Time to Flyby Neil O’Brien. Liffey Press. € 12.95
The author of this self-help book left school and spent the next 23 years working for a bank before embarking on a solo career as a business coach at the age of 40. It’s no surprise then that leaving your comfort zone is a key theme of this book that aims to show you how to have a more exhilarating career and life.
Growth only comes from discomfort, he says, and while there are no apparent risks is staying on the comfort zone, it is a space in which you leak confidence, assertiveness and a sense of adventure.
One of the keys is confidence and this comes in three forms, O’Brien says. Behavioural confidence is our ability to follow through on promises and to take chances, emotional confidence is about knowing our emotions and expressing them confidently while the third form, what he calls universal confidence, is our ability to trust in the universe, high forces and having a positive mental attitude.
Peppered with some interesting anecdotes from his coaching experience, O’Brien’s book should help those at a crossroads in their careers.
Winning the Battle for Sales,John Golden, McGraw Hill. €24.99
Author Golden is president and CEO of international sales performance company Huthwaite. Here, he draws parallels between success in selling and success in the field of military combat. Lessons are derived from sources as varied as Ancient Egypt to the American Wild West.
Irish readers will be interested to see that the Battle of Clontarf features. The lesson is this case is about the importance of the unseen opportunity – killing Brian Boru.
The book is organised into three parts; the sales call, account strategy and sales management. Each chapter provides a summary of what happened in a key battle, what it meant and the sales lesson that can be drawn from it.
Golden is at pains to point out that he doesn’t want to glorify war but notes that the continued high interest in Sun Tzu’s Art of War provides evidence of the power of metaphors of military strategy to communicate strategic insight. Many of the similes are interesting. “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” offers insights in how to prevent sales objections and how to ensure smooth negotiations. Truly great selling prevents objections in the first place so that there is nothing to handle.
Corporate Social Responsibility, Sheila Killian, Chartered Accountants Ireland. €25
Academic and former accountant Sheila Killian has produced a timely guide to a subject of interest not alone to larger corporations but small firms as well, as she demonstrates well here, in a number of interesting case studies.
As she notes, there are more people employed in Ireland by SMEs than by multinationals and the impact of responsible trading in the SME sector should not be underestimated.
However, most of the most widely cited examples of best practice comes from the multinational sector and will prove inappropriate models for less-resourced firms.
The book is broken into two parts. The first provides an overview of the field of CSR and briefly reviews some best practice examples. The second part consists of the insights and opinions of senior executives from eight Irish businesses on what CSR means to their organisation.
Killian suggests that SMEs should try to produce a report, however modest it may be initially. There is a competitive advantage to be gained from so doing. In a recession, a small firm’s main advantage is its personal touch and CSR and sustainability reporting can convey a sense of what the company is all about.