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Three Must Reads

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.

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