As the billionaire founder of Microsoft and head of a world-changing philanthropic foundation, you’d imagine Bill Gates is a pretty busy guy. But he still makes time for books… a lot of books.
As a voracious reader and all around brilliant guy, Gates is in a great position to evaluate which books are worth the time of a busy entrepreneur. And happily, he’s frequently up for providing public recommendations. At TED each year, he offers his fellow attendees a list of suggested reading, for instance, and he also has an annual tradition of listing his favorite reads of the year in December.
His 2015 list just came out and it contains some interesting suggestions for fellow bibliophiles looking for thought-provoking reads. Here are his six picks:
1. The Road to Character by David Brooks
“The insightful New York Times columnist examines the contrasting values that motivate all of us. He argues that American society does a good job of cultivating the ‘résumé virtues’ (the traits that lead to external success) but not our ‘eulogy virtues’ (the traits that lead to internal peace of mind),” writes Gates, who says that “The Road to Character gave me a lot to think about.”
2. Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe
Here is Gates’s summary of this entertaining book: “The brain behind XKCD explains various subjects–from how smartphones work to what the U.S. Constitution says–using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language and blueprint-style diagrams.” To get a sense of what you’d be getting yourself into with this one, check out Munroe’s boiled down explanation of Einstein’s theory of relativity for The New Yorker.
3. Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas
Gates enjoyed this biography of President Nixon because it offers “a more balanced account” of a man who is often portrayed as a simple crook. “I wouldn’t call it a sympathetic portrait–in many ways, Nixon was a deeply unsympathetic person–but it is an empathetic one,” Gates adds.
4. Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open by Julian M. Allwood, Jonathan M. Cullen, et al.
A very topical book, given the talks happening in Paris this week, this pick asks, “How much can we reduce carbon emissions that come from making and using stuff?” The answer: “Quite a bit.” The book shows “how we could cut emissions by up to 50 percent without asking people to make big sacrifices,” Gates says, and he even claims it’s a relatively light read. Better yet, you can download it free from the authors’ site.
5. Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever? by Nancy Leys Stepan
Given the disease-fighting work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it’s no surprise that this book intrigued Gates. “Stepan’s history of eradication efforts gives you a good sense of how involved the work can get, how many different kinds of approaches have been tried without success, and how much we’ve learned from our failures,” he writes, though he also warns that, while extremely valuable, it is far from a page turner.
6. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life. The value of this book extends way beyond the world of education. It’s just as relevant for businesspeople who want to cultivate talent and for parents who want to raise their kids to thrive on challenge,” clams Gates. Want a preview? Here’s a short introduction to Dweck’s ideas.
JEFFREY FOTTA | Entrepreneur
If 2015 has been the year of social selling, 2016 will be the year of the phone. Wait, hold the phone! Isn’t the telephone nothing new?! Of course it’s not. In fact, phones have been around for more than a century and have always shown themselves to be the most effective tool in sales.
Yet the telephone took a back seat in 2015 because sales reps increasingly used social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other channels in their selling activities. Now, social selling certainly has a place in sales, as it can be helpful in uncovering basic information about prospects and customers (i.e., previous employment, interests, revenues, etc.).
But here’s the thing: If sales reps aren’t on the phone talking with customers, they aren’t advancing the sales process.
Sales and marketing writer Preston Clark explored this notion in a great piece, “The Rise of the Silent Sales Floor,” in which he discussed how the “soundless” sales floor makes CEOs nervous because: “They aren’t hearing the confrontation, the tension, the hard conversations that literally must happen in order to get the biggest, baddest deals across the finish line…The really big, complex, disruptive deals…those aren’t closing on the silent floor.”
The reality is that successful sales processes must involve phone conversations, even if those conversations can be uncomfortable. When you limit yourself to email and social channels, you just don’t get the crisp, targeted communications possible in a phone conversation.
The telephone is especially relevant and still the best way to do business if you’re selling high-value products and services; and it’s the differentiator in the digital era. That won’t change. The biggest change in sales is that we can now use the phone in conjunction with analytics to drive more desired results. And in 2016, the focus will be on identifying those activities that get results, and understanding how to measure and subsequently multiply them.
I have written before about the power of integrating analytics and call-recording with the telephone and how that route remains the central key to selling success — giving managers the much-needed intel they need into the activities of their reps.
This notion rings true in hiring processes, as well. The economy is still finding its way back to better times, and thus managers aren’t equipped with endless funds to add sales reps at their leisure. They have to be diligent and know they’re hiring the right person for the job. Otherwise, they’re wasting valuable time and money on training reps who might ultimately not work out. Then it’s back to square one.
In 2016, sales managers will hire based on the behaviors of successful sales reps, and subsequently train new reps to that standard.
Consider that the cost to hire and replace a rep is roughly $27,000. Activity-tracking exposes best practices as well as underperformance, allowing organizations to minimize costs by making personnel decisions before that time and money are wasted. The ability to introduce new employees into a proven, standards-based training program reduces ramp-up time and increases the probability of rep success.
For example, if analytics shows you that successful reps make a minimum of 50 calls a day, then requiring new hires to make a similar number of calls based on the aforementioned behaviors sets the team up for early success.
Measuring new hires to a set, proven standard, by using data from analytics and call-recording for support, will help you determine in, say, a 60-to-90 day window, whether or not the rep will work out.
The coming year, 2016, will be a great one for sales. Integrated technology will continue to be a critical component to selling strategies, but in the sales world, technology is only as good as a part of a set of processes to help reps do their jobs.
So, identifying and measuring what behaviors get results will help you ensure that you’re getting the best of out of your reps while closing the big deals.
You should start now.
Every day I pick out a quote that I carry around with me and really spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think about the meaning of that quote and all of the possible ways on how I can adopt that into my way of living.
Below are 20 leadership quotes that I have been paying close attention to as of late. I hope these quotes add value to your life and inspire you to become a better leader.
1. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
2. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch
3. “Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers.” — Simon Sinek
4. “Think about all the great leaders. Think about Obama. Think about Clinton. Think about all the people that we know who are very successful in business, in politics and religion. What are they? They tell purposeful stories. They move people to action by aiming at the heart.” — Peter Guber
5. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” — Colin Powell
6. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” — Ronald Reagan
7. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn
8. “You manage things. You lead people.” — U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Grave Murray Hopper
9. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” — John Maxwell
10 “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” — Warren Bennis
11. “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton
12. “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” — Theodore Roosevelt
13. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” — Nelson Mandela
14. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” — Henry Ford
15. “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
16. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
17. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
18. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” — Andrew Carnegie
19. “I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.” — Colin Powell
20. “ As a leader … your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.” — Richard Teerlink
Speaker and Maximum Performance Strategist. CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises
In the excitement of trick-or-treating, Halloween is an occasion where most little ghosts and goblins forget about important safety precautions. For this reason, it essential that parents and motorists are aware of the safety measures that are involved in keeping everyone safe on Halloween night.
On Halloween, it’s best to avoid driving in subdivisions during the hours of 6-9 pm when most trick-or-treating takes place. However if you must get behind the wheel there are several Halloween driving “tricks” to keep everyone safe:
- Stay well below the speed limit and give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
- Refrain from using a cell phone at all costs while driving in neighborhoods. Driving must be your main focus as a little ghost or goblin could pop out from anywhere at any moment
- Pay extra attention to what is going around you. Be conscious of sidewalks and roadways and watch for any children darting across the street or in between parked cars.
- When pulling in or out of driveways stay alert of your surroundings.
There are also several tips that parents can follow to ensure that motorists aren’t faced with any unnecessary mishaps:
- Replace your child’s mask with makeup to make sure that they have a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings
- Avoid costumes that are dark colors and that will go unnoticed by drivers. Instead choose bright colors, or add reflective tape.
- Accompany your child, or if they are old enough make sure they are with a group of responsible friends
- Instruct children to stay on sidewalks, but if they must cross to look both ways before walking across the street.¹
Halloween isn’t a night where just the young forget about potentially dangerous situations; many adults attend costume parties where alcohol is being served but fail to take the necessary precautions to get home safely. If attending a party with the intention to drink plan ahead, make arrangements to get a ride with a designated driver or a taxi. Driving home impaired is never an option.
¹ “Beware don’t let Halloween turn into a nightmare”. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.www.trafficsafety.org
Healthy Workplace® Essentials….Educate, Engage, Empower, Evaluate
What is Healthy Workplace® Essentials?
Laying the groundwork for physical and mental health and safety at work
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month® is a well-established resource for organizations to find ideas and solutions to support physically and psychologically healthy and safe workplaces.
A Better Place to Work
This year’s theme focuses on the foundational elements needed to create and sustain a Healthy workplace through a focus on those ‘essential’ policies, practices, and programs to hard-wire for success.
Educate, Engage, Empower, Evaluate help focus actions on different aspects of the essentials for workplace health. All of the suggested tools, activities and linked references can help the workplace become a center of wellness, making employees happier by being more resilient, engaged, and productive.
Excellence Canada’s Healthy Workplace® Essentials, is a set of 10 requirements that provide a straightforward solution to getting started in any size organization and lays the foundation for continual improvement. A comprehensive guide and supportive services have been developed to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month®, and will be provided at no charge to registrants on the CHWM Website.
For My Organization
Kimberly Clark Professional Canada, in partnership with Excellence Canada, champions the progressive multi-level Healthy Workplace® Standard as well as the shorter ‘quick start’ program, Healthy Workplace® Essentials. Either one will help organizations implement strategic wellness initiatives and receive certification and national recognition for achieving their goals.
Healthy Workplace® Essentials reflects basic requirements in the more comprehensive and progressive Healthy Workplace® Standard. Should organizations decide to pursue a more comprehensive journey when they have completed Healthy Workplace® Essentials, they will be well-positioned to be certified in the wellness-focused Healthy Workplace® Standard and receive national recognition through Canada Awards for Excellence program, of which the Patron is His Excellency, the Right Honorable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General of Canada.
For organizations that want to focus on the psychological health of their workforce, Mental Health at Work® provides a detailed roadmap to guide organizations like yours toward meeting the requirements of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace that was launched in January 2013 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Your Next Steps to a Healthy Workplace®
How do you accomplish all this? We will help you get started with understanding your culture, the current health of your population, and where you want the organization to go. Then we will help you come up with a comprehensive strategic plan designed to resonate with your employees, engage your workforce, and achieve your desired results.
1. Contact Excellence Canada to arrange for a meeting so we can determine your needs together
2. Obtain a written proposal from Excellence Canada outlining an action plan and a budget
3. Conduct a self-assessment to discover your organization’s strengths and opportunities
4. Begin or continue your Journey to Excellence with confidence and determination
Karen Jackson, Senior Advisor, Healthy Workplace Strategies
Phone 416-251-7600 Ext 250
Excellence Canada154 University Avenue, Suite 402, Toronto, ON M5H 3Y9
Toll Free 1-800-263-9648
Unfortunately, we rarely appreciate the power habits can have in transforming our lives. Whether you’re new to habit-building or you’re an old hand, give these five weekend habits a try in order to set yourself up for a successful work week.
1. Get enough sleep.
Many times, we throw away our typical schedules on weekends – telling ourselves that staying out late or getting less sleep is “no problem” since it’s the weekend. But this habit sets you up for failure by making it hard to get up on schedule on Monday morning.
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but it’s rarely less than 6.5 to 7.5 hours. Studies show that too little sleep causes significant problems with brain function. Sleep deficiency causes trouble making decisions, controlling your mood and problem solving. Prolonged sleep deficiency can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
These negative effects keep your work week from being as productive as possible. The habit of keeping your sleep schedule regular on weekends will set you up to be much more successful at work in the coming week.
2. Make time for fun.
A weekend should be a break from work, not a continuation of it. Unfortunately, a 2010 study showed that one-third of US employees work additional hours on weekends (entrepreneurs and business owners are especially guilty of this work-related sin). Don’t do it! Take the weekend to relax, unwind and pursue your hobbies. Remember, Warren Buffett plays the ukulele in his spare time. If he’s got time for fun, so do you.
If leisure time is a foreign concept to you, try spending time playing with your children, doing an art project, enjoying time with a spouse, or just going for a walk in nature and taking in the birds and scenery. Do something you’ll enjoy. Make a habit of having fun on weekends to clear your mind and come back to the office feeling refreshed.
3. Give thanks
Many of the most successful people in the world make a habit of giving thanks. This is an especially good practice to incorporate on weekends if you’re dreading Monday morning.
Instead of hating the upcoming work week, make a habit of taking time on the weekend to be thankful for all of the good things in your life. Be grateful you have a job to go to (or a business to run), a place to live, a family and friends who love you, and much more. Write down in a special journal three to five specific things you’re grateful for, no matter how small. You’ll find making a habit of gratitude makes the upcoming work week easier to face and more enjoyable.
If you find yourself dragging at the start of the week, re-read your journal entries. The inspiration you’ll feel will help you return to work in a more successful, productive mindset.
4. Look at the big picture.
Weekends are an important opportunity to step back and look at the big picture. How are things going in your personal and professional life? An unhurried Saturday or Sunday is a good time to reflect and plan for your future. Are you happy with your career? Is your family life all you hoped it would be? If not, what kind of changes do you need to make?
Get into the habit of reviewing your progress on monthly or yearly goals. Have you been able to workout three times a week? If not, how can you work it in this coming week? By tracking how your goals are progressing, you can make changes as needed for the upcoming work week. These big picture habits help you succeed in all areas of your life – work and otherwise.
5. Plan the week Sunday night.
Many people don’t think about the work week until it’s upon them. That’s asking for trouble. It’s much better to think about and plan the week ahead on Sunday night than Monday morning.
This means planning everything from the outfit you’ll wear the next day to deciding who will pick up the kids and what’s for supper. Get kids in on the act by having them choose their school clothes and making sure they have everything they need in their backpacks ahead of time. This habit will save you a ton of headache on Monday morning, enabling you to be much more successful during the week.
All of that said, the most important thing about these five tips is to make them habits. Habits – something we do all the time without thinking – are an essential way to save your brain power for more important decisions. When you habitually do all five of these things on the weekends, you’ll be set up for a successful work week, every week, without fail.
In his more than 10 years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic, sales and strengthen brand reputation online. Sujan is the VP of marketing at When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.