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

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.

Recommended Resources – The 4 Disciplines of Execution

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesThe 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
by Jerry Weissman

About the Book

The 4 Disciplines of Execution provides the steps needed to repeatably translate one’s business strategy into the day-to-day activities instrumental to realizing organizational goals. These disciplines include:

  • Focus on the Wildly Important – Give your best effort to those few goals that really matter instead of giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals.
  • Act on the Lead Measures – Carefully track the lead measures and let the lag measures take care of themselves.
  • Keep a Compelling Scoreboard – Make sure everybody knows the score at all times so they can tell if they are winning or not.
  • Create a Cadence of Accountability – Hold frequent accountability sessions whose only purpose is to advance the Wildly Important Goals.

Benefits of Reading this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like The 4 Disciplines of Execution for its methodical, repeatable method of translating corporate strategy into the day-to-day actions of organization members. We appreciate the adaptation of the book’s principles to both an organization and team-level implementation.

Chris, Sean, and Jim richly present their concepts with detailed illustrations and examples; making the disciplines both easy to understand and readily implementable. The 4 Disciplines of Execution is remarkably well aligned with the foundational principles upon which StrategyDriven, its products and services, is based. For its actionable principles of strategy execution while promoting organizational alignment and accountability, The 4 Disciplines of Execution is a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Leaving On Top

David HeenanLeaving On Top: Graceful Exits for Leaders
by David Heenan

About the Reference

Leaving On Top by David Heenan examines the exits of large corporate C-level executives; identifying the several actions common to graceful departures. David shares ten lessons from successful transitions including:

  1. Know thyself
  2. Know thy situation
  3. Take risks
  4. Keep good company
  5. Check your ego at the door
  6. Keep learning
  7. Stage your exit
  8. Know when to walk away
  9. Know when to stay put
  10. Start now!

Why You Should Not Buy This Book

Leaving On Top is a niche book focused on large corporation CEOs and celebrities. David makes no effort to translate his departure lessons to fit small company or below CEO-level executives. Furthermore, Leaving On Top is largely a series of stories and does not get to its departure recommendations until Chapter 12. While these are worth considering, David should have presented his ten points up front and dedicated a chapter to each lesson; providing the reader with specific, actionable insights.

Leaving On Top is too niche in its focus and too shallow in its content for most readers. If you are a large corporate CEO, we suggest you read only Chapter 12, an executive summary, or, better yet, call some of your successful peers.