Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business - Nancy Lublin

As someone who works in non-profit
I'm supposed to love Dan Pallotta's "Uncharitable"

He was given a huge plenary spot a
t Canada's biggest fundraising conference this past year. Rave reviews but my challenge is that I find his message important, very valid but pointless.

Yes the non-profit sector is of huge value.
Yes the people who work in charities should be paid more and respected for their contributions.

Yes governments and the public should be more understanding of the cost to make change.
But that's not how the world works.
Things that should be, may never be.

Like how the nice person in high school never got any dates.

Enter Nancy L
ublin and her new book. What the?! Nancy why do non-profit types always have to be iphone-twitter-hippy types riding their bicycles down a hallway?!!?
Ok, that's better thank you.

for profit people are always telling non-profits "you could learn something from us".

Kind of like how your mom always tells you ...
"you could learn something from your cousin Harold/Esther - he/she's a doctor/lawyer"

But in fact Harold/Esther is always in debt, owns a too-big house, drives a 7 seater Escalade alone and has never helped anyone in this world besides themselves.
Meanwhile your Aunt C
harity has always owned her own business, has traveled the world and drives a Prius when she could drive a Benz and helps others every single day of her life.

Not only will for profit folks get a lot out of this book but non-profit folks will get to take a look at where we excel and often forget to take credit. In Lublin's own words:

"Simply put, really great not-for-profits are brilliant at doing more with less.
We understand the power of zero
We motivate employees to work past five o'clock with commitment, creativity
and passion totally disproportionate to their tiny salaries.
We engage our board members to truly add value to our companies.
We don't pay them a dime - and actually, most of them pay us!

We skillfully land donors (aka customers) with an artful ask and the promise of getting almost nothing in return other than the knowledge of - and warm fuzzies from- doing something good.

We manage volunteers and get them to produce amazing results-
say, houses or playgrounds or millions of dollars in revenue-
without a competitive interview process, financial compensation,
or the threat of termination

Hell yeah!!

You just won't be proud when you read this book.
You'll pick up a ton of good stuff you can use at work and in your professional life.

Fun features:
- Get more work and loyalty from your employees
- Get more from engagement from your board
- Communicate wit
h your donors/customers better
- Get more results and communicate better with boomer/millennial volunteers/employees
- 11 questions at end of chapter is better than traditional summary sections
- Case studies and secrets of how the best brands get results
- Master storytelling and relationship building for the purpose of closing
- DO MORE with LESS ( isn't that the mantra these days? in this book is how )

Ok ok, Palotta's book is really good. But it's a call to arms.

This is a working boo
k for all that will help you get results.

You tell 'em Nancy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Presentation Zen Design - Garr Reynolds

Confession 1: Even though I work in an "office" with four walls, wear a suit and tie, push paper - I think visual design is the sexiest part of business communication and I resent that I suck at it.

As such this book was an indulgence, a pleasure to read, the perfect companion to a high end coffee at 7am or a glass of wine at 10pm.

So many reads these days are friggin textbooks and it's just exhausting!!! Thank you Garr R.

But Paul, I'm not a designer...this book is "for those of us not trained as professional designers...we know what we like but lack the visual literacy to articulate" and tweak our own stuff!

SO MUCH $$ VALUE HERE. Excellent use of your time if you use Powerpoint.

Confession 2: I have been a total typography nerd since high school. I can name 150 fonts, I am viciously loyal to 4 and can tell you at what age I made something by the typeface I used. Don't you judge me!!!

FINALLY a book that tells you what font to use for what type of presentation and WHY in two pages.

FINALLY someone who explains what jpeg, gif, tiff, png is and why it matters when using them in any format ( print, presentation and web ).

So many tips here on the use of text, graphics and other resources when printing.

As a Powerpoint addict who dreams of actually using it well
- this is the best read of 2011 so far.

Oh,also, a quick note from Golden Crab 2010 winner Promod Sharma on free visuals

Words that work in business - Ike Lasater, Julie Stiles

Hate the title, the tag isn't bad:
"A practical guide to effective communication in the workplace".

It should have been called "confessions of a jerk-wad boss who learned how to be a human being and help others do the same".

I liked that the writer, a former partner in a law firm fesses up to his challenges and previous solutions. With peers, subordinates and family.

This is a very thin book - worth every second of the read.

Focus on the concept of "NVC", non-violent communication.

This is NOT touchy-feely let me assure you.

This book will help you:
- Deflate office tension
- Communicate more effectively ( and how to coach others )
- Express your needs more quickly ( without wasting time with "hurt feelings" )
- Not be a bad boss ( and get more from employees )
- Help others help you get better!

This is a MUST READ for anyone manager and above.

The glossary of words associated with office talk was of huge value.

How do you address humanity and still get the damn work done?
- This is the book

Ps. If you are having trouble with people. Read this book.

The Power of Pull - John Hagel, John Seely Brown , Lang Davison

This book goes far beyond the title...
"Pull" is a trendy word right now.

Focus on the tagline: "How SMALL Moves, Smartly Made,
Can Set BIG Things In Motion".

This book really rocked me because it gave voice to so many frustrations I share with others - but confuse me and I can't put them into words.

Why do I hate an office environment that treats me so well?
Why do I resent a business model designed for my comfort?
I believe the "system" is broken, but WHAT exactly is broken?

Powerful ideas on how to harness the power of 2011 and beyond tech:
- You can't staff up, so use your customers as employees using web 2.0

It also really helped me to get over mental hurdles to understand the following super hot items better:
- Why is web 2.0 better?
- Why is twitter so powerful for business besides broadcasting?
- Why should I expand my network beyond my comfort zone?
- How do I expand my network within my comfort zone?

Most importantly it finished off with a powerful model for change.

- Are you a change agent who feels powerless because you're alone?
- Are you middle management and feel you have no power?
- Are you TOO big and are trapped by success?

You will be taught:

- When to create a change movement
- How to build the platform
- How to invite others to participate
- What results look like

There were times when so much was coming out of this book, so many ideas, realizations and applications that I was rocking back and forth in my chair because my brain was buzzing.

It certainly made the other people at Starbucks nervous.

The book ends with a few statements, but one I like...

"This will be a long march. But it is an essential part of our journey".

I like this because change type people, techies always say
"OH MAN! This web dohicky is going to instantly change the WORLD!!"
and I wake up the next day and it seems all the same

Progress is understood
Goals are set and benchmarks are agreed upon
It shows you when you know change has been made.

Just LOVED it

Getting Naked - Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni's books are the most approachable books on vital business knowledge I have ever read. Using the "fable" format is powerful.

This is Lencioni's latest book. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear about it, but a confusing caveat
---This book is the LEAST practical of all his previous books. Previous books tackle very "core" subjects:
-Better meetings
-Breaking down Silo's
- Effectiveness in leadership
- Team dysfunction etc...

This one attacks something needed in 2011.
The reason we all ended up in this big mess of a recession.
The reason we'll not find our way out for a while because of a lack of.....


Not in a wussy, soft way. But in a real sense, in a way that will make us money because of the power that this kind of honesty creates.

Why is this not a practical skill? Because many people don't want this.

Your boss is probably one of them.

But one day, you are going to be the boss.
And you need to start working on these skills today.

If you have ever found power in honesty, candor, direct but constructive dialogue
- this book is like opium.

I read it in 24 hours, couldn't put it down.

Patrick Lencioni rules.

Get the book, find out why.

Ps. I can't guarantee this book is for you but I CAN say that one on the list is.

Switch - Chip and Dan Heath

From the guy's who wrote the best selling "Made to Stick ". Switch also is a best seller.

This was one of those books that translates well to audio.

A perfect commuter companion - what better time and place the immense difficulty of change than in a broken transit system?

This book is a best seller that steals wholesale from the model of thinking called "Solution Focus". No problem, it works as a larger walk through of the model and is just filled with great examples of how to make this model work for you.

It's not a "system" or "program" - solution focused is a way of thinking
(shifting our brains away from the problem and 'blame' focus we have now).

If you have ever said "I want things to change" but just gave up at step one.
This book is for you.

It will truly help you to:
- Understand the roots of large and small behavioral change
- Convince others of the need for change and their part in it
- Give you more tools to create a change strategy
- Create a usable model to apply this to all parts of your life

Warning! In this model, change will not be as painful as it may just feel like letting common sense take over. Not all change is pain. Some people like the pain.
If you like the pain and not the solution, don't get the book.

Practical, real life change is at your fingertips. If you like solutions. Get the boo

An important note, if you like some of the mentions of "solution focus" I have a Canadian leader of the model right here in my network. His name is Alan Kay and he's just finished a book called "fry the monkeys, create a solution"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turn Small Talk Into Big Deals - Don Gabor

If ANY facet of networking annoys or mystifies you - this is the book to start 2011 with! WOW!!

This book has come the closest to rivaling my all time favourite networking book after now over 50 networking books read.

Let's dive in why:

The book starts with going beyond the "Type A Vs. Introvert" archetype and makes you do a survey to break us into four groups:

Competitive ( and can't help it )
Outgoing ( and loving it )
Amiable ( where most people who have a job and enjoy connecting fall )
Analytical ( where senior managers, leaders, data and process people live )

It goes on to share HOW to communicate and do business with each group ( this alone made it worth the read ).

Each chapter has pointers for each group on what to watch out for, even if you're a little of one or the other you'll find great value in these tips!

Actual step by step process to breaking into a "circle" or "cliqued group"

Social media tips ( actual suggested text )

How to identify and get away from noxious networkers:
The pirate, know it all, chatterbox, complainer, hitchhicker, gossip and shark

A lot of material on how to combat the 12 most common networking mistakes:

1) Events over planned action
2) Not doing the research on the prospect
3) Comparing to competitors
4) Unaware of technology / trend changes in your industry
5) Not doing the research on event/host/location
6) Not being of value, have material, leave behinds
7) Being clear how you make $ / What you want
8) Have a clear unique value prop
9) Criticizing competition
10) Treating competitors as adversaries
11) Ignoring others at event ( because you are arrogant )
12) Not connecting others naturally

How to work the following events or situations (and be aware of taboos):
Conferences, Trade shows, Association meetings, elevator, party, fundraisers, golf game, professional development courses, clubs, Churches, reunions, weddings, health clubs, sports evens and concerts

The depth and detail was simply astounding.

If networking is part of your job, you'll find huge value in this book!

Convince them in 90 Seconds - Nicholas Boothman

Originally read Jan 2011

Short version:
Fast read that is full of information you'll use every day.

Long version: Tell me WHY the best do this.

Tell me the ONE SECRET to being the best.

My current two questions when reading business networking books.

I read every single one I can get my hands on and most are pandering drivel. Had to put three books down in the last month!

This book however is consistently filled with the answer to these two questions.

Some of the book made me mad because it propagates the type of networking I detest. It can seem a little slimy. There's one whole chapter on "schmoozing". But it was worth the read 100%.

Best benefits of this book:

- The mechanics of creating a powerful first impression
- Awesome tips/system for you to use these tips easily
- Tested techniques to create trust without speaking
- What body language works/offends which personality type
- Working with the human brain to show you are not a threat
- How to get your head in the game before networking events
- How to talk/network with "visual", "auditory" and "sensory" people
- How to make your ten second intro really hook someone (I LOVED this)
- How to get clients talking/connecting with you ( I really NEEDED this )
- Some really useful presentation tips to connect with an audience

Boothman makes a promise on the cover "Make Instant Connections That Pay Off in Business and in Life".

Promise made. Promise kept.

Winning Body Language - Mark Bowden

Arrogant business people please disregard this review.

I have talked to abo
ut 25 people while reading this book and many say the same thing...."I knew that", "nothing new", "I do that already".

Here's the thing. Even if they are right what they don't know is exactly WHY they do it ( they do it because some coach told them to ), what the result is and how to mix and match many different techniques to get the results they want.

The power of this book is the WHY.

- Why certain hand gestures give or take power ( or make us look crazy )

- Why certain facial expressions can help build or take away trust

- Why what we're saying has less to do with closing business than what we're doing!

Quick but valuable read, well organized book.

Helped me to take what I needed but still understand the context of how to use it.
If you read my last review on NLP books you'll see that I was disappointed at the lack of secrets to mind control. This book HAS the secrets of mind control so hey.....that's pretty cool too.

Going to take a while to integrate into my daily communications and speaking style but certainly worth the time invested.
Thank you Mark!

This video is a nice clip of his, I highly value his work. Even if The Toronto Star recently highlighted how he helped our Prime Minister as a consultant to win the last election. No doubt his methods work!!

The Back of a Napkin - Dan Roam

I don't usually put two books together but these books are both linked....

Recommended to me by consultants who highly value thoughtful strategy and clear communication.

Every once in a while I get through a book and it takes me twice as long, I take twice as many notes and when I'm done I think "oh crap, I have to own this book". The reason is that the ideas are so solid they are worth reviewing every quarter and learning over time.

THIS is one of those books.

For those who hate powerpoint, even more important for those ( like me ) who LOVE it. Not only will you get your point across better and
more effectively you'll be understood more.

This isn't just about clear communication, it's about augmenting your thought process through visual thinking.

The simplicity of this book ( no drawing skills required ) is one of the most powerful aspects of the value.

If your goal is to master the whiteboard, to influence better, to do more, sell more and have more impact.

Get this book.

I am forever grateful to Lise Hanson and Gordon Brew for this and other book suggestions.

The second book is
the perfect companion to Dan Roam's book.

This book is the "how to" of visual meetings although I really did expect mostly white boards and sticky notes - there was much more!

The book gave me some brilliant ideas on making meetings more "tactile" getting people up and moving and thinking. I liked the mental aspect of what draws us to participate ( because this keeps me up at night before presentations ).

One idea from the book ( making people vote physically with their bodies instead of asking for a show of hands ) was just what I needed for an upcoming presentation.

Lots of great ideas, good pointers on how to start practicing the drawing and habit of visual meetings.

For a visual book, it was a little wordy which is why it's not a MUST read but if you do a lot of presentations and want to connect better check it out.

Toxic Success - Paul Pearsall

Originally Read October 2010

I can't say the word I exclaimed after reading the first chapter. It was a curse word.

I was also angry because - I like to strive! What's wrong with fighting for change and progress you lazy hippie?

I've always rationalized away my ambitious nature and sacrifice of "being present" for achievement in the service of others. I don't earn a lot of money, I work in non-profit how can I have sold my soul?

His description of "toxic success syndrome" reads like my bio. I'm not all the way there but I'm well on my way.

He has interviewed 100 "winners" by every definition and then got comments from spouses, coworkers, children and other people in their life that see the reality of their tragedy.

A truly helpful set of warning signs to set in place with spouses, children and coworkers to tell when you're veering into this deadly territory. Helped me to have some great discussions with my family and some good annual introspection.

Amazing part of the book outlines the original biological causes, effects and previous benefits of human stress. Then he goes through the same effects and what they do to us in our current reality in the office.

Also staggering and terrifying at the same time is how bang-on the author is on the internet and technology like smartphones - IN 2002!!!!

Ways to look at one's destructive habits and the results from a new perspective - I would recommend this book to anyone looking to do a little self reflection: When they keep getting what they want and it doesn't solve all their problems and only creates more - read this book.

Thoroughly powerful stuff, one of the best books I've read all year.

Fascinate - Sally Hogshead

This is a book for those who like to understand the "reasons behind influence".

Not to be trite but it's a fascinating book.

Bible-thumpers beware, please try to see past overuse of the words "lust", "vice" and the other deadly sins.

The author is doing nothing more than connecting our lizard brains to the current reasonable thought process.

This is a book that is going to help you do what you do better.

Sorry to be crass but .....It's going to make you money.

Great example, I've read before that people can "hear your smile" on the phone.

I just have never read about the science behind it. Very useful for interpersonal communication.

See the author's online fascination test to find your strength-based fascination factors!

A nice bonus, it's a 2010 release so it actually integrates our social media add society into the mix.

The Design of Business - Roger Martin

Hey innovator! Yeah you the guy/girl reading Seth Godin's "Linchpin"!
Do you find yourself constantly at war with the risk-averse bean-counters in your life?

Do you walk into your office and KNOW that the way things are done here are not the way to get things are done out there in the new digital, collaborative and flat world?

Get your hands on this book.

Ow ow ow ow ow. That's the sound I make when I read this book, I haven't spent this much time reading something in six months. It made my ears bleed daily as it was written for B-School people who carry Blackberrys and shout things that make them sound like Power-Rangers "synergize!" ..... but darn was it worth it.

For the "linchpins" who are all about problem solving but want some tools for the office to combat and communicate with the board, the CFO, head of admin, the naysayer - it's here, this is it.

The book explains the concepts of "Design Thinking" Vs. "Product Development", productivity Vs. results focus and "The Goal" Vs. "Reliable Results".

How did Proctor and Gamble take "risks" on new products when they are one of the biggest corporate assembly lines in the world? How did Steve Jobs get the guts and sleep at night giving the green light to a music player in an already crowed market ( the ipod was doomed at first proposal by the board but saved by design thinking ).

Not the easiest reading but fascinating to get through. I haven't had a payoff like this in ages. This is why Roger Martin is a leading global thinker, was Dean of one of Canada's top business schools and why he is called to write for the Harvard Business Review so often. If you're not following him on Twitter, do it now.

You will gain tools to respectfully and more effectively get your ideas approved and understood.

Check it out!

Shame about the cover though. People kept thinking I was reading the autobiography of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.

The 360 Degree Leader - John Maxwell

Hands up all you in the middle that are burning up for your chance to lead. To make change, to make good, to rule your destiny!

It's killing you isn't it.

The middle is pain. Frustration, futility and the cause of other f-words.

But it doesn't have to be!

This workbook was recommended to me as one of the best sources to help "survive the middle" and it lived up to the recommendation!

You're going to find the tools, literally "how to live and lead from the middle".

Thanks to the astoundingly wise John Maxwell for another home run.

Not only did I learn a lot, I came away with a much better understanding of the challenges faced, and the sacrifices required of leaders. Not to mention some of the myths of leadership.

It will help me to enjoy my time in the middle without some of them.

So many of the comments about "the challenges of leadership" made to me by mentors make sense now.

My quality of life actually increased as a result of this book.

Lead Without Title - Robin Sharma

I have been waiting for this book literally for five years.

Sharma has some great hits in his title list but I think this could be his legacy if he shares this concept far and wide. He has been championing the concept "Lead Without Title" for years now.

It is a life changing concept. When you live it, you feel like someone has let you out of a prison that you created for yourself, others created for you and the world puts everyone in when they're born. You are now "allowed" to be your best self at home and work.

This book is in fable format, I'm a fan, it works for Sharma ( not exactly Patrick Lencioni but he's the master of the fable ) and gets the message across.

Watch the video:

Read the book.

IF you do, I will BUY YOU LUNCH just for the opportunity to discuss it with you. I love love love what this book is going to do for my network.

Final thought if you got this far....

Ummmmm why are all these brilliant writers/speakers branding bald?!

Robin Sharma. Seth Godin. Mike Lipkin

The Connectors - Maribeth Kuzmeski

To not go broke I get most of my books from the library.

This book however is worth twice what you will pay for it.

I am simply ASTOUNDED at the value here.

2010 publication, Connecting 2.0
(yes overused term - this is for real )

This book goes so far beyond connecting and networking, honestly it's like ten books in one. Not only that but the book offers you about 12 valuable downloadable resources FREE.

Over 50 well researched quotes "In Other Words" at the end of each chapter will be of incredible value to speakers.

Chapter on listening could be a book in itself. And I've read five books on this topic - solid advice. Self assessment tool to boot!

An entire chapter on mentoring, finding and being a mentor. TWO downloads here, assessment on finding a mentor and how to run an effective mentor meeting.

Section on speaking...could be another book. More resources not just text on topic. I mentioned the quotes but there are also several well researched stories of great people that you be using in your talks this year for sure. I learned something fascinating about Wendy's founder Dave Thomas that I'll be using this week in a talk.

A review of the top ten social media and networking sites with a run down of WHY and how to use them! Now this was some serious value, I know the top five well but no one has ever sold me on the next five!

Maribeth has put together an entire section for financial advisors! More downloadable resources.

I just can't tell you how much I took away from this book on about ten topics.

Clear, quick read information. Value for dollar. Generous sharing of information on her site.

I am nominating Maribeth Kuzmeski for business sainthood.

When you buy a book for business you need to ask yourself will this book make me money?

This book will be worth it's weight in cold hard gold, not cash.

Check out the website:

Here's Maribeth herself to tell you more about the book:

The Compromise Trap

A must read book for anyone who experiences frustration at work but practices purposefulness and can see the value in the logic of compromise and not settling.

I'm really surprised at how in-depth this book gets. From being a junior first time worker right up the chain of management and leadership.

Very good ideas, strategies and advice from people in the field at how to deal with very complex situations. I didn't find myself rolling my eyes once! No platitudes here.

Favourite quotes:

"Principles and values are meaningless until they are costing you money"

"The devil does his deals in degrees"

"You won't always know when you've crossed a line"

"The corporate world is very good at trading less for more of you"

"Double bind: A subject that is undiscussible and whose very mention is also undiscussible".

Left me with tools that will help me deal with challenges, eliminate stress and see unhealthy compromise when it knocks on my door.

Loved it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Ask

The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture

Don't think this is a book for fundraisers!

How to ask for a promotion, raise, help, advice. This is a book about the mechanics of asking and it is brilliant.

It's also a current publication that takes the post-recession job and donation into consideration at every turn so if you're afraid to ask because of this reason - this book will help you navigate this tough topic.

Take a trip "behind the curtain" with a master multi-million dollar fundraiser, ex-lawyer and top-rated speaker ( I have heard her speak and she is top rated for a reason ) Laura Fredericks.

The side by side comparisons of the social-profit and for-profit asking are very helpful because there are lessons to be learned by both types of professional.

THANK YOU Laura for debunking the myth that if you want money - ask a rich person. Her entire chapter on how to engage, approach, research and ask the wealthy was not just illuminating it just may be worth the price of the entire book.

This book is filled with the WORDS of asking which again has never really been put down on paper in either for-profit or charity world. What the actual conversations look like.

The chapter on "asking for yourself" - Wow. Big value. Very thoughtful and objective real world advice. Young people take note, a raise isn't the only thing you should be asking for. This book walks you through title changes, pay increases and most importantly when NOT to ask and why. Take it from Laura who at Pace University managed hundreds of staff. Another 'worth the price of the book' chapter.

Lastly and this is why every fundraiser, business person, board member and young professional should read this book. The chapters on "No" and "The response to your ask". I honestly don't think I've ever seen a non-negotiation book go so deeply into this topic.

This is required reading for development professionals, Executive Diretors, board members and career hungry professionals in marketing and sales.

If you ever think of booking Laura as a speaker, I highly encourage it...


This is an odd computer generated review - but a good one!

Social Intelligence

Originally Read May 2010 Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Seth Godin in cahoots with the legendary Daniel Goleman?

Not yet but they are both in lockstep on the power of the "old brain" or "lizard brain" and it's ability to do damage to our daily social interactions.

Love Mr. Goleman's description of the daily social interaction economy in our lives and its impact on our fulfillment and success in business and life.

What Susan Scott calls "being aware of our emotional wake".

The last book and Human Resources game changer "Emotional Intelligence" was of great help to me, I'm not an HR person, nor am I a scientist ( I'm an english lit guy who is deathly afraid of math, science and boredom inducing conversations ) but this is very interesting stuff that has a huge impact on work, career and success.

Ps. I listened to the audio version. These types of methodology books that do have a lot of "science talks" are impossible to read ( for me ).

The first book I read by Goleman caused me to pass out on the subway and miss my stop.
Subway security woke me up and asked if I was a stock broker who had just lost my job.

So um......get the audio book!

The Anatomy of Peace

Originally read May 2010

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

It's been a great fear of mine because I know it's true.

We can't change others, the most profound and powerful change is the ability to change ourselves.

It's the key to our own happiness.

But I can't find any good resources to sta
rt about this mind-altering change!

The previous book by this group ( Leadership and Self-Deception ) was amazing but this book blows even that away.

A fable format book ( so you can't skim it even if you wanted to ) this resource is has given me specific methods to change my own thoughts, actions and feelings.

I have read so many management books about "dealing" with others.

So many problems can be solved if I "deal" with myself first - and finally I can.

This book has applications for work yes but please know it is a powerful tool for personal/family life. The core part of the story deals with parenting troubled children and working in a toxic workplace.

Thank you to LinkedIn Answers and a fellow fundraiser for the book referral!

The Best Service is No Service

Originally read Jan 2010

The Best Service is No Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs

Best on audio this book is the PERFECT read/listen if you're thinking about how to improve your customer service and website in the new year!

I actually ran out of ink in my pen taking notes!

The concept is simply how to boost customer service through 100 simple methods so you can cut down on traditional customer service time and money wasters!

Attention non-profit folks who have no "front line" army to answer the phone!

High value - NOTE it's a long listen/read so don't feel guilty skipping and skimming.

It's worth the effort! In less than one quarter I used these methods to boost both my closed deals and higher level customer contacts.

This book has become one of my top referrals in 2011 and I'll be using it 90% of my presentations in 2012 - we always talk about what we should START doing but never what we need to STOP doing.

Think smart.

Let me know if you want details.

Leave you with great video talking about the book:

Step Into the Spotlight

Originally read Feb 2010

Step Into the Spotlight: 'Cause all business is show business.

I KNOW what you're thinking.

Even the author admits "I should sell this book in a brown paper bag" because no one will read this in public.

Even I let it sit and then read it in private - the title insinuates shallow promotion. WRONG AGAIN.

This book should be titled, "tips for real human beings who work in client service, want to stand out and not be phony".

It is the sharpest book I've ever read on being your best professional self, heck it's helped me to be "on" much less.

Two side notes: 1) If you are a fan of "wise quotes to make you think" this book has over two dozen killer quotes peppered throughout.

2) I pity you if you take this as a negative but this book is surprisingly written by a Canadian!

Our culture, tons of good business references from Ontario you can learn from.

Probably the highest print quality Canadian book I've read in a long time.

If you serve clients, donors, customers - read this book to make better impressions, stand out and above the boring drone of your profession for the right reasons and oh yeah, make money/close gifts too.

The author is a high priced connecting consultant to those employed to do the above...
we got to chatting once about great reads..

Shame about the title though.

Crucial Conversations

Feb, 2010

Crucial Conversations:Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

FINALLY a book about real life situations.

"Negotiating" books are very popular
I can name you a dozen titles recommended to me.
Great bedtime reading. Most are useless you are a CEO.

But this book is all about (don't be fooled by the "stakes are high" phrase in the title) those every-day critical conversations that affect your day, week, month, job, life and relationships at work and home.

I'm talking hallway talk, return from weekend talk, start of the meeting talk, walking to elevator talk, ambushed by boss talk, ambushed by spouse coming in the door talk - Wow it was short and powerful.

A surprisingly quick read with razor sharp concepts you can understand.

Are you being pushed at the office/home from the top, the sides and from below?

Read this book sooooon! A powerful weapon for peace at work and home.

Only problem, after reading this book I put every title by the authors on hold at the library. Each one is a "must read" and I refer them

A good follow up to this book for managers is "Crucial Confrontations"
If you're a LinkedIn or networking fan you'll need to read "Influencer"

Seems each of these titles are on the reading lists of over 60% of my network.
Let me know if you want the titles.

Until then, enjoy these helpful tips from the authors..

Be the Hero

Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life

Six words: Change your stories, change your life.

I love fable format books.

This book was a quick read that will help anyone get out from under "victim thinking".

Most importantly it can help you dissolve bitterness and have a hopeful outlook on the future.

I had to come back and change this review 24 hours after - as I started to apply the learning ( change: the stories I tell myself about me, situations, about others....) I had a wonderful experience and can feel a change in the way I relate to my immediate family, co-workers and my job.

Are you stuck in the middle of what you know must be a change in your attitude?

Get unstuck with this book!

Fierce Leadership

Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst "Best" Practices of Business Today

This is a book that is needed right now.

In all organizations and sectors.

It's like a medicated balm for the professional challenges of myself and my network.

A lot of tools on how to reset your compass and follow your moral gut in a sea of gutless leaders.

This book describes many of my best mentors who exist in my network - young professionals take note - this is a must read or you'll end up like the managers you hate.

Thank you to the Association of Fundraising Professionals International resource network on LinkedIn for first sharing this title.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

It was the first "business book" I ever read.

Like most people, it was given to me by a parent.

I read it and forgot it almost instantly.

But a decade later, I picked it up and it became the foundation of what I consider a "professional" and a "leader" to be.

It's not fun to recommend this book.

Everyone looks at you condescendingly like you're an idiot and says
"oh that, I read that eons ago" and turns away half muttering "naive

But do they remember even one habit?
Do they live any of them?

Probably not, I know because I was one of those people.

And now I read it every single year.

I get something new and powerful out of it every time.

To start this blog off, it is the perfect first step on ou
r journey together.

I leave you with the most powe
rful chart that I first found in the book.

It continues to roc
k my world. Q2 rules.