In my last post, I shared three books that started a chain reaction of internal changes at the company I lead. Each of those books played a role in moving us forward and creating a pattern of growth that continues today.
However, Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, and Greg Crabtree are not the only authors who have played a role in these changes. When it came time to move from inward revisions to outward developments, these seven books were vitally important in helping the team at LAMB know where to go next.
The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen: This is the book that caused me to rethink what our services are really all about. Moreover, to rethink why our services were more successful in certain markets and less successful in others. It helped changed how we view ourselves, our customers, what we were really doing, and what to expect from the market with our current and future services.
Zero to One, Peter Thiel with Blake Masters: This little book provides focus. It has caused us to look for opportunities where our competition is not looking.
“Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.” ( Zero to One, pg. 34)
Bill and Dave, How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company, Michael Malone: A Christmas gift from my daughter, this was the first business book I read that was about people. Some of us may remember the slogan, “The HP Way.” That was, for me, the first time a company “codified” company objectives, values, and culture. As strange as this may seem, what I really enjoy about this book is the appendix. In there, Mr. Malone lists the key lessons and decisions these 2 men made during their time at HP. One lesson that I immediately implemented was HP’s decision to keep the labs open all the time for the engineers to use anytime, even for personal use and research. I now do the same. Except our “labs” are resources such as computers, devices, and software tools that my developers need to use for their own personal ideas.
Hyper Sales Growth, Jack Daly: This book covers many different aspects of sales and company culture. Some tips are illuminating, especially on how significant company culture and values are in sales. It was because of this book I first started “blogging” on LinkedIn. Other tips were, quite frankly, weird. Like continually changing the greeting on your phone, writing handwritten notes (I can’t even read my own writing) or his iron man discourse. But one tip really stands out – actually scares me – but, I can’t let it go. The book stresses the importance of commission sales.
Scaling Up, How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t, Verne Harnish. Scaling Up offers lots of practical steps, especially in formulating business strategy and objectives. There is a “take away” on each page, and I found the forms helpful in providing structure for gathering the ideas and thoughts necessary to implement each step.
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success, William N. Thorndike, Jr.: An interesting study on the CEO’s of companies whose average returns exceeded S&P 500 by a factor of twenty. Most people have probably never heard of most of these CEOs. For me, this is a “comforting” book since it appears that nice guys can win, and win big. This is a great relief as I could never really become a Chainsaw Al or Neutron Jack.
The final book on my list is Built to Sell, John Warrillow: A strange book offering pithy tips couched in a story about a CEO wanting to sell an advertising agency. Although I lead a software company, we have more in common with this advertising agency than with a manufacturer since we only sell services that are based on our software, not actual packaged software. Built to Sell was the first book that pointed out what we were doing wrong in our development and our service offerings. I’m not a fan of the title because I think it limits the potential audience, and I found this book to be applicable even if one wants to simply grow or scale the company without selling it.
And there you have it… 7 additional books that have helped change our company in measurable ways over the last few months. I’m already re-reading several of them, and I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have. After you read them, I’d like to hear what you got out of them, and if one of your “go to” business books didn’t make the list, I’d like to hear about it in the comments. You never know when or where you will find the missing link for company growth, so let me know.
Published Dec 01, 2016