Book Review: The Trust Edge

August 19th 2013

How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line

Review Review Review Review ReviewThe Trust Edge - Book Cover

Author: David Horsager

This is a great book about how you can make a different in an organization by using and leverage trust in how you operate and behave in your organization.  The author stated in the book “Trust flows from individuals, not organizations” and that is a fantastic summary of the book and really the reason to read it.  You can make a difference with how you use trust for yourself, your career and your organization and the trust edge is something that is available to anyway, independent of their organization as there is always room for trust.  Surely different organizations will have barriers or roadblocks (as they all do) to how far or how quickly you can use the trust edge, but you can certainly make some room for it.  Because of this, I think it is an excellent book to read and a lot of very wise advice and behaviors are outlined in the book, making it actionable and applicable to everyone, which I love about a great book.

Horsager outlines the foundation of success, trust into 8 pillars of trust:

  1. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.
  2. Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves.
  3. Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy.
  4. Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable.
  5. Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity.
  6. Connection: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.
  7. Contribution: People immediately respond to results.
  8. Consistency: People love to see the little things done consistently.

Trusted leaders are followed and these pillars allow a leader to develop genuine relationships and powerful reputations leading to higher revenues and success in the business. Horsager includes many useful and actionable segments in the book with questions to pose on yourself and summary steps to help you put more trust into the way you operate in business.  These make the book much more applicable and his guides and methods are all very reasonable and useful to follow.

Horsager based his book on findings from top company research and he provides many examples of how trust is a critical factor to the success of these great companies.  Trust of the internal people and processes but also trust of the customer and vise versa.  Customers will never stick around if they do not trust you and your company.

So, I recommend this book to anyone interested in business, especially if you are interested in making and improving the trust and relationships you have internally and with customers, as it can make a huge impact on your success and enjoyment in your work.

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 4 Comments »

Book Review:The 1% Solution For Work and Life

August 9th 2011

How to Make Your Next 30 Days The Best Ever

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Author : Tom Connellan

I have always enjoyed business books written with strong things to teach, but done in a fable or story context, such as Lencioni’s book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.  Connellan has done the same with The 1% Solution since it is written as a story, yet with very clear elements taught to the reader.  This particular story is of a guy, named Ken who had reached a point where things seemed to be a struggle in his life and he was noticing vast differences in people around him, some doing well, some struggling.  The coach of all people on his son’s soccer team met Ken and steered him towards a new path with the help of a group of others in a 1% solutions team.

The concept from the group was clear, that doing everything in your life just one percent better and constantly striving (deliberately) to improve just one percent can have dramatic positive consequences.  The difference between many first place medals in Olympics and no metal is often as small as 1% so that 1% can make a big difference. Whether you are after an Olympic Games goal or not, everyone has the ability to be better than they are, and the 1% solution provides a model and outlook towards life to do just that, be better.

As Ken meets and spends time with each of the 6 people in the 1% group, he learns important concepts about learning, improving and focusing his life around becoming a better person in many areas.  The group of 6 is realistic in having Ken think about how to get better than what HE already is, instead of thinking about where he’d like to be the best which compares to others and often holds people back from improving step by step.  The messages are very practical and cover a lot of personal development aspects I’m sure many people have seen or heard.  The author puts them into context of a person’s life and tells them in a way that is compelling and believable.  Here are just a few of the examples and messages from the text:

  • You can’t be 100% better than everyone else, but you can be 1% better at hundreds of things
  • Not everyone can be great, but everyone can be better than they are right now
  • The more you get done, the more motivated you are to do things.  So you do more things, and you get even more motivated.  It’s a self-feeding cycle!
  • The way to start is by taking action – even if it’s a small action.
  • Too many people who have been around for 30 years don’t really have 30 years’ experience.  They have one year’s experience 30 times.
  • What sets apart the top 1% is that they cycle throughout the day between periods of concentrated effort and planned recovery.

So, there are many other messages and I think you will certainly enjoy this book.  The author covers and uses motivation and engagement topics, teaches elements of the Pareto or 80/20 principle, emphasizes Gladwell’s 10000 hours to become an expert message, covers deliberate practice to get better faster, dives into a 30 day formula to form or break habits, includes the important aspect of properly resting and recovering from 1% progress and finally includes how all this can then be passed on to others and shared again.    If you’ve read a ton of other content in personal development, you will likely not come across anything really new in this but at the very least; it will reinforce many common aspects of becoming a better person.  If you’re searched and read some content on personal development and want a book that is easy to read yet packed with useful content and tips, then this book is definitely for you. It is an easy read, fairly short and the story is well written with a good mix of dialogue where Ken learns from the 1% group and narrative writing of his thoughts and actions.  There are additional resources at the author’s website if you want more information.  I’d love to hear your comments or questions about the book if you have read it or not, as the topics are all worthy of discussion!

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 8 Comments »

Rules of Engagement for the At Home Entrepreneur

May 7th 2011

Today, I have a guest post by Jack Simms, his contact details below the article.  Please join me with your comments and discussions on this article!

A Guide for At Home Entrepreneurs or the soon to be

Today, millions of Americans are retreating from traditional office environments and finding refuge working from home. In fact, many people who have more traditional jobs report that they long to work from the comfort of their home one day. Interestingly, many of those same people really haven’t given much thought to the kinds of businesses that might thrive in a residential environment or the logistical requirements of starting an at home business. Therefore, this article addresses some of the important issues every budding at home entrepreneur should consider.

Types of Jobs You can Perform from Home

Those who work from the comfort of their homes generally fall into one of two categories:

  • telecommuters
  • small business owners

Telecommuters generally work for someone else; that is, they are employees who answer to a boss and typically use technology (phones and email) to communicate with coworkers and management. In contrast, the entrepreneurs in this second class of at home workers developed an idea for a business and decided to conduct it from home.

Telecommuting Jobs

Rather than making the long drive to the office in rush hour traffic, millions of American employees work out of a virtual office. These employees hook up to the internet first thing in the morning, sometimes still un-showered and in their pajamas. While some find that a lack of interaction with coworkers can be isolating, others thrive in an environment where they can set their own schedules and toil away without someone breathing down their neck or distracting them in the adjacent cubicle. 

Although every company’s business model does not lend itself to telecommuting, more and more employers are embracing the concept. Why?, one might ask. Of course, there are many different reasons, but two are obvious. First, forgoing traditional office space can translate into financial savings for employers who don’t have to shell out money each month on rent. Second, allowing employees to work from home can boost morale and keep the staff happy.

Some common jobs that people perform from home are:

  • Data entry
  • Customer service
  • Sales
  • Medical transcription
  • Bookkeeping and accounting

If you are specifically on a quest for at home employment, make sure to do your research. Because so many Americans yearn for the flexibility of working in the comfort of their homes, the number of scams out there is mind blowing. A simple google search (or a scan of the junk folder in your email account) will confirm that fact.

Original Start Up Businesses

Working from home can be a great option for entrepreneurs who have an original idea for a business but aren’t yet ready to launch it on a grand scale. Opening up the business from your home may be a financial necessity for some startups, or it may just be a wise economic decision based on the circumstances. Indeed, most small business owners are initially shocked by all the initial costs involved with opening a new business. Therefore, starting from home can allow you to test the waters and get the kinks out of your business plan before you obligate yourself in a long-term lease or overextend yourself in other ways.

The naysayers may claim that one’s home contains too many potential distractions for adequate focus on work. And, to be fair, some who’ve traveled along this path have had difficulty avoiding the lure of the television or ignoring the family debate in the next room. Indeed, working from home is not for everyone. However, if the circumstances are right and you are the kind of person who can remain focused despite routine household distractions, working from home may actually make you more productive. In fact, some reports suggest that individuals operating their businesses from home are more productive than their counterparts working in traditional offices.

Some of the common small businesses operated from home:

  • Freelance writer
  • Day care
  • Blogger
  • Various IT businesses (web design and support; general IT repair and maintenance)
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Small catering businesses
  • Various landscaping businesses (landscape design; general lawn care; container gardening and plant nursery)
  • Handyman
  • Tutoring
  • Photography

Factors One Must Consider Before Starting an at Home Business

When you have an exciting idea about a new business venture, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative process and forget about the boring details. However, the wise entrepreneur always remains grounded and does not lose sight of the logistics involved with opening a new business. The following items must be addressed before you make your home office a reality.

  1. Legal Organization – Will you operate as a sole proprietor or an LLC? Or does an S corporation make more sense for you? Perhaps a limited partnership would be appropriate if you have multiple owners.If you don’t know the difference between any of these legal entities, that’s the good sign you need to retain an attorney to advise you on the most appropriate method of business organization for your new venture. Even if you are, in fact, familiar with the different options for business organization in your state, consulting some professional guidance is prudent. Indeed, although most states have forms posted online and permit non-attorneys to submit their own organizational documents via the internet, great care should be given to these kinds of decisions.
  2. Tax Considerations – After you recruit an attorney as a member of your business startup team, a tax advisor should be one of the next slots you fill. Tax laws change constantly, and even if you’ve previously been capable of filing your individual income taxes yourself, chances are you need an expert to help you understand the tax implications of how you operate your business (check out the green parking council example).
  3. Local Laws – Do you need a business license to operate your home business? Do any local zoning ordinances impact your decision to work from home? If you haven’t asked these questions yet, you do so as soon as possible. Typically, local officials are glad to help small business owners ensure that their plans are on the up-and-up.
  4. Neighborhood Considerations – Particularly if your home is newer, chances are it may be subject to restrictive covenants and governed by a homeowners’ association. Restrictive covenants often permit homeowners to operate businesses out of their homes, so long as the business is an ancillary (and not the primary) use of the property. However, consulting the actual document is imperative to make sure you do not violate any of its provisions.

When Your Business has Outgrown Your Home

Although some folks open a business with long-term plans to operate it from home, some types of businesses, if successful, will outgrow a typical residential environment. The point at which you need to move into a more traditional commercial or retail location may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if you have clients visiting you on a regular basis, having them show up at your house may not create the professional image you want to project. In addition, if your business grows to the point at which you need to hire multiple employees, a home office may start getting crowded. On the other hand, if you conduct business exclusively electronically or by phone, perhaps you’ll never need to leave the comfort of your home. And showers may remain optional.

Jack Simms has been providing research on issues of interest to home buyers and owners for LeadSteps.com’s Online Mortgage Rates business for three years. Prior to his involvement with LeadSteps, Jack was a real estate professional providing marketing services to realtors in northern California. Jack’s research for LeadSteps’ Mortgage Rates Website is driven by his desire to better explain the complicated decisions involved in both home ownership and the purchase of a home.

Posted by Mike King under Life | 9 Comments »

Book Review: Traction

October 5th 2010

Get a Grip on Your Business

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Author: Gino Wickman

Let me start by simply stating my own praise for this already highly recommended book.  I have read a lot of business books and Traction is definitely my new found favorite.  It packs in so much applicable content around 6 key factors for running a business; it is an excellent handbook to use for growing and leading any small to medium sized business.  It covers these components from the perspective of starting from the top in a business with the leadership team and expanding the concepts throughout the organization as the tools are implemented and proven.

Most books and many that Wickman references are excellent business guides for narrower topics and while agree with many of his references and have enjoyed those books as well, this one covers such a wide scope, yet with an incredibly strong focus on the leadership component itself and with what is called the Entrepreneurship Operating System (EOS).  The EOS is Wickman’s term for the overall system used to run the business and it is what the book teaches very well with example company implementations used throughout the book, with specific tools and implementation strategies and with outlines and samples available for every step of the implementation process.  This is what I like so much about Traction, it is more of a handbook and one that gives an excellent set of steps for implementation.

Wickman covers these 6 components:

  • Vision
  • People
  • Data
  • Issues
  • Process
  • Traction

Inside each component, he presents the strategy of why and how to implement changes to make each step of the EOS a success.  It typically takes anywhere from one to three years to fully implement and realize this EOS in a business and see the resulting change and/or growth as a result.

To give a bit more detail about one of these components, I particularly liked the component on issues as it is a strong area especially in engineering and software areas which I work in.  The issues component is certainly not new to me in my company but it is often an area we struggle with solving.  Wickman gives a framework to use for the issue solving track that is three mains steps:

  1. Identify – This step involves examining an issue to discover the real issue that is faced by that can only be discovered by being honest and uncomfortable to peel back the layers to identify what the underlying problem really is
  2. Discuss – Everyone involved has their say about the issue with a focused effort to discuss that issue alone (no tangents). Keep the discussion around what is right overall for the company (the greater good) not individuals or individual groups.  Once any discussion becomes redundant, it’s time to move to step 3.
  3. Solve – This step is mean to conclude the issue and solve it once and for all.  The whole point is to make the issue go away forever and not come back.  You turn the discussing into one or more action steps and you decide to move forward to finally solve the issue.

So overall, this book is one I will definitely be using in business to implement much of this EOS as I see the value, am excited by the overall focus and approach Wickman has and very much like the components and implementation guide.  I’ll leave you with a final quote directly from the book near the end about putting this system all together.

Many books have been written on the topics of meetings, planning, solving problems, developing people, and prioritizing.  What is new about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is the way these disciplines have been assembled into a complete system for running an entrepreneurial organization.  Each individual tool is not as important as the whole, and all six components that make us the Entrepreneurial Operating System and the EOS Model need to be understood and mastered in order to fully gain traction.  You can read more about the process and book at the website, www.eosprocess.com

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 2 Comments »

Career Tip: Fill the Gaps

June 4th 2010

Career progress and performance is an important area in life and through my experience in striving to improve my performance I’ve learned to find many ways to perform well in my career.  It’s not been without its share of hard work though!  And as a manager, I also have insight and perspective from the other side of expectations and performance improvements and so these career tips come from that mix of experience and from my own study and practice in my career.  Please comment below if you have related experience or any experience/stories where you have used this tip!

Fill the Gaps

This tip is really about one specific thing that if you look at doing consistently and doing everything you can in this area, you will be more successful in your career, hopefully in the short term and definitely in the long term.  The tip is to regularly seek out any noticeable gaps anywhere you can in your workplace.  These can include any number of things in numerous areas:

  • Your own performance
  • New simple roles that no one is responsible for
  • Tasks that need an owner or completion that is long outstanding
  • Addressing or raising an obvious but unsaid concern
  • Helping someone who obviously could use it
  • Offer written suggestions that could solve organizational challenges
  • Volunteer to take something new one when the opportunity arises
  • Ask people about what went well and what went wrong to know what needs addressing and repeating

Doing these things comes at some expense and if you are wise, you will identify the low priority things in your work or tasks to ensure you make the time to fill the gaps you come across.  Eliminating wasteful activities, extra work, repetitive work, non-important work, and by prioritizing your focus, you will ensure you have capacity to fill the gaps and make a difference in those areas.  It’s in these areas that you can excel in your career and make the difference in your results, your inspiration and hopefully, even in building your own internal motivation.  So, don’t sit back and let your career progress without putting in effort to find and fill the gaps.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Getting NAKED

April 26th 2010

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A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Naked service providers achieve a completely different level of client loyalty and its primarily about the foundation of any relationship, trust.  That trust is developed by being vulnerable and getting outside your comfort zone, the areas I most admire and aspire to myself.  That is what this great book is all about.  Lencioni does this in his unique style by writing the book and teaching the content as a fable.  He is a fantastic story teller and I really connected with the humor that was added in this book.  The main characters is in charge of ‘integrating’ a new team from a company that was expected to be swallowed up in an acquisition and he quickly discovers that his integration is going to require integrating the smaller company’s more effective consulting methods are what truly need to be integrated.

Of course the main character and whom is telling the story is faced with many challenges of learning this new style of vulnerable consulting service.  The humorous aspect is that the main character constantly narrates his thoughts as if he is saying them and then explains which I found myself laughing out loud from many times and the shock of what is really said versus what is thought brings life to the characters and realism to the story.  In fact, the impact of this I believe actually helps to convince the reader of each of the unconventional service methods that are presented through the main character’s learning by practice approach throughout the story.  I feel the book provides so many great examples (and realistic ones) all while clearly explaining the reasoning and doubts from the dialogue and thoughts of the characters.  It’s a fun story to read and an even better one to learn from if you are at all interested or involved in any kind of service to others.

The following is an outline of the “Naked Service” that is demonstrated in the book and is tough to digest without the context of the story or more examples, but here it is anyway, which I hope will wet your appetite and entice you to read this book.  It’s well worth it!

Fear of Losing the Business

Put your self at stake even when there is a risk to lose that business or jeopardize the relationships.  Honest and self assured consulting is the best approach here.

Principles:

  • Always consult instead of sell – demonstrate value by serving
  • Give away the business – give away advice and be generous even before they are a client.
  • Tell the kind truth – Protect the client needs by telling every truth. Its presented with kindness and respect but never sugar coated even if the service provider will be sacrificed as a result.
  • Enter the Danger – Step right into the middle of any uncomfortable situation to fearlessly deal with an issue that others are afraid to address. This grows great loyalty and shows integrity with an opportunity.

Fear of Being Embarrassed

Making suggestions even if they might make them look foolish.  Clients learn that this is a way to trust the provider.

Principles:

  • Ask dumb questions – Asking more questions and possibly obvious questions shows courage and results in uncovering
  • Make dumb suggestions – Suggestions without confidence often turns into a great insightful suggestion and is what is remembered, not that some suggestions are ignored or denied.
  • Celebrate your mistakes – Being wrong is an inevitability and perfection is never expected, so acknowledge mistakes

Fear of Feeling Inferior

About getting past trying to look superior with a high level of standing or expertise.  To get over this, the service provider must be willing to purposefully put themselves below the client and make the needs of others (no matter what it is) more important than their own.

Principles:

  • Take a Bullet for the client – Finding moments when we can sacrificially relieve some burden from the client and then confront them with the kind truth
  • Make everything about the client – A powerful tactic by focusing on helping, supporting and honoring the client
  • Honor the client’s work – Take an active interest in the client’s business
  • Do the dirty work – Be willing to take on needs of the client regardless of the level of the work and do it humbly to earn gratitude and loyalty
  • Admit your weaknesses and limitations – General weaknesses should never be covered up since it prevents you from doing best in areas you can thrive

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 7 Comments »

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