Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Book Review: One Piece of Paper

What are the guiding principles of your management philosophy? If you were to make a list of the people, texts and experiences that molded you into the leader you are today, who and what would appear on the list? The majority of executives could fill a 32 GB hard drive with inspirational presentations, quotes and passages from books, and journal entries of their own successes and failures. Author, consultant and U.S. Army veteran Mike Figliuolo believes that while we are the sum of our experiences, the process of attempting to summarize what we’ve learned (and subsequently communicating those lessons to others) has become clouded. In One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership, Figliuolo teaches readers the process of concentrating their personal leadership philosophies into a set of maxims that fit on the titular 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Figliuolo’s book is now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

One Piece of Paper offers a considerable challenge to any executive that attempts Figliuolo’s method. While the process of creating one’s list of leadership maxims seems simple, Figliuolo spends a significant amount of time explaining the complexities of why the maxims govern your ability to lead yourself, individuals and teams. One of the book’s greatest strengths is Figliuolo’s willingness to share his personal experiences. His biographical anecdotes serve not only as a demonstration of the Maxims Approach, but they also solve one of the most common questions for readers of any business book: Does the author practice what he or she preaches? In Figliuolo’s case, he provides one example after another that answers a reader’s question in the affirmative.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of One Piece of Paper in any of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.

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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.



Book Review: Topgrading

by Bradford Smart, Ph.D.

The challenge of making a good hire continues to prove difficult for a number of organizations. According to author Bradford D. Smart, statistics show that three out of every four hiring decisions result in a situation in which the wrong person ends up in the wrong job. Smart, an acclaimed management psychologist, conducted more than 6,000 interviews over a span of three decades to strike at the heart of why companies make so many hiring mistakes. The result is his book Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People. Soundview Executive Book Summaries is now offering a summary of the revised edition of Topgrading in multiple digital formats.

Executives know that a company performs at its peak when it is staffed with top talent. Smart labels this group “A players.” In Topgrading, he guides readers through the process of finding and hiring more A players. Topgrading has a distinct advantage over similar books on human resources management. Smart balances the process of finding A players with rewarding existing A players on staff. He also is unafraid to answer the question about the remaining portion of a company’s work force: B and C players. In the summary, Smart provides an alternative that emphasizes the positive rather than putting more employees through a revolving door.

Readers will appreciate Smart’s level of honesty and the practicality of his solutions. The methods described in Topgrading will prove valuable to a business regardless of its size. The current economic climate creates a zero margin for hiring and handling talent. Smart provides the tools necessary to keep costs at the bottom while pushing your company to the top.

To get your copy of the summary of the revised edition of Topgrading visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.



Who Are the Real Decision-Makers in Your Company?

When a major decision is being made in your company, who’s in the room? Is it the boss and a group of his or her confidants? Or is it the boss and his senior management team?

Bob Frisch contends that in many companies, it’s a group of the boss’s confidants, a “team with no name” that exists outside formal processes. And, surprisingly, he makes the case that this is the way it ought to be.

Frisch explains, “Senior teams have undeniable strengths, and they are in a unique position to do things that no other group in the organization can do as well. Making big decisions isn’t one of them—for very good reasons that will be dissected here. Unless the senior team’s limitations are understood and its genuine strengths put to work, the blame and frustration on all sides will continue.”

This is quite a stance to take, but it comes from Frisch’s many years of consulting with top companies. His stated goal is “that by understanding the nature of executive decision-making, executives and the members of their senior teams can stop beating up themselves and each other.”

Perhaps you’re in that senior management category, or you’re the boss that’s trying to make the best decisions and are drawing flack from management. If so then you’ll benefit from our upcoming webinar with Bob Frisch entitled Transforming Decision-Making.

Grab your lunch and your management team, and join us on February 9th to see how you can improve your decision-making process, while helping top management understand where they fit in as well.



Taking the Contrarian View in Business

Have you noticed how some business authors purposely take the contrary view to current business thinking? Sometimes it’s just to get attention for their book, but generally their intention is to get us to think outside the box, to let our minds break out of the assumptions we’ve heard so often that we believe they must be true.

I thought it would be fun to scan the recent few months of books that we’re seeing at Soundview to look for some examples. Here’s what I found (I’ve provided the Amazon links for your reference):

I think there’s a lesson for us in this list of contrarian titles. Are we too set in our ways? Have we become comfortable running our businesses by maxims that may no longer be true?

Perhaps it would be healthy to take a step back as we’re about to make an important decision to take the contrarian view for a moment. Have I missed something here? Are there more ways to look at this issue? We might even invite our staff to provide contrarian views without repercussions.

Let me know how this works for you.



Book Review: Breaking the Fear Barrier

by Tom Rieger

When an executive looks at the state of his or her company, there may be problem areas that are easy to notice. For example, a department whose projects are consistently delayed or brought in over budget. The difficult part of an executive’s job is digging beneath the surface to find the root cause of the problem. According to author Tom Rieger, the primal emotion of fear may manifest itself in ways that can derail even the most technical aspects of a business. His book Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from the Inside Out and What to Do About It is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Fear can create a workplace environment in which self-preservation leads to destructive practices. Rieger discusses the walls that individuals and departments build and how to knock them down. The book’s brevity means readers receive maximum benefit for their investment of time. He presents the “pyramid of bureaucracy,” a model for the way fear builds upon fear in organizations. He gives detailed analyses of each level of the pyramid: parochialism, territorialism, and empire building.

One aspect of Rieger’s book that may surprise readers is his contention that many of the barriers created in the workplace are self-imposed. While a manager may heartily agree with the notion that his or her employees are responsible for their own problems, the idea is more difficult to accept when the spotlight is turned on the executive. However, Rieger’s breakdown of how to eliminate fear will only benefit those readers who are honest enough with themselves to admit that fear is causing an issue.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Breaking the Fear Barrier, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.