My top 10 books out of the last 100 I’ve read!

I recently hit another milestone in my learning journey.  I just finished book number four hundred in seven years.  For some of you, that may seem like a small number.  But to me, from where I started, to where I am today, this is a an amazing accomplishment for me.

I have written countless times about the power, the confidence, and the joy that I get from reading.  But if you have not read any of that up until now.  I will say it again.  There is not one other thing that I have decided to do in my life and in my career, that has been more beneficial to my success financially, mentally, and relational, than making the decision to become an avid reader of books.  This one discipline has provided me with so much more in my life.

Become a reader and your life will change.  You can start with the list I have for you here.

Its funny, as I look back over books 300 to 400.  It was really easy to compile this list. Well, the fact that I have a grading and scoring system that I manage and track for all of the books I read makes it pretty easy.  But that alone, isn’t the only reason.

This list came together so easily, because the books on this list were by far and away, just really that good.  I am not sure how many of them were actually best sellers, but all of them had a profound impact on me which is why they made the list.

These books, aren’t necessarily the best written, most sold, most known (which I guess would also mean most sold), the longest, etc. No.  These books, had a profound impact on the way I thought, or provided me some new insight that I could apply that could make me more successful.  That is how they make the list.  They had an impact on me.

Maybe they will have an impact on you. Remember, click the title of the book and the link will take you right to Amazon so you can purchase the audio version or the hardcopy of the book. These books are in no particular order.

  1.  9 Things You simply Must do to Succeed in Love and Life; author Dr. Henry Cloud.
    Dr. Cloud is a phenomenal writer and speaker.  He has several best-selling books.  This book I picked up at a discount rack somewhere.  The reason I put it on the list is because he has two chapters in the book that really were amazing.  One chapter on playing fair and the other chapter on hate.In the hate chapter he discusses the practice of hating in a way that solves problems instead of creating them. Cloud suggests that hating well preserves life and hating poorly destroys life. An integral component of hating well is objectivity, which hates the issue without hating the person.

    In the chapter on Don’t Play Fair he discusses the practice of loving unconditionally. Loving without conditions is unfair and incredibly powerful. Further, the author suggests that loving without conditions is possible only when healthy detachment exists. In summary, undeserved love transforms lives.

  2. The Business of the 21st Century; author Robert Kiyosaki
    If you have lived under a rock the last twenty years or so, you may not be familiar with Robert Kiyosaki.  He is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and created a massive training company around that title as well.  I received this book from someone who was trying to sell me on joining their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) company.  If you don’t know what MLM is, I again, want to tell you to get out from under the rock.Some people call it Direct Marketing.  But it is selling products through a specific brand like a Herbalife, Amway, Beachbody, etc. to name a few of the bigger ones.  The process for MLM is where a person sells the products to people they know in their circles, and then from there they build a team of people doing it.  As you build a team within their organization you earn money from all of the sales the people on your team make, in addition to your own. I digress.

    This book is somewhat of a promotion of this type of business. A business that I personally have no desire to be in.  I don’t have a problem with the business model, I just don’t want to be in it. However, I am thankful for the book.Robert Kiyosaki is really successful and in the book he is promoting the MLM business, but this book has a whole lot of practical advice on why it is important for everybody to start some kind of business.  Whether it is real estate, selling products, or something else. Everyone should be involved in their full time job and a part-time job doing something that could eventually grow into something bigger.

  3. Be Obsessed or Be Average; author Grant Cardone
    Grant Cardone is a best-selling author and one of the top influencers on all social media platforms.  He is everywhere.  He has two primary goals.  First he is a sales trainer and his company sells sales training.  Secondly, he has built a huge company where he owns over 5,000 apartments around the country. The reason this book was so impactful is Grant is probably the best motivator I have ever listened to or read.  He will make you think bigger and differently than you have ever thought before.This book, is somewhat of  continuation of his 10X book. However, you don’t need to have read the 10X book before you read this one. Although I read the hard copy version, I would encourage you to buy the audible or audio version of this book.  Grant has a way of reading his books like no other person can.  He will get you motivated.
  4. Rejection Proof: How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible, author: Jia Jiang
    After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.  Read this book and you will learn how to overcome your fear.  This was one of the best books I have read in a long time about sales and it isn’t even a sales book, but it is.
  5. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter, author: Scott Adams (Dilbert creator).  Scott Adams is the creator of the world-famous comic strip Dilbert. But Adams is not only a cartoonist, but he is a great writer.  Most of his books are around this topic of persuasion and how we can have more influence.  In this book, he talks about why he was one of the first to predict that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election in 2016.  He made this prediction because of Donald Trump’s ability to persuade and convince people.  This book is well written and is truly a lesson on how you can be more persuasive and convincing and grab attention in todays complex and noisy world.
  6. Nudge: Improving Decision about Health, Wealth, and Happiness; Author: Richard Thaler.  This book is about how every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones. The authors show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. The author’s research show us that when things are presented in a certain way, we can change the buying patterns for people.  These little nuances can help everyone become healthier and even wealthier.  Richard Thaler also won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017 for his work around behavioral economics.
  7. Anti Cancer; A new Way of Life; author: David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph. This book chronicles the story about how the author was diagnosed with brain cancer and the steps he took to fight and ultimately beat cancer.  He tells us his story, but also provides the readers his playbook, based on his success and his research, on what we can all do to not only fight cancer, but prevent it.  The biggest thing I learned was that a few changes in my diet could prevent me from ever having to deal with this.
  8. Made to Stick; Why Some Ideas Survive and others Die; authors: Chip and Dan Heath. In typical Heath brothers fashion, this book is peppered with lots of great research and support to back up their claims and the processes they suggest.  Through this process they outline several steps we can all take to come up with and deliver messages that stick with our audience. Whether you are a parent trying to get a message to stick with your child, to a manager trying to get adoption of a new process. This book tells you how to communicate in a way that gets things to stick.
  9. The Thomas Sowell Reader; Author Thomas Sowell.  Sowell is an American economist, turned social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. This book is a collection of the authors columns that have been syndicated in Newspapers for the last forty years, and our still being distributed.  Sowell’s opinions on everything from race, religion, politics, to every other hot button topic you hear about everyday is refreshing.  The way he breaks down and communicates in his writings his arguments on all of these topics will challenge you to think about the topic differently, regardless of what side of the argument you are on.  He believes in personal responsibility and that government should not be in our lives as much as they are.  Yes, he would be labeled as a conservative on many of his views.  However, I consider most of his arguments to be just very practical and straightforward.
  10. Steal Like an Artist; 10 Things Nobody Told you about Being Creative; author: Austin Kleon.  This book is the shortest read on the list.  The book is actually really tiny, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t impactful.  The information in the book, the quotes, the ideas the author throws out will really get you thinking about how you can get your creative juices flowing.  In addition, the author reminds you that everything we create is some form of a copy of something else.  Nothing is original.  We all have to start from something.  And he makes you feel good about how you go about creating and developing your material in whatever it is that you do.  This book isn’t only for people who currently do work that must be created, this is for someone who would like to be more creative.  This book will show you how to do it.

I hope you pick up a few of the books that I have recommended here.  When it comes to reading, I have learned that I must seek out other people’s opinions on books and get recommendations.  Most people won’t recommend a bad book.  I won’t, unless I think it will help someone based on whatever it is they are dealing with and working through.

But that is the point, many of the books I recommend and say are my best.  May only have been the best, because of what I was doing at the time I read them.  Of the four hundred books I have read, some of them, if I read them again today, I might be looking at them through a whole different set of eyes based on my perspective now.  And this list could be a totally different list.

My only advice to you is this. Become a reader.  Start finding books or even listening to books.  It will change your life. It has mine.

To your success and your future.

 

5 books on sales that everybody should read, especially sales professionals

Sometimes a new book isn’t what you need.  Instead you need to go back and reread a book you have already purchased and read.  I can never get it all the first time around.  So going back and reading it again, and again, I can get closer to really understanding the material and ultimately practicing what I learned.

This year I have read about eight new sales books.  This doesn’t count the number of sales books that I have reread this year.  I have read 58 books in total for the year thus far.

The five books I included on this list are books that I have read and reread several times. The reason for this, is I have found these books to be the most significant books to really understanding sales, people, and ultimately why people buy.

Are they the best sales books ever?  I don’t know.  It just really depends on what you are looking for.

What I do know, is this list is a great start for anyone who is in sales and for anyone who may want to do one of the things below:

  • to learn a process to sell more effectively
  • understand some of the reasons why people buy
  • learn a technique on how to overcome fear
  • how to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • learn techniques to be more persuasive.
  • understand people’s motives, understand your motives for that matter.

title: Rejection Proof; How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible
author: Jia Jiang
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jia-Jiang-Rejection-Invincible-2015-04-24/dp/B016KX651S/

What I liked most about the book: This guy was on a mission, or is on a mission, to overcome fear.  And some of the things that we are most fearful of.  Such as talking to people, doing things that could be humiliating, making yourself really, really uncomfortable. The author does it all.  And he tells you how it worked for him. You may have heard of some of his crazy ideas and stories already. I hadn’t, but I really enjoyed his strategy and his commitment.

Why you should read it: After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.

title: Spin Selling; Situation-Problem-Implication-Need-Payoff
author: Neil Rackham
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

What I liked most about the book: First of all, this book was first published in 1988. At the time, it claimed to be the most well researched book on sales to ever be written.  Matter of fact, the book cover says that 35,000 sales calls, used by the top Sales Forces across the world, are included in the research for the book.  That alone gives it a lot of credibility.  Plus the examples included in the book gives you a word for word account of actual sales calls that were either successful or not successful.  So you learn a lot by reading this book.

Why you should read it: All sales people should read this book no matter what.  You will learn something that you didn’t know before. To pick one thing that I thought was most interesting, was the part on objections. As a sales trainer, this is a topic that is brought up the most in my training courses.  This book was the first that I have read that actually took a different approach on why sales people get objections.  And the way they write about why we get objections and how to overcome them. This is a process that sales people, as well as people who just want to get people to do things, such as employees or children, can also use.

title: The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
author(s): Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/B0073TG3LQ/

What I liked most about this book: Similarly to SPIN selling, this book was well researched.  I believe the sample size was something like 6,000 sales professionals were analyzed and researched.  I am not saying that I am research snob, however, the way it is researched and how the conclusions are come to, you can see how.  Many books, are just one persons opinion on how something should be done or sold.  A well researched book, is validated by more than one person.

Why you should read it: Everybody is looking for the one thing to separate themselves when selling their product or themselves. This books tells you, based on research, how the most successful sales people do this effectively. And it is most likely not the thing you are thinking.  I’ll give it away a little here.  The title of the book, is also what differentiates successful salespeople from every one else.  The sales person who is willing to challenge the thinking of the buyer, is the sales person who is most successful.  And that theory is validated in the research.

title: Hot Button Marketing; Push the Emotional Buttons that get people to buy
author: Barry Feig
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What I liked most about this book: This was the first book that I had read, and still have read, that actually broke down the reasons people buy, and the reasons why we as human beings make decisions.  That is why this is a book that I think everyone should read. The sixteen motives are broken down with such great examples, that you will instantly start looking at your prospects in a new light that will help you achieve better sales results.

Why you should read it: Most of us look at purchasing decisions, and if you are in sales, you look at the buyer and try to sell to them logically.  We all know that human beings are more emotional than they are logical.  This book breaks down the reasons why we do what we do, and the true emotions and reasons behind it.  This information is critical to anyone who wants to be more persuasive in getting people to take action.  Whether you are in leadership, a parent, or in sales, this book will help you become more persuasive.

title: The Five Great Rules of Selling
author: Percy Whiting
Link to amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Great-Rules-Selling-Revised-Enlarged/dp/B00005VA8T/

What I liked most about this book: Years ago, I had a trainer who was training me to become a trainer.  He asked me to read this book.  I looked at the year it was published, 1957.  And I thought why should I be reading such an old school book.  How does this information even apply today?  Here is what I learned.  Selling hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time.  I never thought about how reading these old school books, and learning the techniques they taught back then could apply today.  After reading this book, I then set a new goal of reading more and more books by dead people.  You know what I mean here.  Old books. And by doing so, I have become a better sales person and communicator.

Why you should read this book: In today’s technology driven world we all have lost are ability to communicate as well as we used to face to face.  It is no ones fault.  It is what it is.  Technology has allowed us to not have to do it as frequently.  Because of this, it is more important than ever for all of us, especially sales people, to learn techniques, language, and style when communicating face to face.  This book provides language and processes on how to get in front of more people, and then what to say when you do.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I did. If you do, please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

 

Handbook of Self-Determination Research; summary/notes

In my constant study of human behavior and what motivates us as humans and individuals, I ran across a book titled “Handbook of Self-Determination Research”.  This book takes all of the research and studies that have been conducted by the most recognized and highly influential scientists, researchers, psychologists to ever study human behaviors. The data is condensed in to a 500 page book that hits the highlights of what we know and can proven by data to show why humans behave and what motivates us.

The book was put together and edited by two of the most recognized in the study of human behavior and the Self-Determination research. Edward L. Deci and Richard. Ryan.

You can purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Self-Determination-Research-Edward-Deci/dp/1580461565/

In my typical summary and notes fashion.  I have provided here my notes from the book and what I am taking away from the book, and in this case, the study of Self Determination. This book was very academic and honestly over my head at times, but it was well laid out and an excellent read for anyone studying humans and why we do what they do.

Notes and paragraphs from the text: 

In the classical, Aristotelian, view of human development, people are assumed to possess an active tendency toward psychological growth and integration. Endowed with an innate striving to exercise and elaborate their interest, individuals tend to naturally seek challenges, to discover new perspectives, and to actively internalize and transform cultural practices. By stretching their capacities and expressing their talents and propensity, people actualize their human potentials.

Self determination Theory begins by embracing the assumption that all individuals have natural, innate, and constructive tendencies to develop an ever more elaborated and unified sense of self.

There are three basics needs of everyone: They are competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

Competence: refers to feeling effective in ongoing interactions with the social environment and experiencing opportunities to exercise and express ones capacities. The need for competence leads people to seek challenges that are optimal for their capacities through activity. Competence is not, then, an attained skill or capability, but rather is a felt sense of confidence and effectance in action.

Relatedness: refers to feeling connected to others, to caring for and being cared for by those others, to having a sense of belongingness both with other individuals and with ones community. Relatedness reflects the homonomous aspect of the integrative tendency of life, the tendency to connect with and be integral to and accepted by others. The need to feel oneself as being in relation to others is thus not concerned with the attainment of a certain outcome, but instead concerns the psychological sense of being with others in secure communion or unity.

Autonomy: refers to being the perceived origin or source of ones own behavior. Autonomy concerns acting from interest and integrated values. When autonomous, individuals experience their behavior as an expression of the self, such that, even when actions are influenced by outside sources, the actors concur with those influences, feeling both initiative and value with regard to them.

Autonomy is often confused with, or melded together with, the quite different concept of independence (which means not relying on external sources of influences), but the Self Determination Theory view considers there to be no necessary antagonism between autonomy and dependence. Indeed, one can quite autonomously enact values and behaviors that others have requested or forwarded, provided that one congruently endorses them. In short, independence versus dependence is a dimension that is seen Self Determination Theory.

Self Determination Theory conceives of humans as active, growth-oriented organisms, that innately seek and engage challenges in their environments, attempting to actualize their potentialities, capacities, and sensibilities.

Two Types of Motivation:

Intrinsically motivated behaviors are those whose motivation is based in the inherent satisfactions of the behaviors, rather than in contingencies or reinforcements that are operationally separable from those activities. Intrinsic motivation represents a prototype of self-determined activity, in that, when intrinsically motivated, people engage in activities freely, being sustained by the experience of interest an enjoyment.

Intrinsic Motivation implies engaging in an activity for the pleasure and satisfaction inherent in the activity.

  • To know: implies engaging in activities because of the pleasure and satisfaction derived from the learning, exploring, and understanding new things.
  • To accomplish: refers to engaging in activities because of the pleasure and satisfaction derived from trying to surpass oneself, creating or accomplishing something.
  • Experience stimulation: operates when one is engaged in an activity because of the stimulating sensations associated with it.

EX: Students doing their homework because they enjoy it and find that learning new things is interesting and satisfying.

Extrinsic motivation is focused toward and dependent on contingent outcomes that are separable from the action. A broad array of behaviors having in common the fact that activities are engaged in not for reasons inherent in them bit for instrumental reasons. They are undertaken to attain an end state that is separate from the actual behavior.

Three examples of extrinsic motivation/values: financial success, image, social recognition.

Intrinsic values/motivation: self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling.

The concept of intrinsic motivation refers to behaviors performed out of interest and enjoyment and extrinsic motivation is pertains to behaviors carried out to attain contingent outcomes.

A meta-analysis of 128 experiments confirmed that expected tangible rewards which require engaging in the target activity do indeed undermine intrinsic motivation for that activity, whereas verbal rewards tend to enhance intrinsic motivation.

Self Determination Theory from the authors is very simply: that humans have three basic types of needs or motives, for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  That is humans are happiest and healthiest when environments, and their own inner processes, permit them to feel effective, choiceful, and connected in their ongoing experience.

Self-Handicapping, which is the tendency to erect impediments to ones own success in order to provide an excuse for failure..  Hence, self handicapping can be considered a defensive preparation to maintain self-esteem in case of later failure.

NEEDS and Motives: Needs differ from lives in that they are part of the individual inherent psychological makeup and therefore represent a psychological requirement, which means they must be attended to and satisfied for the individual to function in optimal fashion and experience well-being. In essence, a need may be seen as a motive that has innate roots. The need for competence is conceptualized herein as innate, multidimensional need, and is presumed to have a powerful widespread influence on personality functioning and wellbeing.

Motives rather than needs: examples include the need for closure, the need for dominance, self-presentation motive, and self verification motive. Such motive dispositions clearly have an important influence on everyday functioning, but we suspect that their influence is qualitatively different from that of a basic need such as the need for competence.

Goals may be distinguished from needs and motives in that the latter are dispositions that energize behavior and orient the individual in a general way., whereas the former are cognitive representations that serve as directional function for behavior by focusing the individual on more specific possibilities.

Goals are related to needs and motives in the self-regulatory process, in that individuals sometimes adopt goals that help save their dispositional desires by channeling them in a more concrete direction. Needs or motives can and often lead directly to behavior, but these general dispositional desires sometimes need to be strategically channelled in a specific direction to be satisfied in an effective and efficient manner. This the need for competence can influence behavior in two ways: it can impel competence based behavior directly, or it can lead to a competence based behavior indirectly prompting the adoption of competence goals that proximally regulate behavior.

Conclusion:

People are most motivated when they have a sense of autonomy. Where they are controlling their environment and how they do something.  We don’t have a problem with parameters, but we want to feel like we have the autonomy to do a job or to pursue something that we want to pursue.  Our self determination and motivation is higher when we have a certain level of competence as well. We want to understand whatever it is that we must do.  When we don’t understand something our motivation and determination is much lower.  And lastly, relatedness.  We want to have community and be in alignment with others that we are around.  We want to love and to be loved.  Love meaning connected with others who are in alike thinking as we are as well.

Leaders must create the right environment that includes the three factors of autonomy, competence, and relatedness for their team to perform at peak performance. Leaders must create an environment where team members have intrinsic motivation to do the work that they do.  You can hire people that are intrinsically motivated, but you have to create the right environment to sustain that motivation.

To your success and your future.

Primed to Perform book summary and notes

To build a high performing culture, you must first understand what drives peak performance in individuals. The answer sounds simple: why you work affects how well you work.

In their book Primed to Perform; How to Build The Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation, the authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor take a look at research and case studies of successful companies and successful leadership that have created motivational environments for their employees. They call it TOMO (Total Motivation) You can find the book here https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/

Here are the questions leadership should be asking about building a high performance culture:

  • What leadership style should you use?
  • How do you design motivating jobs and career paths?
  • What is the best way to establish core value and build a strong sense of community around them?
  • How should you manage the performance of your people?
  • What is the fairest and most effective compensation philosophy?
  • What is the best processes for managing culture?
  • And, how do you change a culture that is already in trouble?

All companies need a purpose a reason the company exists.
There is a spectrum of reasons, or motives, for why people perform an activity. The first three, which we will call the direct motives, are directly linked to the activity and drive performance. The next three, the indirect motives, are further removed from the work itself and frequently harm performance.

Direct Motives:

PLAY:  You’re most likely to lose weight, or succeed in any other endeavor when your motive is play. Play occurs when you’re engaging in an activity simply because you enjoy doing it. The work itself is its own reward. Scientists describe this motive as intrinsic.

  • Curiosity and experimentation are at the heart of play. People intrinsically enjoy learning and adapting.
  • We instinctively seek out opportunities to play.
    Because the play motive is created by the work itself, play is the most direct and most powerful driver of high performance.

Purpose: A step away from the work itself motive, is the purpose motive. The purpose motive occurs when you do an activity because you value the outcome of the activity. (versus the activity itself). You may or may not enjoy the work you do, but you value its impact.

  • The purpose motive is one step removed from the work, because the motive isn’t the work itself, but its outcome. While the purpose motive is powerful driver for performance, the fact that its a step removed from the work, typically makes it a less powerful motive than play.

Potential: The third motive is potential. The potential motive occurs when you find a second order outcome (versus a direct outcome) of the work that aligns with your values and beliefs. You do the work because it will eventually lead to something you believe is important, such as your personal goals.

  • Ex: you may work as a paralegal to eventually get into law school. Dieters are motivated by potential eating healthfully to achieve others things they care about, such as to run faster to keep wth their kids. Another example: Stepping stone jobs.

The potential motive is not as powerful as play or purpose, since it relates to a second order outcome of the work, which is two (or more) steps removed from the work itself.
We call play, purpose, and potential the direct motives because they’re most directly connected to the work itself. As a result, they typically result in the highest levels of performance. Remember this from Primed to Perform, a culture that inspires people to their jobs for play, purpose, and potential creates the highest and most sustainable performance.

INDIRECT MOTIVES

Emotional Pressure: When emotions such as disappointment, guilt or shame compel you to perform an activity, this emotional pressure. These emotions are related to your beliefs, (self perception) and external forces (the judgements of other people). The work itself is no longer the reason you’re working.

  • When your motive to work on anything; work, dieting, etc. because of emotional pressure, your performance tends to suffer

Economic pressure: Economic pressure is when you do an activity solely to win a reward or avoid punishment. The motive is separate from the work and separate from your values and own identity. Money alone isn’t the only cause of economic motive.

  • From the research we expected to find that people with the least income experienced the highest economic pressure. Instead they learned that income and the economic motive were statistically unrelated. People at any income level can feel economic pressure at work.

Inertia: The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from, you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to worst performance of all.

  • Ex: A college student may continue to attend school purely because of inertia, they are on the path, so they just continue slogging. An executive continues on their job not because they are engaged in it, but because he can’t think of a good reason to leave.

Why we work:

Direct motives typically increase performance and indirect motives typically decrease it.
The more directly connected the motive is to the activity itself, the better performance becomes. Play is the motive that is closest to the work itself, so its the most powerful. Purpose is on step removed, so it is the second strongest. Potential is two or more steps removed from the activity, so it is the third strongest.
These two insights define total motivation. (TOMO for short) High levels of total motivation occur when a person feels more of the direct motives and less of the indirect motives. Total motivation is the foundation of any high performing culture.

Direct motives typically enhance performance while indirect motives decrease it. Second, the closest the motive is to the work itself, the better the performance. Play is the strongest motive. Then purpose. Then potential. Inertia is the most destructive, them economic pressure, then emotional pressure.

Tactical performance:

How well a person executes a plan. Every job requires specific actions to be done in specific ways. EX: a certain number of calls, or emails for a sales person. Tactical performance is productivity, efficiency, and control.
Adaptive performance:

Someone having the freedom and ability to make adjustments to their job while they are doing to account for things that change and processes to be changed.
The military uses the phrase VUCA to describe limitations of tactical performance and why adaptive performance is so crucial. The letters in VUCA stand for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Tactical performance is not enough to address VUCA. People and organizations need to adapt.

If a job only has tactical performance behaviors, then you can create performance through indirect motivators. When a job has the need for more adaptive performance, like problem solving, indirect motivators can make performance worse.

As total motivation decreases, adaptive performance decreases with it, and maladaptive performance takes its place.
As total motivation increases, so does adaptive performance. Adaptive performance is the secret sauce behind innovation, creativity, great customer experience, distinctive salesmanship, and may other outcomes that have remained a mystery for so long.
Culture: Is our shared set of values and behaviors within an organization.

A high performing culture is a system that maximizes adaptive performance through total motivation.
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest thats survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.–Leon Megginson

Managing culture is like managing your finances, it is a never ending process.

Four Types of leaders:

Quid Pro Quo leaders: Definition of quid pro quo is latin for something for something. This is how these leaders lead. They believe in giving rewards for good behavior and punishments or threat to control bad behavior. They produce high levels of emotional pressure, Inertia, and economic pressures.

Hands off Leaders: They use neither direct or indirect motivators. They tend to get involved only when there is a problem. Like most people, many hands off leaders have good intentions. They believe their teams want lots of space. The problem is they’re wrong. Teams perform best when the leader is involved.

Enthusiast: There isn’t a motivator an enthusiast won’t try, direct or indirect. Problem with this is the indirect will cancel out the direct.

Fire Starter: They use direct motivators and do what ever they can to eliminate the indirect motivators.

Fire Starters: Play

  • Provide you with time, space, and encouragement to experiment and learn.
    Makes it clear on what it looks like to performing well.
    Challenges you to solve problems for yourself.
    Fire Starters: Purpose: The blame bias makes us believe that everyone works for solely money. Fire starters hep you see and believe in your works purpose:
    Helps you see the work is important and meaningful.
    Role models and expects you to live by positive, comsisitnet, values in a common sense of a purpose.
    Puts the customers interest first.
    Fire Starters: Potential: Help you connect your work to your personal goals and needs. They show your investment in your work is also an invest meant in yourself.
    Actively links the work with your personal goals.
    Helps you to develop and focus your time on your strengths rather than to your weaknesses.
    Provides you with more responsibility as your skills grow.
    Fire Starters: Emotional Pressure: Reduces the potential for feel of fear, shame, guilt, or peer pressure.
    Ensures targets and goals are reasonable.
    They are fair and transparent.
    Enables friendships at work.
    Fire Starters: Economic Pressure: Avoid using rewards or punishments to coerce people to work. Ensure you are evaluated holistically.

Fire Starters: Inertia: Remove obstacles from your path and make sure your work will have impact. Makes it easy to get things done and you don’t waste time doing it.

If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.

From the testing, we learn that flexibility in how people work, rather than where or when they work is key. People who had freedom in how they worked were more motivated.

What the research found:

  • A job designed to enable experimentation increase motivation by 68 points.
    A job designed to enable learning through a variety of increase motivation by about 68 points.
    A job designed to make you feel a sense of purpose increases motivation by about 64 points.
    A job designed so that you do not work alone increases motivation by about 36 points.
    While money is poor motivator, it can be an effective activator, overcoming ones inertia.
    To be perfect is to change often-Winston Churchill.

As you an see by the book summary here the main points of the book are the motives of why people are motivated on the job. Play, Purpose, and Potential being the main reasons for motivation at work. These motives allow for flexibility and adaptive performances where the employee can be creative and do what they feel like is necessary to get the job done within the parameters of the company. And the person who is responsible for setting yp this Total Motivation enevirnemnt is the leader. In this case the call a good leader a Fire Starter. Meaning a good leader gets the team (fire) started and the allows the team (fire) to take off any do what they need to do.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary. For more book summaries and notes from other books I have read and really enjoyed, checkout http://www.thebrianwillett.com/literature/book-summaries/

 

The Four Agreements; book summary

As a reader I read lots of books that are sometimes complex and take too long and too many pages to make a simple point. Then there are times I run across little gems that are quick reads with a strong, straight to the point message.

On of my most recent reads The Four Agreements was one of the latter. It was a quick read with a powerful straight to the point message with very specific action steps.   I guess that is why it was on the New York Times Bestsellers list for over seven years.

You can find the book here http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319

The author outlines four basic agreements that we all must have with ourselves.  These agreements are between you and you.  Which means you can control them.

Here are my notes as well as mini book summary of the book itself.

  • The need for attention is something that all adults have and is something that is ingrained in us in childhood.
  • Most of the agreements that we have accepted in our lives were established when we were young.  Think about it, you accepted your own name.  You had no decision in your own name.
  • Children don’t usually get to choose their own beliefs.  Instead we accept the beliefs of our parents or others as we are growing up.
  • To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive–the risk to be alive and express what we are. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other peoples point of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good for someone else.
  • The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed.

The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your word.

  • The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create events in your life. You can speak. What other animal on earth can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human.
  • The word can kill millions of people or save millions of people. Choose your words carefully.
  • Impeccability means “without sin”. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.
  • So when you are impeccable you do not do anything that goes against yourself.
  • Self-Rejection is a mortal sin, this is the sin that most humans inflict on themselves.
  • Changes must first occur with yourself so later you can make changes on how you deal with others.
  • What you say to yourself and how you say things to yourself is why you must be impeccable with your words. Never do yourself harm with your words.

The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally.

  • Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.
  • Nothing other people do is because of you.
  • You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others, you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
  • By following this second agreement you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear.

The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions

  • We all have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.
  • We make assumptions about what other people are thinking or doing–we take it personally, then we blame them by reacting.
  • When you make assumptions, you are asking for problems.
  • The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
  • We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking things personally.
  • We make assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.  
  • We overestimate and underestimate ourselves because of the assumptions we have made.
  • If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them.

The fourth agreement: Always do your best

  • This fourth agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
  • Under all circumstances always do your best.
  • Remember that your best will and can vary depending on that moment.
  • When you always do your best you learn to accept yourself.
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way we deny life.

There is no way. If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take anything personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, then you are going to have a beautiful life. You are going to control your life 100 percent.

  • Who stops is from being free? We blame the government, we blame the weather, we blame our parents, we blame religion, we blame God. Who really stops us from being free?  We stop ourselves.
  • Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change. If you are not aware that your mind is full of wounds, and emotional poison, you cannot begin to clean and heal the wounds and you will continue to suffer.
  • First Mastery of Awareness: This is to be aware who we really are, with all the possibilities,. The second is Mastery of Transformation–how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third Mastery of Intent. Intent from the point of view is that part of the transformation of energy is possible; it is the one living being that seamlessly encompasses all energy, or what we call God. Intent is life itself; it is unconditional love. The Mastery of Intent is therefore the Mastery of Love.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal.  We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves.
  • It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the human. 
  • Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer or to live and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven.

As I read this book I was reminded that when I apply these four agreements everyday that  I will live a happier and less complex life.  These four agreements are areas that I have full control over in my life.

To your success and your future.

SPIN Selling; book summary and notes

SPIN Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff; author: Neil Rackham http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

SPIN selling was published in 1988, and at that time it was considered to be the most heavily researched book on sales ever created.  The research was compiled over 12 years and 35,000 sales calls, and 1 million dollars in research.

The study was compiled from 116 factors that might play in part in sales performance. The studied was centered around the larger sale. Up until this time a lot of sales training was centered around the smaller scale.  In small sales the consumer is less conscious about value.  As the size of the sale increases, successful sales people must build up the perceived value of their products and services.  The building of perceived value is probably the most single important selling skill in larger sales. The SPIN model is developed around this concept.  The study found that the salespeople who didn’t successfully transfer handling larger sales were those who had a difficulty building the customer’s perception of value.

Four stages of a sales call:  

1.  PreliminariesThese are important, but have less impact on the sale than originally though in the study.

2.  Investigating: Asking better questions can increase sales by more than 20 percent the study found.

3.  Demonstrating Capability: As the size of the sale increases the ability to demonstrate that your solution can solve the customers problems is a must.  The bigger the problem that you can help the buyer discover, the more likely you have to sale them your solution.

4.  Obtaining commitment: Finally a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer.  In smaller sales it is a purchase.  In larger sales it is a lot more.  They are called advances.  Small commitments that get you closer to the bigger sale.

SPIN SELLING:

Situation questions:  Dont irritate your buyer with questions that are not relevant.  Don’t overuse them because to many question can bore the buyer.

  • Are used more in calls which fail
  • Are overused by inexperienced sales people.

Needs: (In this book the author uses the term to describe the buyers wants and needs)

  • First sign of a need is when the buyer shows a slight discontent or dissatisfaction.
  • Starts with minor imperfections
  • Evolves into clear problems, difficulties, or dissatisfaction.
  • Finally becomes wants, desires, or intentions to act.

Implied Needs: Statements by the customer of problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions.

Explicit Needs: Specific customer statements of wants and desires. EX: We need a faster system.

  • Less successful sales people don’t differentiate between Implied and Explicit Needs, so they treat them the same way.
  • Very successful sales people, often without realizing they are doing so, treat Implied Needs in a very different way than Explicit Needs.
  • In small sales the more Implied Needs you can uncover, the greater the chances of success in selling.
  • Implied needs are buying signals in small sales, but not in large.
  • In larger sales the ability to take the Implied needs and convert them into Explicit Needs is where success occurred in the study.  The purpose of your questions should be to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.

Problem Questions:  These are questions that identify problems or concerns for the buyer. Questions like: “Is this operation difficult to perform?”  “Are you worried about the quality that this machine performs?” These questions explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfaction in areas where the sellers product can help.

  • Problem questions are more strongly liked to sales success than situation questions are.
  • In smaller sales the link is very strong the more Problem questions the seller asks, the greater the chances the sale will be successful.
  • In larger sales, Problem questions are not strongly linked to sales success.  Theres no evidence that by increasing your problem questions can increase your sales effectiveness.
  • If you can’t solve a problem for your customer, then there’s no basis for a sales.  But if you can uncover problems you can solve, then you’re potentially providing the buyer with something useful. 

Implication questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good situation and problem questions.  In larger sales this is not enough, successful people need to ask a third type of question. Implication questions: EX: “How will this problem affect your future profitability?” “What effect does this reject rate have on  customer satisfaction?”  Implication questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Build up customers perception of value
  • Are harder to ask than Situation or Problem questions.
  • Implication questions increase the size of the problem in the buyer’s mind.
  • Decision makers respond very well to Implication questions.  They are the ones whose success depends on seeing beyond the immediate problem to the underlying effects and consequences.
  • Implications are the language of decision makers, and if you can talk their language, you’ll influence them better.

Need-Payoff questions:  EX:  “Would it be useful to speed this operation by 10 percent?” “If we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?” In the studies, they found that top performers ask more than 10 times as many Need-Payoff questions per sale than average performers.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Increase the acceptability of your solution
  • Are particularly effective with influencers who will present your case to the decision maker.
  • Need-Payoff questions have succeeded in focusing customer attention on solutions rather than problems.
  • Need-Payoff questions reduce objections.

These questions do two things:

  • They focus the customer’s attention on the solution rather than on the problem.
  • They get the customer telling you the benefits. EX:  How do you think a faster machine would help you?”

How to use SPIN questions:

  • Before the sale, write down three potential problems which the buyer may have and which your products or services can solve.
  • Write down actual problem questions that you could ask to uncover each of the potential problems you’ve identified.

Planning Implication Questions:

  • Write down a potential problem the customer is likely to have
  • Then ask yourself what related difficulties this problem might lead to and write these down. Think of these difficulties as the implications of the problem.
  • For each difficulty, write down questions it suggests.

Features: 

  • Have a positive effect on small sales.
  • Are neutral or un-persuasive in larger sales.
  • Users respond more positively to Features than do decision makers

Benefit: 

  • Facts or characteristics of a product or service.
  • Shows how a feature can help a customer.
  • A Benefit must have a cost saving for the buyer
  • A Benefit is any statement that meets a need.
  • A Benefit has to appeal to the personal ego needs of the buyer, not to organizational or departmental needs. 
  • A Benefit must be something which you can offer and which your competitors can’t.
  • A benefits gives a buyers motive.

Advantages: 

  • Show how a product or service can be used or can help the customer.
  • Have a positive effect on small sales but little effect on larger sales.
  • Have less impact late in the selling cycle.

Focus on the problems that your product solves and on thinking up the questions that will uncover and develop these problems, is a proven successful method of selling. 

Objections/hesitations: 

  • Objection handling is much less important skill than most training makes it out to be.
  • Objections, contrary to common belief, are more often created by the seller than the customer. 
  • In the average sales team, there’s usually one salesperson who receives 10 times as many objections per selling hour than another on the same team.
  • Skilled people receive fewer objections because they have learned objection prevention, not objection handling. 
  • Customers are most likely to raise price objections where the seller gives lots of features.  It seems that the effect of Features is to increase the customers sensitivity to price.
  • You will get an objection if you provide a solution before you have developed the need. 

Objections too early:  Customers rarely object to questions unless you have found a way to ask offensive questions. Dont do this.  Most objections are to solutions that don’t fit needs. If you’re getting a lot of objections, it probably means that instead of asking questions you have been prematurely offering solutions and capabilities. Don’t talk about your solutions until you’ve asked enough questions to develop strong needs.

Objections about value: If most of the objections you receive raise doubts about the value of what you offer, then there’s a good chance that you’re not developing needs strongly enough.  Typical value objections would be it’s too expensive, I don’t think its worth the trouble of changing from our existing supplier. In cases like these, customer objections tell you that you haven’t succeeded in building strong need. The solution lies in better needs development, not in objection handling. Particularly if you are getting price objections, cut down on the use of features and, instead, concentrate on asking Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.

Notes about closing: 

  • In low value sales, given unsophisticated customers and no need to develop a containing customer relationship, closing techniques can work very effectively. With professional buyers closing techniques make you less effective and reduce your chances of getting the business.
  • In larger sales since it requires many steps in the sales process and may people.  The close may be an advance.  Which means the sales is advancing to the next step.  All good sales people realize what they are looking for during each step of the sales process.
  • If you can convince buyers that they need what you are offering, then they will often close the sale for you.
  • Instead of focusing on closing the sale, look at it as, opening a relationship.

My hope is that you found a few nuggets in here that will help you be more successful in selling.  This is obviously a book summary and my notes (what I highlighted in the book), so if you want more information I would encourage you to read the book.  My summaries are an attempt to add value to someones life, my hope is that you did receive that value.  If you did, show me, and please share with me your thoughts and takeaways.

To your success and your future.

 

What is your online Reputation?

The Reputation Economy; How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset. The author Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com the world leader in digital reputation and privacy management.

The book highlights the benefits and the negatives in the current world we live in with social media, media, and how everything we do anymore creates a digital foot print.  He makes the case that your reputation is as good as cash in your wallet and you must manage your reputation and protect it.  In this summary I will highlight the main points of the book and illustrate a few stories that will make you think “WOW”!

We’re in a new world of reputation, where reputations are made and lost in an instant, where everything you do will be tracked, calculated, measured, and analyzed, and where anyone can find out nearly anything about everyone else with just a click.  And while there are plenty of things you can do influence the conversation and shape public perceptions, at the end of the day the best reputation management strategy is simply to earn it by bringing more value to your employer and your customers, treating others well, and being socially and environmentally responsible.  If you embrace the Reputation Economy, make sure you advertise your unique skills and talents, generate enough fodder for those reputation engines we keep talking about, and carefully curate the reputation you have.

  • A human blink can take up to four hundred milliseconds, in that time, an average laptop computer can perform almost one billion calculations.

In the Reputation economy it is like cash, putting it up as collateral to secure your debts and to make transactions you could never otherwise make.

All data is stored and is permanent, cheap, and ubiquitous.

  • Twitter generates over 400 million tweets of data everyday. , the US Library of Congress is permanently storing every public tweet send on Twitter, regardless of its contents.

Everything that can be collected and aggregated will and it will be scored.

  • Every piece of information you provide to a computer with a click of your mouse is reduced to a number that its algorithms can manipulate. The machine means no insult, but it has no other way to represent you, its understanding is limited to math.
  • Computers and scoring can come from any data that you put into Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other media or website you use.  Additionally all of your loyalty programs you are apart of at your favorite retailers.
  • Computers can take all of this data and create a Reputation score for you or a credibility score.  In the future and in many ways already being currently used to analyze your buying habits.
  • Companies will soon be issuing credibility scores, which they’ll use to determine your eligibility to participate in social sharing services like car sharing, apartment sharing, and so on.
  • A high credibility score could be based on a squeaky clean credit, an accident free driving record and a history of always paying your bills on time.
  • Health and Longevity scores issued from insurers to investors and employers.  These scores will be determined by your television watching habits and your fast food consumption.
  • A California woman was convicted of workers compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.
  • Your friends and who you associate will be scored online as well.  You are usually the same or similar to your friends, so who your friends are will also dictate your reputation and credibility score.
  • The next generation of reputation scoring will go further than ever before aggregating information about you, the joke is “We know what you did last summer” technology.
  • The best strategy is to carefully curate your digital footprint so that positive information will eclipse and counterbalance all the negative data that you don’t have control over.

Don’t stop believing in the power of Reputation to shape your career.

  • If you have searched for a job lately and have applied to a company using their automated application process, you have already been apart of algorithms determining whether or not you get the job.  A lot of companies are already using basic systems to search for keywords and other attributes to determine if you would make a good employee for that company.
  • Some companies have used these algorithms to prevent any kind of discrimination in their hiring process.  The computer doesn’t look at black or white or any other race, it just purely looks at the data to determine if you meet the qualifications, and it is all done by a computer with no human interaction, so companies are safe from biases that could occur
  • In many jobs your career growth is more important than your current position.  Smart algorithms are starting to learn the difference between a candidate who has stagnated and a candidate who has worked their way up.
  • No matter what profession or industry you’re in, a good reputation can open doors that you never knew existed.  But your career is far from the only are of life you can stand to profit from a good reputation.

Disrupting Education as we know it.

  • Your reputation score will be so disruptive to higher education because the technology is quickly developing to allow your unique reputation to become  stronger signal of employability than the name on your diploma, or even whether you have a diploma at all. These signals will be less expensive than ever for employers to find.
  • A new thing called microcredientials are already being tested and used in various of job fields.  Microcredentials can be a course, a test, or something quick that says you “know” this.  This could be the future of education.
  • In a world where predictions about your future job performance are increasingly made by computers, your ability to demonstrate the value of your education in actual skills will far more valuable than the traditional signals of a GPA and a fancy degree.  Racking up as many credentials as possible that can be digitized, quantified, and measured will be crucial to launching a successful career in any field.
  • In the Reputation economy a poor decision to wreck a hotel room, will be felt across many areas of your life (you’ll get a score for it, which may affect your financial scores as well)
  • In 1997 a study reported that half of bankruptcy filers found out that personal bankruptcy was an option from a friend or relative.  A paper from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that you are more likely to file for bankruptcy if you have a friend who has declared bankruptcy.  So who your friends are and your twitter followers, and who you interact with online could determine your eligibility to get a home loan.
  • A company by the name of Movenbank (now Moven)works somewhat like a traditional bank.  They offer checking accounts and other financial products, but unlike traditional banks they are strictly online, they are pushing to replace plastic credit cards with smartphone applications  Their most controversial difference is they use a reputation score to determine who gets credit.  They call it Credscore.  An applicant with a top CREDscore gets more exclusive offers, lower fees, and possibly even better customer service.  They build the CREDscore by looking at a customers social networking accounts Linkedin, Facebook, and so on.  An algorithm analyzes the data related to your job,  Are you stable?  Consistent with the income you declared.  They have not stated whether or not it relies on the creditworthiness of you friends for your CREDscore, but it is very easy to get that information and why wouldn’t they, they know who your friends are.
  • A machine is making important financial decision based on your reputation and the reputation of your friends, without any interference from humans.

The major point of this book is that anything and everything you do online leaves a trail, it creates a digital footprint.  Every Facebook post, every tweet, every purchase you make online, every time you use your loyalty card at your favorite retailer, every online dating site you sign up for, every LinkedIn connection you make, every pic you post online, etc.  As illustrated in the book summary some companies are already using this data to allow or deny you to do business with them, in the future what will it look like when everyone is doing this.  Is this a good thing?  It can be.  You have to control your own conversations and your own digital footprint. Be aware of what you are putting out there, be careful of what you share.

Check out other book summaries at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

THE BALD TRUTH, SECRETS OF SUCCESS FROM THE LOCKER ROOM TO THE BOARD ROOM

The Bald Truth; Secrets of Success from the Locker Room to the boardroom was written by David Falk.  He was the agent for Michael Jordan.  He was also the agent for Alonzo Mourning. Which was the first 100 million dollar deal ever done in the NBA.  He was Patrick Ewing’s, John Thompson, and Mike Krzyzewski to name a few other of the other big names he represented.  The foreward in the book was written by Michael Jordan.

In my pursuit to excellence in 2015, I am attempting to read books from people, or about people who pursued, showed, and demonstrated excellence.  This book was a great read because it really gives the behind the scenes look into agents and how they create and get these major deals for sports athletes.  Mr. Falk puts it in simple terms and at the end of each chapter he has something called “Falk’s Fundamentals” that summarize the chapter.  I have included in this book summary the “Falk’s Fundamentals”.  Mr. Falk’s insights on business and people make this book relevant and a great read.

Don’t be a prisoner of your own reputation: Succesful people remain consistent in their value system but flexible in reaction to changing market conditions.

Don’t try to be a spiritual advisor: A leopard doesn’t change its spots.  People don’t change leopards.

Don’t try to run a democracy: Treat everyone fairly but don’t treat everyone equally.

Its better to have a good enemy than a neutral friend:  In crutch time you must know how the people around you will react.  The most dangerous enemy is an ally who deserts you.

A combination of creativity and preparation is essential: Practice make perfect as long as you don’t do it the same way everytime. preparing for major negotiation or representation develops confidence, but preparation without inspiration limits your ability to adapt your performance to unexpected challenges.

Sacrifice short-term benefits for long-term success: The Spurs have been the most successful franchise in the NBA the last few years.  The Spurs have learned how to lose games during the regular season in order to be well rested and primed mentally in the postseason. Don’t with the battle, win the war.

Long term success demands discipline and accountability:  Winning a marathon requires complete discipline mentally and physically.  If you alter the strategy in response to short-term bumps, you probably wont finish the race.

Be true to yourself: A jack of all trades and master of none is known as a dilettante. Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.  Be authentic.

Know when the race is over: Great coaches learn to not run up the score. Whatever temporary satisfaction you might derive from a rout you will likely pay for the next time you face the opponent. Win the game and then walk alway gracefully.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say: If the truth is hard to find, players will run from the coach instead of running for the coach.

Business is not a popularity contest:  In the final analysis, it’s not what they want to hear. It’s what they need to hear.

The truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth: The truth is the most powerful medium of persuasion. “Actually sir, it’s not like a Xerox. It is a Xerox.”

Don’t just see what is happening; anticipate what will happen: Individual who can anticipate what will happen next can translate that opportunity into success.

Limitations are obstacles, not barriers: Even the most careful planning cannot preempt last-minute changes that challenge execution. Successful managers see these limitations, whether they be increased competition, regulatory changes, increased time constraints, or any number of business issues, as challenges not barriers. Their ability to shift on the fly enables them to navigate these limitations that act as total obstructions to less nimble operators.

Intuition and ingenuity define the road ahead: Since what lies ahead of us can’t be determined with certainty, successful managers will find their way paved only be creativity, feel, and ingenuity.

Understand the long-term impact of your actions: The most basic law of physics dictates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  But like energy stored up in a volcano, the reactions sometimes takes place years in the future and with unexpected force.  Don’t expect that the only impact of your decisions will be then knee jerk variety.  It is more likely to be the ripple effect across the entire pool of your business.

Brand your product to differentiate it from the competition: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. We live in an age of brand names that competitors try to mimic, and often the lines between Bentley and Chrysler are blurred. Learn how to separate your company from the competition through creative branding so that the boundary between your products or services and the competition will be so distinct as to require a separate language and customs.

Stay true to who you are: Long term productivity requires that we operate within our strengths even if our critics find fault along the way. Changing your operating style to satisfy short-term criticisms threatens the long-term stability of your organization.

Don’t win the battle only to lose the war: In the history of NFL football league, only one team has every enjoyed a perfect season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  As recently as 2007, the New England Patriots didn’t lose a single game in the regular season, but the pressure mounted to eclipse the Dolphin’s record and the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl.  Success is generally defined by reaching specific goals but often we must sacrifice certain short-term success in order to arrive at our desired destination. Did chasing a perfect season interfere with the ultimate goal of winning a championship?

You must be willing to walk away: Negotiation 101: In order to attain the ultimate deal, you must be willing to walk away from intermediate opportunities.  The necessities an honest appraisal of the strength of your position. A mon on life support can very well afford to pull the plug.

Goodwill is the currency of relationships: In an age of instant information and access, competing parties will frequently find themselves in very comparable negotiating positions. What enables them to cross the divide is goodwill.

Goodwill is the lubricant that greases deals: Highly intelligent and successful people are unlikely to persuade colleagues and competitors of a similar bent through facts, figures, or even negotiating ability to do something they don’t feel comfortable doing.  What enables them to fuse two very powerful and competing forces is goodwill.

Goodwill can be your most valuable asset: Unlike cash, inventory, or other hard assets that can be measured with tradition metrics, goodwill frequently can be the ultimate determinant of success and failure in business.  Developing and maintaining a reservoir of goodwill among employees, collage agues, and even competitors is often more valuable than more tangible assets.

Goodwill must be earned before it can be employed:  Goodwill is most often earned by doing the right thing when there is no pressure to do it.  By going the extra mile to be supportive, respectful, generous, and loyal, and en executive earns the most valuable commodity.

Goodwill cuts both ways: By falling to recognize the small things that you can do to creat goodwill, executives often plant a negative seed that grows into reverse goodwill.  When the leader most needs to call upon his troops for support, a vote of confidence, or double duty mission, the obvious prior failure to do the right thing, to make the small gesture, rebounds with unexpected negative force.

Don’t be afraid to let the customer know when he’s wrong: In an age of increasing specialization, customers look to their dealers, brokers,a nd advisors for specialized advice. Often the customer has strong opinions about his purchasing options and just as frequently these opinions are based on a faulty set of assumptions. Never let your desire to please the customer interfere with your responsibility to give him candid advice about his decisions. Otherwise his next purchase will be his last purchase.

Short term pain often translates into a long-term gain: Most individuals steer a wide path to avoid confrontation.  But a trusted advisor is like a personal trainer, sometimes where there’s no pain there’s no gain. In order to avoid a result that would ultimately constitute an unacceptable level of risk or damage to the client, the advisor must be willing to deliver the hard facts up front.

Truth or consequences: While experience is sometimes the best teacher, there are situations when a bad experience can be fatal.  An individual facing such a critical decision must be informed in the strongest terms that a wrong turn will lead right over the cliff.

Remember the Golden Rule:  He who has the Gold Rules: Your ability to reach a successful conclusion is a direct result of the amount of leverage you have and your ability to communicate that leverage.

Know when to hold: A great point guard never gives up his dribble. Control of the ball gives him control of the game.  When you have the leverage you should never settle for second best.

Know when to fold: Modern fighter jet costs upwards to 100 million dollars.  Their pilots are trained to control the aircraft under all types of adverse conditions. However, when certain indicator lights come on they are taught to press the ejection seat.  The same is true in business.

Know when to walk away:  In Vegas the house always wins. A savvy gambler knows when to get up and leave so they keep their money.  When you’ve attained most of what you need to make a good deal, learn to walk away and be a good winner.

If you have the power you don’t need to use a hammer: In fashion it is said “If you’ve got it flaunt it”  But in business if you’ve really got it, then everyone knows you’ve got it and there is no need to flaunt it.

You control your own destiny in a negotiation: Almost every variable in a negotiation: where you meet, how you dress, how many people are in the meeting, has an impact on the final result.  Take control of the variables and you will take control of the deal.

Avoid unnecessary confrontations: Really successful negotiators show who smart they are, not how tough they are.

Both sides have to win:  In business even if you win the fight, it is important that your opponent wins some points in order for him to accept the deal.

You need a game plan for success:  A successful negotiation depends on a well thought out game plan that conceptualizes the path to a deal.

How do you spell success? The last player to hit .400 in Major League Baseball was Ted Williams more than sixty years ago. In other words, Williams failed to hit in 60 percent of his plate appearances.  Nevertheless, hitting .400 is considered iconic achievement in baseball.  Learn to define what success means in your business.

Conventional wisdom is just an element of the status quo:  Successful people continually challenge the status quo:  Some people see things as they are and ask why?  Others dream things that never were and ask Why not?  Dare to be great.

You must know the difference between talent and value:  Talent is a constant, value is a variable. Being cognizant of market forces and trends enables is to differentiate our product.  The textbook case is Starbucks selling a 20 cent cup of coffee for $3.

Artificial constraints don’t work:  In a free market economy, external regulation distorts the natural equilibrium of the market. The distortion creates opportunity. Look for pressure points in the system.

Preparation, instinct, and confidence are the keys to success:  The most instinctive hitter in baseball still studies the pitcher.  His intense preparation enhances his confidence on his own abilities and bolsters his performance.

Print yourself a coy of the Falk’s Fundamentals and put them on your office or on your refrigerator, or some other place where you can look at them everyday.  What if you implemented some of these in your life, what would be the results.  Please share this summary with a friend.

Check out other summaries at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

The Speed of Trust; The One thing That Changes Everything, summary

The Speed of Trust; The one thing that changes everything was written by Stephen M.R. Covey.  He is the son of Stephen R. Covey the author of the monster successful book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Check out Mr. Covey here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Covey .

In the Speed of Trust Mr. Covey the younger makes the point and outlines a solid game plan based on his own experiences and the experiences he has seen over and over throughout his years in leadership and working with companies.

The book starts off with what Mr. Covey calls the economics of trust.  He uses this formula to make the point.

  • Trust is low =  Speed goes down and Cost goes up
  • Trust is high = Speed goes up and Cost goes down

Think about the above formulas for a minute.  Think about in your current work environment, or maybe in an organization you are in, or your relationship with a boss.  When the trust is low, things you are trying to accomplish get slowed down, and in turn costs go up.  However, when trust is high, you can see that things speed up, which in turn costs go down.

The author equates trust to paying taxes.  As a tax payer we know that we must pay a certain amount of money to the IRS each year for taxes.  But when it comes to trust, or lack of trust, we are paying a tax and may not even be aware of it.  The taxes you pay in an organization can be hidden.  Think about a project you would like to implement and it is not moving fast enough, you may be paying a tax because for whatever reason there isn’t any trust established with you and the parties involved in getting the project done.  I have seen this scenario over and over in business.

The other equation the author offers is this: Strategy times Execution = Results.  But then he goes on to say this.  (Strategy times Execution)Trust = Results.  Trust is a multiplier.  You can have a good strategy and a great execution plan, but if you dont have trust the project can get derailed.  Trust is the great multiplier.  Trust is the key ingredient for all relationships.

  • Trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration.  People want to be trusted.
  • Who do you trust?  A work colleague. a friend? Your spouse, Your boss?  Who trusts you?
  • Trust is a function of two things: Character and Competence.
  • Also people trust people who can get things done.
  • Leadership theory deals with what a leader is (character) and what a leader does is (competence)

The author breaks down trust in the book this way.  There are five levels.  Self trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational Trust, Market trust, and Societal Trust. 

Self Trust: 

  • The first level is Self Trust and deals with the confidence we have in ourselves, in our ability to set and achieve goals, to keep commitments, to walk our talk, and also with our ability to inspire trust in others. The whole idea is to become, both to ourselves and to others, a person who is worthy of trust. In this first wave the author outlines and explores the “4 Cores of Credibility.”  The end result of high character and high competence is credibility, judgment, and influence.

The 4 Cores of Credibility: 

  • Integrity:  To most people integrity means “honesty”.  While integrity includes honesty, its much more.  Its integratedness.  Its walking your talk.  Its being congruent, inside and out.  Its having the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs.  Interestingly, most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity.
  • Intent: This has to do with our motives, our agendas, and our resulting behavior. Trust grows when our motives our straightforward and based on mutual benefit, in others words, when we genuinely care not only for ourselves, but also for the people we interact with, lead, or serve.  When we suspect a hidden agenda from someone or we don’t believe they are citing in our best interests, we are suspicious about everything they say and do. Both integrity and intent are matters of character.
  • Capabilities: Capabilities are the abilities we have that inspire confidence, our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and style.  They are the means we use to produce results.  A family doctor might have integrity and his motives might be good, but unless he’s trained and skilled to perform the task at hand (brain surgery for example) he’ll be lacking in credibility in that area. Capabilities also deal with our ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust.
  • Results: Results refer to our track record, our performance, our getting the right things done.  If we don’t accomplish what we expected to do, it diminishes our credibility.  On the other hand, when we achieve the realists we promised, we establish a positive reputation of performing, or being a producer, and our reputation precedes us. Both capabilities and results are matters of competence.  

Relationship Trust:

  • The second level is Relationship Trust and it is about how to establish and increase the “trust accounts” we have with others. Consistent behavior is critical.  The author outlines 13 key behaviors common to high trust leaders around the world. These 13 behaviors are practitioner based and validated by research.  The 13 behaviors can be learned by anybody.  The goal is to increase our ability to generate trust with all involved in order to enhance relationships and achieve better results.

13 Behaviors:  

  • Talk Straight: Be honest. Tell the truth.  Let people know where they stand.  Use simple language. Call things what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.
  • Demonstrate Respect: Genuinely care for others. Show you care. Respect the dignity of every person and every role. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you. Show kindness in the little things. Don’t fake caring. Don’t attempt to be efficient with people.
  • Create Transparency: Tell the truth in a way people can verify.  Get real and genuine.  Be open and authentic. Err on the side of disclosure. Operate on the premise “What you see is what you get.” Don’t have hidden agendas.  Don’t hide information.
  • Right Wrongs: Make things right when you’re wrong.  Apologize quickly.  Make restitution where possible.  Practice “service recoveries.” Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up. Don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.
  • Show Loyalty: Give credit freely.  Acknowledge the contributions of others. Speak about people as if they were present. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves.  Don’t bad mouth others behind their backs. Don’t disclose others private information.
  • Deliver Results: Establish of track record of results.  Get the right things done. Make things happen.  Accomplish what you’re hired to do. Be on time and within budget. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering.
  • Get Better: Continuously improve.  Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner. Develop feedback systems, both formal an informal.  Act on the feedback you receive. Thank people for feedback.  Don’t consider yourself above feedback. Don’t assume todays knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrows challenges.
  • Confront Reality: Takes issues head on, even the “undiscussables.”  Address the tough stuff directly.  Acknowledge the unsaid.  Lead out courageously in conversation.  Remove the :sword from their hands.” Don’t skirt the real issues.  Don’t bury your head in the sand.
  • Clarify Expectations: Disclose and reveal expectations.  Discuss them.  Validate them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t violate expectations. Don’t assume that expectations are clear or shared.
  • Practice Accountability:  Hold yourself accountable.  Hold others accountable.  Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing and how others are doing.  Don’t avoid or shirk responsibility. Don’t blame others or point fingers when things go wrong.
  • Listen First: Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears and your eyes and heart. Find out what the most important behaviors are to the people you’re working with. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all of the answers or all the questions.
  • Keep Commitments: Say what You are going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do.  Make commitments carefully and keep them.  Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor. Don’t break confidences. Don’t attempt to “PR” your way out of a commitment you’ve broken.
  • Extend Trust: Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.  Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of the people involved. But have a propensity to trust.  Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.   

Organizational Trust:

  • Organizational trust deals with how leaders can generate trust in all kinds of organizations, including businesses, not for profit organizations, government entities, educational institutions, and families, as well as in teams and other micro units within organizations.  If you’ve ever worked with people you trusted, but in an organization you didn’t, or in a situation where the organizations systems and structures promoted distrust, you will easily recognize the critical nature of the third level of trust. The key principle underlying is alignment, it helps leaders create structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust that decrease or eliminate seven of the most insidious and costly organizational trust taxes and create seven huge organizational trust dividends.

Market Trust:

  • Market trust is the level at which almost everyone clearly understands the impact of trust. The underlying principle behind this wave is a reputation. It’s about your company brand (your personal brand), which reflects the trust customers, investors, and others in the marketplace have in you. Everyone knows that brands powerfully affect customer behavior and loyalty. When there is a high trust brand, customers buy more, refer more, give the benefit of the doubt, and stay with you longer.  This material will not only help you improve your own brand and reputation as an individual, it will also help you improve your organizations brand and reputation in the marketplace.

Societal trust: 

  • Societal Trust is about creating value for others and for society at large. The principle underlying this wave is contribution. By contributing or giving back we counteract the suspicion, cynicism, and low trust inheritance taxes within our society. We also inspire others to create value and contribute, as well.

Depending on our roles and responsibilities, we may have more or less influence as we move through out each successive level. However, we all have extraordinary influence on the first two levels (Self Trust and Relationship Trust) and this is where we should begin.

My hope is that you can read this book summary and gain a few nuggets.  If you refer back to the formulas at the beginning of this summary.  If you are in sales, how does this question apply to your world?  Do you currently have a sale that has slowed down?  Why?  Have you stablished enough trust yet.  The economics of trust formula applies to business as well as personal relationships and family.

I would encourage you to pick up the book.  I obviously gave you a solid overview about the book, but the book is full of great quotes by great leaders and a lot of great real life examples of where trust was established and where trust wasn’t established and the consequences of both.

Check out thebrianwillett.com for more book summaries.  Also, share this summary with someone who you think can learn from it.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

Start (Escape Average, Do work that Matters); notes

Jon Acuff is a New York Times bestselling author.  The book Start; Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters.

The intro on the inside of the book cover says it this way:

No one aims for average, No one sets to for status quo, No one longs for ordinary.  But one day you wake up and ask yourself, How did I get here?  You wonder if there is a way to be more awesome, more often.  A way to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters

There is, and it’s not even that complicated.  Since the dawn of time, every wildly successful life has gone through the same five stages.  They used to be tied to your age.

  • 20’s–Learning
  • 30’s–Editing
  • 40’s–Mastering
  • 50’s–Harvesting
  • 60’s–Guiding

But the great news it’s no longer about when you were born; it’s about when you decide to live. You don’t have to be in your 20’s to learn, and you don’t have to be in your 50’s to harvest.

It used to be that your 20’s was a time to go to college, the military, or find a job.  You spent that time exploring and learning.  Then you move into your 30’s and you take what worked well and what you liked in your 20’s and started pairing it down to the most important things.  Such as career, relationships, and every other part of your life. Then you get to your 40’s.  You now started mastering things such as your career, your marriage, raising your children.  You have greater awareness and certainty about your life. Then you make it to your 50’s all of the seeds you planted in your 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s started blooming.  In your 60’s you started giving back and helping others.  This is the path that most people take, this is the path to average.

  • The only thing you have to do on the path to average is not die.
  • The average path os the easier of two paths, and its dangerously comfortable.
  • The path is to awesome is dangerous as well, but it is right now awesome.

The internet revolution isn’t over, it’s just getting started.

I’m not a futurist, I’m a presentist.

Regardless of your age you just have to start.

The first step isn’t easy.  You have to be a realist and a dreamer, practical and impractical, and logical and illogical.

To start: 

  • Find your true purpose
  • Be your true purpose
  • Live your purpose
  • Repeat as necessary

Living with purpose allows you to 

  • Start today
  • Start where you are
  • Start on what matters to you

Forget finding purpose.  It’s a never-ending story that will leave you empty.  Live with purpose instead.

We all have to go through the stages learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. However, we have the potential to accelerate them like never before.  Here are four ways:

  • Start earlier
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants
  • Work harder and smarter
  • Harvest someone else’s fields

The second you choose to be more awesome, fear will ask you a question: “Who are you to that?”

To start:  All you need to do is commit 30 minutes in a week.  This is a good starting point for anyone.   Get up before everyone else does, or stay up late.

  • Nobody gets up early on the road to average.  Nobody stays up late on the road to average.

Ask yourself this:  “If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?”  2nd question: Are those things I’m spending time doing right now?

The new definition of volunteer is any activity that lets you trade time for expertise.

The book takes you through the five stages and gives you a play-by-play on how to approach each area and focus on results.  The underlying theme of the book is we all must go through each of the five stages, but how quickly we go through them is up to us.

Here are some additional highlights of the book from me.

  • What gives you the most joy?
  • Content is king.  Content is currency.
  • Unless you’re dead right now, it’s never too late.
  • If you don’t kill your voices, they will kill you.
  • Some people have two speeds.  Waste all of my time or try to be impossibly perfect with my time.
  • We each have a reservoir of will and discipline. and it is depleted by any act of conscious self-regulation, whether that is resisting a cookie, solving a puzzle, or doing anything else that requires an effort.

To manage you willpower and discipline:

  • Get up earlier because you want the best shot at success.
  • Get up earlier because you want to access your best willpower.
  • Get up earlier because you want the way your brain works and the way your physiology reacts to be your friend, not your foe.
  • Be a student of you.  We usually don’t take enough time to study ourselves.
  • Don’t allow the size of the crowd to determine your awesomeness.
  • You should never chase awesome with someone else’s definition.
  • To become an expert you must do reps.  Repetitions. Repetitions, Repetitions.
  • In 1968 Andy Worhol said in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
  • Joy is an incredible alarm clock. 
  • Helped people help people.
  • The talent we have the hardest time recognizing is our own.  As author Derek Stivers says, the way you look at the world is obvious to you, but often amazing to others. You cant see it because you have seen it for years, if not you whole life.  But for other people.  You awesome is fresh and new and worthy of being shared.  
  • Learning allows us to transcend our genes.

What I liked most about this book is that Jon is so on point with all of the things we each feel when we are starting something new.  He is so on point with the way you might feel right this moment about your life.  I have been there and he has been there, but the difference between average and awesome is to start.

To your success and your future.