According to Business Week, the life expectancy of a multinational corporation (typically on the Fortune 500 list) is only between 40 and 50 years on average. Many companies do not even last that long. Yet, there are a few selective organizations that have lasted for hundreds of years. But, what is the key to their longevity? The answer is strong leadership, coupled with effective product management. Continue reading
Guest post by Ryan Harrison
SaaS (software as a service) sales teams often focus on bringing in new clients; however, they often miss the key fact that existing clients pay more dividends in the long run. The blog ForEntrepreneurs.com reports that 5-30 percent of a business’ revenue comes from the initial sale. Renewals and upsells account for the other 70-95 percent. Businesses that struggle with a high churn rate lose out on these compound dividends.
Churn rate measures the number of customers leaving a business over a specified period of time. For any business with a subscriber-based service model, churn rate can mean the difference between profit and bankruptcy. Continue reading
Guest post by Sarah Brooks
Successful business leaders emerge from a variety of circumstances, each finding a unique path to the top. But the cream of the crop shows some similarities across its members. Certain habits lead to success in business. Whether you work for yourself or an employer, these five tips will help you succeed in business: Continue reading
One of the things I’m finding as I continue to read The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey is the abundance of leadership quotes he has included in the book. They give excellent insight into the importance trust plays in your success. The following quote points out the importance of trust in business:
You can’t have success without trust. The word trust embodies almost everything you can strive for that will help you to succeed. You tell me any human relationship that works without trust, whether it is a marriage or a friendship or a social interaction; in the long run, the same thing is true about business, especially businesses that deal with the public.
Jim Burke, former Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
Crucial Conversations was written by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler who have formed a company called Vital Smarts to provide training that helps teams and organizations achieve high results. I have not taken their training, but based on this book, and the corporate case studies, their courses no-doubt help organizations produce better results.
The authors define a crucial conversation as “a discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong.” They give examples of many different situations where the conversations are crucial; it’s not just in high-stakes business.
When we face crucial conversation we can do one of three things:
- We can avoid them.
- We can face them and handle them poorly.
- We can face them and handle them well.
The book focuses on ideas and techniques we can use to handle crucial conversations well, gain the trust of those with whom we interact, and improve our ability to communicate with others. I have noticed a marked improvement in my own interactions with others since I read this book. If you find yourself in a situation where you depend on working with, living with or interacting with people, and you rely on those interactions, this book will be of great help.
The first time I remember hearing the name Jon M. Huntsman was when I was a boy and he was talking with my father about leasing some land in the mountains of northern Utah. The deal never went through (I never did find out why), but Mr. Huntsman has sent my father a Christmas card every year since that time.
In his book Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten), Jon M. Huntsman writes about principles that build common people into leaders. The following are some of the values discussed in his book:
- There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business
- Attributes of true leaders include integrity, courage, vision, commitment, empathy, humility and confidence; the greater these attributes the stronger the leadership
- Leadership is a privilege
- Leadership is dictated by moral decisions; north is always north; south is always south
- When a handshake is given, it must be honored—at all costs; your word is your greatest asset; honesty is your best virtue
- In every walk of life we must believe we can succeed, or by definition we already have failed
- It is courage, and not the title, that separates genuine leaders from the pretenders
- Get mad, not even
- Everyone wants to be valued, to know they count
- Two rules in the Huntsman family: 1) Check your ego at the door. 2) Be a cheerleader for each other
- All companies—public or private—must create a culture in which employees come first and are treated royally…they always return the favor
- Giving enriches one’s heart and soul—and it’s contagious
- Make the underpinnings of your life a string of f-words (at least, phonetically): family, faith, fortitude, fairness, fidelity, friendship and philanthropy
Mr. Huntsman demonstrates how living by these values lifts people to a higher level. As we help others and lift them up, we are lifted up in the process. His book inspires me to be a better man and a better leader. And while it’s obvious that Jon Huntsman’s life has been built around the principles he promotes in his book, he does it in a way that is not self-serving or arrogant. His book is great in so many ways.
What are your thoughts about this book? What other books have you read that teach principles of leadership? I’d appreciate you leaving a comment!