Unfettered: Mission-Aligned Boundary Spanning

Boundary Spanning in Practice
and
Unfettered: Mission-Aligned Boundary Spanning

by Kitty Wooley et al.

Senior Fellows and Friends is a group of current and former U.S. government employees. Spearheaded by Kitty Wooley, members of the group have published two compilations of articles about breaking through the silo mentality. They encourage inter-agency collaboration throughout the hierarchy to achieve greater institutional learning, more motivated staff, and greater effectiveness in executing organizational missions. While their context is government, the topics also apply to large businesses and nonprofit organizations. Continue reading “Unfettered: Mission-Aligned Boundary Spanning”

Freeing Yourself from Anxiety

Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want

by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D.

2020 has been a mentally-draining year. In this 287-page book, psychologist Tamar Chansky explains why our minds get overwhelmed with worry and she offers advice on how to deal with it. Here are some highlights.

Anxiety is “the first-reaction of a sensitive system that is wired to keep us alert to danger and protected from harm… But today, with our best interests in mind, anxiety sometimes makes mistakes, overshooting… grabbing your attention from what you need to focus on and insisting that you instead grapple with worst-case scenarios.”  Continue reading “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety”

An interview with D.B. Dowd, author of Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice

An interview with D.B. Dowd, author of Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice

August 25, 2020 — 64 minutes — Book ReviewAmazon

An Interview with D.B. Dowd, author of Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice. The discussion topics are primarily from chapters 5-7 of the book.

  • [01:05] Drawing as a human practice. Drawing as nonlinear thinking. Salience. Tacit Knowledge.
  • [26:58] Reconceiving art education. Drawing is usually taught as an antecedent for painting. This is fine for people who want to paint. But most people use drawing as a tool for thinking, planning, and communication. Drawing as a way of understanding structures, e.g. in science classes. How STEAM relates to innovation.
  • [47:45] Illustration and cartooning as part of cultural history.

Continue reading “An interview with D.B. Dowd, author of Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice”

Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

by Bill George

Former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George wrote this book following a series of corporate scandals, including Enron, Sunbeam, Tyco, and Worldcom—just to name a few. These companies imploded because management was fixated on maximizing short-term shareholder value.

To paraphrase my favorite line in the book: you are running a business, not a stock. That said, the compound annual growth rate of Medtronic split-adjusted stock price was 28.5% during George’s 12-year tenure, according to my calculations. Not too shabby!

The first part of the book deals with the character, values, and sense of purpose required to inspire employees. George also shares his wisdom and personal experiences regarding customers, quality, market share, growth, innovation, acquisitions, FDA approval delays, Wall Street analysts, and corporate governance. Continue reading “Authentic Leadership”

Statistical Questions from the Classroom

Statistical Questions from the Classroom

by J. Michael Shaughnessy and Beth Chance

I was talking with a mathematically-astute friend of mine and told him I lacked confidence in my grasp of statistics. (Insert clever joke about confidence intervals here.) So he recommended this 88-page book published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as a good refresher on some basic concepts. The book consists of 11 chapters, each one addressing a question frequently asked by statistics students. Continue reading “Statistical Questions from the Classroom”

Marketing and the Bottom Line

Marketing and the Bottom Line

by Tim Ambler

Tim Ambler (now retired) was a professor at the London Business School. He was unique in that he was a marketing professor who was also a Chartered Accountant. Ambler contends that boards of directors should devote more attention to marketing. He puts a particular emphasis on brand equity and innovation.

“The point is simple: if you want to know what your future cash flow will look like, investigate where it comes from—the market… Survival depends on basic wealth creation. And wealth creation depends on how healthy the marketing is… Securing customer preference opens up the main cash flow for every business.” Continue reading “Marketing and the Bottom Line”

The Art of Being Indispensable at Work

The Art of Being Indispensable at Work

by Bruce Tulgan

Becoming a go-to person is the key to real influence at work. But it presents challenges like the risk of overcommitment, endless meetings, and trying to get things done across ambiguous lines of authority. When do you say yes? How do you say no? Bruce Tulgan breaks it down.  Continue reading “The Art of Being Indispensable at Work”

An interview with Alastair Thomson author of Cash Flow Surge

After posting more than 250 book reviews, I decided to try something new: an author interview on YouTube. I am grateful to Alastair Thomson for graciously sharing his wisdom on managing small and medium-sized businesses. Alastair has an accounting background, but this conversation is not about debits and credits. It’s about improving your business from the perspective of an experienced CEO and CFO. We cover cash flow, profit, customer experience, metrics, business ethics, marketing, quality, continuous improvement, front-line employees, growth, margins, inventory, and receivables. Continue reading “An interview with Alastair Thomson author of Cash Flow Surge”

Cash Flow Surge: 101 No-Cost and Low-Cost Fast-Action Strategies to Boost Your Cash Flow

Cash Flow Surge: 101 No-Cost and Low-Cost Fast-Action Strategies to Boost Your Cash Flow

by Alastair Thomson

In college I took a course called Small Business Finance. The main thing I remember from this course is the emphasis on “cash flow, cash flow, cash flow.” Alastair Thomson is an accountant who has been a CFO and CEO of several businesses in the U.K., across variety of industries. He wrote this book for owners of small and medium-size businesses. While cash flow and profit are not the same thing, many of the ideas in the book can improve both.

The 101 chapters cover suppliers and expenses, customers and revenue, staffing and procedures, communication, insurance, logistics, contracts, and technology. Here are some snippets: Continue reading “Cash Flow Surge: 101 No-Cost and Low-Cost Fast-Action Strategies to Boost Your Cash Flow”