Tag: Reviews

The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs

The best are the best for a reason. The most wealthy, most ambitious, most successful entrepreneurs in the world—Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Sara Blakely from Spanx, Mark Pincus from Zynga, Kevin Plank from Under Armour—have all oriented their perception in order to be as successful as possible. They have changed their very way of thinking; they have developed The Entrepreneur Mind.

The author, Kevin D. Johnson, of The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs has boiled down these characteristics to their very essence in his insightful landmark novel. After running his own multi-million dollar corporation, Johnson Media Inc. in addition to founding and investing in a host of other entrepreneurial ventures, Kevin Johnson has developed the wherewithal, the resilience, and the motivation that has driven the planet’s most successful capitalists over the course of history.

Written specifically for both emerging and established entrepreneurs, the book concisely articulates one hundred key lessons that aid the new and the experienced alike. Restricted to seven categories, Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation, this valuable advice makes the bumpy road to true fiscal freedom a smooth path free from hiccups. Relying on his own experience, Johnson delves into detail on several particular points in his life, potentially the most captivating of which is a life-changing visit to Harvard Business School.

Yet, these life experiences merely support his main points and illustrate how to change, and the value of changing, your perception of the contemporary economic climate. Some of his tremendous tidbits of advice include but are not limited to: learning to think big, understanding who makes the best business partners, knowing what captivates investors, comprehending when to let go of an idea, and figuring out where to avoid opening a business bank account. Perhaps one of his most engaging ideas is his belief that too much formal education can actually hinder your entrepreneurial growth, a seemingly paradoxical idea that, in reality, largely rings true.

For those looking to dip their toes in the water of entrepreneurial instability, The Entrepreneur Mind is a wonderful introduction to the groundwork of capitalism.

Leadership is an Art

Inspiring others, stoking a fire of passion in others, is an art that cannot be understated. To inspire others to follow you, embrace your dream as their own, and work towards making that dream come true, is a phenomenal though poorly understood concept that paradoxically remains of the utmost significance in the professional world, yet fails to be taught. How does an entrepreneur teach others to be the best of themselves? How does a leader cultivate ambition while retaining top talent? How does a CEO gain the loyalty of his/her workers and not encourage stagnancy?

Such are but a few of the many questions that Max Depree’s Leadership is an Art explores with versatile accuracy. Acknowledging the multitude of prevailing beliefs that currently characterize the ‘right way’ to lead, Depree concisely but comprehensively answers many of the questions that plague modern leadership. He teaches many lessons, and so I have chosen to list a few of my favorite just below:

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘Thank you.’ In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.

In developing any capitalistic enterprise, the leader must understand expectation and articulate what is considered success and what is failure. In achieving such, the leader must do whatever they can to produce what he or she said would be produced, be that a product or service. Yet, even when acting as a “servant,” the leader must understand they are always doing so for a price, thus acting as a “debtor.”

“Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.”

The harsh reality of running a business is that there is sacrifice. There is burden. There is pain. However, even in the face of difficulty, a leader cannot bend to the stress. To bend to the stress, to take your stress and displace it onto others, namely other employees, is to discourage those you’re supposed to encourage. In order to secure the best possible productivity from your workers, you must set a stellar example they can model. While it is hard to not internalize stress, leaders must strive to remain relaxed. Otherwise, said internalized stress will manifest in other ways, hurtful ways.

“Participative management is not democratic. Having a say differs from having a vote.”

An important though subjective distinction, it is significant to let your employees know they have a voice in the organization and where it’s going. However, an effective leader must also realize that, ultimately, the final decision is up to him or her. Moreover, employees themselves must realize this. They must understand that while their input is appreciated, it is not necessarily, or by any means really, the end all be all. Depree delves into detail on this vague idea and provides insightful advice on how to approach and implement this philosophy.

The truth is that leadership is a dynamic skill, changing with the tides and altering with the current state of the company. What leadership requires a year ago may be different today. What leadership requires at one company may differ considerably from what leadership requires at a different company. Leadership is malleable, flexible, but strong. It is an art top business executives must learn and must always continue to learn; and Depree helps do just that.

Finding Your Strengths

There is no question that the ability to find and be secure in your strengths is an incredibly difficult task that is becoming increasingly hard to deconstruct. Insecurity about strengths or weaknesses in the workplace is something everyone feels from their day to day lives, which the author of “Standout” examines with the release of his most recent book. Marcus Buckingham, who many people believe is a prominent presence in what is called the strengths movement, has been a leading voice in rethinking how we can uniquely succeed in the workplace through the process of specific online tests.

people at work

 

 

Different from his previous books that have focused on the first two steps of finding your strengths, his latest book titled Standout: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution, emphasizes the last step of the process is utilizing the online assessment to discover what your two primary strength areas are to essentially excel in the workplace.Instead of taking the approach to improve your certain weaknesses, Buckingham supports the evidence used in his book on thorough behavioral and statistical research which he used to analyze some of the world’s top business leaders. In terms of the exam itself, below are the twenty strengths that are in the assessment crafted to find areas in which you stand out and should further capitalize on in the workplace.

 

Connector

Charismatic people that have the innate ability to connect and interact with people on a high energy level very different from the average person. They value collaboration and better understanding people through interaction.

 

Provider

This role depicts someone who essentially values the community around them and does their best to support their environment in any way they can. Some forms of this include knowledge or other intellectual resources.

 

Advisor

The person who is constantly guiding others either on your team or others in the office who are willing to learn.

 

Creator

You create and are constantly coming up with new ways to approach a certain process or idea. Generating interesting ways to tackle a specific situation is something you love to do.

 

Equalizer

These types of individuals strongly feel as though everyone’s work should be at an equal level as their own. They strive to be better, while expecting the same strong work ethic in return.

 

Influencer

Based on very clear verbal directness, influencers are keen on finding ways to achieve a goal in various circumstances by capitalizing on charm or other enticing means of communication.

 

Pioneer

Intrigued by the spontaneous or exciting experiences, these individuals love to constantly challenge themselves by trying to break out of their comfort zones.

 

Stimulator

A nature leader, your high energy influences other to engage what you have to say or do at a level very different from the other strength areas.


Unlike other books that have a clear focus on improving or finding your strengths, Buckingham does not use excessive theoretical jargon or complex language to effectively achieve his message to his readers. More than anything, he holistically explains the highlights of his research so that you, the reader can find success in your respective career path full of skills that are waiting to be tapped into.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a landmark book first published in 1989. The self-help book, which has sold more than 25 million copies since its original publication, has had a tremendous effect on countless readers and practitioners of Covey’s goal-attaining philosophy. It gives the reader “powerful lessons in personal change” by helping them to align themselves to “universal and timeless” principles.

The principles enumerated by Covey are not exclusive to the workplace; the author states that they can allow people to grow, change, and become more effective in virtually any other aspect of human responsibility. They served to shape an important shift in management and leadership away from the more authority-driven ideologies of the past. This is a short summary of the late author and businessman’s principles.

Be proactive

We are in charge of our own lives, and we should use this self-awareness to take responsibility for our own choices. You should strive to control your environment, rather than have it control you. Being proactive is essential to your effectiveness. Don’t take a passive stance; focus on the things that you can change.

Begin with the end in mind

It is important to identify your aims, and to lead yourself towards them. You must have a destination in mind, a vision of what you want to become, in order to make sure that you’re going in the right direction.

Put first things first

You must prioritize your day-to-day actions based on what is most important, and not what is most urgent. The order of priorities established by Covey is the following: 1) Important and urgent. 2) Important and non-urgent. 3) Not important and urgent. 4) Not important and not urgent. Covey calls this the habit of personal management.

Think win-win

You have to commit to creating mutually beneficial and satisfying situations (Win-Win) for both parties in order to establish effective interdependent relationships. This step is extremely important, because achievements are hugely dependent on cooperative efforts with others. To achieve Win-Win situations, you must be both nice and courageous.

Seek first to understand, and then to be understood

Before you can offer advice or even effectively interact with another person, you should seek to understand their perspective through empathetic listening. If you don’t make an effort to see things through the person’s point of view, you are prescribing a solution before diagnosing the problem.

Synergize

This is the principle of creative cooperation: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By synergizing, you will allow yourself to create new alternatives and open new possibilities. Make a consistent effort to see the value in the other person’s contribution.

Sharpen the saw

To be effective, you must engage in constant self-renewal. This manifests itself physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. This principle surrounds all others and allows you to enhance your greatest asset: yourself.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Between 1942 and 1945, Viktor E. Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, labored throughout four different Nazi concentration camps while his family and Des Hague Book Review - Man's Search for Meaningpregnant wife did the same elsewhere. Despite his grueling existence throughout those years, with his entirely family perishing, Frankl lays out in his famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946) (German: …trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager), how he had managed to survive the Nazi death camps by developing and applying his theories on finding meaning in all forms of existence.

Man’s Search for Meaning is based on Frankl’s own experience as an inmate in Nazi concentration camps as well as the experiences of survivors that he later went on to treat in his practice once the Nazi’s had been defeated in the Second World War. Man’s Search for Meaning is considered, by the Library of Congress, as one of the top ten most influential books in the United States. Frankl’s ideas and experiences gave rise to what is now called Logotherapy, which differentiates itself from the methods of other famous Austrian psychiatrists, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, by its doctrine of will to meaning.

According to his theory, a prisoner’s longevity or ability to survive the suffering inflicted on them was affected by how the prisoner imagined their future. Frankl’s conclusion is that the meaning of life can be found within every moment we live, even when faced with suffering or imminent death. In Frankl’s own experience, he describes how he and other prisoners were marching one bitterly cold morning back to camp (Auschwitz), with guards abusing them on the way, and the image of his wife was something that would keep him moving.

The title of this book in German is interesting and a translation of it is: ..Nevertheless say ‘yes’ to life: A psychologist experiences the concentration camps. The meaning that I have taken from this book, which is something that has stuck with me throughout the years, is that one thing we need to focus on is simply doing good things. Doing things that have meaning for ourselves, more so than for others. Now, when you do something that has meaning to you, that you thoroughly enjoy, you are likely to find success.

As I state in part six of my Speaker Series, Leading Through Adversity,  don’t chase success. Do things that have meaning to you, do good things, and success will chase you. This is something I quickly realized after reading Man’s Search for Meaning, which makes me wish I had read it decades earlier.

Des Hague Discusses His "Why's" in the 7th Installment of "Leading Through adversity from Des Hague on Vimeo.