24th Edition — July 21, 2019
I have never considered myself the smartest person in the room, and I don’t have an Ivy League Education. I really am a very average person, I promise. If I can do it, you can, too.
Raegan Moya-Jones, co-founder of aden + anais
1. A Story of Grit, Guts, and Some Glory
I had never heard of aden + anais let alone the muslin fabric and blankets until a few days ago. Raegan Moya-Jones tells her David and Goliath story with humor, bravery, and emotion in her book, What It Takes. At times, I found myself laughing but getting angry at other points throughout the book because of the ridiculous personalities she had to encounter throughout a seemingly impossible journey in launching and building a company.
Moya-Jones worked 10 years for The Economist in a sales role before embarking on a long shot in creating a brand-new market of baby blankets in the states after giving birth to her first daughter. A few years later, she would walk away from the $100 million company she built with a never-say-die mentality.
While I’ve read the Kindle version, the audio version is excellent too as the Aussie reads her own autobiography.
2. The Book I’m Giving to CEOs
I did not want Greg Brenneman’s book, Right Away and All at Once to end. It’s one of those books I’ll be revisiting in a few days.
One of my favorite books written by a CEO is Gordon Bethune’s, From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback. Brenneman was the President and COO during that turnaround.
Brenneman outlines his simple turnaround lessons that can be applied in the strategy room or personally –
- Create the plan and track progress
- Build a fortress balance sheet
- ‘Money In’ vs. ‘Money Out’
- Build a team while cleaning house if necessary
- Let the inmates run the asylum
I’ve already bought a dozen copies to give away. Yes, it’s that good.
3. Verne Harnish Gives a Shout-out to Molly Bloom
If you read the weekly Gazelles newsletter written by Verne Harnish, did you see the mention of Molly Bloom? He recommended the movie written by one of my favorite screenwriters, Aaron Sorkin. I emailed him back immediately suggesting the book, Molly’s Game, one of my favorite books so far in 2019.
4. The Balanced What?
The Balanced Scorecard could possibly be one of the most important management books written over the past 50 years. But did anyone read it from cover to cover? I bet it’s a small percentage.
If you have not already, this book belongs on your bucket list to read even it it looks intimidating. Many professionals understandably put the focus on performance measurement if they have a cursory knowledge of The Balanced Scorecard. Others may refer to it as a management system only. Both are partly right.
Instead, The Balanced Scorecard links mission, short- and long-term strategy, and critical goals across 4 performance perspectives. The keyword is ‘alignment’ in this discussion.
Like any tool, I view The Balanced Scorecard as a framework that can be easily customized. I even prefer the term integrated instead of balanced. Accordingly, this management tool introduced in the early 1990s is still relevant today.
5. Homework Assignment
Let’s stay with The Balanced Scorecard for a few minutes. Have your company’s objectives been clearly communicated throughout the organization? If so, is there balance between short-term and long-term objectives? I think I know the answer.
One of my smallest clients is based in Indiana. Yet, they track some 80-plus metrics weekly. How about your company, how many measures are communicated to you daily and weekly? Is there balance between financial and non-financial measures?
How about balance between leading and lagging indicators? And how about balance between customer-focused and internal measures?
Thank You Very Much
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.