Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Don Kardux is at it again providing us with a great book report. I love the cover of this month's choice. Read below!
While I’ve worked with over 36 different industries, a majority of my clients have been HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) companies. So, in addition to a superb story, there were three indicators that drew my attention to review this book.
First, the author, Mark Matteson is a well known figure in HVAC circles. Mark is an international speaker, a mentor to many contractors and the author of several books. I’ve heard about Mark for some time but never took the time to really check him out.
Secondly, the main character in the book is Mike Johnson an HVAC contractor and I had never heard of an HVAC contractor being the focus of fiction. I mean written. I mean clearly identified as fiction in a book form.
Third, Roy Hauser (a client and dear friend) kept talking about Mark and recently, Roy handed me an audio version of “A Simple Choice” and asked me to return it in a month.
Usually, I say something like, “This book is a good read.” But, I can’t say that because I didn’t read it. I can say this.
It was a great ‘listen’.
Having the author read the book to you as you ride from place to place adds a dimension to the experience. Mark knows how to interpret because of all people he knows exactly what each character sounds like.
This is the story of Mike Johnson, who lost his wife and son to the actions of a drunk driver and in his anguish and pain allowed drinking to almost destroy his remaining relationships and his HVAC business.
This is the story of Franklin Robinson an eighty plus year old parts runner and his dog Socrates. Franklin reminds me of the angel trying to earn his wings in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
You see, Franklin just shows up in Mike’s life at exactly the right moment. He shows up when Mike is reaching for the gun or when he can’t see the approach he might take to reestablish relationships or his business.
Those of us who support the ‘Servant Leader’ philosophy of business will find this book as one of the best practical explanations of how this philosophy is implemented in a real way.
Alcoholism, redemption, best business practices and a way to live as a complete human being are all integrated in this book.
What is the ‘Simple Choice’?.
I won’t tell you here except this ‘Simple to say… Hard to do”.
It is well worth the read.
No, I can’t say that.
It’s well worth the listen and I’ll bet, worth the read too.
Monday, October 06, 2014
I attended a trade show recently as a visitor, not an exhibitor. The very first booth I stopped at, I tried to engage the woman to find out more about the business she was representing. At some point she asked me what I did. I gave her my one sentence statement that I usually use when asked that question.
We chatted a bit more (about her) and then I asked for and reached for one of the business cards displayed. She said, "Those are generic cards, they don't have my name." I asked if I could have one with her name. Her reply was, "If all you're planning to do is to try to sell me sales training, then I don't want to give it to you." I replied that it was not my plan; that I like to have resources that I can refer my clients to, but that it was OK, I would not bother her. And I moved on. I will be exhibiting this week at a trade show and as a result of my experience above, I am reminding myself to: 1. Be kind to everyone.
2. Be courteous to all that are showing interest in some way.
3. Remember that I don't know who I'm talking to. They may be or know the very prospect I've been trying to do business with.
4. Have a nice way to send people on their way...after all they have been a guest in my office (booth) away from the office!
Am I forgetting anything?
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Here is our monthly contribution from Don Kardux, providing us with the book-of-the-month to read!
Don begins: "I’m Dutch and proud of it. Grew older not up in Holland…. Michigan.
Yes, there are pictures of me at three and four years of age in full Dutch costume standing in a field of Tulips. (Debby's note: now that's an image we should include here!)
I marched in the Holland High School marching band at ‘Tulip Time’ (our May celebration of the mighty Tulip and dollar). I marched wearing wooden shoes and 12 pair of sweat sox (blister preventers).
We have contributed to catchy phrases, “Dutch Treat” (everybody pays) “Dutch courage” (Whiskey) and the famous “Red light” district in Amsterdam. But, we have a positive presence. The Dutch are famous furniture makers.
Holland is twenty miles west of Grand Rapids- “Furniture City” and less than four miles west of Zeeland.
Zeeland is the home of Herman Miller Furniture and Herman Miller CEO (at the time- late eighty’s ) was a Dutch gentleman named, Max De Pree.
Max is ninety years old, now, and the book he wrote in 1987 changed my life. Our company's (Business Navigators) approach to helping managers become leaders echoes his philosophy.
James O’Toole, University of Southern California- Graduate School of Business, in the original introduction wrote:
“I got my first chance to visit a Herman Miller factory, I was give carte blanche to go anywhere and talk to anyone, managers and workers. The only problem was that I couldn’t tell one from the other! People who seemed to be production workers were engaged in solving the ‘managerial’ problems of improving productivity and quality. People who seemed to be managers had their sleeves rolled up and were working side by side, with everybody else in an all out effort to produce the best products in the most effective way. ‘The signs of outstanding leadership are found in the followers, ‘Max writes in this wonderful little book.”
Max relates, in his introduction, “Leadership is an art, something to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information, and, in that sense, I don’t how to pin it down in detail”
Finally, on page 11, Max says, “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. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.”
Between the two… it’s the dash following the birth of an idea and followed by the end.
In 148 pages ‘The Art of Leadership’ is more than a good read. It’s a great way to live your life!"
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A couple weeks ago our one year old Yellow Lab just seemed to disappear into thin air. Hubby, Steve, had taken Gable outside after dinner. Soon I heard Steve calling and calling for our pet. Since we live on 13 acres, Gable does like to go exploring out in the field. After awhile I realized that I STILL heard Gable's name being called. Even though I was trying to complete a project, I decided that I should go outside to help. Steve decided to widen the search by driving around our country block yelling Gable's name out the window of his truck. He asked me to sit at the end of our long driveway to perhaps see the dog coming back home from the west and having to cross the busy road. I sat there for over two hours and it was starting to get dark. Steve was still out in the truck. All of a sudden a mini-van pulled into our driveway and the driver asked if we had lost a dog. Sure enough Gable was sitting there big as anything in her car. She, Kristie, a teacher, was on her way to her school's open house when she spotted Gable out on the road. She stopped and opened her car door and of course our friendly mutt climbed right in. She didn't have time to find out where he belonged because she had to be at school, so she dropped him off at her mom's for the 1 1/2 hours of the open house. Gable had tags, which identified our vet. When Kristie called the vet, they said that they were sorry, but they could not help until the next morning when they went into their office. Not to be deferred, she decided to drive back to the area and stop at a few houses. When she saw me sitting at the end of the drive, she decided to stop. And of course a very happy end to a very scary story. But here's the thought for the day. Kristie really went out of her way to help save this animal from sure death on the busy road. She helped complete strangers and really went the extra mile. My question to you is, how far are you willing to go out of your way to help someone you know?
Are you willing to make ten phone calls to get an introduction that a networking friend wants to someone else?
Would you bring a boatload of friends to an event to help another friend who is hosting the event?
Will you spend your own money to help promote a friend's business offering. Are you a Kristie?
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Don Kardux is back with another fascinating book report. It makes me want to download this book immediately and spent the day reading it!
Here it is!
Here it is!
My good friend and one of my librarians, Kate S, recommended this wonderful book.
Michael Gelb has an interesting premise.
Amazon said it this way, “Genius is made, not born. And human beings are gifted with an almost unlimited potential for learning and creativity. Now you can uncover your own hidden abilities, sharpen your senses, and liberate your unique intelligence—by following the example of the greatest genius of all time, Leonardo Da Vinci.”
I won’t argue with the premise, but this book has opened some very interesting observations.
Part one sets the stage clarifying in 45 pages the “Dark Ages” through the “Renaissance” as well as anything I’ve read before. He ends this part by revealing how Da Vinci was ahead of his time. Just the headings on page 45 shows how he predated the great thinkers of the world.
· 40 years before Copernicus
· 60 years before Galileo
· 200 years before Newton
· 400 years before Darwin
The meat of this book is in the remaining 264 pages.
Michael’s approach is to reveal Da Vinci’s ‘Seven principles of behavior’ and follows each with questions we can ask ourselves so that we might move closer to Da Vinci’s genius.
Here is his summary of the Seven Da Vincian Principles.
- 1. Curiosita-An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
- 2. Dimostrazione- A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes
- 3. Senazione- The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight,as the means to enliven experience.
- 4. Sfumato- (literally “Going Up In Smoke”)- A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
- 5. Arte/Scienza- The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. “Whole-brain” thinking.
- 6. Corporalita – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
- 7. Connessione- A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenome.na. Systems thinking.
I often relate the quality of books I read to food. From ‘Cotton Candy” to “Steak and potatoes”. ‘Thinking like Leo’ is a feast lasting for several weeks.
The author’s summary at the end of his discussion concerning ‘Mind Mapping’ is illustrative of his approach.
“Look at your life mind map from the perspective of the Seven Da Vincian principles”
1. Curiosita- Am I asking the right questions?
2. Dimostrazione- How can I improve my ability to learn from my mistakes and experiences? How can I develop and independence of thought?
3. Senazione- What is my plan for sharpening my senses as I age?
4. Sfumato- How can I strengthen my ability to hold creative tension to embrace the major paradoxes of life?
5. Arte/Scienza- Am I balancing Arte and Scienza at home and at work?
6. Corporalita – How can I nurture the balance of body and mind?
7. Connessione- How do all the above elements fit together? How does everything connect to everything else?
Thinking like Leo doesn’t have to be read in a linnear fashion. In other words if you want to start with ‘Senazione” you can however, reading ‘Part One’ first is a must.
This is one of the best examples of a ‘Come back to it’ book I can think of using.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I am so lucky that Don Kardux, Business Navigators, is willing to review a favorite book of his each month. Enjoy and hopefully get inspired to read, too!
Here's the August edition of what Don has read!
In July of 2013 I reviewed Ken and Sheldon’s book “Raving Fans” which focused on helping customers turn into full fledged fans of a company. This book does the same for employees and is well worth the read.
Both books read like short entertaining novels.
In “Raving Fans” the mentor to the “Area Manager” is Charley his ‘Fairy Godmother’ and in “Gung Ho! “ Peggy Sinclair, new General Manager of Walton Works #2, has as a mentor an American Indian department head, Andy, who learned the secret of “Gung Ho! from his grandfather.
You see, first Peggy learns about the ‘Spirit of the Squirrel’ the ‘Way of the Beaver’ and the ‘Gift of the Goose’
Like “The Goal” this story is incremental. Peggy’s fear and confusion at times is ultimately replaced by positive anticipation and clarity of purpose.
The end of the book has some very useful summaries and insights.
On page 169 is the Gung Ho game plan diagram which after reading the story is an excellent visual reminder of what can happen.
Page 170 summarizes ‘The Spirit of the Squirrel’ WORTHWHILE WORK and includes:
A. Knowing we make the world a better place
B. Everyone works toward a shared goal
C. Value guides all plans, decisions and actions