After having read and reviewed so many business books, I now share brief comments about what I consider to be the 25 most valuable business insights and the books in which they are either introduced or (one man’s opinion) best explained. Here are second five:
6. Customer Evangelism: Satisfaction is determined per transaction; loyalty is determined by sustainable satisfaction; zealotry occurs only when customers say “Yes!” to this question posed by Fred Reicheld: “Would you strongly recommend us to a friend, neighbor, or colleague?”
Best Sources: Fred Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth and Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force co-authored by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.
7. EDNA: This is an acronym I devised long ago when I began to teach English at Kent School in Connecticut.
Exposition (i.e. expose, reveal, open up, reveal) explains with information.
Description makes vivid with compelling images.
Narration explains a sequence and/or tells a story
Argumentation convinces with logic and/or evidence
Effective communication relies on mastery of one or more of these four.
Best Sources: Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) and Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High co-authored by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.
8. Employee Engagement: Recent research indicates that, on average, less than 30% of a workforce in the U.S. is actively and positively engaged. The others are either passively engaged (i.e. mailing it in) or actively disengaged (subversive and toxic). Increase active and positive engagement by (a) convincing workers that they and what they do are appreciated, (b) making crystal clear what expectations of them are and how their performance will be measured, (c) earning and sustaining their trust and respect by setting an with what you say (both verbally and non-verbally) and with what you do.
Best Sources: Freedom, Inc.: Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth co-authored by Brian M. Carney and Isaac Getz, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win co-authored by Dave Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich.
9. Innovation: In essence, innovation achieves improvement of what already exists and that could include almost anything (e.g. an idea, assumption, theory and strategy as well as a product, process, or behavior). Almost anything can be improved and almost anyone can do that by embracing that challenge and pursuing that opportunity.
Best Sources: Tom Kelley’s The Idea of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation (both co-authored with Jonathan Littman) as well as Steve Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation and Henry Chesbrough’s Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology
10. Lean: The concept of “less is more” can be dated back at least to ancient Greece. In a business context, its core concept is elimination of whatever is wasteful such as a production process that consumes too much time and effort as well as raw materials, one that results in omissions, duplications, redundancies, and flaws. Albert Einstein probably said it best: “Make everything as simple as possible…but no simpler.”
Best Sources: James Womack’s Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated and Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together, both co-authored with Daniel T. Jones
Note: You may also wish to check out The Most Valuable Business Insights: 1-5.