Sunday, February 2, 2014

Recently Reviewed Business-ish Books

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer ServiceRaving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Kenneth H. Blanchard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this short and to-the-point analogy of what it means to provide excellent customer service. I fully agree with Blanchard that today's society expects terrible service, I know I do. Why is this? Though I have little practical experience to back it up, I believe that the 3 steps given in this book could be revolutionary to a company, or any kind of organization. Everything comes down to a human to human concern, and everything else is just excess.

The three steps are:
1- Decide what you want; create a vision of perfection
2- Discover what the costumer wants; 'fine' and silence could be bad
3- Deliver plus one; grow 1% a week consistently and flexibly

I love the simplicity and clarity of these steps, though it seems things can easily get more hairy once actually in the driver's seat of an organization.

After reading this I wondered: am I a "raving fan" of any business or organization? At the time I did't think so, but since then I went to Stewart's Automotive in Tulsa. And NOW I am a raving fan! So check this out, I will only go to Stewart's now for any auto need I have. I don't care if someone says they will do it cheaper, I don't care that it isn't very close to my apartment, heck - I am advertising for them! So yes, I think it is safe to say I am a raving fan.

The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinaryThe Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by Mark Sanborn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Fred Factor has some good motivational content in it, but I found it overly repetitive and strangely organized. My main take away includes: create extra value by doing more than is necessary and exceeding expectations, solve a problem you didn't create, serve others for the sake of service, and be just a really good human being.

This is a quick read, and I think the message has the ability to really impact people - if acted upon. I hope I can be a little better, and do a little more to incorporate the principles in this book and become a Fred myself.

Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for SuccessSpringboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success by G. Richard Shell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this was a good book, and offered some unique perspectives on the science of success. It is particularly helpful at this time in my life as I am at the very beginning of my professional life and trying to figure out what I will do to find success in my own way. Some things I want to remember:

I was "the stonemason" which Shell says means that "craftsmanship and family" are the most important factors when it comes to defining success. "Success is measured by creating your work, completing defined tasks to the best of your ability, and devotion to your family."

The story of the man walking into a long-winded presentation on happiness and he says, "all you need is good health, meaningful work, and love." This reminded me of "Flow" and the importance of complex tasks that match a certain level of skill - but also the required elements connected to an individual's personality.

I like the lotto exercise: what would you do if you won 100 million dollars and that is after you have done everything to ensure your family's financial security and future? The answer to that should help in deciding what you want to do. What would I do? Mmm, I don't know! Maybe set up my own small production company that would make thoughtful films, but this be on the side as I would be doing other things - like what? I am not sure. Hopefully I will discover that soon.

Think PERFECT when looking at job positions, and kinds of careers.
P - personal growth and development
E - Entrepreneurial independence (Dan Pink's autonomy, mastery and purpose)
R - Religious or spiritual identity (the best reason to try and go work at BYU)
F - Family
E - Expressing yourself through ideas, invention, or the arts
C - Community - serving a cause, helping people in need
T - Talent-based striving for excellence

Google "Meaningful Work Venn Diagram" - that thing is important when reflecting on kinds of jobs. I think I can write pretty well if I put my mind to it. My best way of thinking is abstract and theoretical. I enjoy reading and processing information. Perhaps I would be a good professor? Maybe I would be better in a research job with a think-tank? I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. I'm applying to research jobs in DC (second interview coming up next week). I say go for that, easy to work your way into academia if you change your mind later.