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Productivity / Professional development

Member must reads, part 7

Mary Anastasiou and Carl Allen share the books that have had the most influence on the way they run their business.

Mary Anastasiou

Interestingly the book that has had the most influence on the way I run my business is not a book about business – it’s The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.

The Alchemist is a novel which encourages readers to follow their dreams, since, as Coelho states “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” As soloists, we’re all the same. None of us would be here if at some point or another we didn’t dream or want for something different. To escape the rat race for something more fulfilling, more meaningful or more exciting. This book has taught me to follow my dreams, pursue what I love and believe that everything that is meant to be will happen as and when it needs to. I’ve learned to relax and trust the process – I’m always exactly where I need to be at any given time. And believe it or not miracles (and magic) do happen 🙂

Carl Allen

Good To Great by Jim Collins has been very influential in my thinking.

The three most important learnings I garnered from this book include:

First Who, Then What:

Most problems within a company are people problems. With the right people on the bus, there will be less management problems, and other issues will automatically dissipate. The people who begin in the company are far more imperative than even the product you choose to sell or industry you partake in.

The Hedgehog Concept:

Find the middle ground for your company between the following:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What can you be the best in the world at?
  • What drives your company’s economic engine?

A Culture of Discipline:

Good to Great mentions that good-to-great leaders embraced the construction of systems and a culture around the ideas of individual freedom and responsibility. In this type of environment, leaders were primarily responsible for managing systems, rather than people.

In order for the systems to function, leaders must fill that culture with self-disciplined people who are willing to go the extra mile to fulfill their responsibilities.

I think it is also important not to let the bureaucracy of an organisation interfere with the discipline of creativity as I believe this will stunt long term growth.

A culture of discipline requires disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought and then take disciplined action.

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