Wednesday, December 16, 2009

10 Steps to Successful strategic planning

It has been a while since i posted on this blog. I have been travelling and seeing places in Zimbabwe. This year i decided to use my vacation to travel and see all the beautiful tourist attractions in the country. While on the move i had the previlige to read a very interesting book by Susan Berksdale and Teri Lund called 'The 10 Steps to Succcessful Strategic Planning.

The book is very interesting and thpought provoking. As i travelled around the country, seeing one of Africa's most beautiful scenery, i was spell bound by this book. I managed to scrible some notes which ia going to use as the summary to give you some insights into this great book. What I deduced is tha today's marketplace demands that employees and organizations have a clear understanding of their roles, the products and services that they offer, and the processes that they use to create and market those products and services. A strategic plan is crucial for predicting the marketplace and determining how to react to the future.

In 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning, Susan Barksdale and Teri Lund detail how the planning process unites organizational leadership and enhances communication of critical information. Following a strategic plan helps company leaders to ensure that products and services delivered to customers are consistent and of high quality, to promote better use of resources, and to resolve internal performance problems by clarifying expectations and standardizing performance.

Need i say more than this, grab this book and enjoy it. Wising you a merry Xmas and a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Attitude of Leadership

When I read this book I was literally taken to a higher level in my thinking and approach to leadership. The Attitude of Leadership is not a bunch of academic theories or hot new leadership techniques, it a book of timeless principles that anyone can use to become a more effective leader.

Hardly abstract, these principles are based on the real experiences of successful, inspirational, and motivational business leaders who make tough but necessary decisions every single day.

The Attitude of Leadership holds up a mirror to let you see your own leadership skills; offers inspired advice from other leaders on what works and what doesn’t; and helps you improve your ability to positively influence others. Use it to develop your skills as a leader and discover a whole new world of professional and personal fulfillment.

This book will help you measure your own effectiveness as a leader and provide practical guidance on applying these principles in your professional and even personal lives. You definitely need this book in your personal library.

To grab a copy click here: Amazon books.

To your success

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Internet Riches By Scott Fox

In Internet Riches is a book authored by top e-business consultant Scott Fox. The book reveals the powerful but simple strategies that he and other entrepreneurs have used to start and build their million-dollar enterprises.

Packed with interviews, action plans, and an easy to follow overview of everything you need to know to design and market your e-business, this book gives you insight into the most promising e-business opportunities out there (including instant e-businesses that require almost NO start-up capital); powerful action plans for brainstorming new business ideas, plus guidelines on pre-testing them before investing a single cent; and inspiring examples of innovative companies that grew out of a single great idea. This is the most powerful guide ever to finding financial freedom online!

This is a must have book if you are serious about participating in the multi-billion e-business market. To buy a hard copy or instant download of this book check here: Amazon books.

To your Success!!!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Richest Man from Babylon by George S.Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book by George Samuel Clason which offers financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. Through their experiences in business and managing household finances, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons in financial wisdom and investing.

By basing these parables in ancient times, but involving situations that modern people can understand and identify with, the author presents these lessons as timeless wisdom that is as relevant today as it was yesterday.

You can buy this here: Amazon books. Happy reading!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Billy, Alfred and General Motors

General Motors is arguably one of the biggest auto makers in the world. It is a fortune 500 listed company, which has defied all odds to become a great company it is today.

Billy Durant, the high-school dropout who founded General Motors, was the consummate salesman - brilliant, shrewd, and unflaggingly energetic.

Hailed as the most brilliant CEO of the 20th century, Alfred Sloan, GM's third president, was an educated intellectual and an expert in business, strategy, management, and all things organizational.

This odd couple built what is perhaps the most successful enterprise in U.S. history - one whose ascent created an industry that has come to symbolize the modern world.

Billy, Alfred, and General Motors, provides fascinating new insights into Durant and Sloan's conflicting, yet groundbreaking, definitions of what a corporation should be - definitions that have had an unprecedented socio-economic impact on the past century in the way companies deal with employees, investors, and government.

It also bears witness to the birth of the U.S. auto industry and, in doing so, brings a uniquely American historical period to life.

This book is a valuable collection you must have in your library.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Strategic Customer Service

Good customer service is the lifeline of any company which seeks to establish meaningful relationships with its customers. Customer service has a tremendous effect on customers’ attitudes toward a company, repeat business and referrals are usually a result of good customer service.

In his Book Strategic Customer Service, John A. Goodman emphasizes the importance of treating customers well and having a clearly defined customer service offer. He emphasizes that Customer service should be the hallmark of every organisation if it wants to transform its fortunes.

He states that customer service culture should be imbibed from top management to the lower levels. Every staff member within the company must be well versed in how the company treats its customers.

Research has found out that service is a great differentiator for any serious business, as it is not easily replicated, service is a culture, its like the DNA of the company. If you are a manager or aspiring to run your own business, this book will open your mind and help you take your customer care initiatives to a new level.

Happy Reading!!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Retail In Detail

If you you have a passion for retail business, you will find Retail in Detail a book by Ronald Bond a very useful resource. Indeed success depends on the details, experienced retail entrepreneur Ronald L. Bond leaves no question unanswered when it comes to reaching your dream of starting and running your own retail business.

Ronald provides comprehensive, step-by-step instructions, from planning the launch of your business to running your new business. In this book you will learn to: Budget for startup and establish a financial plan, Select the ultimate location and develop your brand image, Select, price and market your product, Manage inventory to decrease expenses
Keep your business up-to-date and competitive in the electronic age, Meet legal and regulatory requirements and to manage your daily operations

The book clearly shows you the trial and error that comes with starting a retail business from scratch, Bond shares firsthand experiences, lessons learned, and informative anecdotes that have helped thousands of aspiring retail entrepreneurs just like you to succeed!

If you love retailing this book is a must have in your library. Rememeber you can get this book in either ebook or hardbook formats at: Amazon books.

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" - 2 Corinthians 13:14

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Igniting the third Factor

Numerous studies have proven that coaching can increase performance much more than skill-focused on the job training. Most managers, never master the basic principles of successful coaching. Dr Peter Jensen in his book Igniting the Third Factor, describes five practices that characterize exceptional coaches and explains how each can be used in any leadership setting. He profiles five key factors which are fundamental in business coaching. All five factors have a common denominator: they are all grounded in a strong developmental bias, the goal is to inspire individuals to actively participate in their own development. Jensen calls this individual-driven development the Third Factor.

In Igniting the Third Factor, Jensen encourages leaders to ignite the Third Factor in their performers, employees, and workers through self-management, trust building, imagery, uncovering and working through blocks, and embracing adversity.

I am still reading this book, but what i have so far grasped is enough to set me on a new path towards imparting and bringing the best in all the people i interface with. I strongly believe if you take time to read this book, you will experience the same effect and you will never be the same person again.

This is a must have book in your library. Remember reading broadens your horizon.

Happy reading!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

How to Grow When Markets Dont

Waal, it has been more than a month since a posted any book review on this site. I have been travelling and hardly had time to read any book. I am now back and postings with valuable reviews on business books will start flowing from today. I have just finished reading a very interesting and challenging book by Adrian Slywotzky, Richard Wise and Karl Weber. It’s a book called 'How to Grow When Markets Don't.

It’s a truly eye-opening business book, which shows how old-line companies are creating new profits through "demand innovation." This powerful approach focuses on recognizing the opportunities that surround a product instead of merely improving the product itself. Used in a variety of industries, demand innovation asks: Where do customers spend the most time and money in areas related to my product or service? How can I help them improve their operations, reduce their risk, or grow their own revenues? The answers lead to huge growth opportunities for both business-to-business and consumer markets.

This book is packed with many other thought-provoking success stories, insights on how to mine your company's hidden assets, and "moves for Monday morning" that can immediately improve your bottom line, HOW TO GROW WHEN MARKETS DON'T addresses today's economic challenges by providing powerful and practical strategies to generate new growth.

This book is a must have for all business managers. Buy this book today here:

Happy reading!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to Get Rich

Today I am reviewing a book by a man i respect so much and idolize in the Real Estate business, Mr. Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organisation, a US-based real-estate developer. Trump is also the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates numerous Casinos and hotels across the world.

‘How to get Rich" is a candidly written account of the daily events in the life of Trump. He discusses real estate, business leadership, his empire, the media, and "the art of the hair"!

How to Get Rich is far from an academic read, which makes it a fast paced conversational-like book. The author is one of the most well known faces in New York, particularly after the success of his reality TV program, where he made the term "You're Fired" famous. Trump is a proud man that is proud of his achievements and is quite happy to talk about them. This book will give you an overview on how he runs his vast empire, the people who help him run the Trump Organisation and his approach to managing businesses particularly edifice properties. I bet you will learn the ropes of dealing and closing deals effectively. Trump is a shrewd businessman who has demostrated high levels of business acumen. Its worthwhile reading this book.

Its a must have in your library. To your Sucesss!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Made to Stick

Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the “Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

Principle 1: Simplicity

How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says, “If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won’t remember any.” To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it. Finding the core” means stripping an idea down to its most critical essence. To get to the core, we’ve got to weed out superfluous and tangential elements. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is weeding out ideas that may be really important but just aren’t the most important idea. The Army Commander’s Intent forces its officers to highlight the most important goal of an operation. The value of the Intent comes from its singularity. You can’t have five North Stars, you can’t have five “most important goals,” and you can’t have five Commander’s Intents. Finding the core is analogous to writing the Commander’s Intent – it’s about discarding a lot of great insights in order to let the most important insight shine.

Principle 2: Unexpectedness

How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We can use surprise – an emotion whose function is to increase alertness and cause focus – to grab people’s attention. And for our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity. Nordstrom is a department store known for outstanding customer service. That extra service comes at a price: Nordstrom can be an expensive place to shop. Yet many people are willing to pay higher prices precisely because Nordstrom makes shopping so much more pleasant.

Principle 3: Concreteness

Jane Elliot, an elementary-school teacher in Iowa ,USA found herself trying to explain Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death to her classroom of third-graders. She aimed to make prejudice tangible to her students. At the start of class, she divided the students into two groups: brown-eyed kids and blue-eyed kids. The groups were separated. She made a shocking announcement that the brown-eyed kids were superior to blue-eyed kids. Elliot was shocked at how quickly the class was transformed. She watched those kids turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating third-graders. Even their performance on academic tasks changed. Elliot’s simulation made prejudice concrete – brutally concrete. It also had an enduring impact on the students’ lives. She turned prejudice into an experience. How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes wrong. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions – they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images, because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

Principle 4: Credibility

How do we get people to believe our ideas? We’ve got to find a source of credibility to draw on. Sometimes the wellsprings are dry, Barry Marshall discovered in his quest to cure the ulcer. Drawing on external credibility didn’t work. The endorsement of his supervisors and his institution in Perth didn’t seem to be enough. Drawing on internal credibility didn’t work either – his careful marshalling of data and detail still didn’t help him clear the bar. In the end, what he did was draw on the audience’s credibility – he essentially “modelled” a testable credential by gulping a glass of bacteria. The implicit challenge was: See for yourself – if you drink this gunk, you’ll get an ulcer, just like I did. It’s not always obvious which wellspring of credibility we should draw from. What Marshall showed so brilliantly was perseverance – knowing when it was time to draw on a different well? Regardless of your level of “natural creativity,” this book will show you how a little focused effort can make almost any idea stickier, and a sticky idea is an idea that is more likely to make a difference. This is a must have book in your library.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Exective Warfare - By David D'Alessandro

I just finished reading a very exciting book on leadership by David D'Alessandro. It's not enough anymore to be smart, hard-working, and able to show results – because nowadays everybody is smart, hard-working, and able to show results. What really sets you apart are the relationships you build with people of influence. These people can include your peers, your employees, your organization's directors, reporters, vendors, and regulators – as well as the people directly above you in the organizational hierarchy. In senior management, you no longer answer to just one boss. This book will tell you how to lead all your many bosses to the inevitable conclusion that you and you alone have what it takes to run the show. In his bestsellers “Brand Warfare” and “Career Warfare”, author David D'Alessandro offered sharp advice for building a brand and building a career. Now “Executive Warfare” is the advanced class for the truly ambitious. It will teach you what it takes to rise to the top – and to do the even harder thing, which is to survive there.There is now a hazy matrix of hundreds of bosses both inside and outside the office, any one of whom can stop you cold or give you a tremendous push forward.

Attitude, Risk, and Luck: To rise, you may have to broaden your horizons, and you may have to look for an employer who will allow you to broaden them. You’ll also need three things to make the most of the chances you are given: the right attitude, a willingness to take calculated risks, and dumb luck.

Attitude: It’s incredibly important to get your own head in the game if you intend to rise. If you are bossed around by your own greed, arrogance, or childish lack of discipline, you will give people reason to doubt you, and you will undermine yourself.

Risk: One of the most significant attitude adjustments you will have to make as you move into higher management is your attitude toward risks. Higher management is all about handling risks intelligently and in a calculated fashion.

Luck: There is no such thing in this world as a pure meritocracy. Nobody gets to the top without being lucky. Luck happens to the most deserving of people and some of the most undeserving.Not even the most powerful or ambitious person can force lighting to strike. But you can maneuver yourself into a position where it’s more likely you strike. Figure out how to stand tall in an open field as soon as you can.

Bosses: The first rule of your relationship with your boss is to understand that it’s a business transaction. Most of the time, they are merely the major obstacle standing between you and the prize. Love them or hate them, what you really want is to get beyond them. If you are willing to give the boss the truth, you’re probably going to engage in some spirited debate with your boss as part of the decision-making process. This leads to the second thing you need to do to be a valuable instrument: Understand that once the decision is made, even if you don’t agree with it and have argued against it, you must drop your opposition and execute it to the best of your abilities. It also is helpful to understand something beyond the immediate goal. Be eager to always want to know what your boss’ next move is going to be. The fourth thing you have to do is to assure the boss that you are both loyal and discreet. No matter how incompetent or unpleasant he may be, never tell stories about your boss. Never make the boss feel betrayed – unless, of course, you are ready to grab the boss’ job.

The new world is more analytical, more numbers-focused, more aggressive, more skeptical, and more unforgiving than ever before. You have to be effective in this world to make it to the top – but the real stand-out candidates will be the amateur psychologists, the humanists, and the humorists. If you want to rise, you have to demonstrate leadership to many different audiences. These include the people above and below you in the organizational hierarchy, the people who are competing with you for the next job and those resentful because they cannot compete for it, the outsiders and insiders and shareholders and donors and disinterested observers only looking for a juicy story to alleviate the tedium.

You will never convince all these different audiences to trust you if you don’t have a very strong sense of yourself and a good idea of what integrity is. But you also have to listen to all these bosses, think about them, and try to understand their agendas. In today’s world, you have to be alert to win.

This book is a must have in your library. To your sucess!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jack Welch - Winning

I have just finished reading a book authored none other than the don of leadership himself Mr Jack Welch formerly CEO of General Electric.Welch has written several books since he stepped down from the CEO position at GE. Most of his books have focused on leadership, management and CEOing one of the biggest and most complex corporations in the world. In Winning, Welch talks about his formula for successful management on all it’s aspects: hiring, firing, prioritization, mergers and acquisitions, dealing with change, work life balance, budgeting, six sigma, and dealing with a bad boss. I have sumarised the book in 7 key topics for easy reading.

Making Managers Lead

Welch had a seven-point program for management: (1) Develop a vision for the business; (2) Change the culture to achieve the vision; (3) Flatten the organization; (4) Eliminate bureaucracy; (5) Empower individuals; (6) Raise quality; and (7) Eliminate boundaries. The difference between a leader and a manager is likened to that of a general and an officer down the line. A leader’s job is to allocate resources available (people and money) rigorously in order to generate optimum results. The results, in turn, will be gained under the “management” of the “officers”. The role of a manager is not to spread resources out evenly (to Welch, this is bureaucracy) but to make dynamic choices.

Controlling Bureaucracy. Welch waged a war on bureaucracy. He removed layers upon layers of heads who were, according to him, harmful and whose roles where vague, who slowed decision-making, blurred responsibility, and created undoable jobs. 

Sharing Information. Welch believed in the power of sharing information. He uses meetings and committees not as a form of control but as his most powerful management tool. The critical sessions are what he called Corporate Executive Council (CEC) which is attended by the company’s top executives and where he checks on progress, and exchanges ideas and information. The leaders in these sessions shared their lessons of successes and failures, transferred new ideas. 

Pursuing Best Practices. The principle of “best practices” is also deeply rooted in Welch’s philosophy. Welch uses these regular meetings to share and publicize achievements of other groups and the methodology behind them. The decision to adopt these practices, however, is left to the individual businesses and their leaders.

Delegating Responsibility. Welch’s leadership theory depends heavily on the power of delegation. Welch, however, does not just relinquish all power to good people. He balances hands-off management – giving his business heads full autonomy and the power of decision – with hands-on leadership. He keeps his “direct reports” on their toes by the unpredictability of his interventions in sometimes, lesser matters. 

Exceeding Commitments. Welch leads by having clearly setout goals for productivity, inventory turns, quality, working capital, customer satisfaction, and so on. These goals are treated as rock-solid commitments. As Welch believes in the survival of the fittest, the meetings become jungles where the combatant who comes out top in exceeding commitments wins.

Winning Hearts and Minds. Welch saw the liberation and empowerment of middle managers as the key to productivity gains. In order to win them over, Welch recipe was as follows: (1) Free managers to manage – and to rise; (2) Defeat bureaucracy and rigidity; (3) Generate and use new ideas; (4) Empower workers to flourish and grow. In addition, Welch believes leadership must be personal. Nobody at GE gets a formal letter from him – it comes in his own handwriting and rewards are always accompanied by frank, face-to-face evaluations. The rewards were tremendous as long as performance matched and exceeded expectations. 

Knowing the People. Welch’s greatest pride is in his ability to find and nurture highly able managers. To Welch, these people must possess what he describes as “E to the fourth power” where the “E” stands for Energy, Energizing others, competitive Edge and Execution. A leader should really get to know the top people in the organization.

 Looking to the Future. Toughness is an essential element in the leadership that Welch practices and admires. The demands include the stipulation that senior executives should strive to develop their own excellent replacements. The ultimate test of a leader is not what happens during his or her leadership – but what follows after he or she has departed. Welch’s ideas about his own successor, therefore, sounded much like a self-portrait. Among the characteristics are: Incredible energy, Ability to excite others, Ability to define a vision, Finding change fun and not paralyzing, Feeling comfortable in Delhi or Denver, Ability to talk to all kinds of people.

To your Success

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Key Lessons from Sam Walton's Made in America Part 2

This is my final review of Sam Walton's biography 'Made in America'. It is my sincere hope you have learned something from this great American who dified odds to establish what is today the world's largest retail store chain emplying over 3 million people worldwide.


Learn From Books and Publiations

During a stint in the army, Sam was posted in Salt Lake City. He checked out every book on retailing in their library, and studied a nearby department store. He would read every retail publication he could find, and would later refer to himself as an "avid student of management theory

Learn from Your Workers

Walton learned from everyone in his stores, regardless of status."Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea."  He especially loved to talk to the truck drivers. According to Lee Scott, "For a long, long time, Sam would show up regularly in the drivers’ break room at 4 A.M. with a bunch of doughnuts and just sit there for a couple of hours talking to them." According to Sam, “It’s amazing to me how many ideas they always have for fine-tuning the system." He'd grill them, asking, ‘What are you seeing at the stores?’ ‘Have you been to that store lately?’ ‘How do the people act there?’ ‘Is it getting better?’ "…I’d still say that visiting the stores and listening to our folks was one of the most valuable uses of my time as an executive. But really, our best ideas usually do come from the folks in the stores. Period." 

Innovate, Swim Upstream; Constantly Experiment With New Ideas

Many people are good at learning, but have a hard time applying what they learn. After Walton learned something new, he’d experiment with the best ideas in his own store.  According to Walton, "I think my constant fiddling and meddling with the status quo may have been one of my biggest contributions to the later success of Wal-Mart. "A pattern emerges in Walton’s biography. First, grab ideas from anybody you can. Second, shake things up in your stores by innovating. Learn something else. Innovate. It became a lifelong obsession. According to Walton, "…after a lifetime of swimming upstream, I am convinced that one of the real secrets to Wal-mart’s phenomenal success has been that very tendency." 

Learn from Your Mistakes

Not all of his ideas worked. The minnow buckets didn’t sell. People in Wisconsin didn’t go for his Moon Pies. But when he saw he was wrong, he admitted his mistake and went on to try something else. And he wanted his associates to be the same way. He’d get them together on Saturday mornings to share their success and admit their failures. That culture of candor produced a great environment to capture ideas. It helped that he had "very little capacity for embarrassment." 

Travel Far and Wide for Great Ideas

He’d travel the world to get an idea. In his early career, he read an article about how two stores in Minnesota had gone to self-service, which nobody else was doing. Customers picked out their own stuff and checked out at the cash registers at the front of the store. So he rode the bus all night to visit the stores, liked what they were doing, and changed his store to self service. He was always out looking for new merchandise. Once he came back from New York with some unique sandals which some called flip-flops, or thongs. The clerk said, "No way will those things sell. They’ll just blister your toes." They sold like crazy. Before Walton, very few stores concentrated on buying low, selling cheap, and making their profit by selling such huge quantities. When Walton heard of a few discounters, he ran around the country from the East to California, studying the concept. Everywhere he went; he visited stores and scribbled ideas in his yellow legal pad.  According to his brother Bud, "There’s not an individual in these whole United States who has been in more retail stores…than Sam Walton. Make that all over the world. He’s been in stores in Australia and South America, Europe and Asia and South Africa. His mind is just so inquisitive when it comes to this business. And there may not be anything he enjoys more than going into a competitor’s store trying to learn something from it."  

For more inforamtion about Wal-mart visit

Happy reading!!!