How Rich People Think – Steve Siebold

A story is told of a horse once stuck in a pond filled with mud and could not get out. When a few herdsmen inspected the place, they saw the mud would not allow the horse to come out; it was only the strength that the horse could gain mentally and not give up that would bring him back to his feet. They then invented a plan to get their herd of horses to run around the pond to mentally inspire the stuck horse. As the horse saw his friends gallop around the pond, he mentally decided to give his last try- with all the strength he rose and finally was back to feet.

The secret is not in the mechanics of money but one’s level of thinking.  Siebold expounds on 100 mindset shifts that have helped rich people accumulate wealth and shows the contrast to how the middle class thinks. Every chapter compares the “middle class” and “world-class.” These terms reference the average person versus the world-class thinker. The idea is to compare the way most people think about money in contrast to the rich. Some of his ideas are as discussed below:

The middle class focuses on saving…world-class focuses on earning; instead offocusing onhow to protect and hoard their money, world-class thinkers direct their mental energy toward accumulating wealth through serving people and solving problems. Secondly, while the wealthy direct their efforts on the most profitable areas of their business as they leverage their contacts, credibility, and resources to maximize the results of every action, middle-class thinkers believe that only hard work creates wealth. He also asserts that the masses believe making money is mysterious while world class-thinkers know that money flows from ideas.

Steve interestingly addresses the issue of formal education and specific knowledge. While the masses are convinced that master’s degrees and doctorates are the way to wealth, the rich have learnt to amass their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge. As the masses spend a substantial amount of time entertaining themselves in a variety of activities, the rich spend time in activities they enjoy. Finally, the masses spend while the rich invest.

From the few examples above, there is nothing wrong with how the average person thinks, they only need to widen their perspectives and think like rich a rich person.

Myths And Realities Of Teamwork

Authored by David Wright

Myths and Realities of Teamwork is a library of insights from a man who has spent thirty years building teams in organizations. Mr. David Wright focuses on Key milestones that mark a team’s journey to high performance without failing to not that there are myriad pitfalls and challenges on the way. He underscores that even in a very strong team environment, an individual’s needs cannot be ignored. Myths and realities of teamwork are explained objectively and in a realistic approach. For mature teams, the book gives bearing of what needs to be done in recapturing that early enthusiasm and respect that may have been witnessed when the team was new.

The most prominent myths about teamwork in David Wright’s book are six. The first myth is that teams are harmonious people. The reality is, teams are made of diverse people with specific needs to be met. Second is that team conflict is unhealthy, the reality is that conflict should be harnessed for common good rather than be suppressed. Third myth is that people like teamwork, Wright observes that some people like working solo while others are indifferent. Fourth Myth is that teamwork is essential for business success, in real sense some simple tasks need no teams and that teamwork only thrives in complexities. The fifth myth is that teams are easy to influence and manage, Wright notes that in reality teams require courage and high levels of personal awareness from its leaders. Lastly, it is a myth that senior managers encourage teamwork, the reality is that most senior managers are anxious about teamwork and the potential loss of power or control.

The Irish writer and alumnus of Trinity College in Dublin suggests twelve milestones that must be achieved in a fruitful journey of a team. The twelve include; burying myths and raising realities, understanding organization culture and team’s potential starting point, establishing team goals and vision, establishing ground rules for effectiveness, meeting skills and positive contributions, recognizing the team processes, developing team skills that will aid success, defining the team roles beyond pure functional roles and predicting future success or failure, understanding empowerment and its place, having level of openness and trust, embracing high performance and understanding the practice of leadership for all. David Wright acknowledges that building an effective team is akin to taking a journey and members of the team must experience the journey together.

Rick Okinda                                          

The writer is a Certified Accountant working with small business owners to deliver business plans that serve their management and financial needs. | rickokinda@gmail.com

ART OF WAR

Authored By Sun Tzu

The universality of this book makes it a must-read. It explains the essential point and tactics in a war that can be utilized to face our day-to-day challenges. Although it was written 2500 years ago it remains to be the most influential book in military strategy and its application is way beyond the military field. It teaches both strategic and leadership qualities to look out for no matter what you do.

The business environment being a modern war fair, some of the insights in this book can be applied by a business leader. Art of war teaches us to lay down plans and rely not on the likelihood of the enemies not coming but on our readiness. This entails knowing yourself and your enemies; who are you dealing with, their strength and weakness.  The more knowledge you have about something or someone the better you get.

Money and lives are finite so they are not to be used recklessly don’t burn resources or kill soldiers that may give you information, use whatever resource you have wisely. Attack him when he is unprepared and appears where you are not expected. Avoid what is strong and attack what is weak. Always wait for the opportune moment when you can fight. You can win wars without having to battle.

To win in business, it’s all about strategy and planning. A good general seeks victory and not a battle, attack their enemies’ point of weakness, the plan remains secret, your army obeys, you communicate effectively, find a weakness of your men and strengthen them and know where to follow and when to fight. If your victory is a clear fight, don’t seek fame and fear blame, if your defeat is certain do not fight.

Knowing yourself and understanding war can make you conquer any business niche and win. I conclude my review by quoting Sun Tzu, the author of Art of War when he said, “To win hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

Effie Odhiambo

The writer is a finance professional with passion in reading books that make difference in an entreprenuers career. | odhiambo1270@gmail.com

THE TIPPING POINT

Authored By Malcolm Gladwell.

Written in the year 2000, Malcom Gladwell’s book brings out things that are current, relevant and relatable. He brilliantly explores the tipping point phenomenon which is a magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire. He highlights the three rules that causes something to reach a tipping point. The three are the law of few, the stickiness factor and the power of context. In this review, I’ll highlight important points that Gladwell made in each of the three defining factors for an idea to grow to the tipping point.

The law of few states that any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular rare set of social gifts. These social gifts include connectors, mavens and salespersons. Connectors they are people who know everyone and connect people to the world. Mavens are people that we rely upon to connect us with new information and salespersons are people who influence us to buy and change our perception. These personalities for only 20% of the society but tend to influence 80% of the outcome.

The stickiness factoris the quality that compels people to pay close sustained attention to a product, concept or idea. If you want an idea to spread you must make sure it sticks, make it stand out from the crowd. Sometimes changing the small details makes a big difference.

The power of context suggests that behavior is sensitive to and is strongly influenced by its environment. Malcolm Gladwell gives an analogy of the broken window theory which argues that a crime is an inevitable result of disorder. If a window was broken and left unrepaired people will think that no one cares and more windows will be broken. Minor problems are recipe to bigger ones.

Ideas always spread like epidemic, epidemic starts after crossing the tipping point threshold, few people start the epidemic, an idea must stick before it can spread and the smallest change in context will determine whether an epidemic takes off or not and this can currently be relatable to our business.

BOOK REVIEW: HOW TO GET EXTRAORDINARY THINGS DONE IN ORGANIZATIONS

Authored by James. M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner | Reviewed by Rick Okinda

The two finest teachers of business are named trial and error. These are attributes that summarizes the person and attitude of a leader in the workplace. These leaders according to Kouzes and Posner are always out and about to get extraordinary things done. They shake up organizations that they lead periodically to infuse fresh ideas in them.

Kouzes and Posner came up with ten commitments that leaders must live to. First, a leader searches for opportunities, secondly he/she experiments and takes risks. These first two commandment require that a leader must challenge the process. Thirdly, a leader must envision the future and fourth he/she must enlist others. This way, the leader will be inspiring a vision. Leaders also need to enable others to act by fifthly, foster collaboration and sixth, strengthen others. The seventh commandment requires a leader to set the example and eighth, to plan small wins as a strategy of modeling the way. Ninth, leaders need to recognize individual contribution and tenth, to celebrate accomplishments. These last two commandments summarizes a leader as one who encourages the heart.

It takes superior leaders to get extraordinary things done. These leaders according to Kouzes and Posner must possess the following twenty characteristics; honesty, competence, forward looking, inspiring, intelligent, fair-minded, broadminded, straight forward,. Imaginative, dependable, supportive, courageous, caring, cooperative, mature, ambitious, determined, self-controlled, loyal and independent. This book not only helps you learn to be a good leader but also to observe good leadership in others and to enjoy following leaders that get you to do extraordinary things. Kouzes and Posner have used this book to uniquely remind us how much we need leaders with enthusiasm, with a bounce in their step and with a can-do attitude.

Rick Okinda | IGBR Editor

rickokinda@gmail.com

Book Review: Leadership Secrets Of The World’s Most Successful CEO’s

What does it really take to be a great and effective leader? Are leaders born or made? ‘Leadership is not an innate characteristic, it can be developed through training.’ Wallstreet career journal did this survey on 300 company CEO’s, and 40% of them believed that their leadership abilities were born in them and 60% said their leadership was developed through experience.

Eric Yaverbaum’s book, is an easy to digest book that collects thoughts of top 100 CEO’s giving their proven strategies, attitude, behavior, philosophy and tactics that they have used to help themselves and their organizations rise.

The major lessons on leadership in this book include:

  • Treat your employees well and they will take care of your customers and your business.
  • Success is not achieved by leadership alone, a good leader ensures he is surrounded by right people.
  • A great leader is an enabler and a facilitator, their style of leadership is humane, if everything is not in harmony with nature and natural process, it is not sustainable.
  • A leader focuses on two or three issues that will affect the future of the enterprise.
  • Never let any relationship, internal or external go stale or unmanaged.
  • Make good, simple, ethical and honest decisions.
  • Focus. You cannot go everywhere but do everything that it takes if to scale your performance.
  • Innovate and identify what makes your company unique and don’t outsource your strategic thinking.
  • Simplify, until it fits one page.
  • Communicate your vision, missions and goals clearly and truly believe and trust the people you are working with.
  • Give people the ability and authority to get things done and hold them accountable for the results. Ask for the best thinking and really listen.

I would highly recommend this book as it gives variety of leadership advice from 100 different perspectives, this makes it unique and enjoyable as you get to see some major yet unique similarities and differences in each of Wallstreet Journal’s then top 100 CEO. If you are already leading, having these variety of best examples can make you an even better leader.

Authored by Eric Yaverbaum; Reviewed by Effie Odhiambo.

Book Review: Ego is the Enemy

Authored by By Ryan Holiday Ryan holiday achieved extra ordinary success early in his life, he became a director of marketing at an American apparel shop and an author of 4 bestselling books at the age of 29 years. In his book, Ego is the enemy, he shares a study of individuals who were great yet humble, grounded and real, people who knew how to suppress, channel and subsume their ego where it counted. He also gives a study on individuals who had costly
lessons learnt as the price they paid in misery and self-destruction. With his success, he got to experience and witness disruptions of unchecked ego. He defines ego as unhealthy belief in our importance and a threat to longterm success. He put on his arm a tattoo that read, ego is the enemy as a constant reminder that he had to conduct himself with modesty and meekness. When you have ambitions, talent, and drive or potential to fullfill, ego comes with the territories, ego

is the enemy of what you want and of what you have. In mastering a craft you need to replace ego with humility and reality. Ryan Holiday describes the phases of life when ego shows up. These phases come when aspiring, during success and after failure. When we aspire to do something great, ego gets busy seeking constant approval from others. For us to defeat ego we need to find our equals among our peer groups or ambitious persons at our current competence levels. When we achieve something great our ego leads us to believe that all our future endeavors are likely to be successful too. Instead of focusing on building upon our previous success we have a tendency of being over confident in our ability to take in too much. We need to have someone better than us so as to remain humble and focused on our goal. Humility comes by remembering there is always something bigger than us or someone who has achieved much
more. We experience ego when we fail or have a setback, we tend to dodge responsibility and lose sight of what we worked for, and ego destructs us from focus. Teach your juniors skills and experiences that will build them allround. We should look objectively at our failures and get the lessons to pass down. When we have responsibilities, we spend less time complaining and we look for a way to mentor or teach someone. We should end addiction to approval seeking, a lifelong learning. Humble your ego because you haven’t reached your growth potential. Accept criticism, grow others, aim at doing something and not being somebody, have a purpose and fight to remain different. Be so good that you cannot be ignored, stay true to your path.

Review by Effie Odhiambo

Book Review: Who Moved My Cheese?

Authored by Dr. Spencer Johnson

Who moved my cheese is a small and simple book yet it has principles and lessons that are way deeper and its wisdom long lasting. Its writing style will blow you off, it is enjoyable to read and it prepares you to handle change in your work or life. This is a book that addresses so many domains, be it different professions, gender, age or nationality. It’s a top book that everyone should read. How to handle change can be stressful in work or in life, this book uses feeble to show
us how we can handles change. Cheese is a metaphor for what we want in life be it a job, health, money or success. Each one of us has our own idea of what cheese is and we pursue it because we believe it makes us happy, if we get it, we often become attached to it and if we lose it or it is taken away from us, we become devastated. This story takes place in a maze, where four amusing characters: the two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Ham and Hem) look for cheese .The two mice and two little people found cheese at station C, they
become very comfortable and expected the cheese will always be there, they believe having the cheese makes them happy, they even moved their home closer to cheese station and creating a false sense of security. The two mice rather behaved differently, they paid attention to small changes and anticipated change. One morning, station C had no more cheese the two mice hit the maze in search of more cheese while the two little people feel betrayed and complained as they wasted time and energy hoping the old cheese would return. It is natural for change to continuously occur whether we like it or not, the two little people kept doing the same thing but expected different results. They did not want to change when things change. “If we do not change we can become extinct.” One of the little people (Ham) decided to look for the cheese, he trusted what lies ahead even if it was unknown. “When you move beyond your fears you feel free and the earlier you let of the old cheese the sooner you find new cheese.” Hem who remained at station C, let fear build up on his mind as he thought the new cheese won’t be as good as the old one. When we change what we
believe, we change what we do, eventually the two little people relocate to station N where they found the new cheese and the two mice already there enjoying the new cheese. What would happen if we weren’t afraid? Things constantly change so we must adapt, the quicker we adapt to change the more satisfied we would be, the principle we learn from this book are:

• Change happens – they keep moving the cheese

• Anticipate change: get ready for the cheese to move

• Monitor change: smell the cheese often, so you know when it’s getting old

• Adapt to change quickly : the quicker you let go of old cheese ,the sooner you get to enjoy the new cheese

• Change: move with the cheese

• Enjoy change: savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese.

Review by Effie Odhiambo

BOOK REVIEW – The Emotionally Intelligent Manager

This book outlines a prescription for effective management and leadership, it is based on integral role of intelligent use of emotions and its impact on thinking, decision making, being motivated and behaving. Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s capacity to effectively reason about emotions and to use emotions to enhance thoughts and solve problems. We are taught that emotions shouldn’t be felt and should be expressed carefully and only in certain environment and certain time, although an emotionally intelligent manager replaces the convectional view of emotions with an intelligent view, they combine passion with logic and emotions with intelligence.

The fundamental emotional skills of an emotionally intelligent manger are;

  • Identifying emotions: we have to read people, by becoming aware of emotions and expressing them accurately in order to communicate effectively.
  • Using emotions: emotions influence our thinking and we should match emotions to the tasks.
  • Understanding emotions; emotions are not random events there are underlying causes, we should predict the emotion future and find out what emotions mean.
  • Managing emotions: this requires us to stay open to emotions and integrate emotions into thinking.
  • Emotionally intelligence people are not necessary great managers and not all great mangers are emotionally intelligent, effective management is therefore essential. Emotions do matter at all times and to ignore it is to deny the wisdom of our emotions and those of others. Integration of rational and emotional style is key to making good decisions because emotions are always at work and they work with and for us.
  • Managers may build effective teams, plan and decide effectively, motivate people, communicate a vision, promote change and create effective interpersonal relationship as they affect and influence people.
  • The major principles of emotional intelligence includes:
  • Emotions is information: it contains data about you and the world, it an events that interfere with thinking and helps motive and guide success. We must be able to differentiate between experience of an emotion and influence of being in a certain mood.
  • We try to ignore emotions but it doesn’t work: emotions will always influence performance in all areas of our lives.
  • We can try to hide emotions but we are not as good at it as we think: your emotions will be read by some of the people, most of the time.
  • Decisions must incorporate emotions to be effective: emotions has impact on our decisions, on us and others whether we want them or not.
  • Emotions follow a logical pattern: emotions are not random occurring events, each emotions has its own move.
  • Emotions universal exist but so do specifics: customs and culture do vary but in case of emotions it can be universally recognized and there are emotional specific which have to do with display rules, secondary emotions and gender.

Emotional blueprint offers an approach to emotions that is intelligent, it does not threaten the importance of logic or reason, an emotionally intelligent manager has to describe the situation, identify the emotion, use the emotions, predict emotional future, understand the emotions and manage the emotions so as to motivate and inspire them. Emotional skills can be measured in an objective way through the use of performance or knowledge test.

“Emotion system is an intelligent system, that’s why it evolved in animals including human, our emotions points us in the right direction and motivate us to do what needs to be done.”

Book Review- What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School

This book basically talks about the resourceful skills needed to succeed in a business and ultimately grow. It is a “street smart” book that emphasizes on the human aspect of running a business. “Business schools are not meant to teach you everything about succeeding in the real world, personal interactions and self-disciplines are more important than theories, raw data and Excel sheets” Mark McCormack emphasizes on the importance of reading people, creating impressions, taking the edge, getting ahead, making sales, negotiating, problem solving and general business growth.

McCormack believes that everything in a business revolves around people. You are either selling, managing or working with people. Therefore, giving insight into people by observing how they carry themselves will tell you more about the person. When watching people it’s important to listen and observe aggressively, talk less and listen more, take a second to look on someone’s first impression, take time to use what you’ve learnt, be discrete and detached. Always be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how these are likely to slant your reaction to others, nothing blocks insight into other people more than your own ego.

The Best salesmen possess a sixth sense. They can tell by the tone of someone’s voice, atmosphere and mood. They understand that rejection can be the greatest motivation overtime. Salespersons should not be discouraged by failure. In sales, rejections are never personal, you have to understand that timing is critical. Timing is everything in business that even a good idea could fail at bad timing. Know when to follow up and look at the right moment. Perfective selling is tied to timing, patience, persistence and adapting to your clients. It is critical to know when to talk and when to keep silent. Market your product with enthusiasm and understand when someone won’t buy from you. Learn to take initiative and do not be greedy, pushy or impatient but keep looking for the edge. If you don’t know find someone who knows and learn. Admit you need help by simply asking and expanding your knowledge. Acknowledge that sometimes you could be wrong.

Mark McCormack extends the argument to the quality of entrepreneur’s life. Big performance in business require nurturing of passion .It is very important to understand what you are good at and grow at your own pace. Schedule out your entire day, this helps in time management and trusting your system. In building a business always do what you’re passionate in, start small, have realistic goals, grow slowly, diversify expertise and keep learning. If you focus on excellence and efficiency you are assured to make your way to success much clear.