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Radical Candor – July’s Book Brief

As you know, the Betties team reads an enticing new book each month in order to share our notes and takeaways with you. This month, we read Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

This guide to being a better boss offers a simple ideation that you have to both challenge and care. Without one or the other, your management style is severely lacking and not nearly as effective as you hope to be. Kim Scott has a reputation of leading at Google as well as Apple, where she developed a class on how to be a good boss. Her real-life stories and insightful advice truly round out her expertise in being an effective manager to give us this fabulous book.

Some of our most valuable takeaways include:

1. Every team needs rockstars and superstars.

A rockstar is like the Rock of Gibraltar and you can always lean on them and depend on them. They are steady and brilliant at what they do and they are not gunning for the next promotion. A superstar does an equally great job but they will go absolutely crazy if they are still in the same job a year from now. Use this to build a strong team that will grow with you.

2. Create a path for growth for frontline workers.

Give them a path that comes with better wages and opportunity, without having to be a management path. Make it more attractive than the management path, because people will often gravitate to that thinking it’s their only choice. This is how to nurture your superstars.

3. Avoid a shit sandwich.

This goes against everything we have always been taught but there is no good bad good balance that should be sought out. Praise the good and be candid about the bad. When you force yourself to package something like the s*** sandwich, it’s insincere and people will see right through it.

4. Encourage discussion of problems.

This is where creativity is at its finest. When you tell people to bring you solutions, it shuts down the creative process of having that discussion around the problem. Create a process for suggestions with something like a vote up or down, then provide feedback to your staff on what happened to their idea.

5. What can I do (or stop doing) that will make it easier to work with me?

Ask this of your subordinates, and during skip meetings, ask team members the same question of their manager. Always work to improve in the way you manage your staff.

6. Make it your personal business to find out the hopes and dreams each of the people who work under you.

Whether it’s business or personal, if you find out what they want to do and then can coach them or somehow tie that into what they are doing now, it gives them purpose. For example, a girl at Google wanted to run a spirulina farm (which is a far cry from her work at Google). Her manager listened to her dream and offered to mentor her on being a leader. When she’s ready to leave and start that farm, she will be a capable leader.

Have you read Radical Candor? 

How has it helped you improve your management style?

Betties Book Brief: The Happiness Project

This month, our team at Back Office Betties had the privilege of reading The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

The Happiness Project is rarely described as a book or a blog. More often it’s described as a “movement”. This book takes you on Gretchen Rubin’s year-long journey to answer the question “What do I want from life, anyway?” The simple answer? “To be happy.”

The Happiness Project is great for people that are on the go, lead busy lives, and generally just don’t have the time to dedicate to a lengthy tutorial on how to live your best life. Each chapter is packed with useful information and provide abundant stopping points if time constraints require you to tackle a few pages at a time, or you simply want to reflect after taking in these words of wisdom.

We’ve compiled some top takeaways for you which will be beneficial in your daily pursuit of happiness below:

1. Spread happiness and be near people who spread it too

“In a phenomenon called “emotional contagion,” we unconsciously catch emotions from other people – whether they are good moods or bad ones. Taking time to be silly means that we’re infecting one another with good cheer, and people who enjoy silliness are one third more likely to be happy.”

2. Challenge and growth are the keys to happiness

“Challenge and novelty are key elements to happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. If you do new things – visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people – you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to familiar activities.”

3. Working towards a goal makes you as happy as achieving it

“The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth,” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present. The unpoetic name for this very powerful source of happiness is “pre-goal-attainment positive effect.”

“Enjoy the process.”

4. It’s normal to search for happiness even if you’re already prosperous financially

“As countries become richer, their citizens become less focused on physical and economic security and more concerned with goals such as happiness and self-realization. Prosperity allows us to turn our attention to more transcendent matters – to yearn for lives not just of material comfort but of meaning, balance, and joy.”

5. Being productive takes focus but brings happiness.

One great way to free up some time to focus on your own Happiness Project? Hire virtual receptionists from Back Office Betties at your law firm! You can only focus on so much every day. By using a virtual receptionist, you have more time and energy to focus on going to court and dealing with other aspects of your practice and life. You can leave your law firm’s phone calls to our competent, well-trained, and courteous virtual receptionists!

Are You Unstoppable?

March’s Book Brief highlight is Unstoppable by Dave Anderson! This amazing book is all about how your mindset, when coupled with action, can greatly change your performance in your career. Dave Anderson breaks down the 4 different types of employees:

  • The Undertaker: Performance is below baseline, and they achieve nothing meaningful. This can include high achievers who win by violating values.
  • The Caretaker: They do just enough to get by and collect a paycheck.
  • The Playmaker: These people have what it takes to become Game Changers but aren’t quite there yet. Playmakers are more motivated by external factors, excessive affirmation, and personal glory. They have to celebrate every win and are more wrapped up in their own success rather than the success of the team.
  • The Game Changer: They are intrinsically motivated, they do ordinary extraordinary well, and are great cultural fits. They are committed to self -improvement, they want feedback from others, and they don’t see themselves as victims but products of their daily choices and efforts.

Are You A Game Changer?

So clearly, we should all be striving towards being Game Changers, but that can be easier said than done, especially without guidance. Well,

fortunately for us, Unstoppable provides a roadmap to Game Changer status:

  • Start with the “why”. What do you want to do? Do you want to inspire others? Do you want to help others succeed? What motivates you and pushes you? What inspires you?
  • Live life in the zone. Know where you excel and spend time in this zone perfecting those skills. This is called the zone of excellence. You should spend more time in the zone of excellence. When you leave your zone, snap back into it faster.
  • A.P.E– Attitude, Passion, and Enthusiasm. Having a good attitude, passion, and enthusiasm for what you do will determine how well you do it. The more A.P.E you have, the more dedicated you will be.
  • Have mental toughness. Have faith that what you are fighting for is worth every ounce of effort. Faith is what gets you back up when you fall. Faith turns criticism into helpful feedback. It’s what keeps you moving toward your goals!

Being a Game Changer isn’t easy, nothing that involves practicing discipline over your mindset is. But having discipline is what turns unexceptional into extraordinary, and there is no other way we should be living our lives!

Back Office Betties

5 Things I Learned From Verne

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Verne Harnish talk. Verne Harnish is the Founder of the global business network Entrepreneur’s Organization. He is the Venture Columnist for Fortune Magazine, and he’s the author of the bestseller Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. His latest book Scaling Up has also been very successful winning seven major international book awards including the prestigious 2015 International Book Award for Best General Business book.  And these are just a few of his many major accomplishments! Verne has spent the last 30 years using his expertise to help companies improve.

What I Learned

Attending this talk had me asking myself some important questions that I believe all businesses should be asking themselves if they are looking to ‘scale up’.  Here are 5 things that I learned:

  1. Honestly ask yourself where you get your energy. These are the tasks you should focus on and delegate or automate the rest.
  2. Start thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is here to stay and companies already using AI today will be the ones to stand out tomorrow. Think about various aspects of your business. What are some ways you predict AI will save you time and/or money?
  3. What 25 relationships do you need to achieve your business goals? Write down names and go seek those relationships and nurture them regularly.
  4. Every business should have a guarantee. Exadata’s great example is 5x faster than IBM or we give you $10,000,000. Domino’s is 30 minutes or it’s free. What can you guarantee your clients?
  5. Are you familiar with the 7/70 Rule? Go after 7% of a market segment and then dominate 70% of that market. For example, Ikea is only 6% of the furniture market but owns over 70% of the ready to assemble niche. Start researching how you can get your business there.

Looking at the bigger picture in this way will help you rearrange your business’ goals so that you are not just planning to improve or expand, but also analyzing how you can be ahead of competition and dominate your industry.

Book Bundle

In addition to Harnish’s own publishing’s, he recommends a Book Bundle List to encompass all aspects of your business.  These recommendations are his top book pics that will help you take your business to the next level!

  • Relationship Marketing by Regis McKenna
  • Am I Being Too Subtle by Sam Zell
  • The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  • Teeming by Tamsin Woolley-Barker
  • Outrageous Empowerment by Ron Lovett
  • Uncommon Service by Frances Frei
  • The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
  • The Customer-Funded Business by John Mullins

Don’t be afraid to have bold goals and big dreams! With the right steps and planning, anything is possible for you and your business!

Emily @ Back Office Betties