Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interview Tips For Project Managers

In this current economy we have a lot of individuals looking to either reposition themselves within various industries – including as PMs – or PMs looking for new work due to layoffs, etc. I thought this might be a helpful time to re-visit that list and provide what I consider to be some of the key questions that were discussed on that thread over the course of several months.

Some key suggested questions include:
  • How do you handle non-productive team members?
  • Tell me about a situation where your loyalty was challenged. What did you do? Why?
  • Give me an example of a win-win situation you have negotiated.
  • Give me an example of a stressful situation you have been in. How well did you handle it? If you had to do it over again, would you do it differently? How do you deal with stress, pressure, and unreasonable demands?
  • What are the necessary steps to successful project management?
  • How do you plan for a project?
  • Your three month project is about to exceed the projected budget after the first month. What steps will you take to address the potential cost overrun?
  • You are given the assignment of project manager and the team members have already been identified. To increase the effectiveness of your project team, what steps will you take?
  • You've encountered a delay on an early phase of your project. What actions can you take to counter the delay? Which actions will have the most effect on the result?
  • Have you ever had a project that was considered a failure? What factors caused the project to fail?
Pause a second or so to formulate a CONCISE answer (hopefully 1 minute or less per question as the interviewer's time is important).

Keep a professional and business focus … When you're asked general questions like "Tell me about yourself" you want to mostly focus on your education and experience.

If your mind goes blank or you don't the answer, tell the interviewer you'd like to think about that question a little more and come back to it.

Be yourself, be honest, smile, make eye contact, etc. … Some HR interviewers want folks to have polished scripts that are outside how they'd normally respond. You should be professional, but don't try to present a false personality.

Dress professionally even if it's a business casual environment (unless told specifically otherwise).

Have a family member or friend, select some of the questions and give you a brief interview. Attend any classes offered by your state employment commission.

Above all else – be yourself. Answer confidently and be honest. And more than anything else, I've found that making good eye contact lets the interviewer know you are serious, interested and providing a thoughtful and honest response. And as always, please feel free to provide your own thoughts and potential questions. It will certainly be to everyone's benefit.

Source: Unknown

Preventing Manager Dependency

Teaching Your Team to Be More Independent

You've just arrived at the office, and it looks like it will be another typical day. Before you even sit down, one of your team walks into your office and asks for your help on the budget she's preparing. As soon as she leaves, someone wants to know if you have any time to help him with a marketing plan that's due by the end of the week.

Before you know it, you've spent much of your day helping your team to do their jobs, while your own tasks are left untouched.

It's important for managers to be a resource to those they lead. But it's easy for teams to take advantage of this. Over time, they can develop "manager dependency."

So how can you train team members to take more responsibility for their own tasks, instead of running to you for "hand-holding" through every step?

In this article, we'll examine how to decrease manager dependency, and how to get the members of your team to stand on their own.

Micromanaging and Delegating

Team members often become dependent on their manager because of micromanagement. When managers don't let team members take responsibility and ownership of tasks, then it's understandable that people come to depend on that control.

It's important to take a close look at your management style. Is it possible that you're managing your team just a bit too closely?

If you are, then cut back slowly. Start by giving people tasks that don't have to be perfect. (When you reduce your control and input, your team might be uncertain at first that's why it's a good idea to start with low-priority or low-importance tasks or projects.)

If micromanagement could be part of the problem, learn more about how to prevent it in our article on Avoiding Micromanagement.

Next, look at how you're delegating. When delegating tasks, team members must understand exactly what they need to do, they need to know that they have the skills and knowledge to complete the task, and they need to feel responsible for delivering it with a certain level of quality by a certain deadline.

If any of this information is missing when you assign tasks, then your people may be forced to come to you for more information. You can avoid this by making sure that they have everything they need at the start of the project. To learn more about assigning responsibility, see our article on The Responsibility Assignment Matrix.

One strategy for preventing manager dependency is to assign one task to two team members. Give them the responsibility for dividing the work. If they have questions, encourage them to discuss issues with each other first. They should come to you only if they're unable to find an answer together.

Let them know at the start of the task that you've given them all of the information you have. And explain that if you knew all of the answers, you wouldn't need intelligent people in their roles! Let them know that the task will require them to do some brainstorming and strategic thinking, and that you trust their ability to do it. Also make it clear that you want them to come to you with a finished project.

If they do have problems, remember the old advice to "get people to come to you with solutions, not with problems." Make sure that they've thought through at least one possible solution to the problem before they come to bother you.

Creating a Culture of Responsibility

For your team to take responsibility, you must have a workplace culture that encourages this behavior.

Look at your organization's culture. Does your company encourage or discourage responsibility and independent thinking?

If it's discouraged, then you need to take steps to change this.

Make sure that "taking responsibility" is written into your performance plans. You want your team to know that this behavior will be rewarded. When team members take independent action to get the job done, praise them for their initiative.

When it's time for performance appraisals, assess team members on their ability to take responsibility. Let them know that you value their initiative, and that the more they take responsibility for their tasks, the better their appraisals will be. Keep notes on which team members have taken responsibility, and what they did specifically, so you can discuss this during their performance reviews.

Using Parenting Techniques with Your Team

Surprisingly, you can use some proven parenting techniques to teach your team to be more independent.

For instance, many parents are encouraged to let their young children take the lead in some situations. The children's choices might be wrong, but the experience allows them to learn and grow.

This is a wonderful technique to use with your team. During meetings, put someone else in charge while you sit back and observe. Or, let the group choose a leader. Putting the team in control forces them to rely less on you, and it empowers them to make their own choices.

Parents are also advised to "practice being absent" if they want their children to be more independent. If your organization allows telecommuting, spend more time away from the office – or simply keep your door closed, signaling that you don't want to be disturbed. Putting space between you and your team will force them to make decisions on their own.

Key Points

Teams sometimes become "manager dependent." To prevent this, make sure that you're not micromanaging their activities. Slowly start delegating less important tasks and projects, and make it clear that it's up to them to brainstorm and find solutions.

You can also use some parenting strategies. Empower your team by letting them take the lead in meetings and on projects, and spend more time away from the office or with your door closed.

It may take time, but by slowly building your team's confidence level, they'll learn to rely less on you and more on themselves.

Thanks to Mind Tools

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Have You Checked Your Blind Spots Lately

"Reputation" is not a line item on a corporate income statement, but it should be. Instead, it lurks pervasively below the surface of carefully calculated revenues and expenses. The accountants can't assign a specific number to it.  Think about that for a moment. Companies can leverage the incalculable perceptions of a great reputation into bottom-line success and a very real corporate advantage.  Sadly, there's also the flip side: a negative reputation can cause them to crash and burn— despite solid product offerings. 

Perceptions may be unquantifiable, but they are powerful. And, as we've all heard, perception is reality. Having the best of intentions isn't enough to get us the new job, the big raise, or the highly coveted promotion. Our professional reputations are defined through the perceptual lens of our colleagues, co-workers, and clients— and those reputations determine the path and the pace of our careers (for better or worse). 

We all have blind spots in some area. Here are a few examples that you may have noticed in yourself or others:

  People who feel they are:

  But others perceive them as:

  Highly productive and innovative

  Rebellious and uncooperative

  Intelligent and well-qualified

  Condescending and elitist

  Decisive and candid

  Abrupt and insensitive

  Extremely energetic and driven

  Relentless and unrealistic

  Composed and steady

  Robotic and indifferent

  Remarkably reliable and high performing

  One-dimensional and over-functioning

  Spirited and passionate

  Intense and overzealous

  Methodical and compliant

  Inflexible and overly cautious

  Assertive and enthusiastic

  Self-serving and inappropriate

No one is so perfectly self-aware that he or she can eliminate every potential perception disconnect before it occurs. Those who are most successful have learned how to read the diverse people and situations they encounter and respond appropriately. Sure, they are savvy enough to avoid the obvious perception landmines. But they have also mastered a skill that could be even more important:  recognizing an inadvertent "hit" and diving in quickly for effective damage control.   

Insight to Action
The world's strongest leaders know how to take insight to action, to effectively manage the perception gaps that are inevitable in our fast-paced, technology-fueled, global business environment. Here are some suggested steps that I've found valuable:

1. Increase your self-awareness.

Before you can determine whether other people define your professional reputation in the manner you'd prefer, you need to understand your own goals and intentions.  How would you like to be perceived?  What is your ideal reputation?  To find those answers, you'll need to increase your own self-awareness. Seriously consider the following questions and jot down your thoughts for reference:  

  • What are your strongest and most developed skills?
  • How do people benefit from working with you?
  • What are the results of your communications and interactions with others?
  • How do you make others feel?
  • How would you ideally like to be described by the people who work with you?
  • Is your ideal reputation realistic and attainable?
  • How could that reputation impact your opportunities for advancement?

2. Seek out candid feedback.

Regardless of your goals and ideals, what is your actual reputation in the workplace? Uncomfortable or not, you need to know how you're perceived. And that means you have to ask!  While this conclusion might seem obvious, many people think that making an educated guess is good enough. Not true. To get an accurate picture of our blind spots, we must gather feedback from those who have experience interacting with us. Ideally, you'll want to get input from people who have observed your behaviors and communication styles for a minimum of six months. 

  • Managers, directors, supervisors and bosses (current and former)
  • Peers, co-workers, and colleagues  (across departments and teams)
  • Staff, subordinates, and employees
  • Members of common committees or organizations (professional or civic/community)
  • Advisors and friends
  • Family members

Choose people you respect and whom you feel confident have your best interests in mind. Select people you trust to give you candid and specific information. A glowing review with exclusively positive remarks might warm your heart, but it won't help you get an accurate picture of any lurking perception gaps. Sometimes the best person to approach is one with whom you have experienced some difficulties in the past. They are likely to shed light on a few issues you have trouble recognizing, which is precisely the goal of the exercise.

Once you figure out which people to approach, you can determine how to start the process.  Luckily, there are plenty of options to make that happen:

• Official 360-degree assessments and evaluations (available from many leadership and industrial/organizational psychology institutes)
• Self-designed questionnaires distributed in person or online with sites like Survey Monkey
• Formal performance reviews from supervisors
• Candid conversations with mentors or advisors
• Informal dialog with trusted colleagues
• Casual comments from co-workers (sometimes disguised as humor)

The Power of Applied Self-AwarenessTM
Simply knowing that a problem exists doesn't fix it. Likewise, becoming aware of our reputations is only useful if we do something to make improvements. While the term "self-awareness" seems to imply a passive state of knowledge, I prefer to focus on the process of applied self-awareness TM, an active, ongoing brand of perception management that is truly the heart and soul of a stellar reputation. You have to change your behavior to change the end result for yourself and to help drive better results for the people around you.

Applied self-awareness moves us from insight to action.  In its very simplest form, successfully managing our reputations involves a strategic approach with two basic steps:

1. Self-Awareness: Identifying the gaps between how our words and actions are perceived, versus how we intended them.
2. Applied Self-Awareness: Using that information to adjust our behavior and close the gaps.

When we deliberately change our behavior in a way that allows our words and actions to be perceived precisely as we intended them, we can then achieve the reputation and the results that we want.

About the Author(s):- Sara Canaday is a nationally recognized leadership expert, corporate speaker, and owner of Sara Canaday & Associates, a consulting firm based in Austin, TX. Her new book You. According to Them (2012) is for professionals at all levels who want to uncover the blindspots that impact their reputations and their careers.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Drama-Free Office: A Guide To Healthy Collaboration With Your Team, Coworkers, And Boss By Jim Warner, Kaley Klemp

The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss

The Drama-Free Office: A Guide To Healthy Collaboration With Your Team, Coworkers, And Boss By Jim Warner, Kaley Klemp

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Free your workplace from drama dysfunction with these proven tools for increased office efficiency, harmony, and productivity.

In The Drama-Free Office, authors Jim Warner and Kaley Klemp interweave humorous and relatable case studies with the three key skills you'll need for managing office saboteurs--be they subordinates, coworkers, or the boss. You will see your coworkers (and yourself) in this entertaining and practical blueprint for addressing the dramatic behaviors that cripple so many teams.

The authors' research draws on years of experience working with more than 2,500 CEOs and their executive teams. They define the four major drama roles--the Complainer, the Cynic, the Controller, and the Caretaker--found in most organizations and lay out a detailed roadmap to help you:

  • Skillfully initiate difficult conversations and defuse dramatic moments
  • Reclaim the time, energy, and resources wasted in drama-riddled meetings and interactions
  • Reduce your own dramatic tendencies and take control of your work life
  • Create and sustain a collaborative, authentic, and fun work environment
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #391000 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-07-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .62" h x 5.56" w x 8.51" l, .64 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 160 pages
Editorial Reviews

''Consultants Warner and Klemp have made a career out of working with leaders and professionals in large and small settings to help keep different personalities working together peacefully. Drama-prone associates sap energy from the organization, and the authors have created a program to ''diagnose the drama disease,'' manage it, and cure it. Through the framework of a fictional Riva Corporation case study, they track a team leader dealing with her boss and four difficult team members. Each of the drama queens displays one of the four sabotaging roles--the Complainer, the Cynic, the Controller, and the Caretaker. They recommend becoming drama-free yourself, first, then developing more effective relationships with each personality type and at all levels--superior, peer, and subordinate. The book's tone is conversational and clear, but its real advantage is in its practicality and breakdown of actionable steps--the authors delineate the seven steps of dealing with office divas, given any of the various drama types, and provide scripts for carrying out the steps. An excellent handbook for wrassling workplace drama to the ground before anyone goes postal.'' --Publishers Weekly

''With such an expert, well-articulated guidebook, managers and others will find comfort in knowing they're not alone in dealing with difficult personalities in the office. Best of all, they'll now have tools for turning toxic behavior into collaborative efforts.'' --ForeWord Reviews

''A quick-and-easy read that seeks to dampen office drama and ramp up efficiency.'' --Kirkus Reviews

''Describing cases true (but disguised) and hypothetical, Waner and Klemp employ realistic dialogue and solutions. Charts and a variety of tips guide readers visually. Obviously well-schooled in issues of corporate life, Warner and Klemp encourage cool heads to defuse almost any situation.'' --Booklist

About the Author
Jim Warner and Kaley Klemp are devoted to guiding corporations, family businesses, professional partnerships, and other organizations on how to expand their leadership skills, while fostering enduring authenticity within their teams. Whether for entire corporations, executive teams, small groups, couples, or individuals, Jim and Kaley are experts in creating collaborative, productive interactions.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Practical, Precise, Powerful!
Jim and Kaley are masters at diagnosing and dealing with the common energy draining attitudes and behaviors that create dysfunctional teams of all types. Drama-Free Office is superb in exploring and explaining the symptoms and types of dysfunction and then HOW TO DO something about it in an efficient, effective, and lasting manner. I have used their methods and models with tremendous success working with elite sports teams and corporate executive teams. Their insights and practical approach to inspiring collaboration and cohesion is essential to any leader or manager wanting to build a winning and successful team.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Easy to read and understand, and it works!
By Frank Buonanotte
Jim Warner and Kaley Klemp are without peers when it comes to understanding the personalities that create unintentional but extremely harmful "drama" in every organization. Their easy to read and understand book provides a step by step approach to effectively dealing with those personalities and creating a productive and fun work environment. This simple to read and easy to understand book will show you how to effectively deal with the personalities that create drama in every organization. I have already used their suggested methods and achieved stunning results.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
This book may be about offices and yet can be used in any/every relationship. If you are daring enough to live drama free at work and at home, read this book.


Only 14% Of Employees Understand Their Company’s Strategy And Direction

Why don't more employees do what they are supposed to do?  Author and consultant William Schiemann might have part of the answer—only 14% of the organizations he polled report that their employees have a good understanding of their company's strategy and direction.

He shares that fact and some of the causes as a contributing author in Performance Management: Putting Research into Action. Using the results of a Metrus Group survey he identifies six gaps that get in the way of organizational alignment. While each factor on its own isn't enough of a problem to explain the overall poor alignment figure, Schiemann believes that it is the cumulative effect of each gap that explains the overall misalignment.

How would you score?

Take a look at some of the key alignment factors that Schiemann identifies below.  As you look at the numbers from other companies, ask yourself, "How many of these alignment factors could I cumulatively answer "yes" to on behalf of my company?"

From Performance Management: Putting Research into Action (2009) page 53, Figure 2.2 "Why Strategies and Behavior Disconnect: Percentage of Rater Agreement." The percentages represent the cumulative agreement of raters for each element and for the ones above that element.

Strategies for closing the gap

For leaders looking to close the alignment gap in their organizations, Schiemann recommends seven key steps:

  1. Develop a clear, agreed-on vision and strategy.
  2. Translate the vision and strategy into clear, understandable goals and measures.
  3. Include and build passion for the vision, strategy, goals among those who are implementing them.
  4. Provide clarity regarding individual roles and requirements and link them across the organization.
  5. Make sure that people have the talent, information, and resources to reach the goals.
  6. Give clear, timely feedback on goal attainment.
  7. Provide meaningful incentives to encourage employees to develop or deploy sufficient capabilities to achieve the goals.

All good performance begins with clear goals

No organization can perform at its best with only 14% of its people rowing in the same direction.  Take some time this week to check in with your people.  Are their key goals and work objectives in line with the overall strategy of your organization?  Do they see how their work fits in and do they have the tools, resources, and authority to get the job done?

Take the time to set (or reset) a clear direction today.  It can save a lot of time, work,  and wasted effort down the road.

Thanks to David Witt / LeaderChat / Blanchard LeaderChat


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Art Of Being Unreasonable: Lessons In Unconventional Thinking By Eli Broad

The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking

The Art Of Being Unreasonable: Lessons In Unconventional Thinking By Eli Broad

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Unorthodox success principles from a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist

Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has helped to fund scientific research institutes, K-12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums. By contrast, "reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. This book shares the "unreasonable" principles—from negotiating to risk-taking, from investing to hiring—that have made Eli Broad such a success.

  • Broad helped to create the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Broad, a new museum being built in downtown Los Angeles
  • His investing approach to philanthropy has led to the creation of scientific and medical research centers in the fields of genomic medicine and stem cell research
  • At his alma mater, Michigan State University, he endowed a full-time M.B.A. program, and he and his wife have funded a new contemporary art museum on campus to serve the broader region
  • Eli Broad is the founder of two Fortune 500 companies: KB Home and SunAmerica

If you're stuck doing what reasonable people do—and not getting anywhere—let Eli Broad show you how to be unreasonable, and see how far your next endeavor can go.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #290 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-05-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .0" h x .0" w x .0" l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 192 pages
Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw

"Reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has funded scientific research institutes, K–12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums.

The Art of Being Unreasonable shares the unreasonable principles—from negotiating to risk-taking, from investing to hiring—that have made Eli Broad a success. From understanding "the value of being second" to embracing the thrill of taking a risk, Broad shares the insights and practices that have propelled him to the top. The book explains how to ask unreasonable questions, pursue the untried, relentlessly revise expectations upward, be restless, and most important, seek out the best in everything—the best values, the best investments, the best people—and the best in yourself.

If you're stuck doing what reasonable people do—and not getting anywhere—it's time to get unreasonable, and see how far your next endeavor can go.

From the Back Cover

Praise For The Art of Being Unable

"In The Art of Being Unreasonable, my friend Eli Broad lets us in on his secrets to success in business, philanthropy, and life—and he asks the right questions, looks for the right answers, and never stops working until he gets results. At a time when our country needs to focus on what works, Eli's book is a blueprint for effective public citizenship."
President William Jefferson Clinton

"Reading Eli Broad's The Art of Being Unreasonable may not turn you into a billionaire philanthropist, but it will surely make you stop and think about the thousands of hours you waste stopping and thinking, when you could be out there doing. Eli is the exemplar of how to succeed in business and in life by really trying and only taking yes for an answer."
Morley Safer, Correspondent, 60 Minutes

"As a creator of successful companies, Eli Broad has few equals, and The Art of Being Unreasonable clearly shows why. It's also a book that powerfully makes the case that wealth finds its ultimate purpose in public service."
Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

"The art of being effectively unreasonable has propelled Eli Broad to the pinnacle in four careers. But he also is completely delightful, as is this book. It will teach you how to become a success by merrily bending reality."
Walter Isaacson, author, Steve Jobs, and CEO, Aspen Institute

"Eli Broad is the only entrepreneur ever to create two Fortune 500 companies in different industries, and in this movingly personal and wonderfully plain-spoken book, he not only describes how he did it, but also the lessons anyone can take from his career. It's a story rich in engaging anecdotes and human detail."
Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC's Closing Bell and The Wall Street Journal Report

"Eli Broad is a man of great accomplishments in many fields. Few will read his book without a twinge of envy; almost all will learn a lot. And what you learn will be useful in your career and your life."
Donald E. Graham, Chairman, The Washington Post Company

About the Author

Eli Broad is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the founder of two Fortune 500 companies, KB Home and SunAmerica. He is an internationally known art collector and museum patron and has been profiled on 60 Minutes, in Vanity Fair, and in the New York Times for his role in the creation of Los Angeles cultural institutions, including the Frank Gehry–designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Broad, a new contemporary art museum he and his wife Edythe are building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. He and his wife have been the driving force behind a genomic medicine research powerhouse—the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT—and three stem cell research centers in California. He is a life trustee on the boards of MOCA, LACMA, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is regent emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution.

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5An Interesting Business Autobiography
By Mark Sanborn
I'm not always fond of business biographies or autobiographies as they often focus more on "what I've done" than "what I've learned." While this books in not a tactical primer, it does provide insights into a very colorful and successful entrepreneur. It focuses more on the what and the why than the how, but I enjoyed it for the perspective it provided, especially in terms of philanthropy. Learning how successful people think is as helpful as learning what they think and that is the strong suit of this book.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
3Very pleasant
By Lisa
This book is so pleasant. Surprising from one who terms himself unreasonable.

Perhaps it's just my recent mindset but after reading two books (this one included) by business successes that were glossed over and lacked much real depth I'm done with the genre before reading a lot of reviews beforehand. Contrast many of these books with Jack Welch's Winning, in which we learn amazing insight into business, and these other books lack substance.

On the positive, Broad sprinkles in a few facts about his life, which one might guess is very interesting. The book is easy to read, uses simple language and is well organized. He gets the third star for the wonderful way he speaks about his wife (I was genuinely touched).

On the negative, there just isn't a lot of here here. Do you need to be told to take risk if you want to be a big success? To set high standards and work long hours? Broad claims to be "unreasonable" but doesn't really define the term in his own context or why it lead to his success (or perhaps he just means high standards, long hours, etc = unreasonable = success). For example, he mentions that Frank Gehry was designing his own personal residence, that didn't work out and then Broad had to cooperate with him in the building of Walt Disney Hall (Gehry designed it). There must be a very interesting story in that clash - you won't find it in here.

I actually wish I hadn't paid for this book but, again to be fair, it's a very quick, light easy read so not a big commitment. I just wish I'd learned something valuable. But to be fair, my expectations of what I was getting tainted my reading experience (it wasn't the book I thought it would be) so hopefully this review will clarify the contents for those interested.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Unreasonably informative on business, art and life.
By Lighthouse Keeper
Although I am retired from corporate America and now enjoy the nonprofit sector I can't seem to grow out of my love for business books. This is a terrific one and like the good ones Broad's advice applies to business, art and life in general. The provocative title may lead the reader to think that it is another rant by yet another billionaire with a puffed-up chest, but it is compact, surprisingly subdued, sometimes self-deprecating and shines the spotlight on his team over the years--especially his wife, Edythe. I highly recommend it for anyone with an entrepreneurial dream, a tough management job or a thirst for learning about an amazing success story.


The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge By Doc Searls

The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge

The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge By Doc Searls

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Caveat venditor—let the seller beware

While marketers look for more ways to get personal with customers, including new tricks with "big data," customers are about to get personal in their own ways, with their own tools. Soon consumers will be able to:

• Control the flow and use of personal data
• Build their own loyalty programs
• Dictate their own terms of service
• Tell whole markets what they want, how they want it, where and when they should be able to get it, and how much it should cost

And they will do all of this outside of any one vendor's silo.

This new landscape we're entering is what Doc Searls calls The Intention Economy—one in which demand will drive supply far more directly, efficiently, and compellingly than ever before. In this book he describes an economy driven by consumer intent, where vendors must respond to the actual intentions of customers instead of vying for the attention of many.

New customer tools will provide the engine, with VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) providing the consumer counterpart to vendors' CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. For example, imagine being able to change your address once for every company you deal with, or combining services from multiple companies in real time, in your own ways—all while keeping an auditable accounting of every one of your interactions in the marketplace. These tantalizing possibilities and many others are introduced in this book.

As customers become more independent and powerful, and the Intention Economy emerges, only vendors and organizations that are ready for the change will survive, and thrive. Where do you stand?

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #25450 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-05-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .0" h x .0" w x .0" l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 320 pages
Editorial Reviews


"Finally a thoughtful, hype free book worth reading about digital marketing, the relationships we have with vendors, and a vision for a better future where we have greater control of our personal data." — ZDNet

"'Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.' That's the way the draft of the US Government's planned Privacy Bill of Rights begins. If you want to understand what this really means, then Doc's book is the place to start. In fact, if you want to understand anything about what's really happening with customers, this book is for you. An excellent read." — JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist,

"Profound, far-reaching, and one of those books people will be bragging about having read five or ten years from now." — Seth Godin, author, We Are All Weird

"This book provides a much-needed road map for a profound shift in global markets. Vendor Relationship Management will turn markets as we know them inside out. Searls, as the key architect of this new movement, provides a compelling view of both why and how these changes will occur. You cannot afford to ignore this book." — John Hagel, Co-Director, Center for the Edge; coauthor, The Power of Pull

"From Doc's mouth to vendors' ears! Doc Searls describes the economy the way it should be, with vendors paying attention to individuals' wants and needs. I see a few such business models emerging, and I hope Searls's book will incite a rush of them." — Esther Dyson, angel investor

"Deliciously skeptical of today's business models, Searls paints a compelling picture of the future. And if you're a business manager, The Intention Economy is essential reading. Think of it as an API for dealing with empowered customers. " — Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., co-authors of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage

"No one has a better sense of the changing relationship between vendors and the rest of us than Doc Searls. In The Intention Economy, he explains the networked economy and your place in it, whoever you are—buyer, seller, advertiser, user." — Clay Shirky, author, Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

About the Author

Doc Searls is senior editor of Linux Journal, coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and one of the world's most widely read bloggers. In The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman calls him "one of the most respected technology writers in America." Searls is a fellow at the Center for Information Technology & Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an alumnus fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he continues to run ProjectVRM.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5Redefines commerce for the Social Web
By Karel M. Baloun
This seminal book redefines commerce on the social/mobile web. Individual customers are now in charge, and despite the increasing sophistication of big data targeted advertising, a new wave of technologies and Apps will power sophisticated shopping that gets each person what they need, often something even better than what they thought they wanted. This area of the economy will see huge innovation in the next 5 years, and Doc Searls continues to passionately lead the charge for open standards, proper privacy and the public commons.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5Pay attention to intention economy
By milofox
A must read book for anyone who is concerned about the arrogance of social media and its expropriation and sale of our personal information. Doc Searl's exhortations that the customer can and should be empowered, if heeded, will transform the internet into a vehicle for liberation and make it truly consumer centric. Hopefully, thinkers like Doc, will allow us to realize our personal and collective power and rights as consumers and true relationship to the web. His novel concept that, in the new economy, our personal data is currency that we own and control should strike fear into both Google and Facebook. Doc's arguments are compelling. By asserting our rights as customers, we can create vendor relationship that serve our interests rather than exploit and manipulate us for marketing purposes. The alternative is impoverishment and a disconcertingly bleak future. We cannot afford to ignore his message.

Dr. Milo Pulde
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5Good advice for customers and the companies they keep
By Daniel N. Miller
Customer Care is at a crossroads. Doc, in his highly conversational writing style, provides rapid-fire, highly personalized insights into both how things are and how they ought to be. For enterprise executives, he exposes many of the common promotional, marketing, sales and merchandising practices that help businesses achieve well-defined "KPIs (key performance indicators) like customer retention, increased marketshare, mindshare and, ultimately sales. At the same time he shows (just as he and the originators of the Cluetrain Manifesto did at the turn of the century) how these practices show disdain for customers and prospects and often make it impossible for them to recognize what their customers and prospects are trying to get across in real time.

As the originator of the "Vendor Relationship Management" (VRM) concept, Doc used his tenure at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, to foster several development initiatives designed to provide individuals with tools, resources, and fourth-party agents to help them ("us" actually) do a better job of acting on our own behalf while carrying out everyday commerce. In this book, he takes stock of many of those efforts and also gives credit to a handful of retailers, public broadcasters and other businesses who actively seek to serve their customers without gimmicks, deception of sleight of hand.

Doc recently pointed out that IT and CRM specialists think they are solving "the problems of the future" when they are, in fact, just stuck in the "now." Today they address specific problems that arise as social networks foment a groundswell of criticism, smartphones have become the personal shopping tools of the mobile masses and "The Cloud" has become the repository for voluminous amounts of data along with enough compute power to generate a never-ending stream of marketing reports and analytics.

Data aggregation and analytics are activities that big companies do to a fault and it makes it increasingly difficult for customers to carry out genuine conversations in real time with the community individuals within the firm or without, who can support good decisionmaking and, ultimately, a sense of satisfaction.

While he sounds critical of today's practices, Doc is (with hope) initiating a dialog (dare I say a conversation) among members of a community that spans corporate executives, CRM aficianados, social media mavens, interactive agencies, contact center agents and managers, and (oh yeah) customers. All of whom are vested in the current way of doing things, but moving inexorably and unavoidably into the connected world.


The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, And Create A New Future By Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make A Living, Do What You Love, And Create A New Future By Chris Guillebeau

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Product Description

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.
Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth – he's already visited more than 175 nations – and yet he's never held a "real job" or earned a regular paycheck.  Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back. 
There are many others like Chris – those who've found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful.  Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn't depend on shelving what you currently do.  You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you're sure it's successful.
In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he's chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies.  In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.
Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who've learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.  It's all about finding the intersection between your "expertise" – even if you don't consider it such -- and what other people will pay for.  You don't need an MBA, a business plan or even employees.  All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.
Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick.  Among Chris's key principles: if you're good at one thing, you're probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish – sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.
In ancient times, people who were dissatisfied with their lives dreamed of finding magic lamps, buried treasure, or streets paved with gold.  Today, we know that it's up to us to change our lives.  And the best part is, if we change our own life, we can help others change theirs.  This remarkable book will start you on your way.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #33 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-05-08
  • Released on: 2012-05-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.60" h x 1.10" w x 5.76" l, .88 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 304 pages
Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with Gretchen Rubin and Chris Guillebeau
GR: One thing that really sets your book apart from other similar books is its specificity. You really drill down on how people have actually built these businesses. Why did you take this approach?
CB: Because most books about business are too generic. They are filled with platitudes instead of data and real instructions. There's nothing wrong with saying "Go for it!"—but the purpose of this book is to say, "OK, you're ready to go for it? Great. Here's how you actually do it."

This isn't a book about business, at least not as most people think about it. Instead, it's a book about freedom. It's for those who want to escape from corporate life, build something of their own to support their families, or just find a way to make more money.

GR: Is it really possible to make a good business out of your passion?
CB: Yes, but the key is to combine your passion with something that is useful to the world. I used to be very passionate about eating pizza and playing video games, but no one wanted to pay me to do it.

That's why we have to go further, until we find the convergence point between what we're excited about and what other people value. For example, I met a guy who was a snowboarding instructor in Canada. He created a DVD set of instructional videos. He followed his passion, he found a way to make it useful, and it's now a $300,000 a year business.

GR: Many books about startups focus on technology companies; by contrast, you focus on small businesses started by people creating companies around something they love to do. Often, they don't look like typical "entrepreneurs," don't come from traditional business backgrounds, and don't have special skills. Why did you take this approach?
CB: I think there's a real misconception about entrepreneurship. As you noted, some people hear the word startup and imagine things like venture capital, funding rounds, and eventually cashing out if possible. It's not that different from the conception of traditional business—wearing a suit, sitting behind a desk, playing golf after lunch.

But there's also an entirely different way of creating freedom, and it's just now starting to get the attention it deserves. This alternate perspective is about starting on your own, with limited money and no special training. You don't need outside investment (of any kind), an MBA, or a 65-page business plan that no one will ever read. You just need a product or service, a group of people willing to buy it, and a means of getting paid.

GR: The economy has a lot of people feeling anxious about their financial situations. Do you think this is a bad time to take a risk like a startup?
CB: When the economy causes us to feel anxious, it's also a good time to reassess the whole concept of risk. For many people, it may be much riskier to cast your lot in the traditional job market. But what if you didn't have to compete in a crowded marketplace—what if you could essentially create your own job? The beautiful thing about starting small means that you're not necessarily competing with anyone, and your financial risk is low.

In the long run, risk is related to security. Many of the people in this book were successful in creating their own security instead of entrusting it to someone else.

GR: You did a crazy amount of research for The $100 Startup. What surprised you the most?
CB: The first thing that surprised me was how willing most respondents were to talk about the inner workings of their business, especially the financial details. The common attitude was: if this helps other people in their work, I want to share it.

Digging deeper, I was surprised by some of the interesting businesses people had started. There is a guy who earns more than $100,000 a year helping people use their Frequent Flyer miles. There is another guy in Croatia known as "Mr. Spreadsheet," who has also crafted a six-figure business helping corporate employees manage data better. There were also plenty of interesting businesses that were more traditional, like a retail yarn shop in Portland and an Israeli-American designer who created a business selling hand-made wedding contracts.

GR: You give some controversial advice: you don't need a business plan, you don't need to spend too much time planning, you don't need a large amount of money to launch, and you don't need special skills or expertise. What do you say to people who disagree?
CB: I'd say the proof is found in everyone who has made it happen. My hope is that this book will serve as a blueprint for many more success stories, just like the unconventional and unexpected entrepreneurs I talked to from all over the world.

"The $100 Startup is a twofer: It's a kick in the pants to get started on your dream and a road map for finding your way once you begin. If you're not ready to launch your own business after reading this book, you need to go back and read it again!"
-- Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"In this valuable guide Chris Guillebeau shows that transforming an idea into a successful business can be easier than you think…You are in charge of which ideas deserve your time, and this book can help you wake up every morning eager to progress to the next step."
--Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO
"The money you have is enough. Chris makes it crystal clear: there are no excuses left.  START.  Start now, not later.  Hurry."
--Seth Godin, New York Times bestselling author of The Bootstrapper's Bible
"Everything Chris Guillebeau does is in earnest. The ideas inside this book will lead you to a better place."
- -Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works and author of Trust Agents
"With traditional career doors slamming shut, it's easy to panic, but Chris Guillebeau sees opportunities everywhere. Making a career out of your passion sounds like a dream, but in this straight-forward, engaging book he shows you how to get it done, one simple step at a time."
--Alan Paul, author of Big in China
"Delivers exactly what a new entrepreneur needs: road-tested, effective and exceptionally pragmatic advice for starting a new business on a shoestring."
--Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
"Guillebeau has been in the trenches for years, and in The $100 Startup he guides you step-by-step through how he and dozens of others have turned their passions into profits. It's essential reading for the solopreneur!"
--Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative
"This book is more than a "how to" guide, it's a "how they did it" guide that should persuade anyone thinking about starting a business that they don't need a fortune to make one."
--John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine

"Crammed with data, checklists, models, and concrete examples.  Thoughtful, funny, and compulsively readable, this guide shows how ordinary people can build solid livings, with independence and purpose, on their own terms."
--Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project

About the Author
CHRIS GUILLEBEAU is a writer, entrepreneur, and traveler. During a lifetime of self-employment and ventures ranging from online publishing to volunteer work in West Africa, he has visited nearly every country on earth before the age of 35. Host of the World Domination Summit, an international gathering of creative people, Chris is focused on encouraging individual quests while also "giving back." His main website,, is visited by more than 300,000 people a month.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent, One Of The 3 Best Business Books I Have Read
By Bradley Bevers
This is a great little book that will help you get over the hump and actually start a business. It focuses on the microbusiness revolution, which the author defines as "a way of earning a good living while crafting a life of independence and purpose."

This is full of great information, and if you have your own business or are interested, it is one you should definitely pick up. That said, here are some of the things I liked the most:

* Six Steps To Get Started Right Now. This simple six-step process is contained on a couple of pages, and could be all you need to start selling something online.

* Idea Matrix. Great way to evaluate competing ideas on impact, effort, profitability, and vision.

* The Action Bias. All about focusing on the right thing, vitally important to any success in business.

* The One-Page Business Plan. All you need to plan out your business.

* Much more, from metrics you should keep track of to tweaking your bottom line, there is a ton of information across the business spectrum here.

Lots of great things in this book, but there were a couple that I didn't like. First of all, though much of the information can be applied to any business, the author leaned towards talking about starting an infobusiness more than any other. Definitely worth picking up even if you aren't interested in starting an infobusiness, but I wish the cover matched the inside of the book more. I also found the chapter on How To Franchise Yourself not as helpful, did not seem to fit in the overall scheme of the book.

Off the top of my head, this is one of the three best business books that I have read (the other two being The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) & The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business). It is one that I marked up as I read and will refer to again and again. You will find something here to increase your bottom line, a great investment for any reader. Highly Recommended.

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful.
4Good advice, somewhat unrealistic
By monkuboy
The title of this book is sure to attract many - after all, wouldn't many of us love to start up a business on shoestring capital? Often a deterrent to entrepreneurship is the cost of starting a business but this book explains why a small amount of capital, as little as $100, could very well be all you need. There are also examples provided of people who have successfully done so.

That said, be aware that none of the examples are examined with much depth. They are used mainly to illustrate whatever chapter topic the author is writing about. Given that there are so many examples, practically speaking each can't be that detailed but that isn't obvious from reading the book description. The author also makes it sound too easy in many cases - such as how people got an idea, quickly produced a web site and then the orders just started pouring in. Maybe not immediately - like oh, they had to wait a few days, but then paydirt arrived. That's the feeling I got from reading this - that all too often everything came pretty fast and easy and there wasn't a whole lot of sweat or toil involved.

Overall I felt there was a lot of good advice in this book. It was well organized and easy to read and understand. It made a lot of sense. The people he used for examples do show that it can be done, and each chapter focuses on one aspect of getting your business started and growing. I found it to be motivating. Yet as I said above, I also thought that in many cases he made it look just too easy - that you build it and they will come. Or you charge it and they will pay. The four stars in my rating are for the advice he gives but I did knock off the one star because of being less than totally realistic.

I am glad to have the book and would recommend it, however.

[By the way - this review is based on an advance copy. There were some typos and also some missing charts and graphics in the copy I read, but the final version should not vary too much from this in substance]

38 of 48 people found the following review helpful.
4This book is really about being an infopreneur! The author is an infopreneur and he is writing about what he does for a living.
By Jeff Lippincott
I liked this book. It has 14 chapters that are evenly split into three parts. The first part covers "Freedom," the second part covers "Value," and the third part covers expanding and growing further what has already proven to be a successful microbusiness. Each chapter ends with a "key points" section that highlights the points stressed in the chapter.

I very much liked the example microbusinesses cited and described in the text. I also very much liked the list of microbusinesses provided in the appendix called "25 selected case studies." What I wasn't particularly crazy about was the author's writing style. He was kind of verbose. He kept harping on freedom, value, freedom, and value. Alright already. I got it the first time. And there was probably too much referencing in the text to other sections in the text. The book would have been better if a point was made and then the author would move on to another point. The way things were written it felt a little circular turning the pages.

I found it odd that retail shops were included in this book. You cannot start a bed mattress retail business on $100. It just doesn't happen. $100 startups are possible for teachers, trainers, coaches, consultants, and infopreneurs. Yes, this book is really a book about being an infopreneur. And believe me, you won't start an infopreneur business for $100 unless you are somewhat tech savvy. Are you tech savvy? If so, then this is a great book for you.

When I put this book down I immediately thought of Robert Skrob's masterpiece: Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing: Build a Million Dollar Business Within 12 Months. The first edition of that book was crap. But the second edition is a jewel. It deserves a 5-star rating. And I highly recommend the instant book being reviewed (The $100 Startup) as a tag-on to that book. Read both and you will get a pretty good picture of how to build an infopreneur microbusiness for $100 assuming you are tech savvy. 4 stars!