My one lesson from what the CEO wants you to know

Previously I reviewed the book, What the CEO wants you to know, by Ram Charan. You can read that review here. A habit I am building is picking one key lesson from every book I go through. If you notice I didn’t write, “every book I read”, because I don’t have to read every book, but I can learn from them, even if that means curating just one key lesson.

From What the CEO wants you to know, the key lesson for me was the importance of having the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs and supporting them through coaching. Any team manager that recruits somebody and finds they are not the right match for the job and so is underperforming should move promptly to remedy the situation.

I also learnt about the importance of coaching. When I talk about coaching here, I don’t mean formal planned coaching, but the day to day support that managers can give their team members through direct, honest and candid feedback and developmental support.


Book Review – Sprint by Jake Knapp

sprintSprint subtitled Solve Big Problems and test new ideas in just five days promises to teach us a unique five day process for solving tough problems. The author writes that the technique has been tested at more than 100 companies. The book is coauthored by John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz ¬†of Google ventures, and what lends more credibility to the book is that the technique originated at Google and has been used to develop numerous products. Jake, the main author, did work at Google where he created the Google ventures sprint process and has run numerous sprints with various startups. Jake defines a sprint as, Google Venture’s five-day process for answering crucial questions through prototyping and testing ideas with customers.

All that sounds very laudable, but how useful is the book? Well, to start with it is a good looking book, printed to very high quality. It is also very well structured. The content is divided into seven parts, five of them labelled Monday to Friday corresponding with the five days a sprint should take. The book is written in simple English which makes the topic easy to understand and it uses interesting stories too. After reading the introduction which briefly covered a story about using the sprint to test a robot, not only did I understand how a sprint works, I was hooked on reading the book. So the answer to my earlier question is, ‘yes’, I think the book is useful. Following is my review of the various sections. Continue reading

Book Review – Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

talk-like-tedIf you are a fan of TED talks or at least you’ve listened to any of them, you will know that they present an array of speakers on different topics delivering short presentations usually no more than 18 minutes. Some of these presentations are brilliant and breathtaking, they keep you engaged throughout. In Talk Like TED, public speaking coach Carmine Gallo, analyses these brilliant TED presentations to uncover nine public speaking secrets. In fact the book is subtitled: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the Worlds Top Minds. In my opinion this is no ordinary book on presentation skills. Carmine definitely knows his trade and has spent a lot of hours going through 500 TED presentations, to prepare the material for this book. This is not the first time Carmine has pulled of such a feat. He previously wrote, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, which was an international best seller.

Continue reading

Book Review – Teach Yourself to Think by Edward de Bono

Teach yourself to thinkEdward de Bono, in my opinion is one of those people who take focus to an extreme. He has focused on the subject of effective thinking for a long time and written over 62 books about it. No wonder he is considered to be an expert in the area of thinking. This book titled, Teach Yourself to Think, presents a five stage framework for thinking and how to put each stage to work. de Bono describes the book as a simple and practical guide for teaching ourselves to think. But reading it will require a degree of concentration because it has got 254 pages of content and requires the use of logical thinking as you read through it. Nonetheless it doesn’t contain any psychological jargon about how the brain works as you would expect from a book on thinking. Below I have briefly reviewed what you can expect to learn from each chapter. Continue reading

Ten Quotes from Successful Networking in 7 Simple Steps by Clare Dignall

7 stepsHere are some quotes from Successful Networking in 7 Simple Steps. You can also read a review of the book here.

  1. Simply put, networking is the process of meeting new people, and maintaining valuable contact with these people, to benefit both you and them.
  2. Surprisingly, it’s the people you know least that could be most useful to you.
  3. It’s generally believed that a person can only sustain around 150 meaningful social relationships; all those people you see on Facebook with 350+ friends don’t really have 350 lifelong buddies; they’ll have a few, the rest acquaintances.
  4. Networking relies mostly on your ability to listen and converse.
  5. Making social media work for, not against you, relies on having a strong awareness at all times of what you want people to see and what you don’t.
  6. Creating an online brand sounds complicated, but it isn’t: it’s simply the process of ensuring that what people can find about you online is consistent with, and underlines, the persona you’ve worked hard to develop face to face.
  7. When online, it’s safest to act as if you have paparazzi on your tail. Google doesn’t forget or keep secrets.
  8. Only choose events that may have valuable relevance to you, and work with your diary.
  9. It’s not rocket science to suggest that when meeting new people, it’s a good idea to look your best.
  10. If you want to feel confident and fully engaged in conversation, then it’s no surprise that the first thing you have to do is look confident and fully engaged.