Soundview Executive Book Summaries


A Holiday Gift: Three Great Business Book Summaries

As we approach the last leg of the mad dash toward the holiday season, many people are looking forward to a few well-earned days away from the office. Please notice I didn’t write “days off” because today’s marketplace forces executives to stay plugged-in even when their office lights are off. Time away from the office is a great time to catch up on the latest insights from today’s best business authors. To that end, Soundview Executive Book Summaries has three new releases that should help executives prepare for a prosperous new year.

by Laurie Bassi, et. al.

Good Company by Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim and Dan McMurrer with Larry Costello. Laurie Bassi and her co-authors show that despite the dispiriting headlines, we are entering what they coin the “Worthiness Era.” And in it, the good guys are poised to win. Across the globe, people are choosing the companies in their lives in the same way they choose the guests they invite into their homes. They are demanding that companies be “good company.” The authors created the Good Company Index to look at Fortune 100 companies’ records as employers, sellers and stewards of society and the planet. The results are clear: worthiness pays off.

 

 

by Marcus Buckingham

StandOut by Marcus Buckingham. StandOut introduces the next-generation strengths assessment from Marcus Buckingham, co-author of Now, Discover Your Strengths. The StandOut assessment unveils your two key strength roles and shows you how to find your edge and win at work. Whether you’re an individual who wants to find your edge, a manager trying to fully understand the strengths of your team, or a leader in an organization looking to stay on the cutting edge of the strengths movement, you need StandOut.

 

 

 

by Craig Wasserman and Doug Katz

The Invisible Spotlight by Craig Wasserman and Doug Katz. Based on four decades of experience as management consultants, Wasserman and Katz make a compelling argument that all managers work in the heat of an invisible spotlight where their every word and deed are scrutinized by employees. Remarkably, most executives are unaware of this reality. The authors tell illuminating stories from the trenches about management successes and misadventures that offer a fresh, practical perspective on building sound management relationships.

 

 

 

In addition to this trio of titles, Soundview is providing a fantastic holiday offer. For a limited time, if you purchase one gift subscription to Soundview Executive Book Summaries, you will receive a second gift subscription FREE! Take advantage of this limited-time offer to reward a great client or show your appreciation for a helpful colleague. Click here to get your gift subscriptions while the offer lasts and to see full offer details!

For more information on the latest business books, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.

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What You’ve Been Missing …

Have you heard recent editions of Soundview’s Author Insight Series? If not, you missed some great conversations with today’s best business authors. Each month, Soundview features downloadable interviews with an array of best-selling business authors. These 10-minute audio clips make a great companion to Soundview’s 30 Best Business Books summaries. If you’re a Soundview subscriber, now is a great time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Here’s a sampling of some of the most memorable quotes from recent guests:

“Clearly you want to know what your core competencies are but if you stick solely to what those competencies are, it’s like driving by only looking in the rearview mirror.” – Stephen Wunker, author of Capturing New Markets.

“The dialogue around innovation has been way too skewed toward differentiation, as if that were the only problem to solve and the answer to all problems, which just isn’t true.” – Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Escape Velocity.

“If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.” – Jim Kouzes, co-author (with Barry Posner) of Credibility.

“Part of the curse of knowledge [carried by] senior executives is that they will be deeply familiar with ‘the numbers,’ but the numbers just won’t resonate with the rest of the organization.” – Colin Price, co-author (with Scott Keller) of Beyond Performance.

“We have it in our heads that technology distances people … I completely disagree. I think that things like e-mail and Twitter and Facebook have enabled me to have many, many more relationships all over the world.” – Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment.

You can hear more from the best business authors by visiting Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



Bring On the Next Boom

As we read the latest news about the financial crisis in Europe and the deficit stalemate in the United States, it’s hard to imagine that there could be a financial boom coming anytime soon. So how do we plan for the future?

Jack Plunkett, author of The Next Boom, believes that there is another boom coming, knows what to look for to predict it, and knows how companies should be planning now to prepare for it. It seems like wishful thinking until you see the hard facts and extensive research that Plunkett provides to back up his claims.

Plunkett points to three emerging trends that will lead to the next boom:

  1. A soaring global population – While some countries have seen their population growth decline, others like the U.S. are seeing continued growth. Statistics show that the U.S. could reach a population of 1 billion by 2100 to 2120. The growing worldwide population, especially among the middle class, will provide the engine for economic growth.
  2. Sweeping changes in consumers, demographics and education – There could be a tripling of trade world-wide by 2030 to $27 trillion, due to the growing needs of the populations of emerging countries like China and India.
  3. Emerging technologies, centered on health care, wireless communications, biotechnology, nanotechnology and energy – As Africa joins India and China at over 1 billion people, innovations in biotechnology will have to take place to feed this growing population. And that’s just one example of the emerging technologies that will be needed.

Plunkett’s point as he expands on these trends, is that all of these developments will create another world-wide economic boom. If his predictions pan out, then companies need to be preparing now for what’s coming.

We’ve invited Jack Plunkett to join us for our next Soundview Live webinar, Bring On the Next Boom, to hear more about these trends and what we need to do now to prepare for the future. Please join us on December 1st to hear more, and to ask your questions of the author.



Lessons to Learn from BlackBerry

For anyone owning a BlackBerry, last Wednesday was a frustrating day. The company experienced a service outage that in some countries lasted three days. And because BlackBerry’s are used predominantly by business executives, this brought their productivity to a standstill.

This is bad timing for Research In Motion (RIM), the owner of the BlackBerry brand and it’s services, as sales have been slipping for that past three years with the growth of the iPhone, and especially Andriod-based phones. While Apple has increased its percentage of the market from 21.1% to 27.2% over the past year, BlackBerry’s portion has dropped from 32.5% to 10.6%. Much of this slack is being taken up by Andriod-based phones which have come out of nowhere to their current position of first with 54.7% of the market.

It would be an understatement to say that RIM is in a crisis situation. How do they handle the outage? RIM’s co-CEO’s have released a video apology on YouTube, joining other famous leaders of late. And they are simultaneously trying to divert attention to their new developments with the announcement of a new operating system at their developer conference. But is this enough to stem the tide of customers flowing to other devices?

These are tough questions, and they bring to mind the broader question of how any leader should respond in a crisis. This past year, Shaun O’Callaghan released his book Turnaround Leadership to answer that very question. O’Callaghan looks at the types of crises and their various causes, how to lead through a crisis, how to learn from dealing with crises, and most importantly how to avoid most crises in the first place.

One point he makes is around the importance of trust. After a crisis, trust levels between the company, its customers, employees, suppliers and financial stakeholders can be at dangerously low levels. O’Callaghan provides a “trust equation” to help visualize how trust happens: TRUST = (Benefit-Cost) X Intimacy / Perceived Risk.

In our upcoming Soundview Live webinar Leading Through a Crisis, Shaun will be going into detail about how to lead through crises, and will help us to understand this formula and the importance of building trust through authentic communication. Join us on October 27th and learn how you can avoid many crises in the first place, and how to lead through a crisis in a way that will make you and your company stronger in the process.



Content is STILL King

I recently spent a day searching on Google. I searched for cars, flights, deals on soap and anything else I could think of, sometimes following a string of totally unrelated searches just for the fun of it. My wife finally dragged me away after 9 hours of searching just to eat a meal. My last words as I saw the Google logo disappearing from view, was “this is my food.”

Do you believe a word I just said? Of course you don’t, because searching is not something we do for entertainment, we search because we’re looking for something. Searching is the necessary evil of finding something on the internet, not an end in itself.

But some “industry executives” would have us believe that “web navigation is more valuable than content.” In a recent WSJ article on the ouster of Carol Bartz as CEO of Yahoo, the writers made the case for the devaluing of content. Rishad Tobaccowala of Vivaki was quoted as saying, “People tell me that content is king, but that is not true at all. Most people make money pointing to content, not creating, curating or collecting content.”

Now I must admit that I am in the business of creating content, so perhaps my view of this issue is skewed. But has anyone ever totaled up the combined revenue of the search sites of the world, and compared that number to the total revenue of all e-commerce sites, airline ticket sales, restaurant meals, cars sales, and everything else to which search points us? Content is the basis for search engines. Without content there would be no Google, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube or any other site that survives by pointing to content.

I just did a quick scan though my Soundview Online Library to view our recent content. We have summaries of books by such excellent thinkers as Daniel Goleman, Jay Elliot, Guy Kawasaki, Josh Linkner, Daniel Burrus, and that’s just from the last few months. In addition we host webinars with these business writers to bring them together with our customers, and conduct video interviews with local executives dealing with real-life business decisions.

Google can point to our site, but they can’t provide the content. Speaking of Google, didn’t they just purchase Zagats? Isn’t this so that they have control over more content? Of course we shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds us. Google does provide us a lot of traffic, but the relationship is symbiotic.

A more productive avenue of thinking than this “search versus content” ideology is that advocated by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams in their latest book Macrowikinomics. The five principles of this book are collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity and interdependence. The authors argue for a more cooperative marketplace. Think how that might affect the relationship between the search giants and the content to which they point. What are your thoughts? Does search rule, or content, or does there need to be a truce called and an alliance negotiated?



Remembering 9/11
September 7, 2011, 10:15 AM
Filed under: Conference/Event, General Business | Tags: , ,

CBS News reported on Tuesday that Nick and Kathy Kavounas just replaced their worn out American flag with a crisp new one. That doesn’t really seem like news until you learn that this is their 3rd flag since 9/11, when they first began displaying the American flag. As Nick Kavounas told The Early Show, “Probably, 9/11 had a bigger impact on me than any other event of my lifetime.”

9/11 also affected another group of individuals, called the 9/11 Recruits. These are people who enlisted because of the tragedy. They felt that they needed to do something for their country and for those who lost their lives. Although there was no real surge in recruitment after 9/11, there were those throughout the country that credit this event as their reason for entering the military.

This September 11th marks the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist plane attacks on the U.S. at the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, PA . Many TV networks are planning week-long series to remember the attack (CBS), publications and websites are covering the events in various ways (WSJ), and communities throughout the country are hosting parades and other events to remember the day and the people who were lost.

At both Ground Zero in NYC and the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville , new memorials and museums are opening on Sunday, and the Pentagon memorial is already completed and open. Each of these sites is worth a visit to better grasp the enormity of this tragedy.

One of the companies interviewed by WSJ is Keefe, Bruyette and Woods Inc, who lost 67 of 171 New York employees in the south tower. John Duffy, CEO of the company, lost his son on 9/11, and says of their goal to keep the company together, “None of us wanted 9/11 to be the last day in the firm’s history. We didn’t want the bad guys to win.”

This is a sentiment held by many, both individuals and companies. Fortune Magazine provided an impactful graphic on page 108 of their September 5th edition, showing the Twin Towers, along with the resident companies and their loss of life in the attack. It’s hard to imagine what an event of this magnitude would do to most companies, but the prevailing conviction was one of staying the course, of moving forward for the sake of those that were lost.

This is a good week for all of us to reflect on what is really important in our lives and companies, and to value the colleagues, friends and family with which we have been blessed. Take a moment on Sunday to remember those that lost their lives, and the fortitude which makes our country great.



Google Exploits the Chaos

Monday’s breaking news was certainly the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google. When a juggernaut like Google; with search engine dominance, Android used by over 39 handset makers, a massive video-sharing site in YouTube, their new social media site Google+ at over 10 million in beta, and the controversial Google Books project; picks up a major phone/hardware maker, everyone better pay attention. 

 What are the ramifications of this acquisition? They’re many and diverse, and some of the ripples won’t be seen for years, but here are a few to consider:

  • Although Google is promising to keep Android open to its partners, certainly Motorola will benefit from being on the inside track with software development for its devices.
  • Apple and Microsoft have been in an uneasy partnership of late, buying up patents to keep them away from Google. With Motorola, Google picks up over 17,000 patents and instantly strengthens its position substantially. 
  • What about that much-desired place in your living room? Microsoft tried to get there unsuccessfully, and Apple is gaining ground. But with Motorola, Google gets the major manufacturer of set-top boxes used by cable companies, and the MEDIOS system.
  • And let’s not forget another great market – government. Before Motorola Solutions split from Motorola Mobility, they had a strong foothold on government contracts. Look to Motorola to help Google work its way into this lucrative marketplace. 
  • But of greatest interest to our readers is the content play. First they acquired YouTube, and then they launched Google Books. What’s next? Movie and TV production? Online newspapers? Book publishing? As content providers know, devices have no value without content. So it’s only a matter of time before Google moves to control the water, not just the hose. 

 Our summary of Exploiting Chaos by Jeremy Gutsche speaks directly to what is happening with Google, as he argues that periods of uncertainty actually fuel opportunity, reshuffle the deck and change the rules of the game. Google has certainly done that!