Compiled by FRANK DILLON
Do What You Want
by Nicholas Bate
Mindset drives behaviour, which in turn drives results. There are two kinds of mindset: those that help our goals and those that hinder them. To succeed we need to focus on resourceful mindsets and change and/or delete limiting mindsets. That’s a key message in this book from business coach Bate, which aims to show you how to create a more satisfying career.
The author presents a charter for career success that suggests people need to think about their own re-invention several times in the course of their careers. You need to keep up to date with the latest developments so that you can take advantage of market, industry and economic shifts. Flexibility is important but not to the point of damaging health, work-life balance or career path.
It is important to be employed even if the job is far from ideal, Bate says. A job gives structure, provides cash, keeps you thinking and builds experience for your CV.
Bates encourages executives to find material outside their core area in books, websites, magazines and podcasts. For example, reading about psychology makes sales and marketing much more understandable, he observes.
The ideas here are not earth-shattering but the many practical suggestions could prove inspiring for those stuck in a rut.
Book of Business Quotations
Edited by Bill Ridgers
The Economist €14.99
Managers who make formal business presentations will find this compendium of quotes very handy, as there are witty barbs and sharp observations aplenty about all aspects of business life.
It ranges over the entire facet of business, from money to ethics, sales, success, talent and business failure. Business gurus such as Alfred Sloan and Tom Peters feature, as does our own Michael O’Leary, in one of his more colourful outbursts. There are also pearls of wisdom from fictional characters such as Gordon Gekko and Homer Simpson.
As Ridgers observes, we like business quotations because we have a desire to acquire the distilled wisdom of others and also because we love a cutting comment and a good moan. We also love it when people put their feet in it: witness retailer Gerald Ratner’s comment about why he could sell a sell a cut-glass decanter with six glasses on silver-plated tray for £4.95 – because it was “total crap” – a remark that was to haunt him.
Or take this example from David Shepherd, brand director for Topman: “Our target customers are football hooligans . . . Very few of our customers have to wear suits to work. They’ll be for his first interview or first court appearance.”
The Strategist – be the leader your business needs
by Cynthia Montgomery
Montgomery runs a renowned strategy course for senior business figures at Harvard Business School. Her method involves the use of case studies and participants’ own strategy dilemmas. She has concluded that we should not think of strategy as something fixed, a problem that is solved and settled. Instead, it has to be viewed as something that evolves and changes.
The approach of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, is lauded, for example. His approach, she notes, was to create a difference that mattered – a company that could thrive and add value in the midst of any prevailing market conditions.
According to the author, many people think about strategy as a zero-sum game between a firm and its competitors, suppliers and customers. In so doing they largely focus on their own profitability. A wider consideration is needed, she says, to expand the pie of value creation so that everyone benefits pays off in the longer run.
Walmart is a classic example, offering customers good-quality products at low prices while at the same time lowering its own costs by lowering the cost of its suppliers, by buying in bulk, sharing information and taking costs out of suppliers’ systems.