By James Ashcroft, founder of Life Safety Management, Inc.
As a busy entrepreneur, I’m always looking for new ways to strengthen my business and improve my management of it. And if I can learn some game-changing leadership skills along the way, even better! In the spirit of continued learning, I would like to share five books that may challenge your thinking and positively impact the way you run your business:
THE SCORE TAKES CARE OF ITSELF by Bill Walsh
When head coach Bill Walsh took over the San Francisco 49ers, they were the worst football team in the NFL. Within two years, they had won the Super Bowl.
How? Bill Walsh implemented a system with clear processes that outlined how everyone from the office receptionist to the starting quarterback did their job.
No detail was too small and positive thinking was paramount. He preached, “Champions act like champions before they are champions.” All businesses should
be built with a similar mindset. Companies should have clear systems and processes to achieve winning outcomes. You’ll be hardpressed to find a better leadership example than Bill Walsh.
BUILT TO SELL by John Warrillow
When you start a business, you’re hoping it will survive. But there comes a time when owners must install systems and processes so the business can operate without them. Think of this book as a best practices primer so you can dominate one niche, offer recurring services—instead of transactional sales—and create systems that are teachable and repeatable. Even if you have no intention of selling your business, this book will teach you how to scale it and create more value.
MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING by Viktor Frankl
I don’t think it’s possible to suffer more than Viktor Frankl did in World War II. He was sent to a Nazi concentration camp (Auschwitz), where he was forced to work under the most subhuman conditions. In time, he noticed how those prisoners who had (understandably) lost hope, quickly died. So how did he survive when most perished? By giving his life a purpose— an intense desire to publish his life’s work. As Nietzsche said, “He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how.’” When you know your meaning in life, you can handle most obstacles in stride. No one embodies that more than Viktor Frankl, who became one of the greatest psychologists of all time.
WHO by Geoff Smart
Many business owners are familiar with the hiring bible, Topgrading. The problem is that the book is huge and overwhelming. Who, written by the son of the Topgrading author, is a concise and powerful “how-to” for recruiting, interviewing and reviewing “A-players.” I use the interview process, and it’s been a complete game-changer. Think about how many resources are wasted on employees who don’t succeed. If you develop better interview skills to identify and hire “A-players,” then you can put your company at a huge competitive advantage. This book is highly recommended for anyone building a team.
HYPER SALES GROWTH and THE SALES PLAYBOOK by Jack Daly
Jack Daly is well-known in the EO circles, but many entrepreneurs are not familiar with this sales legend’s work. Hyper Sales Growth teaches the concepts about
growing your sales force through recruiting and training methods. The Sales Playbook goes deeper by showing you how to execute the systems and processes so you can build a scalable, dominant sales team in your market.