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Excerpts from our favorite reads

Business Meeting


Far too many managers have lost sight of the basics, in our opinion:  quick action, service to customers, practical innovation, and the fact that you can't get any of these without virtually everyone's commitment.

In Search of Excellence - Lessons from America's Best Run Companies, Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.


People avoid saying no because confrontation makes them uncomfortable.  But the alternative is even worse.  You drag things out, make things complicated, and work on ideas ou don't believe in.


Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Idea brainstorming
Business Meeting_edited_edited.jpg


What would happen if this activity was not done?  If nothing, get rid of it.

The Effective Executive

Peter F. Drucker


Ways to Raise the Urgency Level

#6.  Insist that people talk regularly to unsatisfied customers, unhappy suppliers, and disgruntled shareholders.

Leading Change, John P. Kotter

Chapter 3, Exhibit 2, Ways to Raise the Urgency Level

Man Making Phone Call in Office
Sculptures in Rows


36.  Don't let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole.  Don't try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen.  Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, "Why is this so unbearable?  Why can't I endure it?"  You'll be embarrassed to answer.

Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you.  Only the present - and even that can be minimized.  Just mark off its limits.  And if your mind tries to claim that it can't hold out against that ... well, then, heap shame upon it.

Meditations, Book Eight

Marcus Aurelius


In the office, whether you are chief of a big organization or a small one, you are shielded from the truth by a bewildering array of devices, prudent or malicious, all designed to "save" you from the trivia and complexity so that your mind can be clear as you confront the "big picture" decisions.  Instead, your mind is all too likely to be empty of all but prepackaged data, leading you to make uninformed decisions.

Thriving on Chaos - Handbook for a Management Revolution

Tom Peters

Co-Author of In Search of Excellence and A Passion for Excellence

Software Programmer
Team Meeting_edited.jpg


Leaders understand that unless they communicate and share information with their constituents, few will take much interest in what's going on.  Unless people see and experience the effects of what they do, they won't care.  When leaders share information rather than guard it, people feel included and respected.  A greater two-way flow of information is created.  Sharing information also lets everyone know the reasons behind decisions and the ways they are linked to shared values and common purpose.  When people have the same information and understand they are part of a community, with common values and shared interests, the results flow.  Finally, everyone can sing in unison, from the same page of the same song sheet.

Credibility - How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It

James S. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner


A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the abundance mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique.  Your character is constantly radiating, communicating.  From it, people come to trust or distrust you.

Principle-Centered Leadership

Stephen R. Covey

Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Helping Hand
Dinner with Friends_edited.jpg


Business is not about managing money; it's about managing relationships and personalities.

Networking is a Contact Sport - How Staying Connected and Serving Others Will Help You Grow Your Business, Expand Your Influence - or Even Land Your Next Job

Jow Sweeney with Mike Yorkey


Understand that building more skills can be a foreign concept to gifted people because they've always prevailed with the ones they already have.  The good news is that once you can convince them that they have more to learn, they can often do so more quickly than the average person.

Success is the Only Option - The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent

John Calipari and Michael Sokolove

Basketball Practice_edited.jpg
Mountain Cliff Hiker


Another thing to remember:  the lower your mood, the less likely you are to see reality clearly.  So the state of your disappointment makes it more likely that you will miss an opportunity right in front of you.  Yes, you are upset.  Get over it!  Embrace reality and start embracing your gifts,

Just Start - Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

Leonard A. Schlesinger, Charles F. Kiefer with Paul B. Brown


Quality is not an act, it is a habit


Woman Studying
Young Basketball Player


The #1 thing for a leader is:  Can you truly put others first?

Can you put yourself second?

If you answer, "yes," how do you do it?

Center-Desk, Mike 


Unfortunately, there is more evidence that sales don't significantly increase and bonds of loyalty are not formed simply when companies say or do everything their customers want.  Henry Ford summed it up best.  "If I had asked people what they wanted, " he said, "they would have said a faster horse."

This is the genius of great leadership.  Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can't see.  They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.

Start with Why - How Great Leaders inspire Everyone to Take Action

Simon Sinek

Support Group
Business Conference


Business isn't complicated.  Complications arise when people are cut off from information they need.

Jack Welch


Identifying Priorities

Future over past

Opportunity over problem

Your own decisions over consensus

Make a difference over the easy road

The Effective Executive

Peter Drucker

Business Plan


We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is a habit



Organizations don’t execute unless the right people, individually and collectively, focus on the right details at the right time.

Execution, The Discipline of Getting Things Done Bossidy and Charan

Business People Applauding_edited.jpg
Call Center


But if you ask most businesses why their customers are their customers, most will tell you it's because of superior quality, features, price or service.  In other words, most companies have no clue why their customers are their customers.  This is a fascinating realization.  If companies don't know why their customers are their customers, odds are good that they don't know why their employees are their employees either.

Simon Sinek, Start with Why


"Stress" is now the achiever's word for "fear."

Tony Robbins



Every organization needs:

1.  Direct Results (which always come first)

2.  Building of values and their affirmation

3.  Building and developing of people for tomorrow

The Effective Executive, Peter F. Drucker


Clearly the #1 motivator of people is feedback on results.

The One-Minute Manager, Blanchard & Johnson

In Meeting


We jump at the chance to judge strangers.  We would never do that to ourselves.  We are nuanced and complex - strangers are simple.  We judge people on the flimsiest of clues.

Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell


"It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and THEN do your best."

W. Edwards Deming

Women in Jewelry Workshop
Similing Team


In a company that has been reengineered, employees must hold beliefs such as the following:

- Customers pay all our salaries.  I must do what it takes to please them.

- Every job in this company is essential and important:  I do make a difference.

- Showing up is no accomplishment:  I get paid for the value I create.

- The buck stops here:  I must accept ownership of problems and get them solved.

- I belong to a team:  We fail or succeed together.

- Nobody knows what tomorrow holds:  Constant learning is part of my job.

Reengineering the Corporation, Michael Hammer & James Champy


Architects don't worry about which tiles go in the shower or which brand of dishwasher to install in the kitchen until after the floor plan is finalized.  They know it's better to decide those details later.

You need to approach your idea the same way.  Details make the difference.  But getting infatuated with details too early leads to disagreement, meetings, and delays.  You get lost in things that don't really matter ... Nail the basics first and worry about specifics later.

Rework, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Student in Library
Sync Up


Within high-performing companies, when employees fail to deliver on their promises, colleagues willingly and effectively step in to discuss the problem.  In the worst companies, poor performers are first ignored and then transferred.  In good companies, bosses eventually deal with problems.  In the best companies, everyone holds everyone else accountable - regardless of level or position.  The path to high productivity passes not through a static system, but through face-to-face conversations at all levels.

Crucial Conversations - Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler


  1.   Select a person

  2.   Set expectations

  3.   Motivate the person

  4.   Develop the person

First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

People's Shadows


#1 – Get the right people in and in the right places – then figure out where to go

People aren’t your most important asset – the right people are

Good to Great, Jim Collins


#1 Mistake – Too much complacency and not first establishing a sense of urgency · lacking patience · urgency not equal to anxiety · too much past success

#2 Mistake – Failure to create a guiding coalition · no individual can do it all · failure usually equates to underestimating difficulty

#3 Underestimating the power of vision · Direct, align and inspire actions

#4 Undercommunicating the vision by a power of 10 or 100 · need manager backing · consistent behavior

#5 Permitting obstacles to block the new vision · structure can be the obstacle (job descriptions)

#6  Failing to create short term wins · “create” instead of “hope for” · must happen within 6-18 months

#7 Declaring victory too soon

#8  Neglecting to anchor changes firmly into corporate culture · show and demonstrate deliberately how change is better

Leading Change, John Kotter

Designers Working
Team Meeting


1.  Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2.  Do I have the right materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3.  At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4.  In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?

5.  Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6.  Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7.  At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8.  Does the mission / purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?

9.  Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10.  Do I have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, have I talked with someone about my progress?

12.  At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

1 through 6:  “Catalyst Role” – Focus of a manager’s time

First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman


You don’t need hierarchy if you have disciplined people – no excessive controls

Discipline + Entrepreneur = Magical alchemy for performance

Good to Great, Jim Collins

Open Space Office


A baseline question every new leader should ask is, "How did we get here?"

The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins


1.  How can you broaden the scope of employee freedom by managing less, without sacrificing focus, discipline, and order?

2.  How can you create a company where the spirit of the community, rather than the machinery of bureaucracy, binds people together?

3.  How can you enlarge the sense of mission that people feel throughout the organization in a way that justifies extraordinary contribution?

The Future of Management, Gary Hamel

Business Meeting
Working at a Cafe


In a survey of 141 nations, Gallup found that ... only 13 percent of adults call themselves "engaged" at work.

Grit, Angela Duckworth


The basic premise is simple:  cultural change gets real when your aim is execution ... First you tell people clearly what results you're looking for.  Then you discuss how to get those results, as a key element of the coaching process.  Then you reward people for producing the results.  If they come up short, you provide additional coaching, withdraw rewards, give them other jobs, or let them go.  When you do these things, you create a culture of getting things done.

Execution, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Professional Presentation
Modern Work Space


Looking back on my own career, I have never really made a tough change, whether it involved resource shifts or personnel moves, that I haven't wished I had made a year or so earlier.

Only the Paranoid Survive, Andrew S. Grove

Leader's Journal: News and Tips
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