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Saturday, July 31, 2010

 

Rob Salkowitz: Young World Rising - Author interview



Speaker, consultant and founder of MediaPlant LLC, Rob Salkowitz was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his groundbreaking and thought provoking book Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up. The author shares the seldom reported story of how young people, in the developing world, are leveraging the power of global networks and information technology to lead a revolution in entrepreneurship that will turn the global economy upside down.

Thanks to Rob Salkowitz for his time and for his interesting and informative responses. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the background to writing this book Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up?

Rob Salkowitz: I’m a futurist specializing in the impact of the “digital generation” on work and business. After I’d finished my first book, Generation Blend, which focused on the integration of the pre- and post-digital generations in the US workplace, I started looking at this issue in a global perspective. Over half the world’s population is under 30, but most live in developing or emerging economies, where widespread Internet access and mobile devices are just reaching critical mass, so there’s the potential for a huge groundswell of new ideas, new talent and new energy.

I started looking at the kinds of organizations these young people were creating using these new-found tools, and was amazed to see how many commonalities existed in their approach, despite vast differences in their cultural backgrounds.

Are there similarities between the members of the Millennial Generation regardless of whether they live in developed or developing countries?

Rob Salkowitz: Absolutely. While some of the traits we associate with Millennials in the US are unique to the way these kids were socialized in the 80s and 90s, the impact of technology is common across the whole global cohort that has been exposed to it. Access to digital technology and digital culture early in life fundamentally changes the way people look at certain kinds of problems.

If you grow up assuming that most knowledge is easily accessible (and free) on the Internet, that you are able and even expected to interact with content that’s sent to you through various media, that people are constantly available online or via mobile device, that it’s really easy to form groups with people anywhere around common interests, and all the other things that technology allows us to do, then I believe you end up with a very different “default” approach to problem-solving than someone who grew up with linear, hierarchical organizational models and one-way broadcast communications media.

Older people can master and appreciate the possibilities of technology on an intellectual level, but there’s always a process of translation going on – “how does this new technology help me do a process (I think) I already know how to do?” Digital natives understand the tool better than they understand the problem, so their approach is fresh. This has been observed in advanced economies for a while, and it’s equally true in developing countries, where serious problems are really crying out for new thinking and new solutions.

Is there a difference in the way these young people in developed and developing countries use the power of the internet and Web 2.0?

Rob Salkowitz: I think so. In advanced economies, we take bandwidth and computing power for granted, so there’s a tendency for applications to get bigger, richer and more complicated. Fast connections are only starting to become available even for elites in parts of Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Most people have to make do with older equipment, often in cybercafés or public places, slower connections, and mobile devices that have limited data connectivity. In those cases, the emphasis needs to be on interactivity and immediacy, rather than building a lot of richness into the experience with stuff like fancy graphics and video.

Your book focuses on young entrepreneurs. Is there a growth in the number of young entrepreneurs around the world?

Rob Salkowitz: The growth has been incredible because of the convergence of several powerful trends. Many cultures and countries are inherently entrepreneurial based on their history, and the arrival of digital technology has just provided a new, more powerful outlet for that impulse. Countries that had been skeptical of capitalist development strategies have been revising their policies to be more open and business friendly, which reduced a lot of the friction that inhibited business creation.

Private companies and non-government organizations have been spending a lot of resources developing high-tech skills and increasing access to technology, which has improved workforce capacity and made it easier for high-value businesses in the services, IT and knowledge sectors to find qualified workers. Finally, the arrival of the Internet and social networks have reduced some of the barriers to entry for young people starting businesses, making it easier for them to attract the attention of customers and investors.

What do these young entrepreneurs share in common, regardless of their home countries?

Rob Salkowitz: In my research, I identified six traits common to Young World entrepreneurs.

1. They bend social and commercial missions within their organizations
2. They align public, private and NGO resources around common goals
3. They capitalize on the spread of communities and collaboration as a way of scaling up
4. They are well-adapted to low-resource environments
5. They embrace the globalization of the knowledge workforce by thinking and acting global from day one
6. They find market-based solutions for systemic needs



Rob Salkowitz (photo left)

We often hear of a global technology gap between rich and poor nations. Does this gap affect young entrepreneurs, and is it shrinking?

Rob Salkowitz: The global digital divide is still too wide, especially for countries toward the bottom of the development spectrum, but things have improved dramatically for those in the middle. Wireless phone and data service has been a huge boost, because you can reach more people with lower investment, and you can leapfrog past underdeveloped or dilapidated landline infrastructure. As a result, the penetration of cellphone technology even in very poor countries is huge: it’s the fastest-growing market in the world. Last year for the first time, the majority of cellphone subscribers in Africa had data plans, not just voice-only.

So you see huge momentum on mobile application development of all kinds – mobile banking, mobile apps for agriculture and traditional business, e-government, mobile healthcare, etc. This improves the economic growth in those places, making those markets even more viable, which is attracting additional investment in infrastructure, which is improving access. Closing the gap is a big challenge, but the dynamic is definitely moving in the right direction.

How are young entrepreneurs world wide finding the funding for their business ventures?

Rob Salkowitz: Some countries such as India and South Africa are rather far along developing their own venture capital infrastructures and/or taking advantage of the wealth of expatriate communities to reinvest in the home country. International innovation contests such as the TICAmericas, which I discuss in the book, are spotlighting promising ideas and business plans for potential investors, as well as providing modest resources for the winners. The creation of software and online digital content does not require much capital investment at the outset, and global platforms such as Facebook, Microsoft Windows, the Apple App store, etc provide ready-made access to a huge number of customers.

What are some of the products and services that are being offered by young entrepreneurs?

Rob Salkowitz: In my work, I only look at knowledge-economy entrepreneurship – that is, content, software and services delivered digitally – but even within that narrow band, there’s a huge range of innovation and great ideas. Three young college undergraduates in Colombia invented a device to help blind people perceive what’s happening on a computer monitor, and their company, Duto, is now prototyping the device for Latin American classrooms. Ushahidi, an African open-source project, maps incident reports from mobile phones, Internet services and GPS systems to coordinate crisis response. It’s been used in everything from the Haitian earthquake to the Gulf oil spill.

Starsoft, from Mysore, India, makes software to help people in the regional textile-making industry practice their craft at higher levels of productivity to compete in the world market without disrupting their traditional practices. Personera is a South African startup that helps businesses design and print custom calendars based on Facebook information.

What current and future trends do you see that will continue this entrepreneurial revolution among young people?

Rob Salkowitz: Success is the biggest factor. Suhas Gopinath, an Indian IT entrepreneur who started his company at age 14 and is now a member of the World Economic Forum at age 22, wanted to be like Bill Gates. Now tens of thousands of young Indians want to be like Suhas Gopinath. All across the world, in Argentina, the Philippines, Nigeria, India – successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses are reinvesting in training and education, promoting entrepreneurship as a means of economic prosperity, social progress and national pride. The more successful role models the system can produce, the more policy-makers will pay attention and the more the public will support entrepreneurship as a good path for young people.

How can people of all ages collaborate with and assist young entrepreneurs whether in their own country or in one half way around the world?

Rob Salkowitz: The Web is full of great resources to support entrepreneurs, share success stories, make connections, and find local groups that are developing entrepreneur skills in the community. There are some great programs for inner-city kids, for example, to teach business skills. They need mentors and role models. There are sites like Kiva, which allow people to make direct micro-loans to entrepreneurs around the world. Successful entrepreneurs can go and speak at community colleges and groups, or have their businesses sponsor mentoring and training programs.

What is next for Rob Salkowitz?

Rob Salkowitz: One of the biggest issues at the intersection of demographics, technology and development is urbanization. Most of the world’s fastest growing cities are in the Young World, and their already-poor infrastructures are groaning under the weight of 10, 15, 20 million people. I’d be very interested to explore the new innovations that entrepreneurs and others are developing to improve the urban experience in the 21st century.

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My book review of Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up by Rob Salkowitz.

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Young World Rising - Rob Salkowitz - Book review



Young World Rising

How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up


By: Rob Salkowitz

Published: June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0470417803
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons




"The spread of information networks and the development of information and communication technology (ICT) skills across a broader swath of the workforce open new avenues of prosperity that did not exist even a decade ago in many parts of the world", writes speaker, consultant and founder of MediaPlant LLC, Rob Salkowitz in his groundbreaking and thought provoking book Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up. The author shares the seldom reported story of how young people, in the developing world, are leveraging the power of global networks and information technology to lead a revolution in entrepreneurship that will turn the global economy upside down.

Rob Salkowitz recognizes this revolution in information technology is a bottom up phenomenon, very often under the radar of national governments and global corporations. The convergence of youthful energy, entrepreneurship, and information and communication technology (ICT) forms the basis for this business sea change sweeping the world. Leading the way are members of the generation born since 1980 - the Millennial Generation - which has grown up in a world of the internet, high expectations of success, and exploding information technology advances. Utilizing this unprecedented access to global networks, these creative young entrepreneurs are changing not only their own future, but for everyone in the world as well.



Rob Salkowitz (photo left) understands that the new youth led global entrepreneurship revolution is different from the already established knowledge economy. The young entrepreneurs are providing leadership and innovation that takes sharing of knowledge much deeper and widely based than ever before. In the first place, the young entrepreneurs have access to technology that was not available to previous generations; even very recent ones. The youth of the world have enormous numbers who are very well connected through global networks, and a strong sense of community that goes beyond traditional international borders. They also share a strong commitment to the principles of market forces as leading the way to a shared and progressive future.

For me, the power of the book is how Rob Salkowitz articulates the growing trend toward technology based entrepreneurship, spearheaded by young people, from all over the world. This youth based ITC revolution is being experienced in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America, creating a network of interconnected young people on a worldwide stage. Rob Salkowitz points out that the global youth entrepreneurship groundswell presents both promise and peril. While the transition to an ITC based economy could result in inter-generational conflict, the future can take a more positive and collaborative form. With the benefits in terms of peaceful international relations, more jobs, greater economic prosperity, and a stronger global interconnectedness offering a better future for everyone, the rising young world represents a positive development. At the same time, Rob Salkowitz reminds us that the challenges of this one possible future, need to be addressed. To that end, he provides ideas to ease the transformation to an entrepreneurial world, driven by young people.

I highly recommend the insightful and visionary book Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up by Rob Salkowitz, to anyone seeking a more complete understanding of the youth based entrepreneurial ITC boom sweeping the developing world. The book will inspire governments, corporations, international organizations, and non-governmental agencies to seek fresh, market based initiatives to ensure that the entrepreneurial revolution continues without being derailed by special interests.

Read the inspirational and globally empowering book Young World Rising: How Youth Technology and Entrepreneurship are Changing the World from the Bottom Up by Rob Salkowitz, and discover the unlimited innovation and potential of the global Millennial generation, as it leads the world into a future marked by the power of entrepreneurship. This book describes the challenges and opportunities that are offered by global youth, as they harness the potential of global interconnectedness for the benefit of the entire planet.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

 

Susan Bagyura: The Visionary Leader - Author interview



Executive leadership coach and LifeSuccess consultant Susan Bagyura, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her inspirational and comprehensive guide to achieving excellence in leadership The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down.

The author shares her wisdom and practical advice for both experienced leaders, and those new to leadership, to become great leaders who inspire others to success.

Thanks to Susan Bagyura for her time and for her fascinating, informative, and very comprehensive responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the background to writing this book The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down?

Susan Bagyura: Shortly after I moved to London, I got my first coaching certification. While coaching many small and medium sized businesses, I found that most of the business problems were a result of their lack of awareness and leadership skills. These business people just jumped in and starting taking actions without determining the purpose for their leadership. When I moved over to Vienna, I was seeing the same thing. As I am passionate about transforming small business by through visionary leadership, it was then that I decided to write a how-to guide for developing the visionary leader mindset.

You describe leadership as starting with the individual. What do you mean by that?

Susan Bagyura: A person must be able to lead themselves before they can lead another individual, group or organization. It starts with being able to give yourself an order and then follow it. Many people say they want to do something or be something; but then excuse themselves from the work or effort that is required. When a person can demand something of themselves and consistently follow through on it, they have formed one of the pillars of leadership. This is as critical for leading an organization as it is for leading a family.

How critical is a person's mindset to achieving leadership?

Susan Bagyura: It’s everything! Our mindset determines what we draw into our lives. Success in every area of business and personal life is all about the mindset. The economy is all about mindset. While one person complains about how bad business is, someone else in the same industry and the same marketplace is experiencing their greatest growth. Within the same organization, you can see someone that is winning at what they are doing and another person that is grumbling and complaining. Whatever is happening in the business is a reflection of what is happening in the mind of the top person. Mindset comes first...behaviors and results follow.

Are there several different leadership styles and does their effectiveness depend on the individual and circumstances?

Susan Bagyura: When is comes to defining the different leadership styles, I defer to 3 experts: Daniel Goleman, Dr. Kurt Lewin, and Dr. Rensis Likert. Each has common and slightly differing views. Broadly speaking, there are 3 different styles which are authoritarian, democratic and laissez-fair. When we go into details, then we can get into very interesting mixes. I believe that the best leaders are the ones that can flex between the different styles depending on the situation or the people that are involved.

For example, the authoritarian type of leadership is all about command and control. If someone uses this style predominantly, they very quickly lose good people because the power is kept at the top and threats or fear are used as the primary motivators. However, when there is a short time frame and a need for quick decisions, this style can be particularly effective. In the book, I help people to understand their dominant styles and then to look at different situations to determine which style(s) would be more suitable. I find it is best to make these decisions when the thinking is clear rather than waiting until the pressure is on.

What skills are important for a leader to have and to develop?

Susan Bagyura: The most important skills for leadership today all start with self-awareness. The starting point is complete clarity on what the leader’s purpose for their leadership. I believe this has to be something bigger than profits. The best purposes are based on transforming lives, transforming the industry or being the best in the region for their type of business. Whatever it is, it has to be something bigger than profits. When a leader is focused on that, the profits just naturally follow.

Another important skill is coaching people to their success. The idea behind coaching is that all answers are within the person. So the skills that the leader should develop are questioning and listening. Instead of just telling the person what to do, it is far more powerful for everyone concerned, if questions are posed and answered as to the best way forward. A skillful leader using these techniques draws the best out of people; inspiring and motivating them to greater results. It’s a slower approach but the rewards are highly desirable because this approach builds deeper relationships which results in ownership, higher retention of top people and greater job satisfaction.



Susan Bagyura (photo left)

How important is vision for a leader, and how can vision be defined?

Susan Bagyura: The leader’s purpose is what I call their ‘why’. Having a big ‘why’ is extremely motivating. It’s what get a person up out of bed in the morning excited to start the day. This ‘why’ is what also motivates other people to want to join the leader and be a part of their creation. The ‘why’ or the purpose never changes. For example, the ‘why’ for Bill Gates was to transform the way people communicate. His vision, which he announced back in the mid-80s, was of a computer on every desktop and in every home. The goal or his ‘what’ was to create software products that enabled people to perform multiple functions on their PC and interact with other systems and people throughout the world. It is paramount that the leader is clear on their purpose – their why – and then communicate that out clearly and succinctly along with their vision of how they will achieve it.

In the book, I take people through the importance of visualization and gaining clarity on how they will express their purpose. At the same time, I am a firm believer that we don’t need to know exactly how we will achieve anything. We should visualize the results that we want to have or even better, the enjoyment from the achievement, get into action moving towards it and trust that the way will be shown.

How can a leader communicate vision and plans of action effectively to followers?

Susan Bagyura: The best way is through one-on-one sessions. I realize in a larger organization a leader can’t do that with everyone, but if it is done with the management team and then that team communicates it down in the same fashion, everyone will be in alignment. In those sessions, it is important that the leader also understand the ‘why’ for each employee in the key areas of their life. If the leader helps the employee achieve their ‘why’, the employee will help them. These relationships are even stronger if the leader is open, honest and transparent.

A tagline that everyone uses which simply states the purpose further reinforces the vision. Whenever any communication announced, it should tie back to the purpose and vision. The link from the purpose, the vision and the goal should always be clearly stated.

How can leaders gain the essential skills to become more effective leaders?

Susan Bagyura: The critical leadership skills necessary today are all learnable. It is most important that the leader goes through a phase of self-discovery and then links it all together. People will be inspired by what the leader has figured out and how they want to then move the company forward. Through that understanding, people are inspired and motivated to help the leader achieve his purpose.

These skills are laid out in my book, but I also believe that people will benefit from having coaching and/or training to help them through this process. Most likely the leader will require learning new skills, a deeper understanding, support and accountability through the change. Changing behaviors can be challenging and professional support through that time is crucial as our conditioning is to convince ourselves that the change isn’t necessary and revert back to old habits.

In the book, you describe the leader's mission and image. What do you mean by that?

Susan Bagyura: That chapter discusses how the mission which is the leader’s purpose is inseparable from the self-image. It is essential that the leader believes that they can achieve their purpose because as we are in action moving towards our goal; our belief and expectation will magnetize it to us. Let’s just say that someone had as their purpose to be the best football play in the league. If they believe that they are too scrawny or too fumbly to do it, then they won’t unless they identify those self-image problems and then put together a plan to overcome them. I always think of Map Quest. If you want to go somewhere and need directions, you have to put in where you are and where you want to go. Mission and image are utilizing the same principle.

How can a leader develop a better decision making process?

Susan Bagyura: Making decisions is one of the most important skills a person must learn in order to advance. I remember when I was weak with this and would run around taking polls from people as to what I should do. I would ask if it was right or wrong to do something. When someone said do this, I would say okay and then run off to do it. Then I would speak to the next person and they might say, no don’t do that, do this. And again, I would run off and not doing anything. I had everyone else responsible for my actions.

Napoleon Hill had written in his book Think And Grow Rich that the world’s richest men had developed the skill of making decisions quickly and changing them slowly if they ever changed them at all. I wondered how they could do that. It was when I developed a better understanding of the Universal Laws; in this case the Law of Polar Opposites, I realized I was asking the wrong question. With this Law, everything is contained within something. So if there is something bad about a thing, there also has to be something good about it. This is what led to my confusion.

My ability to make decisions skyrocketed when I applied this understanding. Instead of asking if doing something was right or wrong; I learned to ask myself one question. “If I do this, will it move this in the direction of my purpose or goal?” Then the decision is clear and simple.

How can improved leadership help companies, organizations, and society as a whole?

Susan Bagyura: Everything works from a higher to a lower power and this is equally true of leadership. The organization is a reflection of the leader. Some leaders may think that the problems are in other areas or other people. However if they look to see where they are doing the same thing that they are complaining about and fix it; it will be fixed outwards. Not only do the people emulate the leader, the leader actually attracts the people that mirror them. This is an ongoing opportunity for growth.

My recommendation when the leader is defining their purpose is to choose the values that they will use to guide their leadership. It should be obvious to the employees and the customers; anyone watching. I normally suggest 5 to 8 core values. Just imagine this. See a company that has honesty as a core value. Conscious, value and purpose driven leadership will have a tremendously positive impact in our businesses and society. That’s the image that I’m holding.

What is next for Susan Bagyura?

Susan Bagyura: I just completed The Visionary Leader Home Study Program which consists of a 125 page workbook and 8 MP3s. In this program, I have gone into much more depth than I could in the book and it’s essentially the same as being in a workshop with me.

Being so committed to helping business flourish through better leadership, I am collaborating with a colleague whom I highly respect to develop a membership site to train, support and develop leaders of all levels. We will have a mix of tools and strategies to help today’s and tomorrow’s leaders grow in awareness, create effective teams or organizations and increase their revenues.

In January 2011, I am chairing the 1st Annual LEADer Conference in Vienna, Austria. The leadership rules have drastically changed and events both in business and politics in the recent years have really brought this to a focal point. This conference is aimed at small business owners, executives, entrepreneurs and public administrators to help them adapt, change and thrive in this new economy. Leadership today is about the soft skills – the people skills – not just the annual report. What I really like about this conference is every speaker will be giving the attendees a tool that they can immediately implement in their business the next day.


http://www.susanbagyura.com
http://www.thevisionaryleader.com
http://www.facebook.com/SusanBagyura
http://twitter.com/SusanBagyura

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My book review of The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down by Susan Bagyura.

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The Visionary Leader by Susan Bagyura - Book review



The Visionary Leader

How to Inspire Success from the Top Down


By: Susan Bagyura

Published: July 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN-13: 9781599300948
ISBN-10: 159930094X
Publisher: LifeSuccess Publishing







"Many people have the instincts to be a leader, but they lack the knowledge that can make the difference between a good leader and a great leader", writes executive leadership coach and LifeSuccess consultant Susan Bagyura, in her inspirational and comprehensive guide to achieving excellence in leadership The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down. The author shares her wisdom and practical advice for both experienced leaders, and those new to leadership, to become great leaders who inspire others to success.

Susan Bagyura places emphasis on the importance of the individual to leadership. A person unable to exercise self control and personal discipline will be unable to lead and inspire others. For Susan Bagyura, when people are able to lead themselves, they bring out the greatness in others, while creating more leaders within the organization. The author provides the tool box, for transforming ordinary leaders into exceptional leaders, that is both easy to understand but is also readily applicable for any potential leader. The book is a treasure trove of ideas and practical techniques, to sharpen existing leadership skills, or to develop latent leadership potential for the future. The author provides many examples of different but effective leadership styles that can be adapted to suit the personality of the individual.



Susan Bagyura (photo left) recognizes the value of clarity of vision and achievable goals for a leader. At the the same time, the author points out that simply having vision or goals is not sufficient for successful leadership. Susan Bagyura points out that the vision must be communicated effectively to the leader's followers and to the entire organization, so the message becomes crystal clear for everyone. To this end, the book contains critical sections on improving communications and listening skills for leaders. For the author, goals are of little value if they are not achievable. Susan Bagyura shares insights for better goal setting, and for reaching even very lofty goals successfully.

For me, the power of the book is how Susan Bagyura articulates her transformational concepts for enhancing existing leadership abilities, and for developing fresh and dynamic new leaders for the future. The author covers all aspects of leadership, starting with the focus on the individual, and self management. Guiding the reader through effective but diverse leadership styles, while developing a strong personal image and clear communication skills, the author builds a firm foundation for individual leaders. With the basic concepts in place, Susan Bagyura shares secrets for formulating and conveying a vision and a mission for the leader, the followers, and the organization in general. The author them moves along to creative thinking, innovation, and decisive action that sets a leader apart from the average leader.

I highly recommend the essential and must read book The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down by Susan Bagyura, to anyone seeking a complete guide to developing great leaders. The book combines both theory and practical applications effectively, and in an entertaining style that encourages reading and studying the material over and over again.

Read the concise and game changing book The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success from the Top Down by Susan Bagyura, and discover how to take the step from ordinary leadership to a level of greatness reached by only a select few. This book will help any leader, whether a seasoned executive or someone just beginning a career path toward future leadership positions.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

 

Wrong by David H. Freedman - Book review



Wrong

Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them


By: David H. Freedman

Published: June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 304 page
ISBN-13: 9780316023788
ISBN-10: 0316023787
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company









"The fact is, expert wisdom usually turns out to be at best highly contested and ephemeral, and at worst flat-out wrong", writes science and business journalist David H. Freedman in his groundbreaking and thought provoking book Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them. The author describes in detail how not only are experts very often wrong and their data flawed, but also that the general public is losing faith rapidly in their alleged expertise.

David Freedman pulls back the curtain on how research data is really conducted in modern society, and the results are not flattering to the research community. Whether the expert is seeking a medical breakthrough, psychological research, or how to better operate a business, the data is very often wrong, flawed, falsified, or interpreted incorrectly. The author points out the most highly publicized research results are the most likely to be misleading at best, or entirely wrong at worst. David Freedman points to problems in the way the scientific community, academia, think tanks, and corporations conduct and publish research as issues that demand a closer examination. Even the peer reviewed journals are considered suspect by the author due to their own bias for demanding fresh, startling results from big name researchers.



David H. Freedman (photo left) understands that there is much good research taking place in the medical, scientific, and business communities. For the author, the concern is the best research is often distorted, neglected, or even confused or overwhelmed by inferior or tainted research data. The demands of the media and the general public for the next big thing, and a headline grabbing finding, leads researchers to focus on a positive result even if it means cheating on the research. The author also points out that research that refutes the widely reported sensational claims is either not reported widely, or ignored entirely. The result for the average person is a lack of trust in research, as good research becomes confused with doubtful and suspect findings. The general public no longer puts faith in the findings or the word of experts, leading to a general mistrust in all information regardless of source.

For me, the power of the book is how David H. Freedman describes with deep insight how and why research data may be unreliable, its reporting inaccurate and sensationalized, and the expert opinion may be entirely wrong. That assessment only reflects one half of the book's importance, however. The other side of the book is more positive in nature. The author shares his ideas on how to better determine the accuracy and value of expert opinion, through better awareness of how the conclusions were reached, and how the underlying research was conducted and analyzed. David Freedman provides a detailed check list for readers to follow to help sort out good research from the shoddy, bad, or even falsified analysis so often put forward without question. The book is an important wake up call for all members of society in general, and the media and research communities in particular. Failure to provide accurate and useful advice will eventually render all experts irrelevant, whether they have valuable ideas to share or not. The author even includes, to his credit, an entire chapter outlining how his book itself could be wrong.

I highly recommend the highly original and landmark book Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them by David H. Freedman, to anyone seeking a more complete understanding of how expert ideas are formulated, and the various pitfalls and roadblocks awaiting solid research that may not conform to pre-existing biases. This book goes far in helping to bridge the knowledge gap between what experts claim and what is really the truth.

Read the eye opening and empowering book Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them by David H. Freedman, and discover for yourself the flaws in modern research, and the shortcomings of today's experts in all aspects of our lives. Learn as well how to decipher the real meaning of the research data and results, and how to decide for yourself how to sort reliable information and advice from that which is less accurate and very often outright wrong.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

 

Deepika Bajaj: #DIVERSITYtweet - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Blogger, Founder and President of Invincibelle, LLC, and author of the concise, yet very thought provoking book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World, Deepika Bajaj, shares her ideas about the growing importance of diversity in all of its forms in business, the global economy, and in people's daily lives. Deepika describes how understanding and embracing diversity creates a competitive advantage for businesses in today's globalized economy. Companies that fail to meet the challenge and accept the opportunities presented by diversity will not only fall behind the competition but will be seen as out of touch with modern societal realities. Discover the power of diversity for recognizing and understanding change, creating new ideas, and building a stronger organization and community.

Deepika Bajaj is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, July 29, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Blogger, Founder of Invincibelle, LLC, and author of the concise, yet very thought provoking book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World, Deepika Bajaj, shares her ideas about the growing importance of diversity in all of its forms in business, the global economy, and in people's daily lives. You will learn:

* What diversity means and why it's important to understand

* How embracing diversity creates competitive business advantage

* Why embracing diversity is essential in today's globalized economy

* Why it's critical to know the benefits and challenges presented by diversity



Deepika Bajaj (photo left) is the founder and president of Invincibelle, LLC, a company empowering diverse, multi generational workforce and women to thrive in a multicultural world. Prior to starting her company, Deepika has more than eight years of experience in telecommunications consulting and corporate marketing.

She has served on the board of various professional organizations including the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and Women in Intel.

Deepika is currently writing two books. The first one (yet to be named) speaks to her experiences of being a global citizen and what is shaping the new voice of diversity. The second book is called #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World. She speaks and consults on diversity, blogs at DeepikaBajaj.com and writes a column on social media for ActiveGarage. She is in the process to launch a new blog Diverseconomy.com. You can follow her on Twitter @invincibelle.

Deepika holds a degree in Engineering from Bangalore University, India and has an MBA in marketing from Fordham University, New York. She is an honorary member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma.

She loves kickboxing, reading, music and painting. Currently, she lives in California. Her favorite city in the world is New York.

My book review of #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World by Deepika Bajaj.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with blogger, Founder and President of Invincibelle, LLC, and author of the concise, yet very thought provoking book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World, Deepika Bajaj, as she shares her ideas about the growing importance of diversity in all of its forms in business, the global economy, and in people's daily lives. Deepika describes how understanding and embracing diversity creates a competitive advantage for businesses in today's globalized economy. Companies that fail to meet the challenge and accept the opportunities presented by diversity will not only fall behind the competition but will be seen as out of touch with modern societal realities. Discover the power of diversity for recognizing and understanding change, creating new ideas, and building a stronger organization and community on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

 

#DIVERSITYtweet by Deepika Bajaj - Book review



#DIVERSITYtweet

Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World


By: Deepika Bajaj

Published: September 2009
Format: Paperback, 108 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60773-056-9
Publisher: Happy About/THINKaha




"Diversity creates infinite possibilities beyond cultures", writes blogger, Senior Director at Working Mother Media, and Founder of Invincibelle, LLC, Deepika Bajaj, in her concise, yet very thought provoking book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World. The author presents 140 tweet statements about the growing importance of diversity in all of its forms in business, the global economy, and in people's daily lives.

Deepika Bajaj shares her profound and insightful thoughts on diversity, and its meaning for today's increasingly complex world. Each of her ideas is designed almost as a starting point for more intensive thought and discussion on the role of diversity in building a stronger organization, a more rich culture life, and a more understanding and peaceful world. For the author, gone are the days when an organization could ignore the diverse wealth of talent, and its powerful and creative voice for change and improved performance. At the same time, Deepika Baja reminds companies that they can no longer pat themselves on the back for limited and token efforts at inclusiveness. Instead, the author recommends embracing diversity, not only as the right thing to do, but also as the road map toward achieving competitive advantage in a culturally diverse society, and a globalized economy.



Deepika Bajaj (photo left) recognizes that diversity is not simply is not simply about ethnicity and geography, although those factors are very important. Diversity also includes embracing different abilities, sexual orientation, lifestyle, language, colour, size, gender, and much more. Because of this complete description of diversity, most people will recognize that many aspects of diversity are already part of their daily lives. Once diversity is embraced in all of its variety, stronger businesses and communities can be built and sustained. For companies that become ever more diverse, there is the advantage of fresh ideas and outlooks, as well as enriched understanding of their increasingly diversified customer base. For business, diversity is not simply about doing the right thing, but about recognizing the reality of the modern society, creating a competitive advantage.

For me, the power of the book is how Deepika Bajaj shares her intriguing and often challenging ideas in succinct sentences, while generating dialogue on this important cultural topic. One of the benefits of embracing the reality and potential of diversity is how the concept represents societal change. A person, organization, or community that values change through diversity, will be open to other changes in the culture or the economy as well. Instead of resisting the winds of change, those who embrace diversity as one aspect of that dynamic, will be much better equipped to survive and thrive in a rapidly evolving global community. Deepika Bajaj recognizes that acceptance and understanding of change doesn't come easily for many people, and indeed for many organizations and communities. As a result, the author also recommends the need for leadership from the top as an example for others to follow, easing the transition to a diversified environment.

I highly recommend the essential and eye opening book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World by Deepika Bajaj, to anyone seeking a book that is quick to read, but generates deep thought long after the book is completed. Deepika Bajaj removes the mystery from some very complex ideas, opening the door to further discussion on a personal, organizational, or community level.

Read the delightful and change oriented book #DIVERSITYtweet: Embracing the Growing Diversity in Our World by Deepika Bajaj, and put the strengths, and indeed the challenges, of diversity to work for your company and your community. This book represents a cultural guide, and even a business survival guide for today and for tomorrow's interconnected global society.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

 

Doug Hirschhorn: 8 Ways To Great - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Keynote speaker, Peak Performance coach, CEO of Dr.Doug.com, and author of the insightful and practical book 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life, Doug Hirschhorn shares his eight principles for achieving peak performance on the job and in your personal life. Dr. Doug as he is affectionately called, describes how successful people think, how they reach their lofty goals, and how you can apply their principles to your own life. Dr. Doug points out that there are no strengths and weaknesses as commonly believed, and that concept is critical to understanding the psychology of success. Learn how to identify your own internal barriers, discover your competitive advantage, and turn the odds in your favor.

Doug Hirschhorn is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, July 27, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Keynote speaker, Peak Performance coach, CEO of Dr.Doug.com, and author of the insightful and practical book 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life, Doug Hirschhorn shares his eight principles for achieving peak performance on the job and in your personal life. You will learn:

* How to become a peak performer regardless of your profession or goals

* Why thinking success leads to even greater achievement

* Why there are no strengths or weaknesses

* How to identify and overcome your internal psychological barriers



Doug Hirschhorn (photo left) or Dr. Doug as he is known on television – advises Wall Street’s elite deal-makers and traders, and is a regular contributor on CNBC.

A former athlete and floor trader, Dr. Doug’s path to Peak Performance coaching was a bit circuitous. As the catcher and captain of his Division I baseball team in college, he aimed to eventually return to a professional sports career. So after spending a few years post-college working on the trading floors in Chicago, he went back to school to earn the advanced degrees necessary to become a baseball coach. Dr. Doug entered a Masters degree program in sport psychology, and it was there that he had his ‘aha!’ moment: If the psychological principles he was learning could be applied to athletes, why not try them out on traders– a similarly competitive breed?

The idea worked. Less than five years later, Dr. Doug is an in-demand public speaker and Peak Performance coach, counting the titans of Wall Street, hedge funds, and largest banks in the world among his clients.

Dr. Doug received his B.A. from Colgate University in 1994, and went on to earn an M.S. in Exercise Science in 2000 from Southern Connecticut State University. In 2005, he received his Ph.D. in Psychology (with an emphasis in sport psychology) from Capella University. He is currently the chief executive officer of DrDoug.com, a consulting firm specializing in “Peak Performance Coaching.”

Dr. Doug is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is a regular contributor for CNBC and has also appeared on NBC’s Today Show, VH1’s The Fabulous Life, and currently hosts a weekly video blog for CNBC.

My book review of 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life by Doug Hirschhorn.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with keynote speaker, Peak Performance coach, CEO of Dr.Doug.com, and author of the insightful and practical book 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life, Doug Hirschhorn as he shares his eight principles for achieving peak performance on the job and in your personal life. Dr. Doug as he is affectionately called, describes how successful people think, how they reach their lofty goals, and how you can apply their principles to your own life. Dr. Doug points out that there are no strengths and weaknesses as commonly believed, and that concept is critical to understanding the psychology of success. Learn how to identify your own internal barriers, discover your competitive advantage, and turn the odds in your favor on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

 

8 Ways to Great by Doug Hirschhorn - Book review


8 Ways to Great

Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life


By: Doug Hirschhorn

Published: December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
ISBN-10: 0399156089
ISBN-13: 978-0399156083
Publisher: Putnam Adult/Penguin





"True success begins with a state of mind. But it takes specific actions and behaviors to move from intentions into action and get results", writes keynote speaker, coach, and CEO of Dr.Doug.com in his insightful and practical book 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life. The author shares his eight principles that work effectively for high performance athletes, and applies them to the world of business, and to one's personal life.

Doug Hirschhorn, affectionately known as Dr. Doug, recognizes that achieving success requires a state of mind that attracts success. Going beyond the simple platitudes offered by many success experts, the author provides real world proven advice and techniques for developing a success mindset. The performance principles offered by Dr. Doug are can be applied equally well to business, health, or interpersonal relationships, creating a more engaged and successful life. Unlike many observers, Doug Hirschhorn dismisses the idea that people have specific strengths and weaknesses, choosing to describe instead the psychology of success. Greatness, for the author, is a place and the techniques and insights shared in the book are the road map for reaching that location.



Doug Hirschhorn (photo left) understands that he doesn't create talent. Instead, he not only helps anyone to strive for and to achieve excellence, but also helps current top performers become even greater. Dr. Doug encourages his readers to not be satisfied with being ordinary or just good enough. The limits on an individual, according to the author, are self imposed restrictions. Through changing a person's mindset and worldview toward a desire to be the best, the author points out that anyone can rise to the top. Dr. Doug writes that high achievers are not different from the average person. What sets the successful people apart is they think differently from average people. This book teaches eight principles that will change anyone's thinking process to that of a high achiever.

For me, the power of the book is how Doug Hirschhorn shares his eight principles for success in a direct and usable manner. He dispenses with clutter, and dives straight into the concepts, bolstering them with examples from the worlds of business and of sports. The examples presented demonstrate that even the most successful individuals, at the very pinnacle of their professions, had to change their outlook to one of success. Instead of being satisfied with being ordinary, they chose to become the best, and reached that goal. Dr. Doug shows his readers how set goals, even very lofty ones, and reach and even exceed them. At the same time, the author is careful to point out that reached goals may not be exactly as expected, but may lead a person to greatness in an entirely different way.

I highly recommend the must read book 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life by Doug Hirschhorn, to anyone serious about breaking out of the ordinary in their profession, and seeking to reach the very peak of their abilities. The author guides his readers to iscover how to change their mindset and thinking, that may be holding them back, with a view to being the very best.

Read the essential success guide 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life by Doug Hirschhorn, and put the eight principles to work in your life. Your success may be greater than you ever imagined before.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

 

Kevin Maki: Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur - Author interview



Entrepreneur, President and Chief Science Officer of Provident Clinical Research & Consulting, Inc., Kevin C. Maki, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his practical and results oriented book Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner.

The author shares ideas and techniques, proven in the real world by successful entrepreneurs, for building and maintaining a successful entrepreneurial business venture.

Thanks to Kevin Maki for his time and for his interesting and comprehensive responses. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the background to writing this book Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner?

Kevin Maki: When I was a teenager I went to work for a very successful couple who owned a small hotel. I learned a great deal from them about business and entrepreneurship. Many of the lessons from my 10 years in that hotel have served me well as the operating manager of a business unit and later as a business owner. Those experiences started me on a lifelong quest to understand what separates successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs and what I have learned is conveyed in Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner. I hope that my book will help others to thrive as business owners.

Why do some entrepreneurs find tremendous success while other entrepreneurs struggle to survive as businesses?

Kevin Maki: The purpose of a business is to obtain and retain profitable customers. In general, businesses who market their products or services well and who deliver good value to their customers will thrive. Delivering good value means setting customer expectations through marketing and sales efforts, and then meeting or exceeding those expectations through great execution. If customers feel they are receiving good value for the price paid, they will return again and again. Expectations are not the same for every business. Guests who stay at a Four Seasons hotel have a different set of expectations from those who stay at a Holiday Inn Express, but each can offer good value relative to expectations with good marketing and execution.

Does an entrepreneur have to learn to be successful in order to achieve business success?

Kevin Maki: In my opinion, the skills necessary to become a successful small business owner are learnable. However, some people are more likely to be successful than others. Top entrepreneurs have several characteristics that I discuss in the book, some of which include dogged persistence, a willingness to delay gratification, a bias toward action (rather than analysis paralysis), and a reasonable understanding of one’s personal strengths and weaknesses. If one understands his or her personal strengths and weaknesses, strategies can be employed to leverage the strengths and work around the weaknesses through delegation, partnering or outsourcing.

Are there traits and habits that are shared by successful entrepreneurs?

Kevin Maki: In addition to the traits listed above, some habits are important for success in any endeavor, including entrepreneurship. These include an ability to save money and a willingness to commit to continual learning. I always remind my kids that we live in an information age where “readers are leaders” and “learners are earners.”



Kevin C. Maki (photo left)

Most entrepreneurs talk of the importance of customer loyalty, but not every business is successful in maintaining a loyal customer base. How can customer loyalty be achieved?

Kevin Maki: The main path to customer loyalty is to continually deliver customer experiences that exceed expectations. This relates to the quality of the product or service delivered, as well as other elements of the overall experience. Purchase decisions are made on the basis of several attributes, including time (faster is usually better), price, quality (of the service and/or the product), convenience and risk. In order to obtain customers, your business must be better than your competition in one or more of these areas. In order to keep customers coming back, you must provide value. Many customers will be willing to pay a premium and still feel they are receiving good value if the experience is superior to that provided by your competitors.

Continually striving to improve the customer experience by eliminating sources of frustration, reducing waiting times, and enhancing service will pay off in greater loyalty. It is imperative that everyone in your company who has contact with customers or clients is friendly and devoted to providing exceptional customer service. Rude, apathetic, or condescending interactions will result in lost customers and such behavior cannot be tolerated. It is up to you to ensure that your staff understands what is expected and is held accountable for this level of performance. Successful performance and achievement should be acknowledged and celebrated.

How can the 80/20 Pareto Principle be put to work on behalf of the entrepreneur?

Kevin Maki: 80/20 analysis is a powerful tool. Most business owners who make the effort to perform 80/20 analyses will find that 20% of their customers are responsible for 80% of their profits, 20% or their products or services are responsible for 80% of their sales, 20% of their employees are responsible for 80% of the productivity, etc.

Conversely, the bottom 20% of customers, products/services and employees are likely producing little and quite possibly reducing profits. 80/20 analysis can also be a great time management tool. If you find that you are spending more than 20% of your time on low-level activities that could be better performed by someone else, you are probably short-changing strategic planning, marketing, sales, or other activities that produce a greater return on your invested time.

I should emphasize that the numbers do not always come out to 20% and 80%, but the key concept is that a small fraction of inputs generally account for a large percentage of results. It may be that 15% of your customers account for 65% of your profits, or that 10% of your employees account for 75% of your management headaches. The important point is that if you take the time to analyze your business with an eye toward identifying inputs and outputs, strategies will become obvious to improve performance by doing more of those things that produce outsized results and less of those things that generate a poor return.

What are some of the most common mistakes that lead to entrepreneurial failure and how can they be avoided?

Kevin Maki: I am constantly amazed at the number of businesses that make very basic mistakes that lead to failure. The most common of these is inadequate attention to marketing and sales. You can have the best product or service in the world and fail if you do not have effective marketing. “Nothing” is the terrible thing that happens when you fail to promote your business.

A second, frustratingly common error is failing to reduce or eliminate customer frustrations. Having a web site that is difficult to navigate, or that has a shopping cart that is difficult to use is an all-too-common example. Slow or apathetic service is another example. I recently ordered tee-shirts from an online store. It took nearly 3 weeks for them to arrive. Another online store delivered my tee-shirt order in 3 days. Which one do you think I will use in the future? How difficult would it be for the slow company to cut its delivery time by half or more? Why don’t they do this?

Marketing is critical for all businesses. How can entrepreneurs market more effectively?

Kevin Maki: There are few areas in business that have a greater impact on success than marketing. Effective marketing is targeted to those that have an above-average likelihood of buying. This can be based on geography (e.g., those who live close to your retail store), demography (customer characteristics such as age, gender, income level, etc.) or other characteristics such as occupation, hobbies, etc. Effective marketing emphasizes particular benefits to the consumer who uses your product or service.

Finally, the best marketing strategies are measurable. I prefer marketing strategies where the response can be tracked in a way that allows analysis of cost per lead, cost per initial sale, size of initial sale and residual value from repeat sales and referrals. This allows the business owner to target his or her efforts toward those activities that produce the greatest return per dollar spent, spend less to those that are marginally profitable, and eliminate those that are unprofitable.

How can lifetime customer value be measured and maximized?

Kevin Maki: I am going to sound like a broken record here, but the key to lifetime customer value is to provide a great customer experience so that the customer perceives that he or she received good value. Happy, satisfied customers return more frequently, make larger purchases, and are less price-sensitive. They also recommend your business to others.

Many entrepreneurs find difficulty in managing employees. How can an entrepreneur keep employees engaged and motivated to success?

Kevin Maki: Loyal, satisfied employees feel fairly treated. They feel that their efforts are appreciated, that management cares about them as people, and they regularly receive praise and recognition for good work. They know what is expected of them, have the tools needed to get the job done, and feel that they are able to do what they are good at on a daily basis. They feel challenged by their work and regularly have the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

The most productive businesses or business units are comprised of people who agree with the company’s mission and values and enjoy interacting with one another (i.e., have a sense of camaraderie). Camaraderie will be eroded by chronic incompetence or lack of cooperation, so managers must work hard to rectify these when they occur.

In a down economy, can an entrepreneur still find business success?

Kevin Maki: Successful entrepreneurs tend to do well and gain market share during economic downturns. They have managed their businesses conservatively during the good times, especially regarding cost control, so that they can capitalize on opportunities during downturns. They have not overleveraged and they have built up cash reserves, which allow them to acquire assets (including talented employees) at bargain prices. They invest in staff training and upgrading of skills and knowledge to enhance performance and marketability when the business cycle turns up again.

Successful entrepreneurs also recognize the importance of investing in marketing and sales during economic downturns. Cutting way back on the marketing budget to save money during a downturn is a bit like cutting off one’s leg to lose weight. The number on the scale declines, but the result is a handicap.

What is next for Kevin Maki?

Kevin Maki: During this economic downturn I am working hard on improving our businesses, investing in enhancing our systems and expanding our capabilities so that we are well positioned to gain market share as the economy improves.

***************

My book review of Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner by Kevin C. Maki.

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Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur by Kevin C. Maki - Book review



Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur

Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner


By: Kevin C. Maki

Published: June 1, 2010
Format: Paperback, 315 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-9841417-0-8
ISBN-10: 0-9841417-0-7
Publisher: Provident Business Press









"With rare exceptions, success, or failure, results from learning and applying the knowledge and skills necessary to attract, serve and retain profitable customers", writes entrepreneur, President and Chief Science Officer of Provident Clinical Research & Consulting, Inc., Kevin C. Maki, in his practical and results oriented book Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner. The author shares ideas and techniques, proven in the real world by successful entrepreneurs, for building and maintaining a successful entrepreneurial business venture.

Kevin C. Maki recognizes that not everyone is suited for entrepreneurship, but the author also puts to rest such myths as entrepreneurial genes and that successful businesses are a matter of luck. In place of these myths, Kevin Maki provides an intensive course in starting and operating an independent business, based on his own experience and that of leading business owners. While there is no guarantee that any business will do well financially, Kevin Maki shows the aspiring business owner how to indeed beat the odds, and achieve success. The book is a step by step guide from creating the original business idea to finding, and retaining loyal customers, to managing employees in a growing company.



Kevin C. Maki (photo left) understands the critical importance of finding and retaining customers, and this vital aspect of a business forms much of the advice given in the book. The author shares marketing information that is not only designed to acquire customers, but to keep existing customers loyal, and providing repeat business. To achieve high customer retention rates, Kevin Maki recommends taking the high road in business. That concept means providing excellence in customer service and care, high quality products, and enthusiastic and helpful employees. Along with this emphasis on soft values, the book also contains important sections on measuring and maximizing the lifetime value of the customer, providing the data needed to focus even more on meeting customer needs.

For me, the power of the book is how Kevin Maki advises his entrepreneur readers to focus on the customer. As the life blood of any business, finding and retaining customers effectively is essential to both short and long term company success. Rather than simply providing tactics for acquiring customers, the author moves beyond that idea to advising business owners to care about the customers and meeting their needs. This same interest in people is extended to hiring, training, and engaging employees. Staff people with a genuine interest in customer care, and who are enthusiastic about their role in the organization, will provide a vital connection with customers. The book not only describes in detail the value of employee and customer engagement, but demonstrates the points with case studies of successful entrepreneurs. Their stories provide depth and examples of the concepts presented by Kevin Maki.

I highly recommend the valuable and must read book Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner by Kevin C. Maki, to anyone seeking a comprehensive guide to entrepreneurship. The emphasis placed by the author on customer and employee engagement are critically important aspects of this book, setting it apart from many entrepreneurial advice books.

Read the essential and insightful book Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner by Kevin C. Maki, and discover how to not only become a successful entrepreneur, but also how to do it the right way, to build a sustainable, growing company. This book has powerful ideas in every chapter, and indeed on every page. It's a book to read, and then read again and again, as there are new insights to be discovered each time.

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