The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Create Lasting Success

The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Create Lasting Success

by Rich Karlgaard

It is noteworthy that a prominent business journalist from Silicon Valley—where technology and IPOs dominate headlines—wrote a book about the human factors of business success. “The yin and yang of effective management has always been about the search for the right spot between data truth and human truth.”

“Hard-edge execution is all about managing exactly to the numbers. The people who live on the hard edge of business are good at making the trains run on time. They focus on profit. Their language is time, money, and numbers. Every company in the world needs these employees.”

“Soft-edge excellence—in trust, smarts, teams, taste, and story—tends to attract loyal customers and committed employees.” Karlgaard says the soft edge is “the heart and soul” of your company. Continue reading “The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Create Lasting Success”

Restaurant & Bar Marketing

Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The No Bullshit Guide to Improving Guest Counts

by Erik Shellenberger

Erik Shellenberger cuts through the hype and tells you what really works—and what doesn’t—to bring more customers into restaurants and bars. Before getting into the tactics, he presents his ocean versus fishbowl concept.

The fishbowl includes people who follow you on social media, who subscribe to your email list, etc. “The ocean—NOT the fishbowl—is where you improve guest counts… People who have no idea you exist. People who are looking to branch out and try new places to eat and drink in their home city… The tourist economy is almost exclusively an ocean environment. It includes the person using Google or online reviews to find a business like yours.”

Continue reading “Restaurant & Bar Marketing”

The Excellence Dividend

The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last

by Tom Peters

Tom Peters makes a renewed call to excellence in the context of an increasingly data-driven and dehumanized world. His “putting people first” mantra is even more on point than it was when his seminal work In Search of Excellence was published in 1982.

“The primary defenses against AI-driven job destruction are widespread, relatively unconstrained creativity and novel organizational arrangements designed to produce products and services that will stand out in an automated world. I unequivocally believe that such creativity is antithetical to algorithmic optimization of human affairs.”

“So what is this Excellence Dividend? In short, businesses that are committed to excellence in every aspect of their internal and external dealings are likely to be survivors. They are better and more spirited places to work. Their employees are engaged and growing and preparing for tomorrow. Their customers are happier and inclined to spread tales of their excellence far and wide. Their communities welcome them as good neighbors. Their vendors welcome them as reliable partners. That in turn translates directly into bottom-line results and growth. And, AI and robotics notwithstanding, it translates into jobs that last and the likely creation of new jobs as well.” Continue reading “The Excellence Dividend”

The Art of Relevance

the-art-of-relevance

The Art of Relevance

by Nina Simon

This book explains how museums and other nonprofit organizations can expand audiences and build stronger connections with targeted communities. The author is executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH).

“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work. I believe relevance is the key to a locked room where meaning lives… Behind the door is a room that holds something powerful—information, emotion, experience, value… Relevance is the key to that door.”

“Instead of talking about ‘traditional’ approaches and ‘new’ ones, I find it more productive to talk about insiders and outsiders…” Continue reading “The Art of Relevance”

One Little Spark

one-little-spark

One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering

by Marty Sklar with introductions by Richard M. Sherman and Glen Keane

Marty Sklar was hired by Walt Disney in 1955, prior to the opening of Disneyland. He rose through the ranks to president of Imagineering, the group responsible for Disney’s theme parks worldwide. He retired in 2009 after a 54-year career with the company.

The first part of the book explains Mickey’s Ten Commandments, guiding principles developed by Sklar in 1983. The second half of the book consists of career advice from 75 Imagineers. The most prominent recurring theme in this book is storytelling. Continue reading “One Little Spark”

Outside In

outside-in

Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine

“Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company. Once you understand that, you can manage your business from the outside in… To achieve the full potential of customer experience as a business strategy… you must manage from the perspective of your customers, and you must do it in a systemic, repeatable, and disciplined way.”

The benefits of providing exceptional customer experience are “higher revenues resulting from better customer retention, greater share of wallet, and positive word of mouth, plus lower expenses due to happier customers who don’t run up your service costs.” One example from the book is a $1.7 billion per year savings in customer service costs and bill credits as a result of Sprint simplifying its confusing plan options. Continue reading “Outside In”

Fans Not Customers

fans-not-customers

Fans Not Customers: How to Create Growth Companies in a No Growth World

by Vernon W. Hill II with Bob Andelman

Vernon W. Hill II founded Commerce Bank in 1973. In 2007, the bank “was sold to Toronto-based TD Bank for $8.5 billion, producing a 30-year, 23 percent annual shareholder return. Everyone profited, including shareholders and team members.” In 2010, he co-founded Metro Bank, bringing the same service culture to British banking. In Fans Not Customers he reveals the secret sauce of his business model. This book is about branding, differentiation, corporate culture, and organic growth, but the dominant theme is providing exceptional customer service. Continue reading “Fans Not Customers”