Primal Leadership Summary

Primal Leadership Summary

Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

If you have read Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, you have a clue of how important it’s to be in harmony with yourself.

If not, we suggest that you should get to work immediately.

Who Should Read “Primal Leadership”? And Why?

Since the beginning of civilization, and the development of cities and countries, people have been prone to selecting a leader.

Someone that can show them the way and to lead them when things get rough.

Primal Leadership” investigates this incentive and provides cover for our actions. As such we believe it’s suitable for the broader audience.

About Daniel Goleman & Richard Boyatzis

Daniel GolemanDaniel Goleman is a celebrated author, with many years of experience in the field of human psychology and behavior. His best works are Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Focus, etc.

Richard BoyatzisRichard Boyatzis is an American theorist, author and behavioral change expert that currently works as a professor at Case Western Reserve University. He was born in 1946.

“Primal Leadership Summary”

What is a win-win situation? – Well, we’ll get to that, but first, let’s underline what makes this book so special and appealing to most people. The charisma of resonant leaders is a one-way ticket to success for the entire organization.

The route to glory is often paved with good habits, and the authors present some of them. The information is drawn from thoroughly conducted researches and personal experience.

Don’t suffocate the great leader within you. Rekindle that drive and determination to succeed and adopt a visionary approach to handle the issues that lie ahead.

Do you want to build an emotionally intelligent organization? – Well, you are in the right place; first and foremost, you’ll learn how to create a strong foundation, and then think about the roof.

It’s widely accepted, that the leadership trends are facing inclination towards two highly opposite perspectives: resonance or dissonance.

The first category applies to those leaders who want to connect with others by sharing a positive vibe.

Daniel tries to describe both parties in an easy-digestible way to show which path one should take.

Resonant leaders control they anger, and handle difficulties with awareness, compassion, and understanding.

The second category – portrayed as dissonant leaders have a tendency to cut off profitable relationships and isolate themselves from the rest of the group.

Many institutions claim that they instill cooperation and free-spirit, but in practice, it’s totally different ball-game.

Collaborating on common grounds in order to protect the mutual interest, is something that resonant leaders embrace and stimulate.

If you can predict your colleague’s reaction, you’ll always be one step ahead of everyone else. If you are still unsure about who’s who – no worries, you’ll get there.

Resonant leaders are masters in cooling out heated heads during arguments and debates.

Their very spirit, combined with a certain expertise in the industry, makes them ideal candidates for taking control of the group.

When such attitude is installed and set in place, winning sympathies and assistance from the group arrives at the desired destination within the agreed time-frame.

Have you heard of CRM? What about RM?

Relationship management is one of the most challenging branches of micro-management.

To put it briefly, this category mainly emphasizes the significance of proper delegating and aligning the employees with the organizational goals.

Don’t take for granted anything Daniel Goleman implies. Take the initiative and leave no stone unturned while you are at it.

Learning or specializing in the six leadership styles can help you enhance your management skills; a process which gives you lots of room for growth. Let’s dive right into it:

  • Visionary
  • Coaching
  • Affiliative
  • Democratic
  • Pacesetting
  • Commanding.

It’s evident that the first four fall into the resonant style category.

If you are merely confused about when should one apply the last two, take notes and get the big picture!? Only when the organization is in the midst of crisis, such approach can be justified and endorsed.

However, in all honesty, it’s best if you stay flexible and mix these styles to serve your best interests and agenda.

Even though these leaders have a knack for alleviating problems and sustaining profitable relationships, their presence is not always much appreciated and welcome.

Not even a fierce reputation can grant them loyalty and obedience on the largest level of organization.

Why is it so? – Sometimes inspiring loyalty can lead to an entirely different outcome, especially with those who don’t share the same moral values.

Find a mission and explain yourself! How will this joint endeavor bring everyone on the map? – Be concise, clear and transparent when you address them.

It may come as a surprise, but anyone is replaceable, to say the least.

If you are tuned with Emotional Intelligence and understand its four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management, thriving both at work and home will become a straightforward manner.

Key Lessons from “Primal Leadership”

1.      Make a joke to break the ice
2.      Being caring and patient is not always appropriate
3.      It’s never too easy

Make a joke to break the ice

Resonant leaders are also known for their sense of humor, which is a powerful weapon for taking the edge off in some cases.

Always be in high spirits, be playful and prompt the same behavior in others.

Being caring and patient is not always appropriate

Visionary approach and long-term orientation apply to resonant leaders’ practices.

They have something like a sixth sense – when to take action when to sit still and wait.

Not all employees and partners wish to have business with these authoritative figures for unknown reasons.

It’s never too easy

Each process must be backed with equally effective tools, or in our case, – the power of influencing anyone, handling conflicts, creating team cohesion and so forth.

Great leaders are good at every one of these practices!

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“Primal Leadership Quotes”

Experience has taught me that the most efficient leaders agree on a fundamental aspect: everyone has a great level of what has been called emotional intelligence. Click To Tweet Not that leaders need to be overly nice; the emotional art of leadership includes pressing the reality of work demands without unduly upsetting people. Click To Tweet Stress stuns people. Click To Tweet One of the main characteristics of self-awareness is a self-critical sense of humor. Click To Tweet If there is less bad humor in high places, there will be less in the rest of the ladder. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Many things are said in the heat of the moment, nevertheless, not even that is not a valid excuse for not being able to control your temper.

This book helps you understand the trickery of having total command over your emotions and emotional outbursts.

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Alibaba’s World Summary

Alibaba's World SummaryHow a Remarkable Chinese Company Is Changing the Face of Global Business

Sure – you know everything about “Amazon” and Jeff Bezos. But, do you know who is poised to become its main competitor during the following years?

You’re wrong if you’ve answered anything other than “Alibaba.” And as we’re heading for an Amazon-Alibaba e-commerce showdown, it’s about time you learned something more about the latter company.

Its former vice president, Porter Erisman, has all the details in “Alibaba’s World.”

Who Should Read “Alibaba’s World”? And Why?

Most of all, “Alibaba’s World” is about businessmen who are still failing to realize that what’s happening in China happens in the U.S. as well; soon enough, China will be a global leader, and “Alibaba” is the earliest evidence we have of it.

However, it’s also a book perfect for entrepreneurs – both would-be and struggling ones; because, let’s face it: there may be no better way to learn the basics of business than by reading the stories of successful companies.

About Porter Erisman

Porter ErismanPorter Erisman is an expert in e-commerce, especially when it comes to the emerging markets. In fact, he has advised and consulted many companies located in the so-called Third World, whether in Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

However, he’s most famous as the former Vice President of “Alibaba,” where he worked from 2004 to 2008, the period during which the company moved from Jack Ma’s apartment to the pedestal of world’s ecommerce.

He has written one more book, “Six Billion Shoppers” and written and directed a documentary about “Alibaba,” “Crocodile in the Yangtze.”

“Alibaba’s World Summary”

As every entrepreneur knows, good ideas are not enough. After all, every entrepreneur tries to change the world a bit, and his or her good ideas have the problem of being new ideas, as well.

However, selling something new also means trying to gain traction in a relatively new market. And new markets are difficult!

But, tell that to Jack Ma!

When he founded “Alibaba” – the now second greatest leader in the world, according to “Fortune” – had to found a market as well! Because, back in 1999, e-commerce was virtually non-existent in China.

No, scratch that: it was the Internet. Yes – Internet was non-existent in China only 20 years ago.


In 1999, only 1% of the Chinese population had an access to the Internet. And most of them didn’t even know that it’s possible to buy something online! Fast forward two decades, and “Alibaba” is a giant comparable to Amazon, possibly capable of even overcoming it in the following years, and, thus, becoming the first $500 billion e-commerce company in the world!

This has made Jack Ma – who owns about one tenth of Alibaba’s shares – one of the wealthiest people alive. And before he started “Alibaba” – knowing almost nothing about computers and technology – he worked as an English teacher, earning no more than $20 a month!

So, yes – there’s still hope for you!

However, don’t take it for granted! You’ve got to work a lot before becoming the next Jack Ma!

One of the lessons you can learn from him: build your company for growth!

For example, when he started “Alibaba,” Jack Ma wanted to found a company which will last for 80 years, i.e., a human lifetime. And he did everything he could to make this happen.

And he didn’t back off even during Alibaba’s buy-out of “Yahoo! China” in 2005!

Namely, that event may have signaled the end of “Alibaba” as we know it, since “Yahoo! China” asked that it is renamed to “Alibaba-Yahoo.” But Ma wanted his company to last – not a “Yahoo!” puppet. So, he completed the deal only after “Yahoo! China” gave up on the renaming demand!

The rest is history. Ignored up until then, afterward, everybody started making note of “Alibaba,” the fabled Crocodile in the Yangtze.

However, in order to get to there, “Alibaba” had to make some adjustments. And Jack Ma always knew where to look to when making them: the customers!

Even though his investors pressured him into doing something more profitable, Ma was sure that offering free premium services is the only viable option in a non-existent market. So, instead of copying eBay’s model, he launched Alibaba’s C2C service “TaoBao” as a free service.

The move was mocked by eBay at the start, but, soon after, they had to shut down their China website. Because – surprise! surprise! – TaoBao grew to become one of the largest online shopping websites worldwide!

eBay’s fall seems even funnier when you think about the length to which they went to deride TaoBao. Once, they even invited TaoBao’s team to a party they were hosting – and uninvited them at the last minute!

They wanted to show who’s the boss.

Soon enough, they couldn’t: TaoBao’s market share grew from 8% to 59% in two years, and eBay China’s plunged from 79% to 36%.

And soon, there was only one competitor.

Key Lessons from “Alibaba’s World”

1.      Alibaba is a Giant – and It Started in Jack Ma’s House
2.      Alibaba’s Success Is Based on a String of Bold Decisions
3.      Build a Company for Your Customers – Not for You

Alibaba is a Giant – and It Started in Jack Ma’s House

“Alibaba” was founded in 1999 in Jack Ma’s house – from where it was operated until 2004. Nowadays, it’s a multinational conglomerate for which the sky’s the only limit.

Here are the stats:

“Alibaba” is the world’s largest retailer, passing “Walmart” about two years ago. Along with “Tencent,” it’s one of only two Asian companies which have broken the US$500 billion valuation mark. It operates in 200 countries and is one of the world’s largest Internet companies.

Finally, its online sales surpass all US retailers – and that means: Amazon + eBay + Walmart – combined!

Alibaba’s Success Is Based on a String of Bold Decisions

Alibaba wouldn’t have become what it currently is, if Jack Ma hadn’t make few very bold decisions. And any future entrepreneur should really learn from him how it’s done!

Number one: he found an online e-commerce company in China, when 99% of the Chinese didn’t even have Internet.

Next, he offered many free services when eBay China – and everyone else – was charging.

Finally, he didn’t sell any shares of “Alibaba” to “Yahoo! China” until they gave up on the demand to rename the company!

Build a Company for Your Customers – Not for You

What made “Alibaba” different than its competitors – Jack Ma claims – is his disinterest in computers and tech-related stuff. That’s why, he adds, he had no option but to look at his own business through the eyes of the customers.

And that’s the most important takeaway from “Alibaba’s World”: build your business for your customers. Of course, it’s essential to identify them and analyze their behavior first!

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“Alibaba’s World” Quotes

Learn from competitors but never copy them. Copy them and you will die. Click To Tweet Alibaba is no longer a David. It is a Goliath. And as a Goliath it will face an entirely new set of challenges. Click To Tweet Today is tough. Tomorrow is tougher. The day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most people die tomorrow night and don’t get the chance to see the sun rise the day after tomorrow. (via Jack Ma) Click To Tweet I’m 100 percent ‘made in China.’ I learned English myself, and I know nothing about technology… One of the reasons why Alibaba survived is because I know nothing about computers. I’m like a blind man riding on the back of a blind tiger.… Click To Tweet eBay is a shark in the ocean. We are a crocodile in the Yangtze river. If we fight in the ocean, we will lose. But if we fight in the river, we will win. (via Jack Ma) Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Since “Alibaba’s World” was written, “Alibaba” just grew and grew. And it doesn’t show any sign that it will stop in the near future.

“Fascinating,” wrote “The Financial Times,” adding that “stories don’t get much better than Alibaba’s.” And Nick Arnold, former Head of Marketing for “Apple” Asia, was wordier and even more flattering in his assessment: “A must-read, full of practical learning for anyone seeking to understand Chinese entrepreneurship or build the business of their dreams.”

Back in 2015, “Wall Street Journal” chose this book as one of the best business books of the year. Unsurprisingly, three years later, we still agree!

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Scaling Up Summary

Scaling Up Summary

How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0)

“Scaling Up” is a guideline for growth.

Arm yourself with these useful tools, and spread your business successfully.

About Verne Harnish

Verne Harnish

Verne Varnish is an author, a columnist for fortune and the founder of Gazelles.

“Scaling Up Summary”

Why is it that so many companies are created over the years, and only a few of them become big game changers?

No matter how good your business is going and how superior your product is, the scaling process is an important part of the equation for success.

It seems that getting bigger does not make things easier.

On the contrary, it challenges you more.

So how do you go about the scaling up the process?

First, you need to make sure that you have the right people on board. Provide your staff with coaching, training, and create a culture of constant learning.

Second, find the point of balance between what your stakeholders demand and what your work demands.

Do not overlook the importance of the relationship you have with the stakeholders.

Third, build discipline, because, without it, you will not be able to implement your strategies.

Finally, start acting and making decisions on the most pressing questions.

First, take care of the biggest issues, and then continue to the smaller ones.

You can build these previously mentioned four D’s by focusing on your people, strategy, cash flows, and execution.

First, let’s talk about people.

Establishing communication among your employees is vital since information needs to flow among your teams and sub-teams.

Hence, if you feel that you are stuck in growth, review your team size and the current communication in your company.

Next, you need to establish a core purpose and core values of your company, as well as your goals for the next 20-25 years.

Only then you can build a successful strategy that focuses on the right markets and people.

To reach the goals fast, take the time to determine where your company’s biggest strengths are.

Once you have the strategy, keep the progress of execution in check.

Gather qualitative and quantitative data, develop a steady meeting routine, motivate employees to measure their daily performance, and gather customer feedback.

Finally, you have to understand cash flow and manage to create some cash reserves.

To expand your cash reserves use the cash conversion cycle (CCC). To simplify it, break it down into components: delivery, sales, production/inventory, billing/payment, and work with each of them separately.

Find ways to reduce the cycle and improve your overall business model.

Key Lessons from “Scaling Up”

1.      The Elements of Discipline
2.      Invest in Your People
3.      Find Your Company’s Strengths

The Elements of Discipline

  • Be aware of your priorities
  • Organize regular meetings
  • Review data constantly

Invest in Your People

It is important that you invest in your people and help them achieve their full potential.

You can do this by training, empowerment, simply listening to them, establishing core values and purpose, and setting clear goals and expectations.

Find Your Company’s Strengths

  • Look into your customers’ minds
  • Look at the x-factor that differentiates you from your rivals

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“Scaling Up” Quotes

There are no straight lines in nature or business. Click To Tweet If the Core Values are the soul of the organization, the core Purpose (some call it “mission”) gives it heart. Click To Tweet Letting go and trusting others to do things well is one of the more challenging aspects of being a leader of a growing organization. Click To Tweet People join companies. They leave managers. Click To Tweet

Goals without routines are wishes; routines without goals are aimless. The most successful business leaders have a clear vision and the disciplines (routines) to make it a reality. Click To Tweet

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Scaling Up Excellence Summary

Scaling Up Excellence SummaryGetting to More Without Settling for Less

You think that it is time for scaling up?

Read “Scaling Up Excellence” to get out the most of it.

About Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao

Huggy RaoHuggy Rao is an author and a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University.

Robert I. Sutton is an author and a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University.

“Scaling Up Excellence Summary”

Have you ever wondered why not all restaurants and stores are as popular as those in the city center?

Or, let’s say, why your favorite team does not play as well as teams in other countries?

If you have, then you would probably be interested in the way you can replicate something successful in another location with other customers.

Scaling is the practice of spreading the excellent performance of a part of a company two more places and more people. Scaling’s another name is a “problem of more.”

Scaling pushes companies to keep innovating and changing their structures and corporate behavior and to find opportunities that would enable them to improve their products and services.

Scaling is a significant but tricky corporate challenge.

Sadly there is no recipe to accomplish successful scaling. However, by looking at examples of successful companies, we can extract some fundamental principles for Effective scaling.

Before you embark on your scaling Journey make sure you are prepared for a long and hard road. On your way, you need to persevere.

If you are sure that you can practice persistent, it is time we tell you one of the most significant trade-offs in your endeavor.

During the process of spreading, you will face both the need for standardization and local variation. Ultimately, you will not need to choose which one to adopt, but you will need to find the balance between them.

Now that you understand what is awaiting you it is time we make a list of the steps that you need to follow to scale up successfully.

The first step, of course, is communicating your effort in a way that will motivate your employees to want to join the journey.

You can do this by targeting your people’s behavior, or their beliefs. There are different studies the show which approach works best, but experience has shown that whatever path you choose, it will work if it fits the nature of your organization.

After taking her first steps, you will need to bring in more resources, more people, more organizational layers to keep your efforts growing. However, make sure, but you do not add complexity when it is not needed.

Always stay aware of redundant practices and rules.

Key Lessons from “Scaling Up Excellence”

1.      Principles of Effective Scaling
2.      The Importance of Involving the Right People in the Scaling Process
3.      The Real Nature of Scaling

Principles of Effective Scaling

  • Prepare
  • Build up persistence
  • Communicate your effort
  • Bring in more resources
  • Bring in more organizational layers
  • Get rid of redundancies

The Importance of Involving the Right People in the Scaling Process

Involve the right people in your scaling efforts. Having people who act just interest in your organization’s interest at all times just as important as having people with the right skills and knowledge.

The Real Nature of Scaling

When it comes to scaling organizations, management teams need to grasp that it does not only mean replicating best practices to another environment but also improving the performance during the process.

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“Scaling Up Excellence” Quotes

People also have a greater capacity when they aren’t worn down by work and worry. When people get enough sleep, they are more adept at difficult tasks, are more interpersonally sensitive, make better decisions, and are less likely to turn… Click To Tweet It means constantly seeking and implementing better ways of thinking and acting across old and new corners of the system. Click To Tweet If you can’t bring yourself to encourage employees to lie down on the job, at least give them plenty of breaks. The ordinary fatigue most of us feel during the workday makes us grouchier—and dumber—as the hours go by. Click To Tweet This is our company—it’s not theirs—it’s ours. Click To Tweet The lesson from the Big Mac story is that innovations that ought to be scaled won’t happen everywhere but can happen anywhere. Click To Tweet

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary – Available in PDF

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team PDFA Leadership Fable

The best way to learn something is through a story. That’s why, upon realizing this, business writers started sharing their experiences through a new genre, the business fable.

And one of the most famous among them is, certainly, Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Who Should Read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”? And Why?

You can’t have a winning football team if you build it around exceptional individuals. A team of average players with a teamwork mentality will beat your team nine times out of ten.

If you wonder why, then you should read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” It explains the prerequisites of great teamwork, and the way you can turn your company from a haphazard mixture of lone wolves into an interpersonal heaven breeding cohesiveness and creativity at the speed of light.

About Patrick Lencioni

Patrick LencioniPatrick Lencioni is an American author and motivational speaker. He is the President of The Table Group, a management counseling company. Lencioni has written ten books on different aspects of business management, mostly focusing on the importance of teamwork.

He is most famous as the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Advantage.”

Find out more at

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team PDF Summary”

We’ve already introduced you to the “business fable” genre. We’ve read together some early examples such as “Who Moved My Cheese?” and “The One Minute Manager” as well as some recent ones such as “The Phoenix Project.”

Now it’s time for one of the most famous and enduring works in the genre: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

In its bare essence, the fable concerns the fictional company DecisionTech, Inc. Its main characters include Kathryn Petersen, the newly appointed CEO, Jeff Shanley, her predecessor and cofounder, and a host of employees, such as: Jan, CFO; Nick, COO; Michelle, the Head of Marketing; Martin, the Chief Technologist; Jeff, the Head of Sales; and Carlos, the Head of Customer Support.

Through the stories of their day-to-day challenges and triumph, Lencioni manages to teach us few valuable lessons on what it means to be a functional team.

And he uses the best learning strategy: by reminding us the consequences of a dysfunctional working environment.

So, what are the five dysfunctions of a team?

Well, Kathryn Petersen, the CEO, explains these via a simple drawing, not unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Namely, a five-sectioned pyramid which should look something like this.

And at the bottom of the triangle, you’ll find absence of trust.

Absence of trust is the foundation of all dysfunctions. And the root of it is the inability and unwillingness of employees to be vulnerable and open to each other. Teams which share personal insights and experiences always show better results!

Next, fear of conflict.

Conflict is nothing bad. In fact, if regulated, it’s usually more productive than you can imagine. Artificial harmony does nobody any good. So, dare to disagree.

Thirdly, lack of commitment.

Healthy conflict usually results in commitment. People don’t like compromises and especially not orders. Lack of conflict and discussion, in other words, means lack of commitment to the final decision.

Which leads us to dysfunction #4: avoidance of accountability.

Of course, you need to take full responsibility, i.e. be fully committed to something, to be accountable for it afterward.

And finally: inattention to results.

The worst thing that can happen to a team is to become a group of individuals. Take any sports team and you’ll understand how healthy teamwork leads to better results. If everyone works for him/herself, the results will never come.

Key Lessons from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

1.      Trust Each Other
2.      Master the Art of Disagreement
3.      Fully Commit to an Agreed Plan of Action
4.      Hold Yourself and Others Accountable for that Plan
5.      There’s No “I” in Team: Focus on the Collective Result

Trust Each Other

We’ll turn Lencioni’s strategy on its head for our “Key Lessons” section. Instead of telling you what a team should not be – we’ll tell you what it should be.

First of all, it should be a group of people who trust each other. They are in it together, and they need to have that in mind at all times. They must accept the risk of being vulnerable – in the name of the higher cause.

Master the Art of Disagreement

Teams built on trust know that disagreements are the only way to make some progress. Their members want to be part of the discussion – so that the decision they’ll finally reach would be the best one.

Fully Commit to an Agreed Plan of Action

Of course, if the opinion of every team member is heard and discussed through, commitment shouldn’t be a problem.

Hold Yourself and Others Accountable for that Plan

And commitment brings responsibility with itself. Not only is every member of a functional team responsible for his/her own action, but he/she also holds everybody else accountable for his/her.

There’s No “I” in Team: Focus on the Collective Result

Finally, cohesive team means a many-minded organism which functions as if a single mind. Everybody works for the team. Even if that means self-sacrificing from time to time.

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“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” Quotes

Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team. Click To Tweet Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability. Click To Tweet Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal. Click To Tweet Not finance. Not strategy. And not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. Click To Tweet If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

There’s a reason why Patrick Lencioni is often introduced as a management and leadership guru and dubbed one of the few people in his area you should know.

Just as there is a reason why “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is considered one of the most influential business fables ever written and why it has been on the bestseller lists of every magazine that means something (“New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal,” “Business Week,” “USA Today,” etc.)

Simply put, we learn best through stories, and Lencioni has here told us the perfect one. It’s simple – yet it feels real. It’s easy-to-follow, and yet it communicates important things.

And finally, it teaches everything it wants to teach – and it does this in such a smooth manner that you are not even going to notice how much more you know about teamwork after closing the book.

But, trust us, you’ll most definitely do.

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Failing Forward Summary

Failing Forward SummaryTurning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

Not many people like to admit this but failing is an essential part of success. And “essential” means that you can’t be successful unless you fail before that. It may seem oxymoronic, but it’s anything but.

At least so says John C. Maxwell – and he is our go-to guy for questions related to leadership and success. From now on, failing backward is not an option. Because there’s also such thing as “Failing Forward.”

Who Should Read “Failing Forward”? And Why?

On its cover, “Failing Forward” features a telling blurb: “A New York bestselling author addresses everyone’s greatest need.” OK – it may not be everyone’s greatest need in itself, but “how to overcome failure” is certainly a question everybody has asked himself at least once or twice a life.

If so, you can do worse then hearing some worse of wisdom from a leadership expert. And probably you can’t do much better if you’re an ambitious person or a perfectionist.

About John C. Maxwell

John C. MaxwellJohn C. Maxwell is by acclamation the foremost authority on leadership in the world. He is the founder of EQUIP and the eponymous John Maxwell Company.

He has written over 40 books, which have jointly sold about 20 million copies. And we have written summaries about most of them. In other words – please, be our guest: “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” “Leadership Gold,” “The 360o Leader,” “The Five Levels of Leadership,” “Talent Is Never Enough,” “Put Your Dream to the Test,” and “Thinking for a Change”.

“Failing Forward Summary”

Statistics – and John C. Maxwell – point to one fascinating fact: almost every successful person you know now was a failure at one point in his life.

Because, failure is not the opposite of success; it’s an indispensable ingredient. In fact, you could say that successful people are on the top because they’ve failed more and better than the rest of the people.

Or, to be more illustrative even if that means borrowing a quote we’ve already used in another summary: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

In fact, there’s even a number!

On average, an entrepreneur will fail 4 times (3.8 to be more exact) before he finally does it. And some of these fails may be spectacular fiascos.

Take, for example, Sergio Zyman, Coca-Cola’s marketing executive in the 1980s. He was the man responsible behind the Diet Coke. And because of its immense success, he convinced Coca-Cola executives to stop producing the old version when he introduced the “New Coke.”

“New Coke” was a fiasco and cost the company $100 million, and Zyman his job. But then, when Coca-Cola reintroduced the old version under a new name, “Coca Cola Classic,” it was such a success that Zyman got his job back, and the company its money.

Even creative geniuses can’t always be right. But, their failures open new opportunities.

Such was the case with Thomas Edison. He wanted to improve the telegraph. He failed. But, along the way, he discovered the gramophone.

“A man of genius makes no mistakes,” wrote James Joyce. “His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

The point is that many of your failures are actually not your fault; all of your successes, however, are your responsibility. Roger Crawford, for example, wanted to become a tennis player, but he was born with a disability. Even so, he managed to overcome it.

Learn from his example the next time something bad and uncontrollable happens to your business. Face the obstacle with an attitude of a winner!

And that attitude is, actually, the attitude of a knower and an optimist.

Because, excepting that failures would turn into successes by themselves is the definition of stubbornness. What’s so good about failures is the lessons you can take out from them for your next endeavor.

Because, the Dalai Lama would say, that’s exactly how we learn best. You can think about it in this manner: after a failure, you’ll know at least one more thing you shouldn’t do.

We’ll describe the second element of the attitude of a successful person through a handy little anecdote.

Once upon a time, there lived two people who, after a series of unfortunate events, ended up in an almost underground prison. Through the prison bars, they could see the ground and a small patch of the sky. This depressed one of the two prisoners: what he saw through the bars was mud and mud only.

The other felt something altogether different. Because there, on that little patch of sky, he could see the stars. And he was the one who made it.

You don’t think that the story makes any sense?

Just ask Viktor Frankl if there was any other way to survive the Holocaust.

Key Lessons from “Failing Forward”

1.      Failures Are Portals of Discovery
2.      Turn Your Failures into Life Lessons
3.      So, You Failed…

Failures Are Portals of Discovery

One of the greatest favors you can do yourself is redefining the word “failure.”


Because, if you’re serious about success, failures will inevitable appear along your way. If you think of them as something final, then you’ve never really understood them. A child has to fall many times before it learns how to walk.

An entrepreneur, on average, has to establish 4 failed businesses before founding the multi-million-dollar company. You really think Twitter hatched out of nothing?

Think again.

Turn Your Failures into Life Lessons

The most important life lessons you’ll ever learn are failures. Someone else’s or your own.

Concerning the former – read books such as “Failing Forward” and look for other inspiring failure stories. Concerning the latter – try to find a way to learn something from a failure.

An example straight out of Charlie Brown:

If you’re building a sand castle and the tide destroys it, there’s a lesson somewhere in there, right?

Find it!

So, You Failed…

We’ll quote a Nobel Prize Literature winner so you can really remember the most important lesson from this book: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter./ Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

For the ones who think that we’re a bit pretentious, here’s one pop-reference we like:

“So, you failed. Alright, you really failed… You failed… You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.”

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“Failing Forward” Quotes

In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve? Click To Tweet The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. Click To Tweet Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business. Click To Tweet Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you… Click To Tweet Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Unsurprisingly (if you have read anything else by its author), “Failing Forward” is a triumph. (Or, to quote Borat, a “great success”.) It’s well-structured and finely written, and it is filled with inspirational anecdotes and real-life examples to support the theoretical framework.

In other words, you’ll close the book all pumped up and ready for another round. But, most of all, by the end of it, you might just learn how to cope with your failures.

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Managing to Learn Summary

Managing to Learn SummaryUsing the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead

Tired of being the underdog? Gain strength by understanding what is keeping you down with the aid of the A3 Management system.

Managing to Learn” unveils many techniques that can be used in various situations to find the problem.

About John Shook

John ShookJohn Shook is best described as an industrial anthropologist who places faith in lean production laws and methods.

“Managing to Learn Summary”

A3 is a process that is designed to help managers and other individuals solve problems and conduct strategic planning. The A3 method is not randomly constructed. With a template to act as guidance, you will be given an opportunity to enforced “standardized storytelling.”

In the first place, you must encapsulate all the issues, which describe the comprehensive story.

John Shook puts no stock in conservative thinking, and as a Toyota insider, he appeals to all the people to follow their dreams. Bring your yearnings one step closer to you, with the support of A3 management thinking patterns.

Put your ideas to the test and embark on a full-scale problem-solving campaign.

Every A3 use case or process acts in accordance with a structure consisting of several fundamental elements:

Title” – How to classify the problem that is causing a lot of trouble?

Background” – What is this in reference to?  

Current conditions” – Are you familiar with the problem and the burden emerging from it?  

Goals and targets” – What is the desired outcome and are your strivings complementary to reality?

Analysis” – What caused the situation or issues?

Proposed countermeasures” – What actions do you think are best fitting for the current circumstances?

Plan” – According to your understanding, how should you conduct the delegation process?

Follow up” – When is it appropriate to review the A3 progress?

Identify potential blockades of the processes

Every story starts with a problem, and after the culmination, it must end with a solution – that’s the untold order. Begin by defining a clear and concise title that gives further explanation of the issue. In the hope that all the disputed points will be put to sleep, one must follow and launch the problem-solving process.

Going to the physical location of the situation that is causing trouble is what the Japanese call – “gemba.”

Investigating all the components involved in the process can be challenging. The A3 analysis doesn’t give a clear distinction between the actual issue and its symptoms. Be on a full alert and resist the temptation to jump into conclusion. Subdue every explosive instinct and take the process one step at a time.

Five Whys is the greatest ally in the root-cause examination system. Using the “Why” on a repetitious basis will improve your chances of understanding the core of the problem. Enforcing such practice matches the ability to dig deep and discover what has been causing disorder and mess.

Conducting a perfect allocation of resources is an unrealistic scenario. However, sharing the responsibilities with your team in pursuit of getting the technique right, is something you should pay attention to. Finalize the plan but make sure all the member are present while you are making the final preparations.

Even though, your A3 template may seem perfect; you are far from over. Choosing your steps wisely signifies the capacity of your organization to implementing countermeasures when things get rough. Reviewing your PDCA (Plan, Do Check, Act) cycle is critical.

Think twice before you make the final call. Becoming more secure with the A3 thinking-method illustrates your strivings to grow in all areas.

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“Managing to Learn” Quotes

A story is more than lifeless data to prove a point. It brings the facts and the total reality of the condition to life so the reader can understand and debate the true nature of the situation. Click To Tweet The A3 is the instrument enabling the right decision at the right time. Click To Tweet Like any narrative tale, an A3 shares a complete story. Click To Tweet Real improvement only can take place when there is a frontline focus based on direct observation of current conditions where work is done. Click To Tweet Lean management is neither a simple top-down nor bottom-up process. Rather, it is a dynamic system in which processes are well-defined and individual responsibility is clear. Click To Tweet

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Embrace the Shake Summary

Embrace the Shake Summary“Embrace the Shake” is a book of tomorrow. A real life-altering story of a person whose dreams were slightly endangered by unpleasant circumstances.

About Phil Hansen

Phil Hansen is lauded as an exceptional artist and the author of Tattoo a Banana.

“Embrace the Shake Summary”

With a status of a student in an art school, Phil Hansen started plotting against his shallow limitations. As he continued to look for answers, a sudden shake in his drawing hand, made it clear that something is cooking.

From the moment he began studying, Phil advocated for pointillism. Such style wasn’t typical in the institution he had joined in. Drawing tinny and mathematically accurate dots led to nerve damage that turned out to be permanent.

Such turn of events forced him to abandon the studies, for an undisclosed period of time. He spent the next three years in recovery, disabled to follow his heart as an artist.

After graduation, Hansen got employed, and for the first time, he had all the resources to replenish his art supplies. Nevertheless, not even such circumstances and the availability of art kit broke the ice. Phil failed to find inspiration. Such overwhelming feeling and the accessibility of choices left him “paralyzed.”

So, it wasn’t much of a choice, and he set on a new adventure with an intention to destroy all self-imposed boundaries and restrictions. Embracing and accepting the shake, as his current state, was job number one.

With dynamism in his heart, Phil Hansen hunted monsters hidden in the mind of every human being. For instance, accepting the dollars’ worth of supplies illustrates one of those shallow limitations. Following such vision made him an unpredicted man, who enforced methods and laws that had little common grounds with the traditional methods.

At one occasion, he started painting with karate chops, instead of using brushes and other conventional toolkits that are applicable in the industry.

Such incentive and ideas, convert Hansen into a creative force, with no barriers anywhere near him. After all, possessing the resourcefulness is vital for growth.

As the project drew to a close, Hansen had lost all the wish and passion for showing off his real masterpiece. Many felt the unshakeable nature of his work, despite all the factors that “conspired” against him.

Tangible results no longer provided the eagerness to pursue glory and financial stability. Hansen continued experimenting, in spite of all the signs that pointed at material inefficiency. The impulse stood up against everything that posed a threat to his methods, which was later confirmed with the replica of Michelangelo’s famous creation – on a banana.

Your horizon and viewpoints can perceive constraints uniquely. The creativeness and its sources vary from person to person. The ability to dig down and find these possibilities can grant you the edge. Mind blockades must be surpassed with caution and stability that is further stimulated by openness.

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“Embrace the Shake” Quotes

Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and, collectively, transform our world. Click To Tweet Limitations may be the most unlikely of places to harness creativity, but perhaps one of the best ways to get ourselves out of ruts, rethink categories and challenge accepted norms. Click To Tweet Instead of telling one another to seize the day, maybe we can remind ourselves to seize the limitation. Click To Tweet

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Hug Your Customers Summary

Hug Your Customers SummaryThe Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results

Managing a company is a 24/7 work. Personalizing your products is critical for displaying immense capability of satisfying even the pickiest demands.

Hug Your Customers” put to the test all common strategies for increasing profits and serves many new methods on a silver plate that are seldom used.

About Jack Mitchell

Jack MitchellJack Mitchell is a motivator, consultant, a motivational speaker, and the author of several books.

“Hug Your Customers Summary”

Improving the relationship with your customers is not rocket science, but you should also not take anything for granted.

Mitchell states, “Only delighted customers are genuinely loyal.” Such statement emboldens the organizations and stores to prioritize the customers’ needs and put secondary the quality of the goods. Increasing sales is proportional to satisfaction and loyalty.

In reality, the employees constitute the main leading force in all endeavors, and their impact is far more important than any other factor. All marketing strategies will generate little value if the company lacks the expertise and vision to proceed.

If a firm is not fueled by a loyal base of customers, the potential long-term users would be on the fence – whether to use or skip the product your company is offering. Putting your customer as an entity at the top of the hierarchy forms a route paved with principles leading to enforcement of success-rules.

Hugging can be understood and used in various contexts. It can literally illustrate hugging or maintaining a positive vibe with the interlocutor. Get out of the box, and realize that activities such as sending a Christmas Card, or a small gift to your loyal group of customers can generate revenues.

Showing love and appreciation for being loyal to you is regarded as hugging. Caring about their preferences and requirements is the only ticket to prosperity. Rudeness from your employees mustn’t be tolerated, lack of manners can result in bad word-of-mouth marketing, regardless of the quality your products or services possess.

Business owners who adopt a stubborn and single-minded attitude quickly face a collapse. Not many potential customers will make the same mistake twice; especially if you fail to leave a great first impression. On the contrary, conducting with utmost propriety conveys a new message that will set in motion new lucrative laws.

  • Anticipate their reaction and define the “Wow! moment”
  • Be passionate about improving and enhancing the relationships with the customers.
  • Give “free” hugs and eclipse their expectations.  
  • Advocating for customer satisfaction is step one, go for full-loyalty.
  • Allow the customer to voice complaints and make their demands.
  • If you want to be the best, you must work with the best.
  • There are no mistakes, only lessons. There are hundreds of opportunities just waiting for the perfect moment.

Key Lessons from “Hug Your Customers

1.      Hire Positive and Goal-Oriented Individuals
2.      Technology must support hugs
3.      Increase your influence in the market

Hire Positive and Goal-Oriented Individuals

A bad working atmosphere can trigger lesser productivity and endanger the efficiency. The one responsible for human resources must take into account the attitude of the newcomers.

Don’t hire anyone, without thinking and testing their capacities.

Technology must support hugs

Unlike other unrelated sectors, if the cutting-edge equipment and machinery do not back your strategy that is concerned about creating a stable and satisfied base of end-users, you cannot expect to yield favorable results.

Increase your influence in the market

With the help of plenty hugging methods, you can begin thinking about taking control of the market.

In truth, such endeavors often end up in failure due to inadequate preparations. Don’t shy away from challenges and embark on a full-scale adventure.

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“Hug Your Customers” Quotes

Our vision is that anyone that becomes a customer of our stores enters an enduring relationship with us. He or she instantly becomes a friend. That's our motto, Once a customer, always a friend. Click To Tweet In some instances, we physically hug the customers - but we mainly metaphorically hug them by showering them with attention in a way that every business ought to but doesn't. Click To Tweet We know every item a customer has ever purchased and when they purchased it, going back years. We know their sizes, their brand preferences and their color preferences. Click To Tweet If a customer comes in and mentions she's in a bit of a rush because she had to fetch her dog at the vet, we'll say, 'Oh, sorry to hear that. Is Lucia okay?' We know the dog's name too. Click To Tweet It's not location, location, location - it's service, service, service. Click To Tweet

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The Chimp Paradox Summary

The Chimp Paradox SummaryThe Mind Management Program for Confidence, Success and Happiness

There is one surefire way to take control of your life – by taking control of your mind first. Dr. Steve Peters is one of the most famous sports psychologists alive – and knows that’s true even for the greatest athletes.

That’s why he wants to teach you something about “The Chimp Paradox.”

About Steve Peters

Steve PetersSteve Peters is an English psychiatrist, best known as the counselor of the British Cycling Team (Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton). He has also advised sprinter Adam Gemili, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, as well as the Liverpool F.C. In 2014, Roy Hodgson recruited him to help the England football team.

Steve Peters also competes in masters athletics and has won numerous gold medals.

“The Chimp Paradox Summary”

If you are not your brain, then, obviously, there’s a high chance that your brain is playing tricks on you from time to time. Insecurity, lack of self-confidence, sudden forgetfulness… familiar?

Well, according to noted psychiatrist Steve Peters, that’s not you. It’s the chimp in your brain.

You, see, your brain – or, more correct, your Psychological Mind – consists of three separate brains: The Human, the Chimp and the Computer Brain. You – the essential you – are the Human Brain. Your Chimp Brain is nothing but “an emotional thinking machine.” Finally, your Computer Brain “is a storage area and automatic functioning machine.”

Any one of these brains can take complete control of you at any given moment.

For example, are you making your morning coffee or driving the car while talking to someone? Well, you’re on autopilot – and you’re using your Computer Brain. Are you having an argument with your wife over some unimportant thing? Of course, you’re nothing different than a chimp.

Finally, are you asking yourself questions such as “What do I want to do in this situation?” or “What do I want to be in life?”

The answers to these questions are the key to the Human side of your brain. As Steve Peters says, “this is who you really are. Any deviation from this is a hijacking by the Chimp.”

But, how to put an end to this?

By killing the goblins in your brain! Yes – there are goblins in your brain and they are controlling what you think!

Now, Descartes would have loved that sentence!

Just like any similar operation, removing goblins starts with their identification. And since your Computer Brain is the storage of information in your skull, your goblins are most probably hidden somewhere in there. Because, you see, both your Chimp and your Human Brain are fed by the information stored on your Computer Brain.

Think of it just like the Internet: at any given moment, you can read a book summary here at or spend half an hour browsing through timewasting websites.

So, find a negative behavioral pattern which your Chimp Brain may abuse. And turn it into a positive one.

That’s what high performers do – and that’s what you should do too!

Key Lessons from “The Chimp Paradox”

1.      Your Brain Is a Three-Part Structure – Ravaged by Goblins
2.      Lesson #1 for Your Chimp: Everybody’s Different
3.      There Are Four Ways to Communicate – And the Fourth One Is Your Problem

Your Brain Is a Three-Part Structure – Ravaged by Goblins

Your Psychological Brain is not a holistic structure. It’s, in fact, internally divided into three parts: the Human Brain, the Chimp Brain, and the Computer Brain.

The Computer Brain is where you store all the information, which the Human and the Chimp inside your head can use it afterward. Now, the Chimp Brain is a bundle of emotions, as primitive as your distant Neanderthal cousins. And the Human Brain – is too rational to act quickly.

So, it’s the Chimp which usually takes control. By using the exactly wrong information saved by your Computer Brain. He’s the one clicking “New Tab” when you’re actually reading an informative Wikipedia article!

Now, that right there – that is an example of what is a brain goblin. Fight it – even if you have only 5 seconds!

Lesson #1 for Your Chimp: Everybody’s Different

One of the main things “The Chimp Paradox” tries to relate is that, even though everybody’s brain is the same three-part structure, there are millions of patterns and goblins. So, in a nutshell: everybody’s different.

And you’ve got to take this into account if you want to understand others!

Start by learning to not assume anything about the other person. Then, put the unreasonable expectations in the bin. Finally, abandon all prejudice. It doesn’t matter if they’re positive or negative: single stories are dangerous.

There Are Four Ways to Communicate – And the Fourth One Is Your Problem

Since the information stored by your Computer Brain can be used by both your Chimp Brain and your Human Brain at any time, every discussion has to have four different scenarios.

Namely, it can be a Human to Human discussion; it can also be a Human to Chimp or a Chimp to Human discussion; worst of all, it can be a Chimp to Chimp discussion. Everything bad that has ever happened in human history is because of chimp to chimp discussions.

The great news:

If you’re participating in a discussion – you can always be the Human. And even in the case of a disagreement, Human to Chimp discussion – believe us – will turn out just fine.

It just might take a little longer to wake the inner human in your disputant.

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“The Chimp Paradox” Quotes

When you decide to do something, remind yourself that it is commitment not motivation that matters. Click To Tweet Most people have reliable partners and sharing with a partner is one of the joys of life. However, basing your security on a partner or any other one individual is a recipe for disaster. Click To Tweet Do not measure ‘reasonable’ by your own standards and then impose them on to others because everyone has different standards. Click To Tweet I am an adult and I can deal with any situation. Click To Tweet It’s the way you deal with things, not what happens, that gives peace of mind. Click To Tweet

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