What We Are Reading

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DAVE ULRICH THE WHY OF WORK

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How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win Ulrich’s latest book is the epitome of our founding principles. We all work for the same thing–and it’s not just money. It’s meaning. Ulrich states that through our work, we seek a sense of purpose, contribution, connection, value, and hope. Digging down to the meaning of work taps our resilience in hard times and our passion in good times. That’s the simple but profound premise behind this ground breaking book by renowned management expert Dave Ulrich and psychologist Wendy Ulrich.

By answering the following questions he will help you discover “how” to create meaning and value in your own workplace.

  1. What am I known for?
  2. Where am I going?
  3. Whom do I travel with?
  4. How do I build a positive work environment?
  5. What challenges interest me?
  6. How do I respond to disposability and change?
  7. What delights me?

VERNE HARNISH MASTERING THE ROCKEFELLER HABITS

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Harnish is founder and CEO of Gazelles, Inc., which serves as an outsourced corporate university for mid-size firms. His seminal work is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits in which he translates the habits on which Rockefeller build his oil empire to the modern day business environment. He focuses specifically on small and mid sized growth companies. Mastering the Rockefeller Habits provides easy-to-use tools for making strategically smart decisions and for keeping everyone aligned and accountable to those decisions.

BARDFORT D. SMART TOP GRADING

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How Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People. The key to building a superior company is the on going ability to recruit and retain superior personnel. In his book, Top Grading, Bradford Smart expands upon this idea by examining in great detail exactly how today’s premier organizations have assembled such top-level employees, and then showing precisely how others can do it, too.Simply put, “topgrading is the practice of packing the team with A players and clearing out the C players”. ‘A players’ as defined in the book are the top 10% of talent available at all salary levels-best of class. With this radical definition, you are not a topgrader until your team consists of all A players. Period.
This book is based on more than 4,000 interviews and case studies conducted by Smart at major corporations like General Electric as well as fast-growing high-tech companies and small family-owned firms. Smart has also included an extensive “Chronological In-Depth Structured Interview Guide,” along with other assessment tools and hands-on strategies for assembling an ideal work team which further bolsters the effectiveness of this book.It is a must read for anyone responsible for hiring in their company.

ALEX OSTERWALDER BUSINESS MODEL GENERATION

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Osterwalder introduces nine key items, which serve as the building blocks for all business models: Customer Segments, Value Proposition, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Activities, Resources, Partners and Cost Structure.Osterwalder introduces nine key items, which serve as the building blocks for all business models: Customer Segments, Value Proposition, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Activities, Resources, Partners and Cost Structure.
These building blocks are laid out as a “business model canvas” and can be used to describe any different business model. The book is co-developed by 450 co-authors and beautifully designed with concepts of visual meetings and multiple business model examples from Google to iPod and from Lego to Ikea, which help the reader dive right into it.

FRED REICH HELD THE ULTIMATE QUESTION

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Almost everyone appreciates the importance of customer satisfaction in business, but this book takes that idea to two extremes. First, it claims that customer satisfaction is more important than any business criterion except profits. Second, it argues that customer satisfaction is best measured by one simple question, “Would you recommend this business to a friend?” Pressure for financial performance tempts executives to seek “bad profits,” that is, profits obtained at the expense of frustrating or disappointing customers. Such profits inflate short-term financial results, Reichheld writes, but kill longer-term growth. Only relentless focus on customer satisfaction can generate “good profits.”
One unambiguous question, with answers delivered promptly, can force organizational change, he claims. Reichheld makes a strong rhetorical case for his ideas, but is weaker on supporting evidence. The negative examples he gives are either well-known failures or generic entities like “monopolies,” “cell phone service providers” and “cable companies.” When presenting statistics on poor performers, the names are omitted “for obvious reasons.” On the other hand, the positive examples are named, but described in unrealistically perfect terms. Believable comparisons of companies with both virtues and flaws would have been more instructive. (Mar.)
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