A short book and one worth being read twice, by the authors of the ‘The Go-Giver’. I first read this in February 2015 and it changed my perspective on my attitude to others. My second read of this book was in June 2016 and it was interesting to see how much I have changed some of my arrogant attitudes by realising that it turns out it is not about me!
As Chairman of the Thanet Business Network from July 2015 to June 2016, my opening addresses were renowned for seemingly being about me. The irony is that most Chairman’s reports were crafted to be about business development and lessons that may help one or more business owners in the room. Frequently members would speak to me after the meetings and say “Yes, I have that issue too. Thank you”. This was a deliberate strategy created after my first read of this book and hence why I have waited until the end of my year as Chairman to publish this review.
Right, down to the book review …
The book is really just one long story of a chap working for a mergers and acquisition company who needs to convince the management of an established manufacturer to sell. What are they bringing to the table? What does the company have in buckets and what do they need to get them to thrive? Why has the company been successful up until now? Typically, an ‘M&A’ person is not a ‘Go Giver’.
The first note I made as I read this book was around the idea of ‘holding the vision’. Anyone can dream their vision for the future, but it’s a level of commitment that allows people to hold the vision when external pressures change the game so regularly. Success comes from having the faith to continue to believe in your vision.
The second note I made was about the ‘employee scrapbook’. A wall in the office devoted to the extended family that is our work colleagues. The people we work together with and serve. I have chosen a wall within the offices of Business Computer Solutions and am ordering picture frames now. It will be great to recreate this Americanism, in Ramsgate!
The third and final note was a big one. The difference between reacting and responding. This is demonstrated by a story in a restaurant about how a complaint handled correctly becomes a winning situation. Most people react, but taking the time to consider the next step would mean everyone would be better off responding. This now means that I am a calmer person to deal with. Although still not perfect, I am more likely to respond later than react now. This is not in my personality so has taken me quite a while to control but seems to be worth it. My team at Business Computer Solutions certainly think so!
When I was struggling with a problematic customer about six months ago, my wife and business partner profoundly said to me “Gareth, you don’t know what is going on in their lives”. This gave me a wakeup call to consider others in a much broader way than I had before that point in time. The pressures on that customer were probably the reason they were ‘reacting’ rather than ‘responding’ to every interaction. From that day, life became easier … for me, the people around me and probably even the client.
Invest a couple of hours and read this book. The story is warming and the lessons pertinent.