After what seemed like a very long winter, it’s finally happened! Temps are rising, days are longer, Nature is dressed in her finest greenery, and we’re all eager to pack up and speed off to our favourite summer retreat. Don’t forget to pack a couple of good books for your reading pleasure! Here are some of the personal favourites we’ve selected from various “best books in 2014” lists published recently on 800ceo read’s blog:
Most businesses of today are more focused on the newest gimmicks and tricks of the trade that they believe can save the day. This book focuses on the view that success is a result of quality, consistency of performance and relentless improvement on those things that matter most and not about the ‘wow’ factor provided by flashy tricks.
High performance has always required shrewd strategy and superb execution. These factors remain critical, especially given today’s unprecedented business climate. But Rich Karlgaard—Forbes publisher, entrepreneur, investor, and board director—takes a surprising turn and argues that there is now a third element that’s required for competitive advantage. It fosters innovation, it accelerates strategy and execution, and it cannot be copied or bought. It is found in a perhaps surprising place—your company’s values. Karlgaard examined a variety of enduring companies and found that they have one thing in common; all have leveraged their deepest values alongside strategy and execution, allowing them to fuel growth as well as weather hard times. Karlgaard shares these stories and identifies the five key variables that make up every organization’s “soft edge”.
Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course? In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins’ research project—more than four years in duration—uncovered five step-wise stages of decline: By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.
We live in a fundamentally changed world. It’s time for your approach to strategy to change, too.
According to Andrew Winston, bestselling author (“Green to Gold”) and globally recognized business strategist, the way companies currently operate will not allow them to keep up with the current–and future–rate of change. They need to make the “Big Pivot.”
In this indispensable new book, Winston provides ten crucial strategies for leaders and companies ready to move boldly forward and win in this new reality. With concrete advice and tactics, and new stories from companies like British Telecom, Diageo, Dow, Ford, Nike, Unilever, Walmart, and many others, “The Big Pivot” will help you, and all of us, create more resilient businesses and a more prosperous world. This book is the blueprint to get you started.
To stay ahead of the pack, you must translate your organization’s competitive strategy into the day-to-day actions carried out in your company. That means channeling resources into the right efforts, achieving the right balance between innovation and control, and getting everyone pulling in the same direction.
Simons presents the seven key questions a manager and his team must continually ask. Drawing on decades of research into performance management systems and organization design, “Seven Strategy Questions” is a no-nonsense, must-read resource for all leaders in any organization.
Why do businesses consistently fail to execute their competitive strategies? Because leaders don’t identify and invest in the full range of projects and programs required to align the organization with its strategy. Moreover, even when strategy makers do break their plans down into doable chunks, they seldom work with project leaders to prioritize strategic investments and assure that needed resources are applied in priority order. And they often neglect to revise the strategic portfolio to fit the demands of a dynamic environment, or to stay connected to strategic projects through completion, as new products, services, skills and capabilities are transferred into operations.
In “Executing Your Strategy,” Mark Morgan, Raymond Levitt, and William Malek present six imperatives that enable you to do the right strategic projects–and do those projects right. And it is no accident that the six imperatives combine to create the acronym INVEST: Ideation: Clarify and communicate purpose, identity and long range intention; Nature: Develop alignment between strategy, structure and culture based on ideation; Vision: Create clear goals and metrics aligned to strategy and guided by ideation; Engagement: Do the right projects based on the strategy through portfolio management; Synthesis: Do projects and programs right, in alignment with portfolio; and Transition: Move the project and program outputs into operations where benefit is realized.
Full of intriguing company examples and practical advice, this crucial resource shows you how to make strategy happen in your organization.
Martin O’Neill presents a road map for leaders of mid-sized companies to: assess their current situation, paint a compelling picture of the future, build alignment among the leadership regarding that future, and develop specific transformational initiatives that will build real value.
Turn Strategy into Performance!
In today’s world of rapid, disruptive change, strategy can’t be separate from execution–it has to emerge from execution. You have to continually adjust your strategy to fit new realities. But if your organization isn’t set up to be fast on its feet, you could easily go the way of Blockbuster or Borders.
Laura Stack shows you how to quickly drive strategic initiatives and get great results from your team. Her LEAD Formula outlines the Four Keys to Successful Execution: the ability to Leverage your talent and resources, design an Environment to support an agile culture, create Alignment between strategic priorities and operational activities, and Drive the organization forward quickly. She includes a leadership team assessment, group reading guides, and bonus self-development resources. Stack will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to help you hit the ground running!
For a full listing of best books in 2014, please visit http://blog.800ceoread.com/
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Jim Stewart is the founding Partner at ProfitPATH. He has been working with business owners for over 16 years to increase profits and improve the value of their companies. LinkedIn