The Buying Brain – A.K. Pradeep

Every time a book on intelligence, leadership or marketing starts talking about the brain things get very boring and textbookish.

This, is the BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ on the marketing language of the brain.

You want to talk value? For a science-kind of book each chapter starts with these words: “At the end of this chapter you’ll know and be able to use the following” followed by three bullets.

They go into complex topics in bit size bits, the writing is understandable, punchy and well edited to NOT be boring.

The book breaks down the brain by:
– Geography
– The senses
– Gender and gender roles
– Engagement with habit
– Engagement with product

I particularly liked the chapters on the empathic brain, the mommy brain ( finally a book that doesn’t assume all women are mommy’s ) and the fantastic explanation of “Mirror Neurons” ( monkey see…)

You’ll learn about how
– Your consumer thinks about your product
– Engages it in store to complete purchase
– Engages it online to complete purchase
– How to move people from “fans” to “advocates” in a social media world

This is a recent publish so chapters like “how to rock the aisle” may be classic but “the world of one screen” that is based on smartphones and tablets is new world thinking that is high-value right now.

A deeper read, it was overdue at the library when I returned it. Worth it.”

Will leave you with some thoughts below…if you’re looking for a more marketing lighter insight into “why we buy” without all the brain-talk – the book “Buy-ology” linked above is always talked about alongside this book

AND… if you’re curious about “Buy-ology” above too….

This book was a fantastic Audio listen on my commute

In search of service excellence: Joseph Michelli

Recently I was supposed to attend a talk by Joseph Michelli
A schedule change meant that it was moved and I missed it BUT! It was great because it caused me to read three great books of his.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Starbucks
But my biggest secret is
that it has very little to do with their Coffee
It’s about the environment and the service level
the fact that I can take a client there
and it’s like…or better than meeting in my office

Mitchelli focuses on the “5 key leadership principles” of Starbucks Co.:

1. Make it your own
2. Everything Matters
3. Surprise and delight
4. Embrace resistance
5. Leave your mark

I loved this book because it was about picking up
– the best tips to create service excellence
– the best ways to create memorable customer moments in any business
– how to take an everyday transaction and raise it to a loyalty level event

No airy-fairy coffee-house writing here.
Michelli actually shares how Starbucks does it all.
Worth your time in a service economy world.

His second and most recent book is a similar format book
the case study is the famed Ritz-Carleton Hotel Company

Again, he defines the critical values, company promise and employee environment

Value is found in the exact methods used to create excellent
– employee hiring practice
– employee training
– cultures of accountability, integrity and engagement

This book was filled with golden nuggets anyone can apply to their business
I like that the book was written to acknowledge all employees and customers
and because of that we’re going to get clouded with emotion and baggage
– why not make all that work in your favour?

Lastly, a book about a fish market?
It was actually my favourite book of his.

Although it is not as literal and case study heavy
it is written in the voice of John Yokoyaman
owner of the world famous “Pike Place Fish Market” in Seattle

Because of the story format, this was the quickest read
I retained the most, I enjoyed it the most. Michelli as steward of the story – every business learning is properly conveyed

I did like the way the owner admitted his mistakes
Lots of learning here for business owners and managers
He went from employee obedience to fierce loyalty in a tough environment

These are three great business reads.
My peers who attended his talk said it was a home run, not hokey or contrived

If you seek service excellence from your team, read or call Joseph..

Here’s a fascinating quick talk from him about innovation yesterday and today

Here’s Joseph talking about the books above:

Business Cards

I love business networking

The power of connecting has helped me
change lives and create daily value

But I’ve been puzzled my entire life at “bosses” attitude towards business cards.

Some people give them out so sparingly
like they are made of gold.
Some believe they are a symbol of status and not all employees should have them
Some never carry the damn things – even to a networking event!

In 2011, when business cards are cheaper and more dynamic than ever
the time has come to give cards to your entire team.

Teach them how to use them, when to give them out. My favourite networking book teaches this method.

If you send staff out into the world without cards
you’re leaving $ on the table
you might as well blindfold them
The cost! The cost!! Cry the bean counters
Only management needs them! Cry the closest egotistsReally? And the every-day staff have no network?
They have worked here longer than you
know the vendors, the fans, the customers
know the company better
And they can’t have cards?!?!?

Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

1) If cost and status is your hang up, create a generic card that ALL staff have access to and can give out with all your coordinates ( yes including twitter )2) Sure work has given you a boring card. You should always have a non-work non-boring card with your LinkedIn and twitter account – consider’s minicards!

3) On that note. No job? They are called “contact cards” how will someone who has a job to give you find you if you meet at an event?!
4) How about a conversation starter? The greenest business card in the world!! 100% recycled paper, vegetable inks, bullfrog powered and they plant a tree with every order!!
4) Business cards are like lottery tickets every one you give away has the potential to be a winner!

5) Want to take your card use to the NEXT level? Read this book

I leave you with a little bus-card etiquette. PN

The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan

Do you care about your career?
Do you invest in your future?
Do you know where you want to go but don’t know how?

This book is a must read.

The book is separated into three mindsets:

1) Find your ideal your strengths, your goals

2) BEFORE you get the job, what to do

3) What to do as SOON as you get the job to succeed

Here’s a snapshot of the plan – obviously you need the book to get the most out of it:

This book is NEVER vague.
There is a road map and worksheet for every step of the way.

The “due diligence” on a company, department and employer before you apply for a job is the best section I’ve ever read on this subject.

There are also some powerful insights and tips about moving up inside a company.

I love that this book NEVER denies real humanity. Something “job hunt” and “management” books always do.

It recognizes that people are curious, nervous and protect themselves – it’s not sneaky to communicate with your employees – it’s honest reality.

I love their concept of the “fuzzy front end” that time when you start a job in the first couple weeks. Brilliant advice here, the best start plan (that includes tips on your home life ) I’ve ever seen in print.

Even tips on how to set up your office depending on your position.

For job seekers, in a post internet world this book has a communications plan with that critical pre-job networking stage.

There is an entire section on “day one” strategy.

This is also a great book for board members/ board chairs. Tips in here for you too, how to vet a board, the staff, what to do on day one, week one, month one.

I like that this book references Clifton/Buckingham “Strength Finder 2.0” and the “stregths-based” leadership series. I’m a big fan.

A WHACK of downloadable customizable tools! Free!

Leadership, your own personal success is never as easy as pressing a button or reading a book. It takes strategy first, hard word second. You can do number two alone, for number one go out and buy this book today. You will not regret it.

Until then, I leave you to “Imagine” with a short thoughtful video by Xplan and Nitin Nohria about leadership – where do you fit in?!

Management, It’s not what you think! Henry Mintzberg

Mintzberg is held by many to be a business icon for the current generation.

This is a small book,
but you’ll enjoy it
in the same way a glass scotch, port, fine wine etc.. is smaller than a pint of beer.

Mintzberg isn’t a theorist
he’s a management mechanic

In this book he stewards you through a number of essays and position papers that are fun to read but still practical.

Digestible bites of 1000 to 1500 words max.

This book is the ultimate to take on a plan, train or bus ride (or private jet/yacht/top of a mountain and other “leadership” cliches)
– it will leave you productive but pensive.

Other management writers lose me quickly,
Mintzberg on the other hand describes my day in every book:

The lack of time, the challenge of work Vs. staff issues, the issue of vision Vs. strategy and results Vs. productivity

If you view management as a career more than just a job title…

Read this book, you will enjoy it.

I leave you with 14 minutes and 22 seconds of Henry at Tedx McGill