How to Build a Better Business Plan

How to Build a Better Business Plan: A Hands-On Action Guide for Business Owners

by Alastair Thomson

One of the primary benefits of a business plan is “finding a business model that works.” Alastair Thomson, an accountant and experienced C-level executive, guides you to think from a lender’s or investor’s perspective, whether or not you are seeking outside financing. From their side of the table, would you find your business compelling?

The completed plan becomes your “roadmap” for execution. “With the right business plan, you do your thinking up-front. You know how to take advantage when new opportunities come your way and you know exactly what problem needs solving if performance veers off-course.” Thomson encourages planning for three scenarios: best-case, worst-case, and likely outcome. “The biggest danger for a pessimist is under-resourcing their business.” Continue reading “How to Build a Better Business Plan”

An interview with Mark C. Crowley, author of Lead from the Heart

An interview with Mark C. Crowley
author of Lead from the Heart:
Transformational Leadership for the 21st Century

December 16, 2020 — 63 minutes — Book ReviewAmazon

      • [0:01:04] Employee engagement.
      • [0:13:16] Hiring people with heart.
      • [0:18:56] Connect on a personal level. Manager as a coach.
      • [0:21:43] If you don’t give a shit about people, none of this is going to work.
      • [0:24:28] Maximize employee potential.
      • [0:26:27] Flow.
      • [0:32:25] The boss who doesn’t care about you.
      • [0:34:10] Value and honor achievements.
      • [0:37:17] The heart is a feeling, sensing organ.
      • [0:42:23] Work From Home.
      • [0:49:44] How the wrong people get promoted.
      • [0:55:58] Organizational culture and values.

Transcript
Continue reading “An interview with Mark C. Crowley, author of Lead from the Heart”

Unfettered: Mission-Aligned Boundary Spanning

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

by Kitty Wooley et al. (interview)

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”

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”

Shtick to Business

Shtick to Business: What the masters of comedy can teach you about breaking rules, being fearless, and building a serious career

by Peter McGraw (interview)

This book is about applying the wisdom of successful comedians to business management. Topics include targeting your audience and differentiating your brand, the creative process, innovation, diversity, teamwork, and writing skills. Peter McGraw is a behavioral economist, professor, and director of the Humor Research Lab (HuRL). Continue reading “Shtick to Business”

Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption

Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption

by Leo M. Tilman and Gen. Charles Jacoby (Ret.)

“The need for agility in business, government and warfare arises precisely from the uncertainty and complexity of the competitive environment.”

I imagine both co-authors of Agility have some battle scars—Tilman from Bear Stearns during the 2008 financial industry crisis and Jacoby from his career in the U.S. Army where he achieved the rank of 4-star general. Kidding aside, this book goes beyond military metaphors and presents a fusion of military and business thinking about risk intelligence and uncertainty as well as a leadership approach that emphasizes truth (as opposed to assumptions), trust, clear communication, and executional dexterity throughout the organization.

Complex adaptive systems “are constantly changing and evolving. They lack centralized control. They are inhabited by a multitude of stakeholders driven by distinct objectives, risk tolerances and modes of operation. These players interact in dynamic tension with one another, alternating between the urge to recoil from and engage in risk-taking and aggression. Their actions and adaptations lead to entirely unpredictable patterns and outcomes.” Continue reading “Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption”

The Flaw of Averages

The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty

by Sam L. Savage

This is a book about how to manage in a world of uncertainty. The beginning section presents a number of statistical concepts in simplified language; more sophisticated techniques follow. The author discusses how these concepts apply in a wide variety of contexts including oil exploration, pharmaceutical R&D, the stock market, the housing bubble, weather, climate change, health care, gene pools, the war of terror, and supply chains. He also describes some illogical accounting rules required by the FASB and the SEC. Continue reading “The Flaw of Averages”