The M.O.S.T. Wonderful Time of the Year

A kinesiologist, a mechanical engineer, and a linguist walk into an advertising professor’s office… It sound like the beginning of a bad joke, however I have the privilege of serving as the faculty adviser for UTA’s chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and recently hosted a Philanthropy meeting in my office.  I found myself falling into one of my early Strat Comm 1 lectures to help process through some problem solving they had come to discuss.  I figured if it was useful enough to share with them, perhaps someone here might find it useful as well.  

One of the principle concepts in Advertising (and Public Relations… or general planning for that matter) is establishing the Mission, focusing on the Objective, hypothesizing the Strategy, and developing Tactics in an acronym known as M.O.S.T.

Mission – This is the established purpose of the business, product, organization, cause, candidate, etc.  A Mission Statement is different than a Vision Statement as the Mission Statement establishes why the organization exists whereas a Vision Statement gives direction for where it is going in the future.

In application of the above example, Kappa Sigma doesn’t have a specific “Mission Statement”, however they do have a page detailing out what they hope to achieve as an organization.

Objective – The objective identifies the primary purpose of the project or campaign, or perhaps the problem that you are setting out to solve.  To often, people will allow themselves to loose focus of the primary objective and focus on secondary objectives because they may be more interesting or more fun.  However being able to identify the single most important thing that you want to accomplish will help you figure out a direction that can often be supplemented with secondary objectives.  Objectives need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T.) to truly be effective.  It is also important to identify things that you have control over so that you can be successful.  For instance, if an advertiser establishes their objective as “I want to increase sales by 5% in the next quarter”, they may be setting themselves up for failure.  The advertising campaign may be wonderful, however perhaps the product isn’t great, the pricing structure is wrong, or it’s inconvenient to purchase.  Establishing goals that put more emphasis on how you will help increase sales, such as “growing awareness”, “changing perception”, or “encouraging retrial” may be more achievable for you.

In application of the above example, the Philanthropy Committee’s primary goal was to find an opportunity to meet the annual minimum number of dollars raised for each brother in the fraternity (a minimum of $30 per person).  If there were opportunities accomplish their secondary objectives of incorporating other social organizations and/or focusing on the national philanthropy of Military Heroes, that would be ideal, however neither of these were identified as the primary objective for this particular event.

Strategy – Once you have a clearly defined primary objective, you can start developing a strategy for how to solve the problem or accomplish the goal.  Your strategy is somewhat of your hypothesis of what you think will be a successful approach to addressing the established objective.  This is more of the “how you plan to accomplish it” rather than your “what you plan on doing to accomplish it” (which is your Tactics… but I’m getting ahead of myself).  A good format to start with for writing Strategies is “I want the [Target Audience] to [Verb] [Goal]”.  If your Objective is to “Increase awareness of our product by 3% in the next quarter”, an example we might use when writing an advertising strategy could be “I want college educated Millennials in North Texas to know the benefits of using our product over our competitor’s”.  Once you have established the framework of how you plan on approaching the problem, you can move on to the actions you’ll take towards solving it.

In application of the above example, we might have said that “We want brothers of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the University of Texas at Arlington to have the opportunity to raise donations of at least $30 per brother during the Fall semester by partnering with outside organizations on their established fundraising activities.”

Tactics – Tactics is the all encompassing umbrella for how you plan on accomplishing your strategy.  Everything from printing t-shirts to starting a facebook page to establishing an ambassadors program all fall under tactics.  Too often, people try to start with tactics.  Someone may have a great connection for a partnership or an idea for an app, however if you start with tactics, you may not be optimally approaching the way to solve the problem… or even worse, you may be solving the wrong problem all together!  Although your tactics are what will ultimately be the deliverable actions, it’s important to be intentional and deliberate about why you are doing them.  First know what your Mission is overall, then identify the potential solution for problem or opportunity in your Objectives, followed by establishing how you plan on achieving the goal through your Strategy, which will ultimately dictate your tactics.

In application of the above example, partnering with the Salvation Army to sponsor volunteers for 1 location for 1 week to ring the red bell to collection donations was a proposed tactic for accomplishing the established Objective through the proposed Strategy.

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“Rejection Proof” or “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Rejection”

A few months back, I was considering my career prospects and decided to check out a book called “Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection” by Jia Jiang.  The book follows the real-life journey of the author’s attempt to overcome rejection following a heart breaking denial of his initial entrepreneurial efforts.  He sets out to be rejected every day to thicken his skin, but is often surprised at the responses he gets from his sometimes outlandish requests.  He begins to analyze these efforts and distills them down into some fairly profound insights in the book.

There are some pretty good chuckles in the book, and even a few tear jerking moments, however I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking for a job, auditioning, working in sales, fund raising, or starting their own entrepreneurial enterprises.  Jiang offers insights on taking a no, positioning for yes, finding upsides and meaning in rejection, and even tips on how to give rejection.

Although the entire book is full of useful perspective, here are a few of the nuggets of wisdom that stuck with me:

  1. Rejection is an opinion of the rejector.  It is heavily influenced by historical context, cultural differences, and psychological factors.  There is no universal rejection or acceptance.
  2. Ask why before good-bye.  Sustain the conversation after the initial rejection.  Asking “why” can often reveal the underlying reason for the rejection and present the rejectee with the opportunity to overcome the issue.
  3. Rejection can be character building.  By seeking rejection in touch environments, one can build up the mental toughness to take on greater goals.
  4. Find empathy in rejection.  All rejections are shared by many people all over the world.  One can use rejection and suffering to obtain empathy and understanding of other people.
  5. Detach yourself from results.  By focusing on controllable factors, such as our effort and actions, and by detaching ourselves from uncontrollable outcomes such as acceptance and rejection, we can achieve greater success in the long run.

“Check Please”: The Art of Building Relationships Over A Meal

After completing “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”, I figured I’d take a break from leadership philosophy books and choose one for personal enrichment… more specifically, how to improve and maintain personal relationships. I’ve always thought the concepts behind the “5 Love Languages” was pretty interesting, so I downloaded Dr. Chapman’s book and started listening to it.

The idea that this wouldn’t be a book that impacted my leadership outlook was a facility.; the study of how relationships work and how people feel appreciated seems to be a pretty fundamental part of being a good leader.  After a few causal lunch outings recently, I started to formulate how a lunch could be used to build professional relationships.

“Check Please”: The Art of Building Relationships Over A Meal

Based upon the last two readings by Sinek, it seems that many companies lack communication, which creates a lack of relationships, leading to a lack of trust and security. To improve this, a potential solution might be for a supervisor make it a point to plan lunch with one or two employees a week that they oversee.

It isn’t a date, so don’t make the location anywhere too fancy, but something a little better than fast food. And just have a conversation. Listen to their ideas, learn about them, and don’t be too guarded about yourself.

Listen sympathetically, drawing them out by asking questions with a genuine desire to understand their thoughts, feelings, and hopes. The conversation doesn’t have to be about work, however if they skew that way, the objective is to understand, so resist the temptation to interrupt of defend yourself… perhaps they need to vent.

Pay attention to them, not looking around the room or checking your phone every 5 minutes. If you get an e-mail that you absolutely have to respond to immediately, let them know “My apologies, I want to give you my undivided attention, please give me 3 minutes to respond to this e-mail.”

At the end of the meal, thank them for their time, let them know that they have been heard and that, although you may not be able to do anything about their ideas immediately, you appreciate their input and will follow up with them if it develops into anything. Just before the end of the meal, let them know one thing you appreciate about them and their work. Be genuine, not a canned response, and something that shows you either listened to them or are familiar and appreciative with their efforts.

Why it (hypothetically) works:

This interaction hits on 4 of the 5 established love languages (excluding touch… let’s not make things weird). In a business scenario, substitute appreciation for love.

Quality Time – By spending time with them one-on-one and being actively engaged, they’ll feel appreciated.

Act of Service – The act of wanting to hear them voice their opinions and learn about them serves as an act of service. If it’s appropriate to offer them a ride to drive over together, it takes this concept one step further.

Gift – Although a minor investment, the gesture of buying their meal is a perceived as a gift. It seems slightly cheapened if it’s done so on the company card rather than out of pocket, however honestly, it’s unlikely anyone will really notice the difference.

Words of Affirmation – That little bit at the end will have them returning to work feeling on Cloud 9. Encouraging words is one of the cheapest investments for morale.

The book states that “Relationships are not a project to be completed or a problem to be solved”. By exercising this method, even just investing 1 hour a week in it, you might be surprised at the impact it could have on the culture of your company. Not only might you learn about new ideas, employee ambitions, or hidden talents, however you might inspire others to encourage their staff or find themselves collaborating more through similar tactics.

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

A Non-Academic Look At Communication Theories

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well.” – Albert Einstein

Although I enjoyed my undergraduate studies in Communications, I’ve really valued my graduate courses at UTA.  Where it seems the undergraduate studies teach you the tools for success, graduate studies teach you why they work… which gives you an opportunity to adapt and innovate.

As I study for my comprehensive exams for my Masters in Communication this week, I realized how few resources there seem to be online that offer some insight on Communication Theory in easy to digest bits.  So, here we go!  These are a few of the theories I found the most interesting/useful.

Agenda-Setting Theory – The basics of this theory focus on telling people what to think about rather than what to think.  For instance, when Trump made racist comments about building a wall, it seems less likely that he really swayed how anyone already felt about people from Mexico, but it certainly made immigration the central topic of conversation.  Why does that matter?  In this example, it forced the political conversations to be about immigration reform.  A candidate who had been championing education or economics would then be forced to stray away from the more important topics that had been the focus of their campaign to engage in rhetoric about the topic at hand, which may gain them less support than if the conversations had been focused on their primary interests.

Framing Theory – Often paired with Agenda setting theory, framing theory looks more at what information is emphasized.  For instance, if a boy were to break his mother’s lamp, but then took the broken pieces and made a mosaic for his mother, their emphasis of his message when speaking to mom about it would likely try to emphasize how lovely the piece of art was rather than the fact that he had broken a lamp.  When people say they are wanting to “control their message”, they are often referring to how to frame the information they are going to be releasing.

Cognitive Dissonance – This is a concept that is pretty important in social psychology.    Cognitive Dissonance, more or less, says that everyone has an assortment of attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, and behavior that will impact how they respond to a message or idea.  It also implies that people are more likely to believe new information that aligns with their preconceived opinion rather than something contrary to their beliefs (which can often be rejected without much consideration).  This can be very polarizing, particularly when discussing hot button political topics such as gun control, abortion, or equal rights.  Outside of the political arena, it can have some interesting social implications as well.  For instance, no two people have the exact same perception of what the word “love” means because it is a concept that is constructed from every relationship they’ve ever seen or been a part of.  Someone who associates the term with the affectionate touch of their parents is going to have a much different perception of love than someone was manipulated to do things against their will with the phrase “You’d do it if you loved me.”  Same word, very different meanings based on experiences.

Semiotic Theories – Semiotic theories study of symbols and signs in communication… which is really pretty much everything.  It can be words, objects, body language, or actions that have meaning beyond what they simply represent.   Since there is never an objective relationship between language and reality, language shapes reality.  It can be somewhat complicated to study, but really pretty interesting if you can wrap your head around it.

Network Theory – Network theory is applicable to the study of technology, biology, and a wide variety of other fields, however I think it’s pretty fascinating to see how it works in communication.  If I tell a friend a secret, and they tell two people, who tell two people each, that message has moved through a network.  By understanding networks and how to study them, it becomes evident where the source of the message propagation was.  This example may seem somewhat childish, however if you start using the examination of network systems to look at things like “What caused the spread of the idea that vaccinations cause autism?” it suddenly becomes pretty interesting to figure out how that message infiltrates the population.  Propaganda studies coupled with an understanding of Network Theory is a powerful (if not scary) combination.

Diffusion of Innovations – A subset of network analysis, Diffusion of Innovations examines how a new idea, product, or believe gains traction.  It states that there are 5 different types of people who are involved in the success of an idea.

Innovators (2.5%) – For innovators, being first is important.  These are the people who will stand outside an Apple Store for hours, if not days, to be the first ones to get the new iPhone, regardless of the fact that it will be available without wait days later.  Someone who is an innovator in technology is likely very different than someone who is an innovator in fashion.  These people are the ones who start trends and movements, but only in something they care deeply about.

Early Adopters (13.5%) – The early adopters are the ones who help something get traction.  They often wait for the feedback of innovators before they will try something new, however they help spread the message.  For instance, I am much more likely to try a new app or game that my friend Rhett recommends because he follows these latest and greatest in those areas.  We have similar opinions in this area, so I let him filter through them, I try the ones he recommends that I think sound interesting, and then I recommend them to others.

Early Majority (34%) – If Rhett is an innovator, and I am an early adopter, someone who takes my recommendation is likely part of the early majority.  An idea or movement reaches its “Tipping Point” into success between 16-18%, so reaching the point where the early majority is utilizing your product is what can ultimately lead to success. These are the people who like the idea of progress, however they don’t make it part of their personal agenda.

Late Majority (34%) – These are the people who usually aren’t particularly resistant to change in an idea, however they aren’t going to go out of their way to support it either.  They’ll eventually use new technology or adapt to trends, however they probably were still using their Razor phone until it just eventually died and had to be replaced.  A smart phone is nice, but the other worked just as well.

Laggards (15%) – These people are usually actively resistant to change, and therefore the most difficult to sway their opinion on a particular matter.  These are the people who still use landlines on rotary phones simply because it’s what their comfortable with and you have zero interest in change.

An important side note: Businesses often try to target the “early and late majority” with new products because they are the largest market segment.  Unfortunately, many of these attempts fall flat because they majority often looks to the innovators and early adopters for their opinion about a product before they will ever try it.  Sinek suggests that attempting to bypass that 15% in a strategic plan is often a death wish for a product, idea, or movement.

Start With Why

Last Fall, I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s TED talk “Start With Why” during my Theories of Persuasion class at UTA.  I was fascinated by the concepts and watched the video several times over the following weeks.  When I learned it was the teaser for a book, I added it to the reading list.
All in all, the book is pretty brilliant and something that every leader, entrepreneur, and executive could likely find immense value in.  I preaches the idea that customers buy what we do not why we do it; a profit is a result of purpose, not a purpose in itself.
Sinek sites three levels of a message: what, how, and why.  Most companies advertise the “what” of their product, potentially even the “how” of their business model, but it’s rare that a company’s message will share the “why” they are doing business.  He introduces the idea that the biological makeup of the brain to explain how “why” messages appeal to the limbic brain that is responsible for behavior (like trust and loyalty) and decision making (like purchase behavior).
There are valuable insights on almost every page of this book, however I thought I’d share one take away and one (in my opinion) very powerful quote.
Something he discusses in the book is how successful ideas need visionary leaders to drive the “why” of their company, organization, movement, etc.  Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney can inspire people to follow them towards their dream.
However the “why” people always need good “how” people to succeed.  These are the people who can work behind the scenes to mechanize the vision and ideas and see them into action; without them, it simply remains a dream without becoming a reality.
I feel this is really where one of my strong suit is.  I have no problem standing in front of a room full of people and rallying them towards an idea, however I find myself enjoying and being the most successful at strategizing and planning by looking at an opportunity or challenge as a puzzle to figure out the most efficient ways to make it work.
The following was one of the biggest messages that stuck out to me in the book.  It’s not uncommon that businesses might think that they have it all figured out, but really they are just succeeding despite themselves.
“There is barely a product on the market today that customers can’t buy from someone else for about the same price, about the same quality, about the same level of service, and about the same features… but if you ask most businesses why their customers are their customers, most will tell you that it is because of their superior quality, features, price, or service.  In other words, most companies have no clue why their customers are their customers.  This is a fascinating realization; if companies don’t know why their customers are their customers, odds are good that they don’t know why their employees are their employees either.  If most companies don’t really know why their customers are their customers or why their employees are their employees, then how do they know what to do or how to attract more employees, and encourage loyalty among those that they already have?  The reality is, most businesses today are making assumptions based on a set of incomplete, or worse, completely flawed assumptions about what is driving their business.”

Basically The Matrix… FOR YOUR BRAIN

What if I told you that Wayne Gretzky has a perfect birthday for hockey?  How does that make any sense?  How did being born on January 26 as a hockey player in Canada give Gretzky an advantage?

Simple, really.  The cutoff date for youth hockey leagues in Canada is December 31.  Therefore, young players who start when they are 5 or 6 who are born earlier in the year have nearly an entire year’s advantage of, not only practice, but also speed and size.  Although that doesn’t offer much of a competitive edge as an adult, when you’re very young, it’s a pretty huge difference.   From that team, the kids with birthdays in the first three months of the year are therefore more likely to be picked for select or advanced teams the following year, gaining better coaching and more practice hours than the more casual teams.  This advantage carries on throughout their career… and it all starts randomly, as children, for an arbitrary reason.

“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell examines how culture, situation, generation, and even birthday can greatly contribute to the potential for success of an individual. He dissects a number of different “rags to riches” type tales and finds that one of the biggest common dominators is the opportunity to do work circumstantially leading to success, sometimes in very odd ways.

Among the case studies presented in the book offer insight on why Asians are better at math, how New York Jews became leaders in the fashion world, and how entitlement in perpetuated in upper class families.

This is the kind of book that makes you think.  What are my opportunities?  How did I get to where I am?  And how can I best leverage what I have for future success.

I would definitely recommend this book.  It makes for a great road trip audio book since most of the sections are explained through the analysis of short stories and the ideas presented are broader concepts rather than great soundbites that you wish you could stop and write down.

 

Book Review: “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell

Sports Ball Leadership Insights Pt. Deux

Book Review (Pt.2): “The Score Will Take Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh

I’ve completed a third book (Getting Things Done by David Allen) since my intent to finish the follow up review of the second half of this book, so I’ll keep it brief.  Although there are many, many phenomenal quotes to site from this book (I recently purchased a paperback copy to re-read later), these are a few additional quotes that stuck out with me as I finished the book.

 

“The culture precedes positive results.  Champions behave like champions before they are champions.  They have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.”

I see too often in general, particularly in my generation and younger, the expectation to be successful just because they showed up.  I think some of it started when everyone started getting a participation ribbon to make them feel “encouraged”, however it seems to have made a pendulum swing in the other direction where few are really willing to try.  It’s created a vacuum of work ethic, which makes it easier to get noticed for those actually putting forth the work.  And they can’t be completely to blame because they were never taught otherwise, however it is a somewhat sad state of affairs looking forward at the future generations of leaders.   I think we would do well to find a happy medium of positive reinforcement and developing a culture of standards.

 

“Conventional wisdom often produces conventional results.”

This simplistic, Confucius style statement really stuck out to me when I heard it.  Too often we run into the convention of “that’s not how we do it, we’ve always done it this way”.  Which, on one hand, is comfortable and low-risk.  It’s also inhibiting of the potential of growth.  I tend to get a bit of a reputation as a rebel rouser because I have a tendency to break convention… and it seems to have worked relatively well for me so far!  Calculated risks, although still risks, can reap great rewards.

 

 

“Flying by the seat of your pants precedes crashing by the seat of your pants.”

All of that being said, the key phrase is “calculated risks”.  By establishing purpose, followed by goals, followed by strategies and tactics, followed by measurable metrics for success… risks really aren’t so risky.  And even when they don’t work out as plan, typically you still have enough structure to learn something from it.  “Winging it” doesn’t often grant the same benefit with an increased amount of risk.

 

“Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden, Wooden on Leadership

This quote was featured in the book and I thought it was pretty solid.  Being busy does not equate to being successful.

 

“Don’t let anyone tell you that a big ego is a bad thing. It is reflective of anyone willing to take their talent as far as it will go.  Ego is pride, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-assurance.  Egotism, on the other hand, is an arrogance that comes from your own perceived skill, power, or position.  It makes you self-important, self-centered, and selfish… and slow, vulnerable, and easily destroyed.”

That says just about everything, doesn’t it?

You Personally Are What Is Wrong With This Country

…If you don’t go vote in local primary elections. Right now.

This may not be quite the ludicrous sentiment it seems.  Here’s why.

Primary elections have one of the smallest voter turnout of any electoral process, specifically if there aren’t during major elections cycles (i.e. the President).  So who does show up?  People who are extremely passionate about their politics… and often equally polarized in their opinions.

This creates a scenario where a candidate with moderate, rational views who is willing to see both sides of an issue is at a major disadvantage for winning a primary election because they don’t indulge these extreme demographics (of people who are guaranteed to actually vote).  Thus, because local primary election voter turnout is low, the candidates who end up ultimately representing their party on the ballet are very rarely a genuine representative of the people, but rather champions of the limited view of the few that actually show up to vote in the primaries.

This is where the downward spiral begins.  It generates extreme polarization at the polls where voters who are somewhat in that middle (which is… you know… most people) either end up casting their vote against one candidate they don’t like, vote straight ticket because it is easier than thinking, or just don’t end up voting at all because they don’t agree with either extreme.  And you know what?  These polarized groups depend on those in the middle to react that way.

Politicians know this, so they often have to be extreme in their promises to get elected… and then they have to be consistent in these extreme views throughout their term to stay in office.  How much of your mail right now consists of political propaganda stating that “This conservative senator that is currently running didn’t vote to the extreme on this one issue, so he must be stopped before he destroys America!  Visit http://www.GuessWhoIsActuallyACommunistSpy.com for more information on how awful they are!”

Because of this, both sides end up unwilling to work together on big national (or local) issues because they have to gain or maintain the approval of this tiny primary voting populace… and that’s the way this tiny voting populace prefers to keep it.  It gives them unwarranted power on an international scale just because they are willing to show up at somewhere at an appropriate time.  Unfortunately, this means there can be no compromise on finding a rational middle ground that is a more reasonable representation of the ideals of the general population.

National news stations know this to be true as well, and have evolved into pandering to extreme demographics because it earns more viewership, which brings in more advertising dollars.  This biased view of political news creates even more extremely polarized people, who are also more likely to vote… Meaning this problem is only going to get worse.

General apathy, lack of information, and “I’m too busy for democracy” has allowed extreme views to rise to authority… and, really, they’re all pretty terrible excuses for letting democracy fail.  Spend an hour Googling your local candidates – be it senator, judge, or anyone else – because their job is important and it will directly impact you more than the current SportsBall game or the newest episode of Zombie Prison Hero Show.  And then actually show up to vote in the primary elections.

If extremely polarized views still win the day, then great; at least they are a fair representation of what people actually want.  But stop being lazy.  Stop making excuses.  And vote in the most underrated, but often most important, part of democracy.  I’m not exposing some grand secret by letting you know that your vote actually does matter, particularly in a primary, even more so at a local level.

And guess what!  The state even makes it easy on you.  In Texas, you can vote at ANY polling station in your county (on your way to work, headed home, or even when just out getting tacos) during early voting (February 16 – February 26, 2016).  Or you can wait until the last minute and vote on March 1 at your designated polling station, which can be found at http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/where/ (along with other pertinent voting information).

Either way, you get a pretty rad sticker and earn the right to complain if things don’t turn out the way you think they should.  But… you might be surprised at how much of a difference a small group of people can make.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Above image borrowed from The Economist article available at http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21689543-marvel-jaw-dropping-spectacle-then-worry-american-politics-has-taken-dangerous

 

Sports Ball Leadership Insights with That Guy From The 49ers

Book Review: “The Score Will Take Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh was the head coach and general manager of the 49ers in the early 80’s that took them from being in last place to winning the Super Bowl in 3 seasons.  I’m not the biggest sportsball fan, so I’m sure many of the anecdotes were lost on me, but it does a good job of bridging that by making sure the leadership principles discussed are fairly universal.

The books is pretty lengthy, so I decided to try the book-on-tape route to and from work as recommended by my cousin.  It took about a month of transit to get through, however there were a lot of really good insights.  A lot of it offers top down leadership advise on managing every aspect of an organization, so it’s a book I will likely re-read later in life when some of the ideas are more applicable to my level of responsibility and authority.

That being said, there is a through line of a micro-management style of leadership, which is not one that I personally am fond of, however I can appreciate how it was effecting in the context in which it was used.  It was interesting to get a very different perspective on leadership and it does offer great advice on setting goals, creating a plans and contingency plans, actively teaching, analyzing and evaluating strategies, having open communication, and adhering to a standard of excellence; some of which I will start incorporating in to my everyday life.  However, I could also see where someone could potentially read this book and justify a closed-minded approach to management without utilizing the aforementioned qualities, which is why I would might hesitate recommending it without a few caveats.

The title of the book comes from the idea that if you focus on continual improvement, attention to detail, and establishing high personal accountability, your team will eventually become so efficient that “the score will take care of itself”.  The book features a lot of different lists of ideas for surrounding different situations, however the predominant one is Walsh’s “Standard of Performance”.

  1. Ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement.
  2. Respect for everyone in the program and the work that he/she does.
  3. Be committed to learning.
  4. Demonstrate character and integrity.
  5. Honor the connection between details and improvement.
  6. Demonstrate loyalty.
  7. Be willing to go the extra mile for the organization.
  8. Put the team’s welfare ahead of my own.
  9. Maintain an abnormally high level of concentration and focus.
  10. Make sacrifice and commitment the organizations trademark.

 

It was more difficult to pull quotes from the audio book, but there were a few that really stood out (with a few more and additional commentary to be included in a follow up post).

“Few things offer greater return on less investment than praise.”

“Hearing someone described as being able to “Fly by the seat of his pants” always suggests to me a leader who hasn’t prepared properly and whose pants may soon fall down.”

“Others follow you based on the quality of your actions rather than the magnitude of your declarations.”

“Your enthusiasm becomes their enthusiasm; your lukewarm presentation becomes their lukewarm interest in what you’re offering… When the audience is bored, it’s not their fault.”

“Victory is not always under your control… However, a resolute and resourceful leader understands that there are a multitude of means to increase the probability of success. And that’s what it all comes down to, namely, intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chance of prevailing in a competitive environment.”

 

 

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