Recommended Resources – Whole Business Thinking

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesWhole Business Thinking – A Guide To Exceptional Business Performance
by Robert S. Block

About the Book

Whole Business Thinking by Robert S. Block provides operational executives and managers with the insight needed to relate ‘shop floor’ decisions and activities with the organization’s financial future. Robert reveals how to connect the decisions and actions of today with the financial consequences they will have on the organization and how these results will be portrayed with the company’s several financial statements.

Some of the specific topics addressed within Whole Business Thinking include:

  • Financial Statements
  • Business Metrics
  • Strategy Management

Robert concludes Whole Business Thinking with a comprehensive list of business terms and performance indicators.

Benefits of Reading this Book

In order for an organization to be successful, executives and managers must understand how their decisions and employee actions affect the achievement of established mission goals. As financial returns are a key component of every for-profit company’s success, leaders must be particularly aware of the relationships between long-term and day-to-day activities and the bottom line.

StrategyDriven Contributors like Whole Business Thinking because it clearly illustrates the relationship between decisions, actions, and financial outcomes. Throughout his book, Robert places the reader in common business situations and in plain language conveys how various decisions influence financial results. Robert goes a step further by translating those results into the several key financial indicators (performance metrics, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement) used by board members, executives, and investors to measure the health of the company.

Whole Business Thinking promotes the alignment of the organization’s mission and values with its decisions and actions. While acknowledging the non-financial contributors of organizational success, Robert’s book focuses primarily on those activities directly impacting financial performance drivers. In our opinion, the reader would benefit from additional case studies highlighting the application of Robert’s aligning principles and practices to non-financial performance contributors.

Whole Business Thinking reflects many of the organizational alignment, strategic planning, tactical execution, and decision-making principles recommended on the StrategyDriven website making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Special Offer

Robert has made a complimentary book sample available to StrategyDriven readers at www.wholebusinessthinking.com/video/.

Recommended Resources – Mood-lites

Mood-litesMood-lites
A Mood-Factory product
www.themoodfactory.com

About the Product

Mood-lites are light bulbs that emit soft, colored ambient light; helping to positively influence affected individuals’ mood. Mood-Factory introduced its first incandescent Mood-lites in 2004 and expanded the line to include flood, porch, and compact florescent bulbs in 2012.

Mood-lite colors were developed by applying expert color research concepts to lighting. Colors and their corresponding mood affects include:

  • Mood-litesRed = Passion (shown)
  • Dark Pink = Sassy
  • Orange = Energy
  • Yellow = Happiness
  • Green = Renewal
  • Light Blue = Serenity (shown)
  • Deep Blue = Tranquility
  • Purple = Creativity

Mood-lites are most effective when used in lamps with shades that permit the bulb’s color and ambiance to shine through. White or translucent shades are ideal. They can be inserted directly into fixtures, wall mounts, and any other bulb socket that uses the base standard for each particular bulb.

Why We Recommend This Product

StrategyDriven Contributors tested the Mood-lites for over a month and found that their soft ambient glow did, in fact, positively impact the mood of those affected by the light. Our personnel working in the ‘Energy’ (orange) light reported feeling more alert throughout the day and, in particular, during the mid-afternoon slump. (We actually stopped consuming our mid-day caffeinated and energy drinks.)

Our research and personal experience suggests there is merit to the notion that the color of light can affect how individuals feel. As a former U.S. Naval Officer, I’m familiar with the Navy’s use of color (light pastel green) to help create a calming atmosphere within the otherwise stressful environment onboard submarines.

Mood-lites are easy to install and provide a soft, consistent light. The 25W bulbs tested provided ample lighting to perform office tasks (hard copy document reading, email, other computer work) within a 12 foot by 12 foot space with no other lights on. We found the impact of the Mood-lites to be significantly diminished with white lights turned on within the same space.

For their positive impact on workplace mood, Mood-lites are a StrategyDriven recommended product – and we will keeping our Mood-lites on!

Mood-lites can be purchased at a Lowe’s Home Improvement Retailers.

Recommended Resources – FixnZip Product Review

FixnZip zipper slider replacement productFixnZip
A CTF Enterprise
www.fixnzip.com

About the Product

FixnZip is an easy-to-use replacement zipper slider that fits a range of zipper sizes and works with teeth and coil zippers that are either metal or plastic. The FixnZip slider comes in three sizes: small, medium and large and two colors: nickle (silver) and graphite (dark grey). It has a patented spring plate design consisting of two slider plates, a thumbscrew, and spring; all manufactured in the United States. The slider parts are made of zinc die cast and the spring and thumbscrew of stainless steel.

FixnZip can be used on open ended (such as a jacket) or closed ended zippers (such as a suitcase) and can be started anywhere on the zipper. In the event the zipper is missing some teeth, the FixnZip glides over these areas and realigns the remaining teeth; restoring the functionality of the zipper.

Why We Recommend This Product

FixnZip zipper slider replacement productStrategyDriven Contributors tested the FixnZip product and found it to be a very easy-to-use replacement for broken and/or missing zipper sliders. As frequent travelers, we often damage or lose zipper sliders from suitcases. FixnZip provides a durable replacement slider enabling on-the-go repair of the suitcase and alleviating the need to buy an expensive replacement case.

The FixnZip is light and compact, making it easy to take one or more of these repair kits when traveling. We found the FixnZip instructions easy to follow and the device easy-to-use. A quality product that is a must-have for business travelers, FixnZip is a StrategyDriven recommended product.

FixnZip replacement zipper sliders can be purchased by following the links below:

Nickle

Graphite

Recommended Resources – Promote Yourself

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesPromote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success
by Dan Schawbel

About the Book

Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel provides tangible advice for gaining the visibility necessary for career advancement without appearing to be overtly self-serving. Dan delves into the hard and soft skills needed for success in today’s professional world as well as what managers are seeking when deciding whom to promote. Once presented, Dan provides actionable advice for developing those skills required for advancement.

Some of the specific topics addressed within Promote Yourself include:

  • Hard skills required to be more than your job description
  • Soft skills necessary to make every impression count
  • Online skills to use social media to your advantage
  • Gaining visibility without being a self-promoting jerk
  • What managers look for when deciding whom to promote
  • Building a network at work and beyond

Benefits of Reading this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like Promote Yourself because it provides immediately actionable steps to take charge of one’s career in a positive and effective manner. Dan tackles the unique challenges of today’s workplace environment – social media, advancing technology, generational gaps, and workforce mobility – revealing how to successfully deal with each by leveraging resources and opportunities internal and external to one’s company. He also provides an insightful discussion of addressing the need for change with one’s boss and knowing when it is time to move on. Dan’s recommendations align with our personal professional experiences, many of which are echoed on the StrategyDriven Professional website.

Promote Yourself focuses on professionals within the workforce and, in our opinion, would not be as useful to non-professional workers. Our experience also suggests Dan’s insights best apply to management consultants and that some additional and/or modified actions would better support those professionals working in more traditional, hierarchical organizations. Lastly, we believe Promote Yourself more ideally fits entry, lower, and mid-level professionals than second tier managers and above.

Promote Yourself reflects many of the professional development and career advancement principles recommended on the StrategyDriven Professional website making it a StrategyDriven recommended read, particularly for college seniors and professionals below the first-line manager level.

Recommended Resources – Freakonomics

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt and
Stephen J. Dubner

About the Book

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner challenges conventional thinking by using economic analysis to uncover the underlying causes of everyday life events. Steven and Stephen reveal that economics is simply the study of incentives and that by understanding incentives one can reveal the hidden truth about why people behave as they do and the results consequently achieved. Freakonomics examines the commonly held myths surrounding:

  • Campaign finance
  • Cheating schoolteachers and sports players
  • Crime rates
  • Child-rearing

Why You Should Read This Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like Freakonomics for its logical approach to cause and effect analysis. Steven and Stephen examine problems from an unconventional viewpoint, unwilling to accept conventional wisdom as to why the world works as it does. Through their relentless pursuit of the truth, they expose many of society’s falsely held beliefs and reveal the incentivized behaviors driving the results we observe.

While sometimes controversial, Freakonomics represents the questioning attitude StrategyDriven promotes. Steven and Stephen push to find the highly quantified correlations between cause and effect necessary for sound decision-making. And although based on strong analytical principles, Freakonomics is written as a collection of easy-to-understand stories.

Freakonomics does not present a step-by-step method of performance improvement common to those books we typically recommend. However, it clearly conveys the importance of relentlessly asking those questions and performing those analyses necessary to gain an understanding of the true drivers of performance and is therefore a StrategyDriven recommended read.