The Successful Executive's Mindset

I just finished reading Scott Eblin's The Next Level: What Insiders know About Executive Success and it's a keeper I'll be referring back to.

In addition to strategies on what executives need to pick-up and let go to be successful at this higher level, Scott also touches on the different mindset necessary.

Although the new executive needed to be a results-oriented over-achiever to get to this level, this mindset will no longer work.

The executive, unlike the senior leader, needs to be focused on the organization's success and on furthering all their agendas, sometimes at his personal agenda's expense. The executive also has to be aware that his actions and words are always being carefully monitored and will be taken much more seriously than he had intended, both for the good and bad. Scott shares an anecdote where a new executive teased a previous peer only to have him ask if he's in trouble.

Scott's point is that when you get to the executive level, you need to spend more time looking out, collaborating, directing, inspiring, and working towards the greater good with your executive peers rather than focusing on your own good. And you need to be aware you are your company's ambassador and that you are now perceived differently by all.

I love that Scott also emphasizes the value of having an executive take the time to connect with staff at all levels, ask for feedback, and be approachable. This takes effort since people tend to be suspicious and wary of anyone at the executive level.

If you're contemplating whether an executive role is something you should aspire to or not, read this book. I think anyone taking on an executive role for the first time should read this book or one like it so that they know what will be expected of them. Yes, promotions and raises are nice, but being an executive is not for everyone.

Have you had the opportunity to watch a newly-made executive transition? What made the transition a success or failure?

Review: The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steve Case, founder of AOL, provides his informed opinion of what is coming in The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future. As founder of AOL, he was very much at the forefront of the First Wave, helping get America Online, literally and figuratively. By the time the Second Wave came around and the Internet had gone mobile, Steve Case was a startup and social entrepreneurship investor, so still involved albeit indirectly.

Steve predicts that the Third Wave will be more similar to the First Wave, the one he knows so well, since it will involve the disruption of large entrenched industries such as education, healthcare, travel, and food. Some of his other predictions are:
  • the Third Wave will require the 3 P's—partnerships, policy, and perseverance;
  • Rise of the Rest—these disruptions will not only happen in Silicon Valley, NY, or Boston but in other hubs throughout the US—and outside of the US too;
  • Impact Investing will be a rising trend;
  • and America itself can get disrupted and lose it's lead if government doesn't make it easier for entrepreneurs to start.
The book was a really quick and interesting read that shares both what it took to get the Internet to what it is today and what could come next. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in how the Internet of Things or digital will continue to evolve.

Review: It's Not the How or the What but the Who

It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading about employee engagement, culture, and related topics since I am a firm believer that the "human resources" if treated right, are a company's true competitive advantage. Luckily more startups and companies are starting to understand this and more studies and books support this.

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz in his book It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best shows us the flip side of this. He has studies and anecdotes to demonstrate that if you figure out how to hire the best and surround yourself with these people, you will be able to succeed well beyond the average. This, he believes, is the secret behind the great CEOs such as Bezos, Jobs, Agnelli and others deemed top CEOs in terms of value they provide their shareholders.

The book helps us learn how to do this for ourselves: from recognizing internal biases that can interfere with hiring the best, to how to set-up a recruitment process that will ensure we find the best, to onboarding them correctly so that they can shine. Given the author's experience as a senior global executive search adviser, the information and advise are invaluable and also very readable.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to succeed, since you will have to learn how to surround yourself with those that can further your success.

Review: UnSelling: The New Customer Experience

UnSelling: The New Customer Experience UnSelling: The New Customer Experience by Scott Stratten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unselling by Scott and Alison is what a business book should be: easy to read, full of anecdotes that make the lessons come alive, and full of takeaways that you can apply to your life or business. Just reading this book will give you a better understanding of how to improve your customer experience, so that the customers are happy to return and bring others with them. It's a must read for anyone who has any contact with customers or clients, even if indirectly, which is all of us.

And I love their writing style and format so much, I've ordered two more of their books and look forward to reading them.