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8 Books From World-Class Leaders: How To Achieve Phenomenal Success

8 Books From World-Class Leaders: How To Achieve Phenomenal Success

Businesses operate very differently today. Many of the rules that used to work in traditional ventures and corporations no longer work. It will be critical for those entering the business climate today to think “outside of the box.” This new environment has motivated some of the most successful entrepreneurs to write books – books that go “against the grain” of traditional advice trotted out by MBA’s and financiers.

Here are 8 books by business successes that have written their own new set of rules.

1. #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso

https://www.amazon.com/dp/039916927X?tag=s7621-20

    Sohia Amoruso did not have the best start in life. As a teen, she was a thief and dumpster-diver, tooling around by hitchhiking. Her first venture into the business world was selling a stolen book on E-Bay. Eventually, Amoruso had to “give in” and get a real job – and she held several of them.

    “What all of these jobs taught me is that you have to be willing to tolerate some shit you don’t like – at least for a while… I didn’t expect to love any of these jobs but I learned a lot because I worked hard and grew to love things about them.”

    Ultimately, Amoruso began her business of selling vintage clothing on E-Bay because she saw a demand for that product. She now runs a $100 million dollar company, Nasty Gal. The takeaway from this book is that being successful has nothing to do with being popular or going to a good college. Instead, it is about following your “gut instincts.” Her three rules work for her: “Don’t ever grow up; don’t become a bore; and don’t let ‘The Man’ get to you.”

    What is Amoruso’s most important reflection on success? You get success because you are willing to work for it. This book is a fascinating and fun read, but it is full of very practical advice for business sense and success.

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    2. Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time – Howard Schultz

    Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time By

      Starbucks was already a small successful company when Howard Schultz decided to buy it. In fact, he was already a successful business man selling appliances like coffee makers to companies like Starbucks. However, Schultz had an idea. He not only wanted to “serve a great cup of coffee,” but he also wanted to serve up an experience – an oasis for people to sit, contemplate, meet a friend, hear some jazz music, and (yes) even work on their devices if they so choose.

      As Schultz says, he wanted to “build a company with soul.” In terms of management and leadership, his approach is clear. “People want guidance, not rhetoric,” Schultz writes. “They need to know what the plan of action is, and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and authority to act on it.” His approach has obviously worked. Though he has now retired, Starbucks has some 21,000 stores around the world and is worth about $2.9 billion.

      Schultz’s story begins in the projects of Brooklyn, but demonstrates the drive that brings success. He was always making plans to “win” and always moving from one goal to the next, from one idea to the next biggest. This book is a great “rags to riches” story, filled with nuggets of wisdom that everyone can use. Furthermore, it is a story

      3. Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Tony Hsieh

      Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passions, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

        Tony Hsieh is not a “household name,” but Zappos is. It is Hsieh who founded and built this iconic shoe company, now owned by Amazon. Going against the grain of traditional management style, Hsieh decided that building a company around employee happiness would ultimately bring financial success. He was right. From the very beginning, relationships with his workers became the primary focus, following the belief that a team that played together a lot, and workers who were well cared for, would result in a climate in which everyone would “give their all” to make the company a success. Hsieh regularly went out with his employees, took them on vacations, and built a family atmosphere in his work environment. They produced for him. Of his advice to other entrepreneurs in launching a start-up, Hsieh says:

        “Stop trying to network in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive benefits from your friendships later down the road.”

        Filled with humorous stories about his childhood and growing up, this is an easy read that flies in the face of the traditional concept of a boss.

        4. Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: the Story of Clif Bar & Co. – Gary Erickson

        Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: the Story of Clif Bar & Co. By: Gary Erickson

          If anyone needs proof that a business can be a success when there is a strong focus on its people, the environment, and community support, then Clif Bar is the perfect case study in taking a different path. Owner Gary Erickson is an outdoors enthusiast, a cyclist, a mountain climber, as well as the power and brains behind his privately held healthy snack-food company. He has built a $100 million in annual sales by keeping his company private and focusing on health, employee welfare, and volunteerism. Indeed, employees have three-day weekends every other week, but they are also given time off from work to volunteer locally.

          Moreover, production of the energy and snack bars is fully green. “Companies on the red road list to a lot of noise: the market, shareholders, the board, economic consultants, advisers, and conventional wisdom,” Erickson says, as he states that his is a white road company. “I’ve seen what happens to companies that get bought… they lose the values that were set up.” His advice? Stay private and keep your integrity.

          5. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business – Danny Meyer

          Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

            The Union Square Hospitality Group owns a number of eateries in New York – perhaps the most famous being the Union Square Café and the Gramercy Tavern. Though they have brick and mortar businesses, they have a clear handle on a major factor in success for e-commerce businesses too – it’s all about relationships with customers.

            If you are selling a product or a service, the way that product or service is delivered is just as important as the item itself. In fact, Meyer says in his book, “Service is the technical delivery of a product; hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes the recipient feel.” This, to Meyer, is the key to success.

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            6. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change – Adam Braun

            The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

              While Pencils of Promise is a non-profit organization, it is hugely successful. Certain for-profit businesses can take some lessons from founder and director Adam Braun. No stranger to the business world, Braun worked for Bain Capital after graduating from Brown University. However, he wanted a different life story, created by a different mindset. He started with a $25 check and a new bank account for his company. Six years later, his non-profit grew into an organization that has built 200+ schools around the world.

              Braun banked on two business principles that were very new – the rise of social media, and the rise of consumer demand for companies that have a cause. His story is exciting and inspiring, providing valuable lessons for businesses who want to grow in this new environment.

              7. Smart People Should Build Things – Andrew Yang

              Smart People Should Build Things

                According to author Andrew Yang, talented young people today enter careers in finance, law, medicine, and so forth. They make great money, but they don’t really produce anything. As he says of the misappropriation of talent, “We have too much icing, and too little cake.”

                To push his agenda, Yang began Venture for America, a non-profit that provides fellowships to talented kids to attend a “venture start-up” training program. Graduates are then sent out to work in start-ups throughout the country. The goal is to inspire these elite young people to go out into the world, start their own ventures, and build things. To Yang, this is the path for the future of America and, indeed, the country’s own economic survival. The book is a fascinating story about the start-up of Venture for America and provides a model for young people to launch their own start-ups. Furthermore, it is a story of how to stay motivated despite anything.

                8. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain – Ryan Blair

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                Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur

                  The CEO of the successful marketing company, ViSalus Sciences, was once a member of a gang in Los Angeles. Ryan Blair claims that his unusual experiences motivated him to start a business at the age of 21, and ultimately become a multimillionaire. Blair is an inspirational individual, and his book is just as inspirational.

                  “You are stronger than whatever circumstances you’re facing. Remember that with the proper mind-set, potential is the one power you always have, and the mind-set that propelled me forward came from having nothing to lose.”

                  Blair’s life-story of entrepreneurship is fascinating. For those contemplating such a career, he has some great advice from a bit of a different viewpoint.

                  Conclusion

                  One or more of these books will make a great last-minute Christmas gift for anyone you now who is contemplating a business venture. The stories are incredible, the lessons are very practical, and the advice is invaluable.

                  Featured photo credit: Daniels College of Business via flickr.com

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                  1 We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why? 2 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 3 How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 4 14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress 5 11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity

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                  Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                  14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                  14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                  Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                  In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                  For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                  For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                  Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                  Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                  Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                  How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                  Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                  1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                  Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                  For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                  2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                  Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                  Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                  Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                  3. Create a System

                  Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                  This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                  You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                  Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                  Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                  4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                  We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                  If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                  Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                  Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                  5. Use a Ratings Scale

                  Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                  Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                  It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                  6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                  This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                  You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                  You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                  7. Offer Feedback Forms

                  Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                  First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                  Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                  You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                  8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                  This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                  Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                  Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                  9. Use Self-Evaluations

                  Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                  Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                  10. Monitor Time Management

                  This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                  Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                    14. Use an External Evaluator

                    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                    Final Thoughts

                    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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