Sunday 11 December 2011

2: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Follow Them and People Will Follow You, completes the title of this book.  This book is by John C. Maxwell, an accomplished author on the subject matter whose workshops are highly sought out by business professionals. The book discusses Maxwell’s 21 laws, provides examples of each and assigns activities todo in order to apply each  law in daily life.
The group tackled this book considering the message of the book as a whole then moving on to individual laws/chapters which carried particular impact. In general, the attitude toward the laws was positive, but critical, with everyone agreeing that there was value in adopting some of the laws. There was also a sense that the laws were ‘common sense’ which was contended with the age old response to this observation; If the laws are common sense then why is not everyone applying the them?  
Looking at the format of the book there was strong contention with the examples for the majority of the laws. The use of world leaders such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi and Theodore Roosevelt (among many others) to exemplify specific laws of leadership seemed to put the cart before the horse. While each of these leaders was great during their time they only serve as probable examples of the laws. These leaders are not actually endorsing a specified law, but are associated purely by observation and speculation on the part of the author.
In relation to examples, group members stated they would have been more influenced by examples drawn from the thousands of people trained in leadership by John C. Maxwell. Who were these people? How far had they come by following the laws? What positions had they gained? Moreover, has there been a world leader who was willing, without solicitation, to put their stamp on the impact the book had on him or her?
Before getting into the laws of leadership found in the book I do want to speak to the value of the chapter summaries. At the end of each chapter were a summary and a set of actions to take based on the specific law of leadership.  In attacking the actions great insight could be gained about how one weighed up in relation to the law. Moreover, there were suggestions on specific actions to take in life which could build this skill from the bottom up. Specifically for the Law of Influence, it was suggested to take on a role of leadership via volunteering in the community in a group that you had passion for. What a great and positive idea to enact!
In regard to the specific laws of leadership there were plenty of nuggets taken by each member of the group.  Without giving away the whole farm here I’ll simply highlight some of the great nuggets found.
·         Great fighters are made in the ring. They are made by what they do before they get in the ring.
·         Leaders often begin these positions by a mentor or higher up noticing they have skills and are assigned leadership tasks.
·         Leaders help others to meet their potential.
·         Never give up in your drive and intensity.
·         A good leader is a catalyst of great ideas. What positive change have you initiated?
If these read like common sense, as previously hinted at, how many of them do you act on a consistent and positive basis?
I’d like to wrap up here stating that there is a lot of inspiration to be gained from reading this book. The gain is not in how you use it to assess leadership externally, but how you use it to assess yourself internally to become better in what you do.

If you are interested in the book you can find it here:

Thanks for reading!

Sunday 27 November 2011

1: Selling to the C-Suite

1. Selling to the C-Suite

Selling to the C-Suite is the inaugural book of B2B Books which has set the tone of the club quite nicely. The book, as its title clearly conveys, is all about selling to the highest levels of an organisation which is exactly where the majority of members are working. Even those who are not are aiming their efforts at the CEOs, CFOs, or CIOs, of the business world will, I believe, will greatly benefit from reading this book.

Overall the the book had a positive impact on all members who took part. Discussion of the book brought about realisations of a general and more specific manner. The general realisations revolved around how the book impacted there work life on a day-to-day basis whereas messages within each chapter reinforced or illuminated selling techniques of personal value.

In general, each member noticed that the book influenced conversations with colleagues, clients and potential clients. This conversation served as a catalyst to pull in several colleagues who shared their experiences and knowledge on a given topic. Something I found interesting here is when I experienced this occurring I never once used Selling to the C-Suite to initiate a conversation. It was everyday work conversation that took direction naturally and a point from the book became relevant which I added it. It was especially illuminating to see how this addition drove the conversation in a mutually beneficial direction.

Some of the specific messages that surfaced during the discussion of the book was the 4 different methods of prospecting, direct, trade shows, internal reference and external reference and the extended impact of each in the long run. Direct prospecting is a method that each member used quite extensively if not exclusively. However, this was statistically stated to have the worst call back ratio of all. The respective life-span of each person in their perspective industry seems to account for this. Still this realisation served to push the conversation in a particular direction - the spider web.

 While each of us understood that a reference is golden we began to explore how we could shape our current activities toward the facilitation of internal and external references. A common theme of occupation was found in a few members who seek to create efficiencies in organisations which result in the reduction of operational costs alongside productivity increases. With a lot of products clients may be reluctant to refer sales professionals to their competition. However, their supply chain may be a different story as reduced operational costs and productivity increase within a supply chain could have a dramatically positive impact. From this we began to view each company as the centre of their own spider web linked to a multitude of companies whom facilitate their business model. The spider web idea was to serve a business so well in order to gain a reference for a company intrinsically link to their business through supply chain.

In the end, there was a lot of great discussion on a solid book which contributed to more that just sales knowledge and understanding, but also added value to our daily business lives through enriching discussions in the workplace.

For those interested in the book here are two links. The first is to the books website and the second is to Amazon where you can purchase the book.