Previously I wrote a book review on Tony Hsieh’s Delivering happiness which I believe is a brilliant book. You can read that review here. There are three key lessons that I learnt from the book which are:
- How to strengthen your culture with a book: Zappos have a culture book which contains information about the company’s culture from all the employees. This book helps to communicate the Zappos culture and it is a demonstration of how staff can be engaged to create something crucial to the comapany.
- Using a focus to differentiate your company: This second lesson is about how Zappos used it’s focus on great customer service to differentiate the company and create a comparative advantage for itself. In a business landscape where companies are constantly copying each other, having a USP which differentiates your organisation is a business winner.
- The importance of being transparent: This last lesson focuses on something which lots of organisations struggle with, transparency. Through certain actions Zappos has been able to create a business environment which promotes open and honest communication.
If you want to know more about what I learnt from these three lessons then you can get the learnabyte I wrote, which contains a mini-summary of the book and a group session for teaching others about these three lessons here.
This blog is all about reviewing great developmental books, but while it’s good to read books, the problem I have is that I forget most of what I’ve read from a book some time after I’ve read it. While I don’t expect to remember everything I read in a book, I want to at least remember some lessons which I can find a way of applying. That’s why I have set myself the challenge of summarising and documenting a couple of lessons from each book I read in so that I can go back to review the lessons if necessary. But I don’t just want to keep the lessons to myself, I want other people to be able to learn these lessons too. As a result I have started writing mini-book summaries and group sessions from the books I review on this site. The mini-book summarise will have up to three lessons for reading, while the group sessions will allow a person to teach a group of people the lessons summarised from each book. I call these resources learnabytes and my first learnabyte is from Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. You can see it here.
Jo Malone: My Story, by Jo Malone in my own estimation is one of the best business related biographies you can read because it is unbelievably honest. Jo Malone is a British fragrance entrepreneur who has succeeded in building two successful brands. Her first business Jo Malone of London which produces perfumes and other fragrance related products was sold to Estee Lauder. Her current business which is her second is called Jo Loves. If you read London’s free Evening Standard newspaper then you will come across Jo’s business column in the Monday issue. Jo is not your typical entrepreneur, but her story teaches us that if you have a skill that you can sell to people, with hard work, focus and the right partnerships you can build a world class a business. Continue reading
The Coaching Habit was written by Michael Bungay Stanier. The book aims to help people develop coaching as a habit by teaching seven easy to ask questions to get a coaching conversation going.
The book also has tips on how to build new habits. The seven questions discussed are:
- The Kickstart question which is for starting a conversation.
- The AWE question which is for identifying options to discuss after asking the Kickstart AWE stands for “And What Else?”
- The Focus question which is about identifying the most important thing to focus the conversation on.
- The Foundation question is to find out what a person wants.
- The Lazy question is used to find out how you can be of help to a person.
- The Strategic question helps to identify issues that may be overwhelming a person.
- The Learning question is used to conclude a conversation.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh is part biography and business memoir as it discusses aspects of Tony’s life and his business ventures especially those that have to do with Zappos, the online shoe company which Tony is a part of, which was later purchased by Amazon. The book starts out outlining parts of Tony’s early life especially his education and his business exploits when he was young. After leaving university Tony would start a business called LinkExchange which was bought by Microsoft making him a lot of money. With the money Tony set up an investment fund which was how he came across Zappos, an online shoe company he invested in and later joined as CEO. Zappos was a risky bet for Tony, as he put almost every penny he owned into the company, including selling his personal possessions to fund the company. It was a company almost destined to fail, but Tony stuck with it, helping to build up the value of the company which would later be purchased for over a billion dollars by Amazon. Continue reading