Betties Book Brief | How To Say Anything To Anyone

Back Office Betties Book Brief | How To Say Anything To AnyoneOur CEO & Founder, Emily, was the first to order How To Say Anything To Anyone by Shari Harley after a painful experience with a team member. This team member had been starting to feel pushed out of the organization due to being shuffled around. The truth of the matter was that she was difficult to work with. We were attempting to find the right position for her in order to keep her on board without continuing to ruffle the feathers of other team members. Unfortunately, the communication was not there and we lost her altogether. With this experience, it became apparent that our management team needed to learn how to say anything to anyone and avoid miscommunications and poor team leadership in the future. Alas, after Emily got partway through the book, multiple copies were ordered for the rest of the team!

If you’ve ever struggled to talk about hard things with a team member, you’re going to want to read this one.

How To Say Anything To Anyone Takeaways

  • In the absence of candor, people are left to make assumptions about what really happened. In the example of the team member above, we could have avoided many hard feelings by being upfront about the situation.
  • Staying quiet damages relationships. Speak up candidly and avoid writing someone off to avoid an issue; this usually leads to damaged relationships.
  • Being candid is not being negative. It is stating expectations, making the commitment to talk about things as they happen, and asking what others think of your performance. Candor in the workplace creates better relationships in which all parties can speak openly without concern.
  • People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Asking for input & feedback from your team is one of the keys to having productive and satisfied employees.
  • There are two purposes for providing feedback: to change behavior or replicate it. Check your intentions before opening your mouth. Ask yourself if what you want to say is intended to replicate or change behavior. If neither, it is not valuable feedback and should not be said unless asked for your opinion.

Communication is Key

  • Establish expectations in anything new – a meeting, a relationship, a project. Having set expectations makes it easier to address frustrating behaviors when they happen. We recently asked our team to start turning their cameras on during meetings due to low engagement. It was clear that not everyone was at their desk, fully present during team meetings. When we implemented this new rule, there was a lot of grumbling because the expectation was not set from the get-go. If some ground rules had been set beforehand, we could have more easily addressed the issues as they came up.
  • Take time to ask people about their work style preferences. How do they like to communicate? Are they a morning or night person? Do they prefer setting appointments or dropping in for a chat? What are their pet peeves? How will you know when they are frustrated? All of these are important questions to ask and understand about the people you work with.
  • If you have a boss, take initiative to manage the relationship. Ask for feedback. Understand your boss’s communication preferences and expectations. Your job is to make your boss look good. If you do so, they are your conduit to more interesting work, pay raises, and advancement.
  • Check-in regularly on your relationships. What’s working or not working? What are their challenges? How can you make each other’s lives easier?

Questions to Ask Your Team

  1. What are three things that will keep you with the organization?
  2. What’s one thing that would make you leave?
  3. What do you enjoy doing the most?
  4. Are there any skills you would like to develop?
  5. What is something you want to do that you have never had a chance to?
  6. What do you enjoy doing the most?
  7. How do you like to receive recognition publicly or privately?
  8. What would you like to be doing in one year? 3 years?
  9. Why did you accept this job? What are you hoping it will provide?
  10. What are your concerns?
  11. How will I know when you’re frustrated and need support?
  12. What do you want to know about me?
  13. What do you want me to know about you?

The Formula For Providing Feedback

  1. Introduce the conversation by asking for a few minutes to talk.
  2. State your motive.
  3. Describe the observed behavior.
  4. Share the impact or result of the behavior.
  5. Have some dialogue, and ask the recipient for his perception of the situation.
  6. Make a suggestion a request for what you’d like the person to do next time.
  7. Build an agreement on next steps.
  8. Say thank you.

Telling Someone They Stink

“John this is a little awkward and it may be uncomfortable. Though I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, I’m doing it because I care about you and I want you to be successful. I have noticed that you have an odor. I know this is a very awkward subject. We work in a small space and I don’t want others to avoid working with you or say anything negative. And as awkward as this is, I would rather you hear from me than from someone else. What are your thoughts?”
Recap his suggestion for behavior change or make a suggestion.
“John, thank you for being willing to have this conversation with me.”
All in all, this book is a total lifesaver for those who tend to be more passive in communication. Our team has already benefitted from what we’ve learned, and we plan to keep utilizing these tips indefinitely. Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Betties Book Brief | The First 90 Days

The First 90 Days - Betties Book BriefMost failures can be traced back to the first 90 days of a new job or changed position. Crazy, right? We were really curious about this, so for this month’s book brief, we read The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins.

At Back Office Betties, we really care about our team and want our employees to have the success we know they are capable of when we hire them. While this book was written for all levels of management, up to the CEO, much of it can also be applied to new entry-level employees.

Watkins explains throughout this book that it’s imperative to manage your transition well in any career change to ensure your success. Okay, so how can we help our new hires and promoted employees to manage their transition?

Tips to Starting Off on the Right Foot

The following tips are for employees making a transition. How can you help your new hires to understand that their success relies on the first 90 days?

  1. Take a mental break before starting a new position. The danger of sticking to what you know is failure. Employees need to do a mind shift to prepare for their new role. This is especially true for anyone who believes they were promoted due to their stellar skills. For example, Julia was amazing at marketing and was promoted to project manager for a new product launch. She immediately failed because she couldn’t let go of micromanaging projects, causing her to alienate her team. The strengths that made her great at marketing were liabilities in a management role.
  2. Assess the situation and make a plan from there. Your approach will need to be different in a startup versus an established business. Consider your role, as well. Moving from marketing to sales or production will need a new plan.
  3. Secure early wins. Build a productive relationship with your new boss and learn what their expectations are.
  4. Create coalitions. Figure out who is most important to your success and nurture those relationships.


Recruiting is Like Romance, Employment is Like Marriage

Your team has built their relationships and know each other inside and out. Hiring management from outside the organization can oftentimes seem like an affair and the organization may reject the new hire. Reasons most often cited for rejection:

  • The person is not familiar with the informal networks of information and communication
  • They’re not familiar with the corporate culture
  • They are unknown and lack credibility
  • There is a long tradition of refusing to hire outsiders, making it difficult for the organization to accept this one

It’s important for new leaders to build relationships with their peers, top to bottom.


Embrace the Need to Learn

New hires, especially managers, need to spend time learning as much as they can about the history of their new company. This is especially important to keep in mind before coming in with guns blazing to fire up change.

  • Learn why team member performance is poor or why they’re good at what they do. Do they have issues residing in strategy, structure, culture, or the individual?
  • Learn what the vision and strategy are. Do the team members know this information?
  • Learn about your people – understand who is capable and who is not, who is trustworthy, who has influence, who takes ownership in their work.
  • Begin to document a list of challenges and opportunities, as well as any barriers. Do you have the resources to overcome any barriers?
  • Meet with every direct report and ask them 5 questions.
  • Find out from the current team what they would like to know about the new leader. Ask what they would like the new leader to know about them and the business. Facilitate a group meeting to discuss with all.


Other Takeaways From The First 90 Days

  • There are 5 common situations a leader might be moving into: STARS. Start-up, Turnaround, Accelerated Growth, Realignment, & Sustaining Success. It’s important to understand which you are entering to have a solid plan of attack.
  • It’s okay to have different styles as long as everyone’s work is done as promised and on time. It is also okay to push back on the boss. For example, Michael was pressured by his boss at 3 weeks to make a final decision on a major purchase. However, he had told her that he needed 30 days to evaluate it. Michael pushed back and held firm to the 30-day schedule by acknowledging that their styles are different, but that he should not be judged on how he gets his job done. He should only be judged on the fact he is doing his job and doing it well.
  • Clarify communication styles. What does your direct report want from you? Email, phone calls, facetime? How do you best communicate? Have the conversation so that there is a good understanding between you.
  • Talk about future needs. Once you hit your current goal, what happens beyond that? What do you need from your team once you hit that goal?


Ultimately, The First 90 Days has given us some great insight into how to better prepare our team members for success. Have you read this book? What were your takeaways? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Betties Book Brief | Atomic Habits

Betties Book Brief Atomic Habits

This month’s read was Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. This book offered us so many great takeaways and things to implement in our day-to-day!

Atomic Habits Takeaways

  1. Goals are worthless without systems in place. The results have very little to do with the goal that is set and more to do with the systems put in place to create small habits that will incrementally lead to success.
  2. Making a change to a part of your identity will have better sticking power. For example: The goal isn’t to run a marathon, it’s to become a runner. The goal isn’t to try and quit smoking, it’s to become a non-smoker.
  3. The reason new things are difficult is that the neuropathways haven’t been carved out yet. Once neuropathways are carved out, doing something like speaking a new language, or playing an instrument can become second nature.
  4. A habit is a pattern that has been repeated enough times to become automatic.
  5. There are 4 laws of behavior change:
    1. How can I make it obvious?
    2. How can I make it attractive?
    3. How can I make it easy?
    4. How can I make it satisfying?

Cue, Craving, Response, Reward

  1. Our actions must have rewards.
  2. A cue is about noticing the reward. A craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward. The cue triggers the craving which triggers the response which creates the reward. All of this creates a habit loop.
  3. We are executing on habits all day long. When you walk into a dark room, the first thing you do is turn on the light switch. The cue is the dark room, the craving is to see, the response is to flip the switch, and the reward is the light comes on.
  4. Writing down when you are going to execute a new habit has a better chance of success. You can also habit stack. For example, after I make my morning coffee, I will meditate for one minute. After I meditate, I will write down my to-do list.
  5. The two most obvious cues are time and location.
  6. Environment serves as a powerful cue. For example, in church, you’re going to speak quietly. If the office always has free bagels in the break room, you’ll likely be triggered to take one.
  7. Many of our decisions are made based on the obvious choice.
  8. You can temptation bundle. This links an activity you want to do with an activity you want to do. An engineer loved watching Netflix but wanted to work out more. He created a contraption that would play Netflix as long as he was moving.
  9. Every craving has a surface level craving and a deeper underlying motive. A craving is just a manifestation of a deeper underlying motive. You may like to have a hot drink while driving around in the car. Say this drink is regularly a vanilla latte (that you know is unhealthy and full of sugar) and you can’t seem to break the habit. This is because your need for a drink is likely legitimate but you’ve trained yourself to fill the need with a latte.

Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres

This is one of Emily’s favorite Spanish sayings. It means “Show me who you hang around and I will show you who you are”. One of the biggest influencers of habit is proximity to others. Who you hang around with can influence your habits and it’s important to keep this in mind. Surround yourself with people who strive to have good habits and you will have an easier time creating good habits for yourself.


As you can see, we got a lot of value out of this book and are excited to start implementing some better habits!

Have you read this book? What were your takeaways? We’d love it if you continue the conversation with us over on Facebook!



Betties Book Brief | The Power of Full Engagement

Betties Book Brief The Power of Full EngagementWe asked our friend RJon over at How to Manage a Small Law Firm how he manages to accomplish everything that he does. He shared that The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz changed his world by teaching him how to best channel his energy to achieve great things. Obviously,  we had to give it a read. Spoiler: We LOVED this book! It’s chock full of relatable examples and valuable insights.

The Power of Full Engagement Takeaways

  1. The most compelling reason for change is spiritual. Spirituality is a set of values or your “Why”. Your reason for existence. Purpose lights us up and when you can tie in the change with the spiritual reasons, you are more likely to achieve the change. For example, Susan couldn’t seem to quit smoking. However, the moment she discovered she was pregnant, she was able to quit cold turkey for her child.
  2. Happiness does not correlate with income. Numerous studies have shown that once basic needs are met, happiness levels do not continue to rise. The number one predictor of happiness is productivity and making a contribution to something aligned with your purpose.
  3. Determine your top three values. When you can tie in your behavior to a value, it is easier to change. For example, a gentleman who values respect for others but always keeps people waiting realizes that his behavior is contradicting his own values, thus making it easier for him to make a change. Ask yourself, at the end of your life, what are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned? Who are you at your best? You can also think of someone you admire and list three characteristics that inspire you about them.
  4. Create your vision statement. A vision statement is a declaration of intent on how to invest one’s energy. Think about your statement often.
  5. Face pain instead of denying it. Oftentimes we have the ability to push aside pain instead of acknowledging it and we are mistaken in believing it is gone. It will manifest later in forms of illness, poor performance at work, anxiety, relationship problems, depression. Denial takes energy. Facing the pain and working through it is freeing and releases your energy for more positive and productive things.
  6. All great performers have rituals that allow them to move between stress and recovery rhythmically. Tennis players have a 16-second recovery ritual and if they can do it in 16 seconds, there is no excuse for anyone else. None of us are too busy. Even just a 90-second break to get up and get a cup of tea or go for a quick walk about is enough time to recharge.

Have you read this book? What were your takeaways? Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook.


Betties Book Brief | Outrageous Advertising

Outrageous Advertising Back Office Betties Book BriefThis month, we read Bill Glazer’s Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful. Believe us when we say this book is a must-read if you ever feel you’re coming up short on marketing ideas! Bill goes over different tips and tricks of copywriting, but he also provides concrete examples of fantastic campaigns that can be adapted for any industry – including legal. The key to swiping these ideas is to let them inspire your own spin on them, but don’t copy word for word.

For example, we loved the idea of sending out an invitation and requiring an RSVP that was mentioned in the book. So, we created a mailer that looks exactly like a formal invitation, inviting potential clients to RSVP for a new service we are rolling out soon (wink, wink – keep an eye out for what that may be). But we didn’t use their exact design or copy, just the idea and adapted it into what works best for our business. There’s no right or wrong, you just want to grab your potential clients’ attention with your marketing.

With that being said, we highly recommend this read to anyone who struggles in the copywriting or advertising department because it will help you! Check out our main takeaways below:

Outrageous Advertising Takeaways


What your offer needs:

  • Always list the pertinent details. Every time! Company name, location, hours, phone number, website, products/brands, etc.
  • A solid direct response ad will always: Make an offer, give a deadline (2 weeks max), and allows you to track the responses.
  • Deadlines are mandatory for a successful offer.
  • A great headline needs to answer: who cares? what’s in it for me? why are you bothering me?


Other things to keep in mind:

  • Reason Why copy: responses go up when you explain why you’re making an offer. Do this in a story format and you are almost guaranteed results. Good reasons why: fire/flood sale, need to pay my taxes sale, scratch and dent, birthday or anniversary, server crashed, it’s raining, the boss is away. As you can see, the limit does not exist. Anything can be a reason for a promotion as long as you pair a story with it.
  • The more you tell, the more you sell. Long-form copy works!
  • Rethink ROI success. Outrageously successful means the proportion of money spent to the money generated by the campaign. If we spent $600 on direct mail and received 1 client whose lifetime value was $3000, this is a 5x return on our investment.
  • People are going to respond to your advertisement for fear of loss or personal gain.
  • You don’t have to always offer a discount – the hot new shoes being released cause people to line up because of scarcity, not a discount.
  • Offer a choice between premiums and let the customer choose. The choices could be something like a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant OR a donation to the charity of their choice OR we will give you this survival kit.
  • Mix up your media during campaigns. Engagement and response rates increase substantially with each additional touch so get yourself seen everywhere your ideal client is. An example could be: direct mail first, follow up phone call, postcard, then final email reminder.


Have you read Outrageous Advertising? What tips have you implemented in your law firm’s marketing? We’d love to hear your thoughts over on Facebook!

Betties Book Brief | The Infinite Game

The Infinite Game Book Brief

This month, the Back Office Betties team read The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. In this book, Sinek explains that there are two types of games: finite and infinite. Anything that involves 2 or more people is a game, it’s just a matter of what type of game you’re playing. Finite games are those that have clear rules and end, like football or chess. However, infinite games are those with no defined endpoint. Business is an infinite game and those who are leaders in business need to master the mindset of playing.

Our takeaways

  • Infinite leaders will embrace the challenges of change and upheaval
  • When you look at the history of world economics, things will always go up and down. They will be only one way or the other and he who is prepared is he who thrives!
  • Adopting an infinite mindset is like trying to get in shape. Consistency in your behavior is the key!
  • 5 things must occur:
    • Advance a just cause. People generally are not going to love their job. But if they can get behind a mission, it can give their work meaning and make it worth doing.
    • Build trusting teams. We have to feel safe to express vulnerability. Trust and vulnerability grow together. Be open to admitting mistakes and asking for help. In the case of one oil rig, they saw an 80% decrease in safety incidents after implementing vulnerability training.
    • Study worthy rivals
    • Prepare for existential flexibility
    • Demonstrate the courage to lead

Final notes

We are partial to good reads that inspire action and help to advance us personally or in business. This book did neither. It does have some entertaining stories and wasn’t terrible to read, but it is essentially a book on mindset.

If you find yourself having regular limiting thoughts and coming up with the reasons that you cannot do something, then this may be a good book for you!

Have you read The Infinite Game? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Betties Book Brief | Built to Sell

Built to Sell Book BriefThis month’s Book Brief comes to you as a plea – please don’t make this common mistake! We read Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow and realized that too many business owners create a business dependent on them. When you are starting up, it’s easy to take on every hat in an attempt to save money and retain control. However, this quickly becomes burdensome and unmanageable – even if you never intend to sell!

In Built to Sell, Warrillow tells a story of a fictional business owner who intends to sell his marketing firm but is struggling – until he turns to a mentor and determines what he needs to do to make his business sellable.

Our Built to Sell Takeaways

  • Commit to being a specialist. Clients will test your resolve every day; everyone wants you to customize things just for them. Catering to everyone and accomodating every request will diminish your specialization. Learn to say no!
  • Specializing makes you referable. When you do a specific thing really well, your clients will make you known when someone asks.
  • Have good processes in place. Employees must be able to run things without you in order to be attractive to a buyer.
  • Build a sales engine. Figure out the number of pipeline prospects needed to reach sales objectives. Building out a sales process will show prospective buyers that you have a scalable sales engine.
  • Build a strong leadership team. Potential buyers want to see that your company runs amazingly well without you.
  • Offer bonuses. Offer your leadership team a stay bonus to help with the sale and transition. Pay it out over 2 payments contingent on their staying for a specified duration of time.


Obviously, it makes sense that you want your business to thrive without you if you want to sell it. But even if you are not ready to sell or not interested in detaching completely from your business, these tips are incredibly useful in building and scaling a business that you run rather than one that runs you. Whether you plan to sell or not, consider following these tips and watch as it creates 1) more success in your business and 2) more freedom in your life.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on our takeaways? Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook!

And don’t forget to check out our other Book Briefs here.

Betties Book Brief | Shut Up and Listen

Betties Book Brief - Shut Up and Listen

This month in Betties Land, we enjoyed the blunt and quick read, Shut Up and Listen: Hard Business Truths That Will Help You Succeed by Tilman Fertitta. The year is already flying by so we were grateful that this book was such a quick and easy read while still being packed full of valuable tips. If you are short on time but ready to learn, this book should be next on your list.

Shut Up and Listen Takeaways

1. “Take the word ‘no’ out of your damn vocabulary.”

Telling a customer “no” is not letting them know you can’t do something, it’s letting them know that you’re choosing not to do something. If a customer wants eggs after breakfast, and your restaurant has eggs in the kitchen, why tell them no? Instead, let them know that you can make them eggs but there will be an additional charge because breakfast hours are over. Find a way that makes good business sense to give the customer what they want and accommodate their request.

Use the word “no” sparingly. You will certainly use it in some instances, like when a guest devours their steak then demands a refund. Or perhaps the roads are flooded due to a storm and you cannot make a delivery. But using “no” should be a very rare occurrence. Instead, think of using “yes, and…” For example, “Yes, I can do that and here is what it will cost as a premium for the convenience.”

2. Details matter.

Tilman can tell what his dining experience will be like before he even walks into a restaurant. If there are cigarette butts on the floor or smudge marks on the door because the hostess is inattentive, it is likely that the same lax attitude may be found throughout the rest of the staff. If the hostess doesn’t keep things clean, it’s possible that your service and food quality will also be subpar.

3. You absolutely must know your numbers.

No exceptions! A company that is struggling can find inefficiencies when they know their numbers. It is much, much easier to fix current inefficiencies to increase profits than it is to go out and find new customers.

4. Never lose sight of the customer’s experience.

Mystery shop your business to gain valuable insight into what it’s like for the customer. Listen to feedback and take reviews seriously. 95% of the business is likely going to run really well so never lose sight of the 5% that needs improvement. Always seek out ways to be better.

5. Leverage your strengths.

Learn to improve upon them and delegate your weaknesses!

6. Ignore the naysayers.

Do not give up until they have padlocked your doors shut! Most businesses are failing because people give up on them too soon. If you are taking the steps above, don’t give up until the ship has fully sunk.

7. Choose a partner wisely.

Do not go into business with a friend or family member with similar strengths to your own! Go into business with a partner who is complementary. When they started Betties, Emily’s partner was great at sales and Emily was great at process. If they had both been process people, we would have had a business capable of execution with no clients to serve.


Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments or find us over on Facebook!

Betties Book Brief – What You Do is Who You Are

What You Do Is Who You Are Book BriefAnother month, another Book Brief! To start our 2020 Book Briefs, we read What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz. As you know, when we really love a book, we give you the key points AND we tell you you need to read it. However, this one is not quite like that. This book was a little hard to get through and didn’t give as many actionable steps as one would hope. Alas, when you read as many books as we do, it’s unsurprising that sometimes a lackluster read is thrown our way. For this one, take our synopsis and key takeaways, then find yourself another book on our list. ;)

Now, this is not to say this book didn’t add value. It did! But the first 2/3 was solely made up of stories and it wasn’t until the last 1/3 of the book that we found any advice.

Horowitz utilizes a tale of the Haitian Revolution to show business owners that culture can be created and molded into what you want it to be. However, some reviewers have mentioned that he misunderstood the lives of Haitian slaves. They state that his lessons are not necessarily applicable to what happened with the slaves. While we are not historians and can’t really speak to this, we see where the reviewers are coming from.

What You Do Is Who You Are Takeaways

Have Principles – In the story of the Louisiana Purchase, we get kind of a Butterfly Effect. It all started with one Haitian slave, Toussaint Louverture, who created an army of slaves that went on to defeat Great Britain, Spain, and France – resulting in a free state of Haiti. Napoleon suffered a high number of losses, leading him to sell property in the United States, now known as the Louisiana Purchase. Unfortunately, this brought slavery to the United States. American abolitionist, John Brown, was inspired by Louverture when he organized the raid on Harpers Ferry. Though this raid ultimately failed and cost John Brown his life, it was a starting force of the Civil War. Louverture held to his principles and encouraged others to do the same, no matter the cost, and ultimately created the ripple effect that abolished slavery in the US.

Never Waver – Even after winning independence for Haiti, Toussaint Louverture never wavered from his ethics and morals. Many of his men wanted to punish or kill their former masters but Louverture had a vision. He wanted a new culture for his country! His ability to embody his ideal culture allowed it to trickle down to thousands of people. He shifted the culture of prejudice into a culture of understanding. No one is inherently bad because of their skin color. Instead, he argued that lack of culture and education was what made people so different.

Set Enforceable Rules – When setting rules, they must be interacted with frequently. Otherwise, people forget the rules and they don’t get enforced. If your rule only applies to situations people face once a year, it’s irrelevant. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants coach from 2004-2015, set a rule that if you’re on time, you’re late. His meetings always started 5 minutes early and if you were late, you paid a $1000 fine. Harsh? Maybe. But it set the precedent for his culture and was relevant every day.

Focus on the End – This book included a chapter all about focusing on death. It was hard for us to wrap our heads around because we like to focus on what we want to achieve and who we want to be, rather than worst-case scenarios. However, we were able to pull out some tidbits that make logical sense to even the most optimistic. When envisioning the conclusion of your business, how would it’s eulogy read? Did you treat people well? Did you build a good product? Was your service helpful to others?

CEO Leadership Styles

Everyone Has a Say – This model is the most disruptive to your business and quickly leads to the most headache for employees. Oftentimes, this will lead to a bottleneck and nothing gets done.

My Way or The Highway – This leadership model works better than everyone getting a say. However, it still leaves team members dissatisfied.

Combination Leadership – Combining the two above models into one is the best leadership style. Allow voices to be heard but leave the ultimate decision-making up to the CEO.

Wartime vs Peacetime CEO – The state of your business will indicate which CEO you need. Peacetime CEOs tend to be more diplomatic, patient, and sensitive to the needs of their teams. Wartime CEOs are far more comfortable with conflict and are almost unbearably impatient and intolerant of anything other than perfection. Both styles are necessary and executives who work well with one generally will not work well with the other.

All in All

What You Do Is Who You Are offered up some valuable history lessons and gave us some insight into the importance of staying true to your values. Our parents taught us to do as they say, not as they do and we all know how that worked out, right? Most of us let that nonsense in one ear and out the other! Leading your team by example is the best way to set your company culture up for success. This book engrained that into us through story after story.


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Betties Book Brief | The Third Door

The Third Door Book BriefWe are back again with the very last Book Brief of this decade! This month, we read The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan. This one was cringy, vulnerable, inspiring, and packed with life lessons. I laughed, I cried – oftentimes simultaneously! Obviously I want you to read my Book Brief but despite that, you should stop reading and do yourself a favor and go buy the book. You won’t regret it.

Visualize your dreams

I’ve always been a vision board kind of gal. I love pulling them out of storage years later and seeing that everything I dreamt of has come to fruition. Every year, I create a vivid vision for my business’s annual goals. Last year’s board was a visual reminiscent of the Candy Land game, in the form of Betties Land. 2020’s visual will be a board in the style of Wizard of Oz. There is something magical about writing down your dreams and doubly powerful when you put down a due date!

Much like my vision boards, the author, Alex, carries around an index card with his dream list of people he’d like to interview. He also created a list of people he would love to have as a mentor.

The path to success

  1. Take great risks. Alex was in college to become a doctor, which would provide for a very predictable and steady life. However, he missed class on Exam day in order to get on The Price is Right in an attempt to win prize money that would fund his travels. It paid off. He also missed his Final in Accounting to meet his dream mentor – another gamble. There are thousands of people who could tell the tale of their dream to be a doctor but they lost their way and now live below their potential. This is not one of those stories! Great reward takes great risk.
  2. Never lose your cool. When Alex met his mentor for the first time, Elliott Bisnow peppered him with rapid-fire questions. I smiled reading this, just knowing something good was about to happen. When I like someone but I’m not entirely sure about them, I will oftentimes begin a line of questioning made to make them feel uncomfortable. They will either fold under the pressure or prove that they can handle it. When Alex passed this test, he was offered the opportunity to accompany his mentor to his next meeting. This just so happened to be in a room full of people like Larry Page, Tony Hsieh, and Reid Hoffman.
  3. Facts tell, stories sell. At first, Alex approached potential interviewees with only the facts of his mission. He hoped that would be enough to get them on board and failed to mention that he stayed up all night learning how to get himself chosen on The Price is Right or that he then won the entire thing the next morning. He failed to tell the story of selling the prize to fund the mission. His mentor told him that he should not ever tell anyone about his quest again unless he starts it off with the story. The story is what ropes people in. It’s what shows Alex’s character and is more entertaining than anything he could ever pitch.
  4. Haters come in all shapes and sizes. You may even call them “Mom”. Alex’s mom tried hard to reason with him and help steer him back to safety and predictability. You will have people that are jealous and hate on you, but more often you will have people who love you and are frightened when you choose a path of adventure over safe travels. Alex stood his ground when the opportunity to accompany his mentor to Europe arose. Elliott’s rule number five: Adventures only happens to the adventurous.
  5. Success only comes from kissing frogs. An interview with Dean Kamen (inventor of Segway and insulin pumps) revealed that each frog represents a different way to solve a problem. If you kiss enough, one will turn into a prince! If you haven’t found your success yet, you haven’t kissed enough frogs.
  6. Keep an intern mentality. No matter what level you reach in life, there is always more to learn. You need to be willing to be humble, think like an intern, and always keep learning.
  7. Growth comes from mistakes. In an interview with Quincy Jones, he stated that you have to cherish your mistakes so that you can learn from them. Your mistakes are your greatest gifts!
  8. The journey is your success. In order to get his publishing deal, Alex had to land an interview with Bill Gates. He spent months honing in on Bill Gates as the destination. But after interviewing Quincy Jones, he realized that all of his growth had occurred during the journey. Bill Gates was never the holy grail, it was the journey and the mistakes along the way that helped Alex to see that both success and failure are just different results from the same thing – trying. He learned that no matter the result, he will always walk away a better man.

Prioritize your desires

In addition to the above notes, something that really stood out from Alex’s story is that you should make a list of 25 things you’d like to accomplish. Then circle your top five. Forget everything else. Success as a result of prioritizing your desires. You can be really good at those 25 things or you can be world-class at 5.

In the interview with Kamen, he states the following about doing big things: “Be prepared for them to take way longer than you thought, cost way more than you expected, and be full of failures that are painful, embarrassing, and frustrating.” When you prepare yourself like this, managing 5 things seems a lot more reasonable than 25.


Alright, that’s all I’ve got for this Book Brief! I hope you enjoyed it because I thoroughly enjoyed writing up these notes. If you want more where this came from, check out past Book Briefs here or sign up here to receive them straight to your inbox.

Again, this book is one you absolutely must-read. Hopefully these small takeaways are enough to motivate you to go grab it!