The Four

The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

This week’s book summary is The Four by Scott Galloway.

Although I may not completely agree with Galloway’s perspective in this book, he provides a combination of solid research and cynical humor to paint a picture of how a few companies are reinventing the world as we know it. His detailed study of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google show how these massive companies were formed, the market spaces they created, and the incredible societal and business impacts they have made and are making.

My takeaway from this book is Galloway’s “T Algorithm” which is his definition of the factors needed for a business to rise up and compete against The Four. The eight factors are:

How to Craft a Vision Statement

The most important activity for any leader is to cast a vision for their organization! This vivid picture of what the future will look like when the organization has achieved its ultimate purpose must be so compelling that your staff will bet their careers on your organization and your customers will be inspired to do business with you.

The effectiveness of your vision statement can make or break your organization. It can be the biggest factor driving differentiation for your organization in the marketplace or it can reduce you to just another commodity, slugging it out in the trenches for the lowest priced sale.

The Dreaded Performance Assessment

I am not sure who dreads a performance assessment more, the employee on the receiving end or the manager that has to prepare and deliver the assessment! I have seen assessments done many ways over the years and I have never found one that I really like.

I recently read Bob Lutz’s book Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership after seeing him speak at a PMI breakfast in Calgary. The book is an interesting read full of stories and situations that Lutz worked through during his long career in the auto business. He has a lot of good leadership lessons buried in the book but the most interesting thing I got out of the book was the performance assessments that he provided for people he worked with and reported to.

The model is very simple, fits on one page and is easy to complete (download the Performance Assessment Excel template of this tool from the Business Tools page on this site). It does not involve complex psychological models and performance dimensions. It consists of the following 10 elements;