Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Book Review: Good Boss, Bad Boss

by Robert I. Sutton

It’s not easy to follow-up a runaway success. Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, was faced with such a task. His 2007 best-seller The No Asshole Rule raised eyebrows for more than just its title. Sutton pulled no punches in his assessment of the toxic workplace culture created by brutal, oppressive individuals. In Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best and Learn from the Worst, Sutton provides an ideal second installment. Now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary, Good Boss, Bad Boss moves the narrative forward. It gives readers a set of instructions to be the best managers they can be.

It’s interesting to note that Sutton was originally tempted to write a straight-ahead sequel to The No Asshole Rule, but after examining the situations in which many of the book’s stories occurred, he found that a boss was the central figure in nearly every case. Executives that read Good Boss, Bad Boss will be grateful that Sutton chose to focus on formulating a healthy management mindset. The practice of being a good boss requires diligence. Through case studies and research, Sutton reveals the necessary steps to move from a great mindset to transformational actions. As an added bonus, Sutton acknowledges that the bulk of individuals in management positions also report to someone, and he includes observations on surviving the worst flaws of a bad boss.

To download your copy of Good Boss, Bad Boss in any of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.

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The Importance of Storytelling in Business

 Jesus was having a discussion with a religious leader. When told that he might enter eternal life if he loved God and loved his neighbor, the man sought to justify himself by asking Jesus who his neighbor was. Jesus replied with the parable (story) of the Good Samaritan. Even though this conversation took place over 2,000 years ago, this story has become one of the best known stories of the last two centuries, even among those that have never read the New Testament. Jesus knew the power of the story.

Stories have always been a part of business communication, but in the last several years a trend has developed around the power of storytelling in business. I found over a dozen business books written in the past decade that specifically teach the importance of storytelling in organizations, whether to improve leadership, to help focus meetings, to sell more effectively, or to build strong teams. There is even a National Storytelling Network.

Robert McKee put it this way in the Harvard Business Review: “A big part of a CEO’s job is to motivate people to reach certain goals. To do that, he or she must engage their emotions, and the key to their hearts is story.”

Storytelling is no longer just for CEOs, but the key truth is still the same – storytelling engages the emotions, assisting the speaker in communicating his or her point effectively. In Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte expands this point. Information is static; stories are dynamic – they help an audience visualize what you do or what you believe.

Patrick Lencioni has perfected the art of storytelling in his series of business books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars and Getting Naked. Lencioni uses the fable as a way to engage the minds of his readers, communicating the business truths through the characters of the fable.

In The Story Factor, Annette Simmons introduces six story goals:

  • “Who I am” stories – stories that reveal something about how you are.
  • “Why I am here” stories – to reassure the audience about your intentions.
  • “The Vision” story – to transform your vision into the audience’s vision.
  • “Teaching” stories – to communicate certain skills you want others to have.
  • “Values in action” stories – story lets you instill values in a way that keeps people thinking for themselves.
  • “I know what you are thinking” stories – in a story you can identify potential objections and disarm the audience as you build credibility.

Perhaps it’s time to develop your own storytelling skills. The resources above will help and you can read more in our Executive Edge newsletter Learn the Art of Storytelling.



Success Awaits with Three New Summaries

Executives are constantly fighting a battle on two fronts. There is the desire to improve the organization month by month and quarter by quarter. However, personal progress cannot be neglected in the pursuit of organizational excellence. After all, to make a better company, you need to be at your best. This month Soundview Executive Book Summaries features three summaries that will help you improve the performance of yourself, your team and your organization.

by Claudio Feser

Serial Innovators by Claudio Feser: The typical life expectancy of a company is estimated to be about 15 years. What does it take to exist beyond that average? A company must be able to keep up with changing markets. It has to learn what elements are slowing down its ability to adapt. A company must be able to continuously reinvent itself to stay relevant. Serial Innovators is a guide for how to build a company that is adaptive, innovative and can survive well into the future.

 

 

 

 

by Les McKeown

The Synergist by Les McKeown: A successful team includes bold dreamers (Visionaries), pragmatic realists (Operators), and systems designers (Processors) but it takes a Synergist to blend the motivations and goals of the three types and get everyone to work together effectively. The Synergist puts aside his or her own agenda and captures the best input from each team member. Anyone can learn to be the Synergist and fill this critical role in teamwork improvement. The Synergist reveals a proven method to build highly successful teams while stimulating personal and organizational growth.

 

 

 

by Robert I. Sutton

Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert I. Sutton: How a boss wields his or her power over an employee is bound to result in feelings that might include resentment, confusion or possibly comfort. If you are a boss, are you attuned to how your words and actions affect your employees? Good Boss, Bad Boss is for bosses and those who have bosses. It details how to adopt the characteristics of a good boss and survive the flaws of a bad boss. Dr. Sutton uses real-life case studies and behavioral science research to reveal exactly what the best bosses do.

 

 

 

 

To download your copies in any of Soundview’s multiple digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



The Covey Family Business

We just booked Sean Covey and Chris McChesney, authors of The 4 Disciplines of Execution, for an upcoming webinar in July, and as I was reviewing the book and information about the development of their execution training, I was reminded of the Covey business legacy.

Stephen R. Covey first broke onto the business scene back in 1989 when he published The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The audio-book of this title later became the first non-fiction audio-book to sell more than a million copies, and the book has sold over 25 million copies.

The elder Covey has followed up his 7 Habits book with The 8th Habit, Principle-Centered Leadership, and recently The 3rd Alternative, along with various versions of the 7 Habits book and additional titles he co-authored. His highly successful Covey Leadership Center eventually merged with Franklin Quest to become FranklinCovey.

His son Stephen M.R. Covey joined the family business, moving up through the ranks to become CEO of Covey Leadership Center. He later started his own company CoveyLink with friend Greg Link. Together they wrote The Speed of Trust and recently followed this up with Smart Trust.

Another son of the elder Stephen, Sean Covey, is Executive Vice President of Global Solutions and Partnerships for FranklinCovey. He followed up his father’s 7 Habits book with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and just last month released The 4 Disciplines of Execution, based on research and training programs developed through FranklinCovey.

Even the in-laws are part of the business. A.Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill co-authored First Things First with Covey in 1994, and later wrote the follow-up title Life Matters.  I wouldn’t be surprised if more Coveys appear on the business scene in the coming years, since Dr. Covey has 9 children and 52 grandchildren.

The real legacy that the Coveys will leave is a laser-focused emphasis on bringing what’s important in life into business. Family values, ethical and moral values, and spiritual life all play a part in his writing and teaching. If we all could integrate our life inside and outside of work into a coherent whole, we would be saved from many of the troubling issues that currently haunt corporate America.



Book Review: The Rare Find

by George Anders

This past weekend saw the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, the biggest thoroughbred race in the United States. For some companies, the process of hiring a new employee can be the same as placing a wager on a thoroughbred. Despite in-depth research, lengthy accolade-filled resumes and ringing endorsements, employers are often left in the same state as gamblers who put their hopes on a “sure thing,”: tearing their tickets up in disgust. Meanwhile, a select few back an unlikely candidate that surges past the pack and into the record books. Columnist and author George Anders takes an in-depth look at the science of recognizing talent in his new book The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else. The summary of Anders’ latest release is now available from Soundview Executive Book Summaries.

Anders tackles the question of talent discovery with writing that will keep any executive riveted to the page. He has a gift for telling a compelling story but sacrifices none of the takeaways that business book readers require in exchange for the investment of their time. By putting examples from Teach for America alongside more predictable references to Facebook and Hewlett-Packard, Anders provides a more complete picture of the talent-scouting process. Any executive who is involved in the hiring process at his or her company will want to read Anders section on “the jagged resume.” A candidate’s scattered success record used to be a one-way ticket to the discard pile. However, Anders does a masterful job of teaching readers why a potential employee with an up-and-down record could become a superstar if your company is the right setting.

To download your copy of The Rare Find in any of Soundview’s multiple digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.

Special Reminder for Soundview Subscribers! This Thursday, May 10, George Anders will be our guest on Soundview Live, the exclusive weekly Webinar series that puts you in touch with today’s top business authors. If you’re a Soundview subscriber, you can attend for FREE. Just visit Summary.com and click the Webinars tab to find out how you can sign up!



Book Review: Taking People With You

by David Novak

In terms of a memorable story from the head of one of the world’s largest brands, Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO David Novak delivers one of the best in his book Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen. Now available as a summary from Soundview Executive Book Summaries, Novak tells a story in the book’s introduction of a PepsiCo employee breaking down in tears. The employee was neither upset nor angry. His emotion stemmed from complete surprise that his co-workers regarded him as the best merchandising expert they’d ever encountered. Novak realized a twofold sense of disappointment. Here was an employee who never felt appreciated. It led Novak to wonder how many other PepsiCo employees felt the same way.

What Novak did with this experience is construct a recognition culture that powers a brand with more than $11 billion in revenues. In Taking People With You, Novak provides one of the best CEO tutorials for turning your organization into one in which every contributor feels valued. Managers at every level of a company will benefit from the advice dispensed by Novak. One can’t-miss section is the second of the book’s three parts. In this segment, Novak gives readers the building blocks to construct and improve strategy, structure,  and culture.

Novak’s emphasis that “winning together” is the essential ingredient in creating a great workplace culture should not be overlooked. He argues that too many organizations ignore the need for culture. For companies that argue they are too big (or even too small) to implement an improved workplace culture should reconsider the statement when they read about the scope of Novak’s efforts and his conviction to the idea of a shared victory.

To download your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Taking People With You, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



Is There Fear Within the Walls of Your Company?

“A company’s worst enemy is not always the competition. Sometimes it’s the fear that lives within its own walls.”

This is a very ominous quote from the author of Breaking the Fear Barrier, Tom Rieger. As Senior Practice Expert for Gallup, Rieger draws on the company’s global research across a dozen countries spanning six continents to identify the “fear barrier” and to show how and why fear destroys companies.

Perhaps you’ve experience this in your own company. A person fears that they might lose power, control, parts of their department, etc…, so they put up barriers of bureaucracy to protect their area. These barriers then cause a slow-down in the processes of the company.

Rieger documents three types of barriers:

  • Parochialism: A tendency to force others to view the world from only one perspective or through a narrow filter, when local needs and goals are viewed as more important than broader objectives and outcomes.
  • Territorialism: Hoarding or micromanaging internal headcount, resources, or decision authority in an effort to maintain control.
  • Empire building: Attempts to assert control over people, functions, or resources in an effort to regain or enhance self-sufficiency.

As Rieger observes: “Each level of the pyramid is a defensive response, and each creates rampant bureaucracy — which in turn limits success, crushes employee engagement, and infuses a sense of futility across an organization.”

In our upcoming webinar with Tom Rieger, Breaking the Fear Barrier, he will offer a cohesive and groundbreaking process for breaking down each level of bureaucracy to remove the barriers. Then he will show that by proactively fostering courageous behavior among employees and keeping insidious “courage killers” at bay, leaders can root out fear in their organizations and establish a culture of confidence, engagement, and long-term success.

If fear and the barriers it produces are an issue in your organization, please join us on May 2nd to hear Rieger’s solutions and to ask your questions during the presentation.