It has been a really hectic couple of months. Finishing off the school term, a couple of academic papers and a major conference presentation in Doha, Qatar has kept me running. Doha is an amazing city and I loved being there. Keep your eyes on Qatar – economy moving at light speed and dedication to education and health care. An idea that a few other countries (like Canada) should keep in mind!
One last conference keynote was on the agenda before the next adventure of teaching in Copenhagen at the Business School this summer. The Journey 2 Success Women Entrepreneurs Conference in Oakville, ON was a couple of days ago and what a delightful treat it turned out to be! Not only a great conference, but found a treasured gem that now has an honored place on my bookshelf.
The luncheon speaker was Barbara Stegemann of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her book, The 7 Virtues of a Philospher Queen tells her amazing entrepreneurial story. Barb started a perfume company that purchases its perfume oils from war-torn regions of the world and her motto is “Make Perfume Not War”. She believes that we can use our buying power to empower families in those countries that are rebuilding after conflict or any other disaster. The book is dedicated to a close friend who was wounded in Afghanistan – you have to read the book to find out more! Great storytelling, sound enterpreneurial advice and social innovation make a great read for the summer.
I love her story and the 7 Virtues Fragrance selection to my nose, is a winner. I am sorry to report I have left my favored Jo Malone perfumes for another woman. My choice was a harmonious blend called “Middle East Peace” – a combination of grapefruit, lime and basil that is just yummy. Available at the Bay stores in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the US. You can get the books online (link above) or purchase at the Bay or Lord & Taylor’s while you are testing out the perfumes. Just think, buying a bottle of perfume as a way to reduce conflict. Teaching people how to fish instead of giving them ‘aid’. Social innovation at its best! Great book. Great perfume. Great woman!!
Finally! Some brilliant soul – in this case, Susan Cain – has written the book for which every introvert has been looking. For those of us who, when silent in a meeting, are asked if something is ‘wrong’ – this book will make an excellent gift for those who asked the question. From the front cover:
“At least one third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying, who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favour working on their own over brainstorming in teams.”
Listen to Susan Cain on ted.com for an inspiring talk on the power of introversion. She speaks to the need to respect diversity in how we work – instead of forcing introverts to become something that reduces their creativity and ability to innovate. If you know or more importantly, are introverted, this book will confirm what you already know and few believe. Introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes as they allow the employees they manage to run with their ideas. So, if you want more innovative and sustainable leadership – perhaps you should look to the introverts in your organization. You might be overlooking an amazing source of creative capital.
Interested in creating a corporate culture that outperforms your competition? Ann Rhoades has shared her experience with companies such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines and reveals how leaders can create a winning environment.
Most important in my view, not only does this great little book show you how to implement a corporate culture program using the Values Blueprint, it shows you how to measure your culture in order to optimize performance. When you execute on the Values Workout, specifics are both encouraged and examples made available to aid your progress. An example:
Linking behaviours to your values system means consensus on the chosen values. So, if you say you have integrity as an organization, how do you define the meaning? Examples used in the book are:
1. demonstrating honesty, trust and mutual respect
2. never compromising values for short-term results
3. holding yourself and others accountable to actions and outcomes
4. following through on commitment and keeping promises.
Hmmmm – which one to choose? And, what behaviors demonstrate your understanding? Make sure that they are:
2. start with an action word
Written in easy to understand language, this book is a gem!
Peter Guber has had a very interesting career – studio chief at Columbia Pictures; co-chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures – to name a few. His current occupation includes storyteller and that perhaps is his best gig yet. In Tell to Win, Guber draws upon his extensive experience as a thought leader in multiple industries to deliver an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow book on how success is driven by creating a compelling story that moves people to action.
Moving beyond ‘death by powerpoint’, he brings to life the power of story in what he calls the ’emotional transportation business’ and states “if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it”. Short, sweet and right to the point. If you are looking for a good reference book for the use of storytelling in business to achieve your goals, this is one of the better ones I have found.
Among his techniques:
1. capturing audience attention
2. motivating listeners by demonstrating authenticity
3. building your tell around ‘what’s in it for them’
4. changing passive listeners into active participants; and
5. using state-of-the-art technologies online to make sure audience commitment remains strong.