The book review for this week is Growth IQ by Tiffani Bova.
Bova has written a powerful book that describes the optimal paths to business growth in today’s marketplace. She backs up her theories with excellent case studies using relevant businesses and their current levels of success and/or failure.
My takeaways from this book are the ten paths to business growth shown in the list and diagram below and the knowledge that most of these paths are not stand alone. Most business growth comes from applying a number of these paths in a strategically informed sequence. In fact, context, combination, and sequence can be the key to success!
There is no future in the status quo . . . Just ask Sears, Blockbuster, Novatel, Blackberry, Nokia, and the list goes on and on!
There is no future in doing things the way we have always done them! Status quo always ends in irrelevance and obsolescence!
As business leaders we need to continuously challenge ourselves and our organizations to innovate and improve. We need to shake up our industries and stop doing things because we have always done them that way. Rather, we need to start doing the right things smarter, more cost effective, more rapid, and error free!
For example, in the project engineering world, projects have continuously escalated in cost over the years. We have all heard of projects that started at $X billion and ended up costing 2 or 3 times $X billion! Now there are many reasons for this (refer to my mega-project article) but one of the major reasons is that we are simply not challenging the status quo. Instead, we doing things the way we have always done them . . . it seems more comfortable that way because change is uncomfortable!
Although an engineering project today has basically the same objectives as an engineering project 20 years ago, how we get from start to finish needs to be fundamentally changed! Engineering companies need to step back and re-evaluate their businesses to remove legacy mindsets, legacy tools, and outdated processes while implementing new and relevant ones.
Take the automation engineering world as an example. It is undergoing dramatic change because of technologies like:
Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, inventor, and theologian once opined; “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
This is a powerful statement coming from a man who lived in the 1600’s! This was before any sort of modern technology that we take for granted today. Now we are at a time where it is becoming more and more difficult to disconnect from the constant barrage of emails, text messages, Facebook messages, LinkedIn updates, Instagram feeds, cell phone calls, etc., etc.! Our world is accelerating forward at a pace like never before.
As business leaders in today’s world, it is critical for us to lead by example. This means establishing boundaries so that we can be as productive as possible. When we lead by example, the people around us will take notice and begin to structure their work practices in a similar productive fashion.
What Do Productivity Boundaries Look Like?
This week’s book review is The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib.
Dib does an amazing job of describing the marketing process in an easy to understand and powerful format. I am a huge fan of simplifying complex topics and Dib does this for marketing. He clearly defines his 1-Page Marketing plan in a way that allows the reader to complete their own business marketing plan while they are reading through the book.
My takeaway from this book are the nine components of a marketing plan organized into three stages listed below and shown in the graphic below:
Most people in today’s business world would agree that Ram Charan is an icon. He has written a number of best-selling business books, runs a consulting company out of Dallas, and has consulted with many of the largest companies globally.
So, when Charan describes tools that he uses to get organizational alignment, we should all take note and see if these tools can benefit us and our businesses.
In his book, The Attacker’s Advantage, he describes a tool that he uses to get business leaders to align around and focus on the most important strategic activities for their organizations.
I think we can all relate to the scenario where we assume our organizations have alignment around the same core objectives only to find out that people are focusing on very different and sometimes conflicting priorities.
I have seen this misalignment over the years both in organizations and within project teams. In fact, I remember a few painful project incidents where engineering disciplines had differing priorities that caused some significant project delays and cost overruns. These were totally avoidable if we were following Charan’s advice.
And, this is where the “Top 3 Priorities” tool comes in.
What Are Your Top 3 Priorities