My Recent Favorite Business Articles
I'm always on the lookout for literature that can have an impact on my life, professionally and personally. Below are some of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy them. If you have a favorite, please send it to me and I may add it to the list.
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business Review
Short Excerpt: Before I published The Innovator’s Dilemma, I got a call from Andrew Grove, then the chairman of Intel. He had read one of my early papers about disruptive technology, and he asked if I could talk to his direct reports and explain my research and what it implied for Intel. Excited, I flew to Silicon Valley and showed up at the appointed time, only to have Grove say, “Look, stuff has happened. We have only 10 minutes for you. Tell us what your model of disruption means for Intel.” I said that I couldn’t—that I needed a full 30 minutes to explain the model, because only with it as context would any comments about Intel make sense. Ten minutes into my explanation, Grove interrupted: “Look, I’ve got your model. Just tell us what it means for Intel.”
What I like about it: This is one of the most refreshing articles I've read in a long time. Clayton Christensen brilliantly shares his experiences teaching students at Harvard Business School and how their perspectives on happiness and measuring what's important to you in your life change over their two years in business school. The lessons he talks about I think can apply to all of us.
Don't Send That Email. Pick up the Phone! by Anthony K. Tjan, Harvard Business Review
Short Excerpt: Around this time last year, I wrote about how we need to get back to allowing conversation to occur without texting, emailing, browsing, Tweeting, Facebooking, or doing whatever else zeros and ones can do these days on smart phones, iPads, notebooks, etc. I am as guilty as the next person of falling for the perception that any response latency is unacceptable. As 2012 fast approaches, this needs to go on top of my New Year's resolution list: focus on the live conversations at hand, rather than parallel conversations on the Blackberry screen.
What I like about it: Our natural tendency is oftentimes to just send an email. While it is certainly convenient if you're sending a message late at night or across time zones, sending documents, or coordinating something relatively non-important amongst a team or group of people, email removes all emotion from the written word. Not only that, but I can't count how many times I'm left wondering what someone meant by what they're saying, or if they're serious or being sarcastic. If the relationship of the person you're thinking of emailing is important to you, I suggest simply picking up the phone and calling. It's what we did ten years ago, and it still holds fast today.
Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace: Top Managers Get Advice on Social Media, Workplace Issues From Young Workers by Leslie Kwhoh, The Wall Street Journal
Short excerpt: Workplace mentors used to be older and higher up the ranks than their mentees. Not anymore. In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.
What I like about it: If you're a younger professional, you may have one or more mentors who have helped shape you and played a role in getting you to where you are today. Among other things, the purpose of a mentor is to advise and guide, to make suggestions, to provide introductions, and to act as a sounding board. This article talks about a new kind of mutually beneficial mentoring between younger professionals and senior executives.
Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople by Steve W. Martin, Harvard Business Review
Short Excerpt: If you ask an extremely successful salesperson, "What makes you different from the average sales rep?" you will most likely get a less-than-accurate answer, if any answer at all. Frankly, the person may not even know the real answer because most successful salespeople are simply doing what comes naturally. Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of interviewing thousands of top business-to-business salespeople who sell for some of the world's leading companies.
What I like about it: If we're in business, we're all selling something, either directly or indirectly. You may be surprised to read the top several traits, and feel good about it when you do.