I do not think we can ever replace the pertinent role of books in our lives. Whether you access and read them physically or electronically, books will always be a treasure. In entrepreneurship, there is an ever-growing quest to understand how others make it. Many ways can be employed in this quest but one of them is to know books that one reads. In principle, if you can know the books a successful entrepreneur reads, you can get an idea of their mindset, process, and so on. In this article, I look at 2 books that you must read. These are books I have heard some globally acclaimed entrepreneurs recommending.
High Output Management
This book was written by Andrew Grove. Andrew Grove was once the CEO of Intel Corporation. Overall, this is a book that is relevant to entrepreneurs and anyone holding a managerial position. I highly recommend that you get the book but I will highlight some of the major talking points in the book.
I once talked about the importance of the 3 Ps – Product, People, and Process. In this book, there is an emphasis on the importance of Process. Essentially the book touches on ensuring that everything that is done in any business follows a well laid out process that is reproducible and can be repeated under any context or set of circumstances. To understand and best come up with good processes, one must intimately know every individual component of their business and how they relate to each other. Lately Strive Masiyiwa has been discussing the subject of the 3 Ps on his Facebook page. It is of great necessity that those Ps are fully grasped in running businesses. In this book, the subject is touched on and you will do well to grab it and read it.
Importance of KPIs or KPAs
Those of you who have ever worked with strategic plans or done some project management will know how instrumental these are. Sadly most businesses are not quite big on these which makes you wonder how they even measure progress or performance. Remember the title of this book is High Output Management – keyword being ‘output’. Everything everyone does in a business or company must be tied to KPIs or KPAs. By the way, KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators whereas KPAs is for Key Performance Areas. The mistake most enterprises make is to run things without any clear focus areas i.e. you cannot objectively measure anything. You need to have these indicators that will inform your monitoring and evaluation framework. Even accountability is much better because a KPI is normally tied to responsibility (i.e. who is responsible) and time frame (i.e. when are results expected).
3 Keys To Effective Management
The book also delves into what it takes to get things done or to produce good results. In the book, it is all boiled down to 3 core things namely, data collection, data analysis (culminating in making decisions), and inspiring action. Those 3 elements are central to effective management. This simply means an effective manager must carry out his or her roles in that manner. Most managers or entrepreneurs make the mistake of making decisions or pushing people to do things using the wrong approaches. I have always been big on being empirical when making decisions so that really stood out to me.
Those are some of the things to expect in the book; so make sure you get to read it.
Influence: Science And Practice
This is a book that was written by Robert Cialdini. Robert Cialdini is a professor of psychology and marketing in the US so this is definitely a good read. I personally love the field of psychology because it makes us understand human behaviour much better.
Why This Book?
The stuff you will read in this book is not based on someone’s thinking. Rather it is premised on rigorously carried out science-based studies. Thus what is discussed in the book will most definitely apply in any setting given how that it is based on empirical research. The importance of this book to marketing is immense. In principle, effective marketing is about understanding psychology of which also it is about having influence. This is a book for every entrepreneur.
The 6 Principles
The book covers 6 principles that Robert Cialdini considers to be central to building influence. These are Scarcity, Reciprocity, Liking, Commitment and Consistency, Authority and Social Proof. Reciprocity deals with how doing well to or for someone primes them to do the same to you. Scarcity plays into the loss aversion aspect I usually talk about. As in, if something is or appears to be limited in supply, people tend to rush to get it. Authority is all about being deemed an authentic expert or guru in a particular domain. Commitment and consistency are simple and straightforward. Liking is about the whole aspect of people being more likely to associate with something they like. Particularly the business team, customers will interact with – they must be likeable. People are most likely to buy something that others are buying and speaking highly of. That is the principle of social proofs (or consensus).
This is a book I really loved given how most of what it covers is subject areas I usually talk about too. So I encourage you to get it and read it through.
If you seriously commit to reading these two books and applying what they say, there is no telling how successful you can be in business. The material covered is practical and relatable.