We're working with an awesome sales coach who assigned us to read the book The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a ton. Sales is not something I have a lot of formal training in, and this book taught me several new things that I didn't think of as sales before and which are very effective.
At a high level, the authors did a bunch of research and analysis and figured out the type of salesperson/behavior that is most effective. It boils down to three core behaviors: teaching unique insights, tailoring the conversation to multiple stakeholders, and taking control of the conversation and process. The teaching part was the newest to me and the most interesting. I enjoyed reading the case studies and examples and can totally see how teaching your customers unique insights can be super effective.
I read it on Kindle and ended up highlighting 276 things (i.e., I learned a lot!). You can read some of those here. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve in sales or learn about "commercial teaching."
Matt Mochary, author of The Great CEO Within, has every member of his team read The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, so I figured I should check it out too. It was a super quick read and very to the point and insightful. Nothing earth shattering or new but just some simple lessons clearly and succinctly explained. A nice reminder of what's essential in both managing and being a member of a team.
It was told as a story of someone meeting a remarkable manager and hearing from his teammates how he manages in a unique way. That storytelling style reminded me of The Goal, which is written in a similar style and focuses on operations and production/supply chain issues. The "One Minute" title is catchy and reminded me of Tim Ferriss's series of 4-Hour books, which I'm a big fan of also.
The "One Minute Manager" is basically about three secrets: one minute goals, one minute praisings, and one minute redirects (basically, goal setting plus the right ways to handle positive and negative feedback).
I understand why Matt considers the book required reading for all his teammates. My main notes and takeaways are below.
Over the past year, I heard recommendations from multiple unrelated people to read The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building by Matt Mochary, Alex MacCaw, and Misha Talavera. Wow, am I happy I listened to their advice.
This book is easily the best business book I've read in the past 5 years at least and top 3 in the past 10 years. The title doesn't do it justice. The title made me think it's a book just for CEOs (it's not) and that it's a book just about CEO skills and inner game (it's not). It goes way beyond both of those.
For me, this book is basically a distillation of best practices from the most effective entrepreneurs and companies and most useful books of all time. It's strategic, practical, tactical, and opinionated. I loved all the examples as well as the exact scripts to use in various situations. The subtitle of the book is probably the more apt description: "The Tactical Guide to Company Building." I am so appreciative of the author's hard work to distill all these lessons and best practices into one text and to even share it freely for other entrepreneurs to learn from. This is the kind of book I know I will want to re-read multiple times and reference over the years. I've now already recommended it personally to several other founders I know.
As an indication of how much I liked it, my notes on the book (below) span 33 pages (I took all the notes before I realized the author shared an early version of the entire book for free, but it's not all time wasted since my own note taking and filtering probably helped me internalize the material better).
If you're working on a company, you have to read this book.