Category: Book reviews & reading

Today I Am Inspired by: Benjamin Franklin

I am thrilled to have just started a new biography: ‘Benjamin Franklin: An American Life’ by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson, has also written biographies of Einstein (which I absolutely adore and highly recommend), Steve Jobs (which I have not yet finished) and Kissinger. So, I am excited to get started on the story of Benjamin Franklin. The publisher’s note describes him as “the founding father who winks at us”. Indeed, I have been fascinated with Benjamin Franklin since childhood.

Growing up on the Caribbean island of Antigua, two years of my early education were spent at a church-run school, St. John’s Lutheran. For better or for worse, the American-run school had the unusual feature of a 100% U.S. curriculum. In …

Taking Your Foot Off the Gas Pedal or Sophie’s Choice

Don’t Leave Before You Leave
A few days ago I wrote a post about Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. I shared a link to her TED speech where she addresses the reasons why there are so few women at the top of their fields and gives advice to women reaching for success. One of her tips is “Don’t leave before you leave”. Sandberg talks about how women take their foot off the gas pedal, contemplating how to manage married lives and families they do not yet have, to the detriment of career advancement. She is right. While at least 50% of University grads are women, there is still a marked absence of women on corporate boards, as CEOs and in the …

Nice Smart People Succeed

In January 2012 at the first weekly team meeting, I sat with my management team to outline plans for the new year ahead. Although this date did not coincide with our fiscal year end, the start of the calendar year always naturally brings with it an opportunity for resolutions and for renewal. I asked them to be brutally honest about the ways in which they felt I could improve my leadership skills. The ten-member management team jumped at the opportunity to offer candid, 360-degree feedback. I asked probing questions, took copious notes, and made a valiant effort to keep my pride under complete submission. Most of the team leaders left that meeting feeling refreshed, I left bloodied, bruised and limping.…

The Ten Commandments for Business Failure

Why is it that some brands fail, while others stand the test of time?

“In the 1980’s alone 230 companies disappeared from the Fortune 500. In fact, only sixteen of the 100 largest companies that were around in the early 1900’s are still with us.”These words are from Donald R. Keough’s 2008 book ‘The Ten Commandments for Business Failure‘.

Coke is one of those brands. Introduced in 1886, Whether you like Coke or not, it’s difficult to deny the brand’s, ubiquity, staying power and success through the years. Coke is recognized at one of today’s most valuable brands.

You may never have heard of Donald Keough, but he is at least partially responsible for the The Coca-Cola Company’s …

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Ants do it. Why can’t we?

In theory, we all know the value of teamwork. In childhood, grandma admonished that “many hands make light work”. Henry Ford provided sage advice, saying “if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. We have all seen the glossy motivational posters. So why is it so difficult to build strong and effective teams?

Two years ago, when I became a General Manager for the first time, one of the lessons I knew I had to learn fast was how to get the most out of my new team of managers and supervisors. Having spent almost my entire career in audit, accounting and finance positions, leading a multi-disciplinary team was new …

Thank You, Steve!

David Suchet as M. Hercule Poirot

As a child, between the ages of eight and ten years old, I devoured books. I have a natural love of learning, and the reading program introduced at my elementary school really stirred this. We were treated to weekly visits to the public library, and our parents were given the opportunity to purchase in bulk from Scholastic books. The rich and imaginative world of literature opened up to me as I read classic children’s novels such as ‘Veronica the Showoff’ and ‘The House on the Hill’ and every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery novel I could get my little fingers on. I read Agatha Christie, and fell in love with Monsieur Hercule Poirot …