her co-authors make the case that to succeed in the future a company will need to meet the criteria for what they call a “good company.” They have developed a rating system (The Good Company Index) which takes into account certain criteria that are becoming essential in the new economy.

  1. Good Employer – they use a starting number based on ratings from Glassdoor.com and the Fortune list of 100 best companies.
  2. Good Seller – they use the consumer ratings of wRatings regarding quality, fair price and trust.
  3. Good Steward – they based this on statistics regarding a company’s record on the environment, penalties/fines, restraint in executive compensation and contribution to society/community.

As they state in their book, “A good company is one that starts with good intentions and then puts those into practice concretely through its actions in these three areas. Is your company good or moving toward good?

If you think that your company may not rate well and would like to move it up the charts, join Laurie Bassi and co-author Ed Frauenheim for our Soundview Live webinar Business Success in the Worthiness Era coming up on March 1st.



Creating Ownership in Your Company

Although we place a high value on the knowledge and expertise of business gurus and authors, there is also much to be learned from executives who are out in the trenches of the business world, running companies and making decisions every day. This is the focus of our Executive Insight video series.

In a recent video, we interviewed Roseline Marston, president of A.D. Marble & Co., which provides environmental, cultural and engineering services focusing on archeological and historical structures. A.D. Marble is an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, and Ms. Marston provides some excellent insight into how to create ownership in your company that goes well beyond just owning stock.

I have pulled out a few leadership principles that I culled from the interview, but you’ll want to watch the whole video:

  1. Physical presence is essential – Marston doesn’t depend on email to run her company. She regularly visits all six of their sites, and while there, works from a cubical next to other employees. She also works closely with each office manager and uses video conferencing when needed.
  2. Keep financials transparent – not only do employees see the financials on a regular basis, but they’re also trained in how to interpret them. In this way everyone knows how things are going, and are aware of crises early on.
  3. Ownership is important – knowing what is happening financially helps employees to better see how their work affects the bottom line.
  4. Feedback keeps things running smoothly – A.D. Marble solicits feedback from customers and employees about how they’re doing, and Marston applies this feedback to make improvements.
  5. Handle conflict directly – while the company has procedures in place for major breaches in behavior, all other issues are handled first at the peer-to-peer level.
  6. Leadership trumps management – Marston looks for potential leaders within the company, watching for those that demonstrate selflessness, loyalty and accountability. Leadership is not just about position, but about attitude and action.

If you’d like to watch the whole interview, or to enjoy our other Executive Insights videos, you can subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries. All editions include the monthly video interviews. And we’d love to hear back about what you’re learning as well.



Book Review: Reviving Work Ethic

by Eric Chester

There have been a number of business books that attempted to address the continued meshing of multiple generations in the workplace. Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce by author and management consultant Eric Chester addresses this issue from a particular angle. It’s now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

You’re probably familiar with the basics of the situation. The economic crunch of the past several years left Baby Boomers in a position where the certainty of retirement vanished. As a result, Boomers are staying in their current positions. Hovering beneath them in a holding pattern are Generation Xers and their younger counterparts in Generation Y. It’s the latter group that most concerns Chester.

Readers that believe Reviving Work Ethic draws a large target on the youngest segment of the work force would be mistaken. Chester makes well-supported claims that work ethic has declined across all segments of the American work force. Far from an indictment, the book posits that the current entrants to the work force hold the best hope for renewing the American ideal of work ethic. This is due to the youngest generation’s work habits not being fully formed. They remain malleable and, with Chester’s seven components of work ethic as a guide, can be shaped into the productive dominant leaders of tomorrow’s organizations. It’s inevitable that Boomers will have to leave their offices.Reviving Work Ethic provides hope that the offices’ next occupants will be capable of more than simply sustaining the achievements of their predecessors.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Reviving Work Ethic in multiple digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



What Do Companies and Rockets Have In Common?

In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which the kinetic energy plus the gravitational potential energy of an object is zero. It is the speed needed to “break free” from a gravitational field without further propulsion.

What does this have to do with business? Just like a rocket can be held in orbit by the gravitational pull of a planet, so companies can be held back from capitalizing on new opportunities by their legacy franchises. In both cases, more power is needed to break free

In Geoffrey Moore’s latest book Escape Velocity, he contends that companies must align what he calls the “hierarchy of powers” in order to obtain escape velocity and not fall by the wayside in the still-developing global economy. And what is this hierarchy of powers? Moore lists five areas of power that can be utilized to break free of the past.

  1. Category Power – growth born from category expansion.
  2. Company Power – growth born from competitive advantage.
  3. Market Power – growth born from customer consensus.
  4. Offer Power – growth born from unmatchable offers.
  5. Execution Power – growth from reaching tipping points.

If you sense that your company or organization is being held down by the forces of your past success, you’ll want to join Geoffrey Moore on February 23rd for our Soundview Live webinar How to Achieve Escape Velocity. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo.



How Businesses Are Using Video

I recently ran across a great article written by Jimm Fox of One Market Media on the many business uses of video. I’ve listed his main categories below, and you can check out the full article for more details.

  1. Customer Reference – video helps with collecting and showing customer testimonials, case studies and interviews.
  2. Product & Service Promotion – companies use video for product presentations, demonstrations and reviews.
  3. Corporate – corporations provide their company overview, executive highlights, facility tours and more with video.
  4. Training & Support – video is the latest thing in employee training, sales presentations and maintenance support.
  5. Internal Communication – video is now being used for business plans, company achievements, event coverage, employee orientation and health & safety education.
  6. Marketing – video promotions can take the form of commercials, viral video, content marketing and landing pages.
  7. PR/Community – video press releases are becoming more popular, along with video PR materials and community relation pieces.
  8. Events – at an event, presentations, roundtable discussions and Q&A with experts can all take place in video.
  9. Other – videos are also being used for recruitment, vlogs (video blogs) and research/surveys.

On the internet search side of the equation, research shows that a webpage with video is 30% more likely to end up on the first page of search results in Google then the same page without video. Google is now giving preference to video content in their search algorithm.

At Soundview, we are following this trend carefully, and have expanded our own offerings to include video. Our iPad format of each business book summary includes a video introduction from our Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dayton.  We now produce Executive Insights, a series of videos which interview active executives regarding key business skills. And we’re developing additional video content to be released soon.

Video increases engagement time, deepens emotional connections, and gives your company more trust and credibility with your customers and other stake-holders. And the cost of entry is becoming less every day with new technologies and web tools. If your company or organization is not currently using video, now is the time to jump in.