Five great business books you may have missed (or forgot about) - The ROIG Group
#5 - Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
Rarely does a business book read like an engaging novel, but this one comes close. According to Klaff, creating and presenting a great pitch (or any form of persuasion) isn't an art--it's a simple science of setting the frame and creating novelty and intrigue.
His book is populated with engaging stories that bring to life his process which can sometimes distract from his main points but definitely leaves an impression.
Klaff introduces the S.T.R.O.N.G. frame for shaping your message:
Setting the Frame Telling the Story Revealing the Intrigue Offering the Prize Nailing the Hookpoint Getting a Decision
He gives new meaning to the “know your audience” rule of presenting, noting that most of us are wired to filter messages we receive (via our “croc brain”). His focus on story-telling and timing is equally valuable, as is his insistence on keeping “analyst details for later” until you know they want to do business.
#4 – Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves
We love that this book is loaded with fact-based research that makes a convincing case that EQ is more important than IQ.
The authors start the book by explaining that it is not education, knowledge or experience that predicts why one person succeeds and another doesn’t. It is their emotional intelligence that makes the difference. And while hard to measure it is difficult to deny that we see it play out every day.
This updated book provides read-worthy strategies for improving the four basic emotional intelligence skills (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management). And who can resist an online quiz with instant feedback and the ability to compare your score to those highlighted throughout the book?
#3 – Best-Practice EVA: The Definitive Guide to Measuring and Maximizing Shareholder Value by Bennett Stewart
EVA (short for Economic Value Added) made headlines in the 1990s when it was first introduced by Stewart and while most finance managers know and love the concept; its application for business strategy is often overlooked.
Even those who do not geek-out on spreadsheets will get pulled into this book thanks to Stewart’s engaging writing style. It is loaded with short case studies and anecdotes that highlight a diverse set of companies.
What we use the most at The ROIG Group is the concept of leveraging EVA-derived analytics to a stock price. The underlying drivers of value help answer the questions "what percent of my current stock price is driven by current performance vs. future performance expectations?" and "what are the expectations of future performance already built into my stock price?" This powerful frame can help executives pinpoint where they need to focus their strategies to increase shareholder value. Do they need to revive, optimize or innovate? When running complex businesses, these rather obvious questions are not always obvious to determine.
#2 – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
This marketing “bible” is likely on every marketing executive’s bookshelf for a reason – it outlines common sense marketplace rules which stand the test of time even when technology and tools change around us (though some of their laws are a bit redundant and their market stories feel a bit dated.)
The 22 Immutable Laws makes our list because these principles are often easily forgotten or ignored by marketers. The desire to complicate marketplace messages and plans is intense and this book makes a great case for doing just the opposite.
A couple of our favorites:
#5 – The Law of Focus. “The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind…Not a complicated word. Not an invented one. The simple words are best.” They use the example of Federal Express = Overnight, and Volvo = Safety, and Nordstrom = Service.
#7 – The Law of the Ladder
“The strategy to use depends on which run you occupy on the ladder.” Are you #1, #2 or #5 in market share? When you are too far down that ladder it may be time to find a new ladder (which ties to Law #2, The Law of the Category.)
This is not a how-to business book but it definitely is a thought-provoking read worth reviewing when you are tackling the launch of a new product or engaging in a new growth strategy.
#1 – The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton Christensen
Watching “disruptive technology,” change the fate of businesses every day, it is hard to not pay attention to what Christensen has to say. He outlines why companies miss out on new waves of innovation, getting pushed aside when they do not abandon their traditional (but soon-to-be-obsolete) business practices.
The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation that is happening well beyond classic engineering and technology areas and into marketing strategies, investment management and managerial processes.
Being fans of customer segment strategies, this book highlights a key insight: A firm may think it's listening to the market, but it's usually listening to its existing market users which is just a subset of the entire market. Disruptive “technologies” take advantage of unserved markets, often ignored by the incumbent leader until it is too late.