Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Building a Leadership Pipeline

Over the past decade there has been an increased interest in leadership development within companies. Organizations can’t be successful if all their top talent keeps moving on to other companies, and so there is a stronger focus on developing talent from within, providing ongoing growth opportunities and the promise of continued movement up through the organization. While this may seem obvious, developing a pipeline of leaders has not always been a top priority in the past.

A classic title on this subject is The Leadership Pipeline by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel. In this book the authors discuss the six critical passages a leader must navigate to fully develop their leadership skills.

Passage 1: From managing self to managing others.

Passage 2: From managing others to managing managers.

Passage 3: From managing mangers to functional manager.

Passage 4: From functional manager to business manager.

Passage 5: From business manager to group manager.

Passage 6: From group manager to enterprise manager.

But they also describe the assessments and leadership development that must take place at each passage, so that the leader builds the skills to continue growing.

Stephen Drotter has just written a follow-up to this book called The Performance Pipeline in which he looks at how the work flows from layer to layer in a company, and how top executives can measure the work of leaders at every level. Ram Charan has also built upon this work with Leaders At All Levels, describing what he calls The Apprenticeship Model of leadership development.

If you would like to pursue this topic further, I would also recommend our Executive Edge report Build a Pipeline of Leaders and this month’s Executive Insights video interview with John C. Marshall of J M & Company, Finding the Leaders Who Can Build Companies. You can access these additional resources with a Soundview Premium subscription. The summaries listed above are available individually.

How to Manage Your Boss

Imagine if we could combine Peter Drucker and Sigmund Freud! We would then have insight into the intersection of business and psychology, of management and the mind.

If we could better understand the mind and motivations of our bosses, we would then know how to manage them in a way that would help further our own careers. Although this approach may sound unusual, it is the basis of a new book by Dr. Karol Wasylyshyn called Behind the Executive Door.

Dr. Wasylyshyn categorizes leaders as Remarkable, Perilous or Toxic. And depending on where they are along that continuum affects how we interact with them. Wasylyshyn provides insight into each type of leader and clear steps for how to work with them.

One example is how to deal with a toxic boss. She states that in some cases it is not about managing but about surviving such a boss. And she provides a list of questions to access whether to Stay or Go. It may actually be unhealthy for you to stay in some circumstances.

If you would like to access your boss’s leadership type to help you better work with them, then you’ll want to join us on April 3rd for our Soundview Live webinar Unexpected Lessons for Managing Your Boss and Career. You’ll also have the opportunity to post questions for the author.

Book Review: The Thank You Economy

by Gary Vaynerchuk

Upon picking up the Soundview Executive Book Summary of author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s book The Thank You Economy, one concept should leap out at readers. Vaynerchuk wants you to provide one-on-one attention to your company’s entire customer base. This sounds like a considerable challenge to companies whose customers number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The fact that he believes social media is the tool with which to accomplish the task may do little to lighten the burden of this challenge to the reader. However, as the audiences who attend his speeches would likely report, Vaynerchuk is quite persuasive in getting his point across.

The Thank You Economy isn’t a social media primer, for those readers fearing another business book that spends half its pages going over well-tread ground. Instead, Vaynerchuk uses a fascinating array of examples from companies of all sizes to demonstrate the right (and, in some cases, wrong) way to use social media to connect with customers. He also devotes a section of the book to the importance of building a social culture within the organization, a process that begins with executives. Decision-makers quickly realize that Vaynerchuk is arguing the critical importance of connecting with customers is not a responsibility to be passed down the line.

The word to which Vaynerchuk returns time and again in his book is “opportunity.” While he may be referring to social media as the opportunity your business can’t afford to miss, there are those who would point to his book as an opportunity for advancement unto itself. For that, Vaynerchuk certainly deserves a thank-you of his own.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of The Thank You Economy visit Soundview’s Web site

The Advantages of Business Book Summaries

I won’t detail the whole history of Soundview Executive Book Summaries since our beginnings back in 1978, but suffice it to say that we’ve learned a lot about business content summarization over the past 34 years.

While technology has changed; from paper, to cassette tape, to CD, and then on to digital formats like PDF, MP3, EPub and Apps – the two core advantages of concentrated knowledge have not. What all executives need is dependable content they can get through quickly, while retaining the key information.

  • Dependable Content – the proliferation of content on the internet has made it almost impossible to know when information is of high quality and from trustworthy sources. In a recent study by Bersin Research, they concluded that content libraries like Soundview’s “take much of the guesswork out of finding quality on-demand content.”

Our editorial staff reviews the books of all the major business publishers, and many smaller ones as well, to find books to then recommend to our professional review board. They choose the titles that meet our high standards to become among the 30 best business books of the year.

  •  Retaining Key Information – When reading an entire book, it’s difficult to find and retain the key points that can really make a difference to your business. Research done at Carnegie Mellon soon after Soundview began publishing book summaries demonstrated that information gained from reading a summary was more easily retained for a longer period of time then the same information in a book.

Our summaries condense 250 to 600 pages of a typical business book down to an 8 page text and 20 minute audio summary. This enables busy executives to get the key ideas of a book quickly and retain those ideas long enough to do something with them.

Of course time doesn’t stand still, and so now we’ve entered into a period where more business people are choosing to learn from video. To enhance the summarization experience, we’ve added video introductions to our summaries for the iPad format, plus a new video series called Executive Insights which interviews executives that are out in the trenches of American companies practicing what our summaries teach.

If you haven’t already, take a minute to sample one of our summaries for free. Try it on your computer, smartphone, tablet or e-reader and let us know what you think. We’re always working to meet the changing needs of busy executives.

What Is a Healthy Company?

Over the past few years I’ve noticed an increased reference in news articles and books to the subject of organizational health. In a Fortune article back at the end of 2010, Colin Price pointed to the demise of an emphasis solely on performance and a movement toward a more sustainable focus on the health of the organization.

But what does a healthy organization look like? Patrick Lencioni, in his latest book The Advantage, says “an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified.” And he goes on to claim that “Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.”

Can you imagine an organization free from politics and confusion? But Lencioni says that it’s possible and offers four actionable steps to get there.

  1.  Build a cohesive leadership team – cohesive teams build trust, eliminate politics and increase efficiency.
  2. Create clarity – healthy organizations minimize the potential for confusion.
  3. Over-communicate clarity – healthy organizations align their employees around organizational clarity by communicating key messages.
  4. Reinforce clarity – organizations sustain their health by ensuring consistency.

This is of course only part of the picture, and Lencioni will be filling in the details at our Soundview Live webinar Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else on March 27th. Please join us and bring your questions for Pat.

Business Learning in Bloom with Three New Summaries

If you check your calendar today, you’ll notice that the first quarter of 2012 is rapidly coming to a close. How are you progressing on your personal and professional goals for the year? What about your people? Are your interactions with them leading to increased success for both sides? With spring upon us, it’s time to do what’s necessary to help your ambitions begin to bloom. To that end, here are three great new Soundview Executive Book Summaries to help your business development efforts:


by John C. Maxwell

The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell: The concept of 5 levels of leadership is one that John C. Maxwell has taught all over the world. The levels represent stages in leadership development starting with being the boss who people follow because you have been appointed as their leader, to reaching the pinnacle of leadership, when you are followed because of who you are and what you represent. In The 5 Levels of Leadership, you will learn how to master the ability to inspire people and achieve results. Maxwell details each level of leadership and provides a clear path to reach the next.





by Harrison Monarth

360 Degrees of Influence by Harrison Monarth: The best leaders influence those who are below and above them, as well as people external to the organization, such as customers and partners. In 360 Degrees of Influence, Harrison Monarth provides advice on how to gain the trust and respect of those around you and how to expand your influence well beyond your immediate environment. Providing valuable insight into human emotion and behavior, Monarth reveals the secrets to knowing what people are thinking and feeling — maybe better than they do.





by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk: Gary Vaynerchuk’s Thank You Economy principles are about the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, and the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. Companies and brands are now competing on a whole new level in an entirely new business era. The Thank You Economy reveals how businesses can harness all the changes and challenges inherent in social media and turn them into tremendous opportunities for profit and growth.

To get your copies of these summaries in all of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site

Work/Life Balance in a Crazy World

Back several years ago, work/life balance was a popular topic in books and articles. But as the economy crashed, most people went into survival mode and any thought of balance went out the window. Now that the economy is beginning to settle down, it’s probably a healthy thing to again consider where you’re at in that balance.

Our senior editor Andrew Clancy just completed an interview with Gail Cummings, a life coach, attorney and mother, on this challenge of work/life balance. One of his questions centered around how you evaluate your own situation. Cummings replied with several key points to consider.

  1.  Assess where you are – does your life feel like it’s balanced?
  2. Set realistic goals – focus on the greatest challenges first.
  3. Listen to your body – there are physical symptoms when we’re out of balance.
  4. Find a coach – having a coach is a gift to your well-being, and they will help to hold you accountable to your goals.
  5. Account for change – because things change so rapidly, be prepared to adjust goals along the way.

Cummings quoted one of her clients with a helpful reminder to us all: “A wall can only be strong if you build it one brick at a time.” Don’t expect immediate results but work for the long-term.

If you’d like to see the full interview which is part of our Executive Insights series, subscribe to our Premium subscription. You might also want to read some of our individual book summaries and reviews on the topic:

 Life Matters by A. Roger & Rebecca Merrill

The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente

The Seven-Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler

A More Valued Success by Paul Spitale

The Power of Influence

I recently joined a committee in my town that is planning an upcoming important event for the community. As I looked around the room at the members of this committee  there was a selectman, a school board member, a vice president of the local bank, the head of the historical society, and several other “movers and shakers” in the community.

 And so I wondered what role I could play with this powerful group of people. Would my thoughts be heard and my opinions valued? How could I have any influence over the decisions that would be made?

If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, either in your community or your company, you might want to check out the teaching of Harrision Monarth in his book 360 Degrees of Influence. Monarth makes the case that with the right tools, anyone can have influence on those around them, no matter what their position or title.

Within his book is an interesting list on how to influence perception, whether the perception of you or your company:

  • Reputation matters
  • Reputation management is an activity, not a slogan
  • Tell the story – if you don’t tell your story, others will
  • Know your base – understand the business you’re in
  • Earn the trust of all stakeholders
  • Acknowledge errors
  • Fix the error
  • Recognize emergent concerns and respond to them
  • Never complain, but do explain

If you would like further details on this list, and to learn how to improve your influence at work, home and in your community, then why not join Harrison Monarth for our Soundview Live webinar on March 20th titled 360 Degrees of Influence. You’re sure to pick up some pointers that will help you to have a greater impact on those around you.

Are Your Rules Set In Stone?

Since Soundview released its summary of Mike Figliuolo’s book One Piece of Paper, the response has generated numerous questions into the techniques behind the author’s Maxims Approach to leadership. Attendees were given the opportunity to ask Figliuolo directly during a Soundview Live Webinar last month. However, one question that continues to come up is about the flexibility of an individual’s leadership maxims.

I had the opportunity to ask Figliuolo about this during a Soundview Author Insight interview. When instructed to create a list of guiding leadership principles, I thought it was only natural for people to envision chiseling a list of 10 rules into stone and holding themselves to those ideals for the length of their careers. It also struck me that this was probably not what Figliuolo intended.

When asked about the “solid vs. liquid” nature of one’s leadership maxims, the author replied:

[Maxims] should absolutely change over time. As your context changes, as your experience changes, as you learn, as you grow, your maxims should reflect you at that point in time. I encourage folks as they go through an annual self-appraisal process or end-of-year review that they pull out their maxims, review them and see if they’re still relevant and they still resonate and matter. If you’re changing them over time as you grow, they’re always going to help guide you in the direction you want to head.

Here’s an interesting exercise for your next staff meeting: ask members of your team what maxim guided them 10 years ago and does the same maxim guide them today? The changes can reveal interesting stories of personal growth and professional lessons learned.

Soundview subscribers can hear the complete interview with Figliuolo by logging in to their online library. To learn how you can subscribe and how to obtain downloads of the summary of One Piece of Paper and the Soundview Live Webinar, visit

Content: The Currency of the Web
March 9, 2012, 11:00 AM
Filed under: Internet, Marketing, Soundview Live | Tags: , , ,

Build it and they will come. That’s what some companies believe about websites. All you need is a snazzy website and a Google adword account, and everyone will flock to your site and spend their money. But there’s much more to it than that.

Google has so designed their search algorithm that a website really needs to provide relevant content in order to rank high in search results. And this relevancy is factored into their adword program as well. So how to you create a site that will be found?

Jon Wuebben is a search expert who has the answers. In his new book Content is Currency, Wuebben explains the importance of content marketing, which he defines as “the act of sharing tips, advice, and other value-added information as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into loyal, lifelong, repeat buyers.”

Here are Weubben’s eight steps to content success:

  1. You learn who your customer is and where the pain points are.
  2. You develop consistent, relevant content in multiple channels.
  3. You let go of all control, and let your ideas spread.
  4. People share your ideas and link to your content.
  5. People find your content through social media and search engines.
  6. Prospects and customers start relying on your expertise—the relationship begins.
  7. You become the trusted solutions provider in your industry.
  8. Your customers tell others about you.

To really understand how content and search relate, I would invite you to join Soundview and Jon Wuebben on March 15th for our webinar Developing Powerful Content for Web and Mobile. Wuebben will also be taking time to answer participant’s questions. Invite your whole marketing team to sit in and see what you can do to strengthen your website.