Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Next Level Book Review

A good friend asked me if I do anything but read and run. I guess that is a lot of what my blog has turned into - a book review and race report. Next week, I promise to tell you about Jim's Organic Healthy Herbal Longevity Broth. But for now, another book review:

I read Scott Elbin's "The Next Level - What Insiders Know About Executive Success". This is a second edition with some updates. I always figure any book on an X edition is likely a good book (My Time Management Book is on the 4th edition and I know for me, I will likely do a 5th edition and update it a lot. The last edition was about 5 years ago and things change)

The Next Level starts with a list of 4 reasons executives fail:

Ineffective Communication
Poor Work Relationships and Interpersonal Skills
Failure to Clarify Direction or Performance Expectations
Failure to Adapt and Break Old Habits.

It attacks these problems with a table which lists things to do and things to drop to move to the next level. Each chapter then elaborates individually on each item on the chart with how to ideas.

One datapoint that I found interesting is high potential leaders "regularly seeks out knowledge and experience to perform at higher levels". This is something I have always practiced. I like to envision what it would be like to sell $X and have Y employees - what would I need to know, how would I need to act. Then I set about to learn and study. I think this has been how I was fortunate enough to scale from running a business from the trunk of my car up to $2 Billion in sales. I study.

I loved that the book even had a section on my favourite topic "what should I repeatedly do".

The book suggests using the GROW method to solve problems:

Whats Next

At the end of each chapter was a list of 10 tips. EG 10 tips for Picking Up Defining What to Do and Letting Go of Telling How to Do It.

There is a good appendix on creating your ESP - Executive Success Plan. And another one with a list of situations and where in the book to find details on the situation.


At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Irene Markoja said...

Hi, Jim!

Knowing you for a short time back at Synnex, you certainly did more than just read and run. But that's another story.

While it is true that many executives fail for such reasons as poor communications skills, not getting along with others and just being set in their ways, the dynamics of today's work environment are such that middle management and even non-management employees would benefit from courses in effective communications, business and time management.

I've found that continuous learning and honing your communications skills (I did Toastmasters for six years) make a tremendous difference between an average worker and a star employee, regardless of whether you're a CEO, middle manager, or minimum wage worker. Any person would benefit from reading about the habits of successful - and, not so successful - business leaders, since they could be applied to most work environments. People certainly learn by example and experience, and failures should be taken as learning experiences rather than life-altering catastrophes.

At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Duncan Brodie said...

Good review of the book and I think that the authors get it spot on with the 4 failure reasons.

When I am working with clients, I am often surprised to find that they find it a real struggle to state their three key results areas.

Mind you, reflecting on my time as a leader and manager, very few people seemed to have clarity.

Asking your boss could be the smartest thing you do to take your performance to the next level.

Duncan Brodie
Goals and Achievements


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