Innovation, Abundance, Customer Service, Leadership & More [CEO Bookshelf]

31 CEO Nuggets, Business Tips & Lessons from the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. Teach a CEO presents lessons from our CEO Bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your venture. We have taken gems or nuggets from our library and provide them for CEOs, startups, entrepreneurs and business owners. Get your copy of these books and more at CEO Books.

Alignment – CEO Nuggets – 3 Nuggets

  1. Aligning things means that there is only One Version…. Aligning things also means that those things deliver One Message. In other words, your vision statements, mission statements, strategies, policies, goals, products, metrics, systems, etc. must be in alignment with each other. Aligning people means you must align them with your things, and you must align them with each other. (Drive One Direction)
  2. Alignment is a complex, multidimensional problem. Therefore, aligning your company requires an integrated multidisciplinary approach. The Drive One Direction methodology includes twelve components (one team, one thing, one vision, one mission, one code, one brand, one strategy, one portfolio, one way, one wow!, one plan, and everyone). (Drive One Direction)
  3. Alignment is mission-critical. (Drive One Direction)

Leadership – CEO Nuggets – 5 Nuggets

  1. …the four universal principles of life that drive our behavior. They are (1) Courageous humility – focusing on personal growth (2) Growth-driven love – focusing on growing others (3) Ego-driven PRIDE – focusing on self-promoting (4) Self-limiting FEAR–focusing on self-protection. (Above the Line)
  2. Developing a refined filter takes time–and yet more patience–and requires us to put one foot in front of the other and trust the process (TTP!). Even though we will face setbacks, mistakes, disappointments, and the realities of life, we will find more of our best selves, our true north, the incredible people we can be by trusting the process, trusting ourselves, and trusting our potential. (Above the Line)
  3. Through thirty years of studying, coaching, practicing, and researching, we have found one truth to be consistent. The above the line and below the line behaviors are based on four universal principles of life: humility, love, pride, and fear. (Above the Line)
  4. Character development is just like going to the gym. The key is consistency and coaching. Physical strength isn't built in a day, and neither is character. (Above the Line)
  5. The great leaders we have watched build great cultures and organizations have been aware that the language of business is money: no money, no business…. They are deeply aware of what underpins sustainable results. They understand its culture. (Above the Line)

Abundance – CEO Nuggets – 6 Nuggets

  1. What I've discovered about abundance is that it's a mindset more than it's your actual circumstances. And this mindset doesn't require lots of money. (Abundance Now)
  2. Hope is not a strategy. A truly great life comes from having a plan. (Abundance Now)
  3. Be aware that owning a business is not the only route to wealth–or even the best route. Multiple streams of income are. And you don't have to own a business to have numerous, stable sources of income. (Abundance Now)
  4. Balance is a myth. Harmony is a must. (Abundance Now)
  5. What is the most immediate thing you can do to start living abundantly, building your future, and establishing your legacy? Take action. Decide what you want, create a plan to pursue it, then move forward–regardless of your fear, your lack of experience or knowledge, your lack of resources, or any other impediment. (Abundance Now)
  6. Abundance is not a myth, nor is it mystical. There isn't some undisclosed, 007-style secret code to success that is keeping you from world-class achievement. Too many people have bought into the notion that achieving prosperity is difficult, time-consuming or limited to special people. (Abundance Now)

Decisions – CEO Nuggets – 7 Nuggets

  1. When you make the decision, make it. Don't be half-hearted. Stick with it. Dedicate all the resources needed to make it a success. Don't second-guess. (Decisions
  2. Be aware of how your decisions will affect others, either directly or by the example they set. (Decisions)
  3. When facing a decision, play out all sides. Imagine (in detail and with sincerity) going in one direction with your decision and see how that feels. Then the other. And a third or fourth if they exist. You will discover that one probably feels more “right” than the others. (Decisions)
  4. You don't have to be a corporate CEO to benefit from Ford's example. He carefully studied the problems inherent in the automobile-manufacturing process as well as the ramifications of various ways to address the problems. Then, he made decisions and quickly implemented them. (Decisions)
  5. Think quality and top-of-the-line, alway, as the desired result of your decisions. (Decisions)
  6. Educate yourself as deeply as you can. Good decisions are rooted in knowledge and reality. (Decisions)
  7. Give constant attention to developing your conscience, your core values, your principles. These are what will give you true guidance. (Decisions)
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Customer Service – CEO Nuggets – 4 Nuggets

  1. …five steps to take toward establishing and sustaining a customer service culture: (1) Define your purpose in a sentence or two. (2) Set down a shortlist of principles that are fundamental to your desired culture. (3) Loudly express your cultural expectations. (4) Maintain a repeating ritual for cultural reinforcement. (5) Develop an obsession with talent management. (Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away))
  2. A wow experience is when service goes beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations and does so in a creative, unexpected way. By creating a wow experience, you give rise to a story in the mind of your customer. (Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away))
  3. My goal in bringing up these issues is something different: to get you to stop thinking so linearly about the customer experience–stop pretending that 1+1 invariably equals 2 in the mind of the customer. The equations involved are must more complicated and fluid than that. What creates a pleasing result for one customer on one day may be a mismatch for another customer on another day, or even for the same customer later on the same day. (Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away))
  4. The secret, in other words, is to never stop believing in the importance of the individual customer and the importance of every individual interaction, no matter how many customers your organization has grown to serve. Don't fall into the trap of thinking there's an infinite supply of new customers out there for the taking if only your marketing and sales departments would do their jobs, seeking out and converting more leads. Tell yourself instead that not only are customers a limited commodity, there's no such thing as a ‘customers' in the plural. Rather, there's just one customer: the one who's being served right now. (Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away))

Innovation – CEO Nuggets – 6 Nuggets

  1. There is no substitute for a profitable, scalable business model. Before entrepreneurs can worry about leadership, team building, technology deployment, or customer growth, they need to get the business model right and reassess it continually. A blockbuster innovation matched with a flawed business model results in frustration and failure; entrepreneurial grit powering a defective business model can drive a company into the ground. (Innovation on Tap)
  2. The one quality that successful entrepreneurs in America have shared over three centuries is the ability to access, nurture and leverage community. No entrepreneur has all the tools necessary for success. (Innovation on Tap)
  3. There seems to have come a moment when capitalism and social progress aligned, when being competitive could also mean being virtuous, and when “doing well” and “doing good” met. Branch Rickey's gift was in sensing that moment and action on it, and Jackie Robinson's was having the courage and resilience to respond to the call. The result was a Brookly Dodgers team better able to compete for the pennant and more likely to make its ownership wealthy, and the American national pastime finally and irrevocably open to people of color. (Innovation on Tap)
  4. America is a nation of entrepreneurs because it is filled with talented individuals who excel at innovating along the major themes [mechanization, mass production, consumerism, sustainability, digitization, and social and cultural entrepreneurship], as well as those who excel at innovating around the major themes. (Innovation on Tap)
  5. Buddy Bolden also serves as a poignant reminder that even marginalized entrepreneurs can flourish when community thrives and where race and class are second to innovation and talent. (Innovation on Tap)
  6. One of the greatest entrepreneurial ambiguities is that innovation–the really new stuff–honors, borrows from, and sometimes sits squarely in the midst of tradition–the really old stuff. (Innovation on Tap)
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Books on The CEO Bookshelf

Descriptions are from Amazon.comCheck out this edition at CEO Books.

  • Drive One Direction: How to Unleash the Accelerating Power of Alignment by Dave Ramos – Every company is moving. But most are moving in a hundred different directions. In contrast, fast-lane companies apply intense management discipline to drive their organizations in One Direction. Dave Ramos, the CEO of SHIFTPOINTS, studied over 300 companies, interviewed over 100 Chief Executive Officers, and he came to One Conclusion: Alignment is the Ultimate Competitive AdvantageTM! Harvard Business School professors Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton confirm this idea, “Alignment, much like the synchronism achieved by a high-performance rowing crew, produces dramatic benefits.”This book contains over fifty case studies about fast-lane companies including Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, and more. It presents a comprehensive methodology that will help your company unleash the accelerating power of alignment.So, is everyone in your organization driving in One Direction?
  • Above the Line: Living and Leading with Heart by Stephen Klemich, Mara Klemich & Tommy Spaulding –A leadership consultant and neuropsychologist identify the universal habits of the heart and mind—the keys to unlocking our true potential, creating our best selves and eliminating behavior patterns that hold us back. Why is it so hard for leaders to coach employees who are struggling? Why do we repeat the same mistakes and negative behaviors? Common wisdom says you always have a choice in how you react or respond. But, as corporate consultant Stephen Klemich and clinical psychologist Mara Klemich contend, until you recognize why you make choices, and how the heart and the brain work together to shape your behavior, you can’t change long-ingrained patterns and discover your best self. The Klemichs have developed a model backed by extensive research and data, and paired it with character-led personal development, to help you answer the “Why?” and eliminate behavior that is “below the line.” In Above the Line, they argue that that the quality of your life flows from the attitudes of your heart. Offering wise, compassionate, and practical advice, this book explores the deep, fundamental drivers of human behavior that exist within your heart—the seat of your character. It reveals that all of these behaviors can be explained by four principles—humility, love, pride, and fear—which influence every facet of your life, for better or for worse. We are all designed for greatness, but so often our best self is pitted against our worst. The pressures of life are pulling our character below the line while our authentic self is drawing us to live above the line. When you fully understand that the four principles are at the root of your behavior, you can begin the journey to become your best self and navigate life more effectively and successfully. Filled with proven strategies, Above the Line will create lasting changes in your behavior and improve your life personally and professionally—so you can make a positive impact on the world around you.
  • Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today by Lisa Nichols and Janet Switzer –New York Times bestselling author, Personal Transformation guru, and life coach for the Steve Harvey Show and Today, Lisa Nichols shares her journey from scarcity to abundance, outlining steps everyone can take to create abundance in career, relationships, self, and finances—while creating a legacy for others to follow. Twenty years ago, Lisa Nichols was a single mother dependent on public assistance and jumping from one dead end job to the next. Determined to break out of the defeatist mindset, negative behavior, and bad habits that were holding her back from success, she resolved to change her life. Today, she leads the life of her dreams. In Abundance Now, this icon in the field of personal transformation shares her secrets to creating a life that is rich in every way possible. Focusing on the four areas of life that must be refined to bring true abundance, or the 4 E’s—Enrichment, Enchantment, Engagement, Endowment—Nichols identifies the framework upon which a fulfilled existence is built. Abundance Now offers provocative lessons, actionable plans and real-life case-studies, and makes clear what we must do every day to attract abundance, how to act as if we are already leading abundant lives, and how to open the door to a life of richness in our work, our relationships, our finances, and in our view of ourselves.
  • Decisions: Practical Advice from 23 Men and Women Who Shaped the World by Robert L. Dilenschneider – Your Future Depends on Your Decisions – Sorting out our lives amidst chaos, confusion, and innumerable options is a process we all have in common. The decisions we ultimately make can affect our lives and the lives of others. It’s not always easy. In this empowering guide, an expert in business strategies shares the choices of notable, visionary decision-makers—from Harry Truman and Henry Ford to Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai—and explains how you can apply their principles to your own personal and professional real-life scenarios. Resolve, patience, and practical thinking—take it from these politicians, scientists, economists, inventors, entrepreneurs, theologians, activists, and commanders of war and peace. Their inspiring counsel will give you the tools you need to help change your life. Both big and small, your choices can shape the minutes, days, weeks, and years ahead. This book is the first motivating step in the right direction.
  • Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away): The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience by Micah Solomon – The ultimate, practical guide to transforming your customer service, company culture, and customer experience, endorsed by all the top names in the field. Great customer service may be today's most essential competitive advantage. Yet when it comes to delivering great customer service and a great customer experience, most companies tragically continue to miss the mark. But you can succeed where so many have failed:  Ignore Your Customers (and They'll Go Away) spells out, step by step, how to craft a customer service culture and customer experience so powerful that they'll transform your organization and boost your company's bottom line. You'll enjoy inspirational, often hilarious, tales from the trenches as author Micah Solomon, one of the world's best-known customer service consultants and thought leaders, brings you with him on hands-on adventures assessing and transforming customer service in a variety of industries. (Ever wonder what it's like to mystery shop, for instance, a luxury spa, where you get paid for your opinions while receiving a massage and a manicure-for research purposes, of course?) You'll spend time behind the scenes with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and discover how Zappos delivers “wow” customer service. You'll visit personally with Richard Branson to learn how Virgin brands deliver authentic customer service (avoiding what Branson calls “Stepford Customer Service”) and learn Branson's secrets for turning social media attackers into brand promoters. Drawing on a wealth of stories personally assembled from today's most innovative and successful companies-including Amazon, Cleveland Clinic, Drybar, USAA, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Nordstrom, MOD Pizza, Nextiva, and more-Solomon reveals what it takes to turn a ho-hum customer interaction into one that drives customer engagement and lifelong loyalty.
  • Innovation on Tap: Stories of Entrepreneurship from the Cotton Gin to Broadway's Hamilton by Eric B. Schultz – Innovation on Tap is the story of 300 years of innovation in America told through the eyes of 25 entrepreneurs–living and departed–who have gathered to “talk shop” in an imaginary barroom under the watchful eye of economist-turned-bouncer, Joseph Schumpeter. From Eli Whitney and his cotton gin to the Broadway smash, Hamilton, their stories capture the essential themes of entrepreneurship, highlight the rules for success, and celebrate the expansive sweep of innovations that have transformed our world.
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