Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Business Success Advice for 2013

As I sit here in my office surrounded by more than 2,000 business books it’s pretty tough to narrow it down to just a handful of the very best. However, if I were going to pick the top 50 books that I feel give the very best information, the most useful ideas and tools for how to run a business successfully this would be my list.

** In no particular order**

1. In Search of Excellence — Tom Peters
2. The Little BIG Things – Tom Peters
3. Good to Great — Jim Collins
4. Built to Last — Jim Collins
5. What Really Works — Joyce, Nohria, Roberson
6. The Leadership Challenge — Kouzes and Posner
7. Authentic Leadership — Bill George
8. Indispensable – Joe Callaway
9. Becoming a Category of One – Joe Calloway
10. The Discipline of Teams — Katzenbach and Smith
11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team — Patrick Lencioni
12. Team Building (fourth edition) — Dyer, Dyer and Dyer
13. Lessons in Excellence from Charlie Trotter — Paul Clarke
14. Kiss Theory Goodbye — Bob Prosen
15. Mavericks at Work — Taylor and LaBarre
16. On Becoming a Leader — Warren Bennis
17. The Great Game of Business — Jack stack
18. The Starbucks Experience — Joseph Michelli
19. The New Gold Standard — Joseph Michelli
20. Customers for Life – Carl Sewell
21. At America’s Service — Karl Albrecht
22. The Northbound Train — Karl Albrecht
23. Leading People — Robert Rosen
24. The Definitive Drucker — Elizabeth Edersheim
25. What the Best CEOs know – Krames
26. Teaching the Elephant to Dance — James Belasco
27. If Aristotle ran General Motors — Tom Morris
28. The Rockefeller Habits – Vern Harnish
29. The Orange Revolution – Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
30. All In – Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
31. Nobel Enterprise – Darwin Gillette
32. Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
33. Primal Leadership – Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
34. The Leader of the Future – Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith and Richard Beckhard
35. Execution – Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
36. Love is the Killer App — Tim Sanders
37. Start with Why – Simon Sinek
38. Up Your Business — Dave Anderson
39. The 100 Best Business Books of All Time – Jack Covert and Todd Stattersten
40. Simply Better – Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan
41. Referral Engine – John Jantsch
42. Duct Tape Marketing – John Jantsch
43. Managing with a Conscience – Frank Sonnenberg
44. Six Disciplines Execution Revolution – Gary Harpst
45. Repeatability – James Allen and Chris Zook
46. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
47. The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuck
48. Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk
49. Firms of Endearment – Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, Jagdish N. Sheth
50. Leading in a Culture of Change — Michael Fullan
51. Awesomely Simple — John Spence :-)

I could easily recommend 75 or 80 more, but I think that if you were to read these books they would give you the best overall view on how to build, lead and grow a highly successful organization. If you do not see one of your VERY favorites, please send me a note in case I have not read it yet!!

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Do You Know Your LVC?

A Powerful Customer Relationship Tool

If you would like learn more about how John can assist you in facilitating a Customer Review Panel — simply call our offices at: 352-339-0142.

High-Performance Teams, Clear Expectations and Courage

This is a short montage from a recent seminar I taught in Auckland, NZ with a wonderful company called RESULTS.com (you ought to check out their website – they do cool stuff!). I hope you enjoy this clip and share it with anyone you feel would find value in the ideas I share…

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John Spence is the author of “Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action.” He is an award-wining professional speaker and corporate trainer, and has twice been recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America and also as one of the most admired Small Business Experts in the nation along with Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin and Apple.

VOC + MOT + WOM = Success

Here is a video from my Udemy Lecture Series with some key ideas I feel will truly help your business. Please share the link with anyone you think might find value in these ideas…

 

What Do You Worry About?

A few days ago I was talking to one of my clients, a brilliant young man (it hurts me to say that since I believe he’s in his late 30’s) who runs a great little company out in California. Things are going very well for his firm, he has a lot of business booked, and was really feeling pretty secure. So I decided to ask him one of my “secret weapon” questions: In terms of the business, what keeps you up at night? What are the top two or three things that worry you?” He answered that the first one was compensation; he was concerned as to whether or not his business had done an adequate job of building a fair and equitable compensation system for their top performers. He thought a little bit longer and said the second issue was hiring talent. Their firm was growing fast, he needed to hire super talented people for his team that had the ability to hit the ground running fast and start working with clients immediately. After a little more deliberation he said, “Those are the only two things that keep me up at night right now.” I told him that those are both important – but that he had missed the absolute most important thing that should be keeping him – and every single business owner in the world – up at night.

The single most important thing to worry about is… are your customers totally enthralled with the products and services you are providing to them? Do they love your business? Are they crazy about what you sell them? Do they truly enjoy interacting with your employees? What do your customers honestly think about your firm right now?

This hit him like a ton of bricks. He was very apologetic, saying that he should have thought of that, and I assured him that very, very few people have ever answered that question the way I hoped they would. Most business people I know are so inwardly focused on their processes, their systems, their people, and their issues…that they forget that the person who pays ALL the bills is the customer. Without happy, engaged, loyal and fanatic customers – eventually you will go out of business.

So to my mind, the most important thing for you to focus on is owning the voice of the customer (VOC), getting as close to your customers as possible and deeply understanding what their expectations are, what will make them very happy, what will make them angry, what would make them give you lots more of their business, what would make them take their business away from you. And the ONLY way to do this is to ask them… in 100 different ways… and then listen, listen, listen, listen. They will tell you exactly what it takes to be successful – actually, they are the ONLY ones that can tell you what it takes to be successful in your business – because they are the ones that decide whether or not to GIVE you their business!!

NOTE: Yes, you need absolutely fantastic employees who are highly engaged, loyal and motivated – because that is the single most important driver of happy, loyal and engaged customers. And of course you need quality products and services delivered at a reasonable price, that is a given. However, it is completely possible to have great people, great products, superb service and fair prices – and go out of business – because you do not have enough customers.

So my suggestion to you is that although you have lots of things to be concerned about in your business, and several of them that likely keep you up at night, if there is anything that should stay at the forefront of your mind as the single most important thing to think about, worry about, fret about, be totally and completely obsessive about…is:  What are your customers saying/thinking about your business?

That, my friends, is definitely the $64,000+++ question!

What Do You Expect?

During the past several months I have delivered numerous workshops and speeches for clients who were all struggling with the same basic issue: Lack of Clear Expectations. Regardless of the size of the company or the industry in which they competed, I’ve noticed a pattern of three critical areas where failure to set clear expectations has had a significant negative impact on the organization. Continue reading “What Do You Expect?” »

The Secret to Owning Your Market

I have some very strong beliefs about what it takes to run a highly successful business and right at the top of my list is: Whoever “owns” the voice of the customer and uses that information to build an organizational culture of Extreme Customer Focus will own the marketplace.

Here’s why: When you focus intensely on your customers and provide customer service that truly meets and exceeds their specific needs, you win their loyalty at a level that is nearly impossible to shake—even when that competitor down the street is offering giveaways and steep discounts, or your market is crowded with dozens of me-too products or services.

Simply put, Extreme Customer Focus produces unparalleled customer service, and unparalleled customer service creates an unfair advantage for you. And what business owner wouldn’t want an unfair advantage? Continue reading “The Secret to Owning Your Market” »

Tips for Small Business Excellence

Some great, quick tips from guest blogger – Bert Doerhoff

 Your business may be successful because it makes an excellent product, has excellent customer service or has excellent employees. No matter what it is that makes your business a success, it is not enough to make your business excellent. Excellence is something that is used to describe a business that not only succeeds in one area, but in all aspects of business.

Is your business excellent? If so, what makes it that way? If not, what changes, whether big or small, do you need to make to ensure you will reach excellence? Here are some tips collaborated from the Web that will help make your business truly excellent. Continue reading “Tips for Small Business Excellence” »