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Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf: Lessons from the Library

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You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. Teach a CEO presents lessons from our bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your venture. We have taken nuggets from our library and provide them for entrepreneurs and business owners.

  • Sometimes, to get to the really important things in our work or our lives, we have to let go. We have to create the space for what matters most to take its place. (The Only Strategy You Will Ever Need)
  • We all make mistakes, and they can be very costly in business. They can also ruin a firm’s reputation. However, mistakes can be a great learning tool. Ideally a firm’s culture will embrace mistakes and convert them into learning opportunities. It takes good judgement to know how to balance learning from mistakes versus a lack of tolerance for incompetence. (The CEO Code)
  • The spread of games to a wider population than ever before is an even bigger story–the long-term demographic shift is in fact propelling us toward an ever more gamelike future. In fact, as more women and seniors take up gaming, so do those demographics you most expect to play games. Teens it turns out are not only playing games, they are living them. And it is this fundamental shift in their behavior that has them leading the trend towards gamification–and making its arrival an inevitability. (The Gamification Revolution)
  • Unless you are able to muster the courage, and get out and ‘work in’ your new business, things like business cards, logos and business plans have no value. While getting a new business going, your job is not to design the perfect image and develop the perfect business plan; it is to find customers and sell them your product. Without customers to generate revenues, there really is no business to ‘work on.’ So step away from your computer and go find some real live customers (Be The Best At What Matters Most)
  • There are three specific things you can do to become more aware of yourself. The firs is to ask for feedback. Second, you can get other people to formally give you input on your performance by conducting a formal or informal 360 review. Your third choice is to get a coach or mentor who can not only facilitate the 360 process, but also guide you into ways to change and improve. (The CEO Code)
  • It will not be enough to respond to the threat and opportunity of a distracted population by offering one-time-winner sweepstakes or employee of the month challenges (though both have their place). To compete successfully and to position your organization to win in this new landscape, gamification must permeate your whole company from top to bottom. In short, you need a strategy. (The Gamification Revolution)
  • Business must recognize that the voice of the customer is now more powerful than ever before. Whether Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, review sites, product forums, blogs or Pinterest, your customers are sharing their experiences on platforms where audiences can find what others are saying about you. (What’s the Future of Business)
  • If you do an extraordinary job on the three or four things that matter the most, not only will you succeed, you will likely succeed far beyond your expectations. The reason people get sucked into the tornado of trying to do a thousand things each day is that they aren’t focused on those core activities that can actually advance their strategies. Because you’re not focused, you aren’t winning on the basics, and that’s when people start looking for gimmicks, shortcuts, or ‘silver bullets’ to try to improve their results. (The Only Strategy You Will Ever Need)
  • Put your energy, effort, and focus into doing a really, really great job on the basics and into consistency of performance. (The Only Strategy You Will Ever Need)
  • That was the business lesson Michael and Bonnie would use over the years. When people have long, tough tasks to handle, they tend to roll through without paying attention to every small detail. It’s human nature to take the easy road. But if you’re a boss or a client and you ask for high standards, they’ll give you high standards. The thing is you usually have to ask. (The Barefoot Spirit)
  • Once you are on your way sustaining customer engagement, you can use gamification to drive innovation and support through crowdsourcing techniques. This highly leveraged business strategy may enable you to turn gamification into an engine of creativity and profitability, based on your newly deepened customer relationships. That’s a powerful opportunity that no company-regardless of industry–can afford to miss. (The Gamification Revolution)
  • The four principles guiding and underlying a business that practices Conscious Capitalism are: (1) Higher Purpose (2) Stakeholder Orientation (3) Conscious Leadership and (4) Conscious Culture. (It’s Just Good Business)
  • It’s something most businesses face. No matter your size or funding, someone else’s inefficiency–or someone else’s better idiot–will make a mistake that affects you, and it will cost you time and money. And Barefoot’s solution applies to any business. Find ways to cuts down the likelihood someone will make that mistake, and prepare for those errors so you can reduce the impact on your company. (The Barefoot Spirit)
  • The future of business isn’t tied to the permeation of Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and Droids, pin on Pinterest, Tablets, or real-time geolocation check-ins. The future of business comes down to relevance and the ability to understand how technology affects decision making and behavior to the point where the recognition of new opportunities and the ability to strategically adapt to them become a competitive advantage. (What’s the Future of Business)
  • Community must have a purpose. To build a true community starts with your vision statement. It is enlivened by your brand. You must define the experience you want people to have with your brand and align that experience with everything you do. (What’s the Future of Business)
  • ‘The Process is the Product’ is our motto and at the core of the Practice of Working for Good. By ‘The Process of the Product’ we mean that what we create through our business reflects the way we conduct ourselves in business. Iw we want our work to be meaningful and fulfilling and our businesses to be resilient, sustainable and successful over the long-term, then we need to treat ourselves, each other and the world around us with care and respect. (It’s Just Good Business)
  • …Steve Jobs said his philosophy was that you have to work hard to get your thinking clean enough to make things simple but that it’s worth the effort, because if you can make things simple, you can move mountains. (The Only Strategy You Will Ever Need)
  • A critical step for any new business is to find strategic partners. That’s someone who also benefits if you survive and grow. Barefoot’s partners weren’t just the distributors and stores selling the wine, their suppliers were partners, too. (The Barefoot Spirit)

The Bookshelf

Book descriptions via Amazon.com

What’s the Future of Business? by Brian Solis will galvanize a new movement that aligns the tenets of user experience with the vision of innovative leadership to improve business performance, engagement, and relationships for a new generation of consumerism. It provides an overview of real-world experiences versus “user” experiences in relation to products, services, mobile, social media, and commerce, among others. This book explains why experience is everything and how the future of business will come down to shared experiences.

Be the Best at What Matters Most by Joe Calloway is about the one essential strategy for business leaders, entrepreneurs, owners, managers and those who want to be one. Simplify, focus, and win by outperforming all your competition on those things that create real value for the customer. This is about substance, not flash, and the ultimate “wow” factors of high quality performance, consistency and relentless improvement.

Gamification: It’s the hottest new strategy in business, and for good reason–it’s helping leading companies create unprecedented engagement with customers and employees. Gamification uses the latest innovations from game design, loyalty programs, and behavioral economics to help you cut through the noise and transform your organization into a lean, mean machine ready to fight the battle for user attention and loyalty. With The Gamification Revolution by Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder you’ll learn how top companies: Recruit and retain the best talent from the gamer generation and beyond, train employees and drive excellence with noncash incentives, cut through the market noise and ignite consumer sales growth, and generate unprecedented customer loyalty without breaking the bank.

Inspirational and informative, The CEO Code shares real-life stories of success and failure from author David Rohlander’s personal journey and work as a mentor and coach to CEOs and executives of Fortune 500 companies, mid-sized companies, and start-ups. The book will give you: practical advice for dealing with people, proven strategies to increase business profits and growth, unique and simple solutions to complex problems and the secret to authentic communication.

It’s Just Good Business by Jeff Klein provides a clear, concise and compelling introduction to the emerging Conscious Capitalism movement and to the practice of Working for Good. It’s Just Good Business is an inspiring and informative “quick read” filled with quotes, stories and pathways to action.

The Barefoot Spirit by Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey (Publishes May 21, 2013) with Rick Kushman is an inspirational guidebook for anyone in business and a great read for everyone who loves a rags-to-riches story. Filled with encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment, including: How Michael and Bonnie used Worthy Cause Marketing instead of traditional advertising, how they used boot-strapping instead of conventional financing, the surprising advantages of being small and broke, how creating a fun, yet hardworking positive company culture encourages innovative leadership, how making mistakes the right way builds your business and saves essential relationships and why attitude and determination trumps knowledge and experience.

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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