Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Take the Fear Out of Business Finances

So you finally got that promotion and today is your first day attending the management meeting. As you sit down among your new peers a thick report is passed out filled with numbers. These are the monthly financial reports and as you look through them you’re completely lost. What does it all mean and am I going to be asked to comment on these numbers?

Don’t panic. There are simple ways to get up to speed with the basics of business finances. You could enroll in a business finance course but that would take too long. Or you could read the book No Fear Finance by Guy Fraser-Sampson.

Fraser-Sampson takes the fear out of understanding business financially concepts and reports. In a very clear and methodical way he goes through all the basic information needed to understand and use and understand financial reports and tools.

Early in his book Fraser-Sampson distinguishes between Financial Accounts and Management Accounts. Financial accounts are used to report about a company to outsiders like shareholders, while management accounts are used by management to make business decisions.

Other topics covered include:

  • Basic financial concepts such as the time value of money, and financial instruments including stocks, bonds and derivatives.
  • The main investment concepts like liquidity, volatility, active versus passive investing and different return measurements.
  • Key accounting matters like balance sheet and income statement analysis, working capital and solvency.
  • Company life cycle events including M&A, capital raising, insolvency.

If you would like to get a head start on understanding business finances, please join us for our next Soundview Live webinar, No Fear Finance. Guy Fraser-Sampson will explain basic financial concepts for business use, and will take questions from the audience. Now is a great time to get your burning questions answered in a low-pressure environment.

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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.



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 Summary.com.



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.



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.



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.



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.