Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book review: Business Model Generation

As an incoming member of Seth Godin’s altMBA program and a self-confessed book nerd, I was excited when I received a set of eight books provided to program participants as a pre-read.  

One of the books in the package was called Business Model Generation written by Alexander
Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.  Business Model Generation is a handbook created to defy the thinking settled in outmoded business models and help individuals design tomorrow's enterprises.

This was one of the first books that I picked up and read for 3 key reasons:

1) I like the fact that the book was co-created by over 470 practitioners from 45 countries.   It speaks to the future of work concepts with the advent of the “gig” economy on the rise

2) Concepts in the book really appealed to the architect side in me – with a set of predefined building blocks, identified business models, business designing, overall strategy, and process flow concepts. 

3) The authors provide a simple framework to conceptualize, design, and execute a large scale change transformation initiative through the use of storytelling and purposeful adoption.

While the book is called a handbook, it feels more like a primer on the building blocks of a business operating model and a re-framed version of Porter’s Five Forces.  The concepts are simple, clear, and easy to follow along.  I particularly like the business model canvas template and various business case studies really bring the book’s concepts to life.  
The key drivers on the business canvas template are:

  • Customer Segments: Who are the customers? What do they think? See? Feel? Do?
  • Value Propositions: What’s compelling about the proposition? Why do customers buy, use?
  • Channels: How are these propositions promoted, sold and delivered? Why? Is it working?
  • Customer Relationships: How do you interact with the customer through their ‘journey’?
  • Revenue Streams: How does the business earn revenue from the value propositions?
  • Key Activities: What uniquely strategic things does the business do to deliver its proposition?
  • Key Resources: What unique strategic assets must the business have to compete?
  • Key Partnerships: What can the company not do so it can focus on its Key Activities?
  • Cost Structure: What are the business’ major cost drivers? How are they linked to revenue?

As a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool, this book will help quickly frame a business idea, prototype, and brainstorm on ways to innovate, improve, or transform business operations.  

It’s great method to create meaningful conversations with a client or internally within a firm - keep it handy as a reference guide!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

21 inspirational quotes to lead by the strength of your values and not by fears

What is interesting about life is that somehow along the way, we have been led to believe we are not supposed to face challenges, have problems, or have fears in life. I’m not sure what happened between childhood to adulthood, but if you are like me, somehow a narrative of life entails a fairy tale like ending, one without problems, failures, or imperfection. 

So when problems strike or challenges arise, we sometimes allow the fear of the challenge to consume us rather than taking on problems head on.  Some life experiences are put in our path to force us towards a path of leadership. 

When we begin to accept that overcoming obstacles and challenges are the very fabric of the human journey, we begin to look at our life as one full of vibrant lessons and stories instead a life full of doubts, failures, and fears.

 We begin to take control.   

We begin to lead.

Lead from the strength of your values and not by fear. We are each uniquely brought into this world to create, design, and challenge. There is a reason why we are not able to choose who our parents are nor what type of upbringing we experienced.

"Success is not final nor failure is not fleeting." Our past does not dictate our future. We each serve a purpose to one another and it is only in leading our lives with certainty that we begin to see the world and embrace our path for what it was truly designed to be. A beautiful journey in humanity. 

Below is a snapshot of some of the most inspiration quotes on how to be a better leader, sorted by the leadership attributes they describe.  I hope you find inspiration in one of these quotes. 
Leadership begins within…leadership begins with you.

  • "Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership." James Humes
  • "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut
  • "Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult." Warren Bennis
  • "Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." Orrin Woodward
  • "Earn your leadership every day." Michael Jordan
  • "Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity."- Reed Markham
  • "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams

 Leaders are courageously imperfect…but lead anyway.

  • "Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.  Margaret Thatcher
  • "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway." Eleanor Roosevelt
  • "The price of greatness is responsibility." Winston Churchill
  • "Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths." John Zenger.  
  • "If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's.”  Joseph  Campbell
  • "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill
  • “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” Max Lucado
  • “Leaders spend 5% of their time on the problem & 95% of their time on the solution. Get over it & crush it!” Tony Robbins

Leadership is not about you…it is about the people you serve.

  •  "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." Ralph Nader
  •  "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."  Lao Tzu
  • "You manage things; you lead people." Grace Murray Hopper
  • "Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead." Pete Hoekstra
  •  "To lead people, walk behind them.” Lao Tzu
  •  "To add value to others, one must first value others." John Maxwell