The responsibility to grow the business is yours. The skill set and process that make growth happen are very much hers. Julie Burrows has run $1 billion consumer business, launched over 70 new products and deeply understands consumer interactivity and social media. Using her skill, growth becomes your product's results. More.
Here were the books that made the largest impression on me this summer:
Taking on a calling: On God’s Side by Jim Wallis. Our Wednesday morning book group at church read this book last summer and I put it into practice this summer. One concept made me literally sit up and take notice – the recession is over for the people who created it and the young people have been left behind. I felt a calling to help young people and started UpTurnships with two other passionate partners and funding from the church. Eight college students had paid internships because of our efforts. Thanks to the eight UpTurns and my partners for an amazing summer!
Learning something new: Strengthfinder 2.0. At UpTurnships, our curriculum starts with knowing your strengths. We use the Strengthfinder tool and had great guidance for the young people from several skilled professionals. As a team, we use the knowledge of our strengths in all we do. This book helps me learn more about the strengths. Thanks Marianne and Krista for your expertise!
The pure joy of fiction: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). You won’t be able to put this mystery down. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Thanks Libby for your suggestion!
What were your favorite reads this summer? There’s always the cool days of fall curled up with a great book!
- The percent of young people with a driver’s license has been dropping for years. In 2011, the percent of 16 − 24 year-olds with driver’s licenses dipped to 67%—the lowest percent since 1963 (see graph).
- In 2009 compared with 2001, when the 16 − 34 year- olds declined in size by 2%, they took 24% more total bike trips and traveled +40% more passenger-miles per capita on public transit.
These changes are often blamed on the recession. But the numbers point to more attitudinal changes and adaptive behavior. Several of these trends started well before the recession (owning a driver’s license and per capita vehicle miles) and Millenials with jobs also show similar declines in vehicle travel. This generation desires a less auto-focused lifestyle and wants to live in urban areas. As the most mobile-connected group, they find non-driving travel options more appealing can find work situations that require less traditional auto-commuting. And as a group they are taking on less auto debt, a very smart adaptive behavior.
For more information, see A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Frontier Group, Spring 2013.
Greg Boyle’s Tatoos on the Heart: This is a favorite of mine because it’s really about the hope of an entrepreneur. Boyle is a Catholic priest in LA devoted to helping hundreds of gang members find jobs. Instead of “job hunting”, he builds businesses and employs gang members. He’s likely the largest employer of gang members in the country! His businesses range from silkscreening to tattoo removal, though not surprisingly, plumbing didn’t succeed! He shares very real stories on our culture and poignant views of the gang culture. You will be moved to rethink your judgements on gang members and what one person can do to solve a huge social issue.
Jim Wallis’ On God’s Side: Wallis advocates for Washington to capture the best from each side of the political aisle. He advocates for the positive value of personal responsibility from Republicans and the positive value of social responsibility from Democrats. I read the chapter on economic system reform with skepticism, but then was inspired by some new thinking on how to help young people navigate this system and get better jobs. More to come on that front!
Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer and professed “scholar of religions,” though he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the UC Riverside. Zealot explores the historical Jesus, sharing the political, social and religious systems in place at the time of Jesus. One comment from our group: do all Jesus’ biographies portray a Jesus that is similar to the author? It’s a quick read though not necessarily an easy one.
My next reads include Switch by the Heath brothers and Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation. Let me know what you are reading!
I’ve been inspired by these three books this spring:
Lead! Lean In- Women, Work and the Will to Lead. I heard Sheryl Sandberg speak at the W50 Conference at Harvard Business School this spring. Her message was inspiring: acknowledge the internal messages that hold you back from your leadership potential and change them. Her book reminded me to say thank you to my incredibly supportive spouse and the great women leaders who’ve been my bosses and role models. I am leaning in to new leadership possibilities this year! One note: don’t scan this book…let it sink in and remember the emotions you experienced on your leadership journey.
First things first, get the strategy right! Blue Ocean Strategy-How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. This is a must read for anyone working on new products. The examples are inspiring (like Cirque du Soleil’s transformation of the circus industry) and the exercises help you create your own blue ocean. It’s easy to scan and add this thinking to your business planning.
Make your message memorable! Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath. The Heath brothers remind us that sticky messages are SUCCESs – Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotions and Stories. The most successful campaign in my career used these elements. On Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, we set a new positioning of ’Like Pop Tarts but Better.’ The message was concrete, simple, credible, unexpected and allowed for great stories. And with new advertising (like the ‘Locker’ ad) we doubled the business in one year! Use this book as a quick reminder on how to get to a breakthrough brand message.
Thank you to Peter Hubbell of BoomAgers for reminding me to get out of the red ocean and to make a sticky message. And to HBS, what an inspiring conference that lead me to lean in.