The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance – Book Summary

The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance

By Dr. Christian Marcolli     

Before diving into the content of this book, I want to compliment the author and publisher on the format of the book pages. I read about 15 business books every year and most of them have a traditional textbook look and feel. You know what that does to inspired reading – well, this book is not at all like reading a textbook. It’s more on the order of attractively designed help pages with white space and clean font. I know. Normally that aspect doesn’t find its way into a book review, but I was impressed and am giving credit where it’s deserved.

This book title is cleverly relevant today. The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance by Dr. Christian Marcolli, recognizes the volatility of workplaces, teams, groups, and communities today. Dr. Marcolli said, “We have reached the Melting Point when we no longer fully control our thinking, our emotions, and our behaviors, in a positive and impactful way.”  The final words of that sentence, at least to me, are the theme of this book. We all reach the point of meltdown but can we somehow transform the potentially negative into a positive and impactful outcome?

Becoming First Class

Life is not going to slow down, demands are not likely to either. Projects are never assigned with the expectation that you will do the minimum to just get by. No, expectations are geared toward high-performance today and high-performance tomorrow, even if there are obstacles and encumbering circumstances. That’s where this book comes in. You will learn to apply the most important factors when the heat is on: staying cool, raising your Melting Point

The author clearly understands the process of building a career and the pattern that unfolds as executive capacity is developed. He says, “Top performers have three recognizable traits – passion, adaptability, and coolness. But top performers also make key transitions as they develop.“ 

If you are an emerging leader on the trajectory of rising to your calling, this book is like spending time with a life coach, business mentor, career advisor, and professional counselor. In fact, Dr. Marcolli says, “We need to understand why life has become so tough for business leaders in today’s challenging workplace.” Then he coaches you through it.

Feeling the Heat

Who doesn’t feel the heat in today’s environment? Be it at work or home, the pace is red hot. We can blame it on relentless change, advancing technology, omnipresent globalization, but blame is a negative word and we are after positive transformation here. Instead look into the factors contributing to rising pressure and learn what can be done to face the challenges in a positive, influential way. Marcolli states it in plain language,” The intense workplace isn’t going to go away, and leaders need to understand the impact of this – on themselves, on their teams, and on their organizations.” Through the pages of this book, the author coaches leaders through the process of growing into their roles and experiencing an executive performance transformation. He says there are four stages of Executive Performance Transformation. 1) Drawn in, 2) Obsessed, 3) Ready for Success, 4) Playful

To grow through these stages, you need to be exposed to challenges and stress. I’m guessing, you will have no trouble identifying with the challenges and stress part. When you read this book, you will be guided through the stages of how you arrive at playfulness where you are responsible for yourself and individuals on your team, and the key operative words here are that you are ‘enjoying it’.

To make the trek from ‘Drawn in’ to ‘Playful’ requires that you have an intimate understanding of your Melting Point. 

“The key success factor for business leaders, executives, and corporate performers to sustainably deliver world-class performance is the ability to raise their Melting Point.” 

When you understand it and the factors interacting to determine your melting point your reaction can go from panic to peace. The author describes how these three factors are interrelated and how they affect your Melting Point.

1)      Mental and emotional constitution – how much we can take before we melt down

2)     Situational pressures – what is happening in your world over a short timeframe that causes you intense stress

3)     Constant pressures – then there is the constant pressure which is characteristic of your role

What creates heat for you? Dr. Marcolli gives us 15 examples of what might create heat for each of us, some of which may be relevant to you, but not to someone else. Examples of the fifteen are: Long hours, Office politics, Travel, Executive isolation, Career moves, Family crisis, Health issues, and here’s one for every person reading this – Always “ON”.

“When top performers reach their Melting Point, it is never simply the result of situational and constant pressures. It is compounded by the elements mentioned above combined with their basic psychological constitution.”

Our culture seems to turn up the heat and create environments of volatility in consistent repetition. There is rarely time to cool off before another heated occurrence confronts us. Raising Your Melting Point takes all the symptoms, causes, elements, experiences, and boils them down into recommendations for raising your Melting Point. In the final chapter of his book, Dr. Marcolli presents the six Ps of Personal Leadership Excellence which leads to raising your Melting Point. Passion, Precision, Perception, Peace, Presence, and Persistence

He also discusses the ten specific behavioral patterns needed to raise your Melting Point. When you read the book, don’t skip the chapters leading up to this one and be sure to read the real-life case studies that are serious eye openers of how executives have learned to raise their Melting Point.  I am putting in a plug for the last chapter that walks you through those important ‘10 key behavioral patterns’ to raise your melting point. Dr. Christian Marcolli has written a solid guide that’s transparent and easily understood so you can raise your melting point, not overnight, but through practice and progress.

https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/the-melting-point-how-to-stay-cool-and-sustain-world-class-business-performance/

Outsmart Your Instincts – book summary

You really have to respect a book that covers topics as modern as tomorrow with a Foreword that starts out. “I was born in Minnesota in 1928 …”. My curiosity was revved and I had to read this book. Besides, when there are three authors creating content for ten chapters in one book, most of them with the word ‘bias’ in the title, what would you do? Read it, of course. To give you just a little insight here, these are partial titles of each chapter. Negativity Bias, Availability Bias, The Curse of Knowledge, Status Quo Bias, Conformity Bias, Confirmation Bias, Framing – Like a Fish in Water, then my favorite chapter is titled, Confabulation – Of Course That’s Why I Did That! I guess it could be the word itself, confabulation, but more likely it’s the hint that there is an explanation for how stories from our history grow imaginary facts when processed through our memories. Are you curious yet?outsmart-your-instincts-book-cover

Since there are only 10 chapters with pretty cool titles, you, as the reader, could dive into the chapters that interest you most, or you could start at page one and systematically read through the entire book. You could – but I bet you won’t. I didn’t because some of the chapters were just too interesting to wait to read.

Outsmart Your Instincts. That’s how you move from what is into the potential of what can be. To sum up, you will be able to apply what you learn in this book as a tool for using the Behavioral Innovation™ approach to drive your company forward. In it there is a solid instruction like this statement straight out of the book. “Combat the tenacity of Cognitive Biases. Stay humble, keep curious, and never lose the sense of play.”

Read more about this lively, penetrating, and resourceful book here on the Biz Catalyst 360 network: https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/outsmart-your-instincts-how-the-behavioral-innovation-approach-drives-your-company-forward/ 

Truths Told by the Garden of Leadership

I can’t believe a year has passed since a friend posted a photo of his greenhouse in progress. Absent of philosophical comment to prompt my thinking it instantly occurred to me that this visualCarey Green - Greenhouse image for blog post could be a metaphor for life – at least for mine. The compartments, the vegetation, the curled hose, the tractor, the bicycles, even the walkway dusted with mulch and dirt, everything a picture of life under a glass shield.

It was the tractor that caught my attention first. It seemed out of place. What could a huge piece of machinery do inside the small space of a greenhouse? The tractor, motorized and bulky, was incompatible in its current surroundings and certainly couldn’t work effectively with such boundaries. Beyond the walls, however, it was a qualified, worthy tool of the gardener.  How many times in life do we find we’ve outgrown our surroundings, not in a prideful sense, but simply because we’ve expanded our horizons or discovered knew interests outside the familiar.

It seems a lifetime ago now, but there was a time when my family planted gardens that covered 2 full acres of land. I never mastered the detection of vegetable or fruit by the shape or size of the seed, nor could I identify them by their foliage. The plants had to reach near maturity before I recognized their purpose. Inside me are grains of talent, seeds of interests, roots of abilities, and developing shoots of aspirations. As depicted in the photo, each compartment illustrates the unique traits that grow into mature plants, distinct in stature, design, color, and purpose. I’ve come to realize that I am often late to recognize opportunity and am still coming to realize what I am meant for.

The gardener plans the space, nurtures the soil, plants the seeds, and prepares to work hard to see the garden proliferate and thrive. If planted, left alone and unattended, weeds will encroach and choke out even the heartiest of plants.  Much like a mentor, coach or leader, the master gardener tends the neophyte plants using tools, and his own hands to remove the pests and irritants from among the healthy plants. Things like rumors, gossip, bad attitudes, and demoralizing character cannot be allowed to fester. As debris is discovered from this scavenge, it’s cut, swept, and tossed into the trash can awaiting permanent extermination. This is also a portrayal of leadership and followship. The good leader prepares the space, provides the nutrients, and removes the obstacles, creating an environment for professional growth where followers can thrive. What can happen given the right conditions? Isaiah 32:15 “…the spirit is poured from on high and the desert becomes a fertile field.”

The gardener brings water because without it, the plants will turn back to dust. Isaiah 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” The hose strung along the path is like the whole of life, isn’t it? Think of how free flowing our activities are at times. Life goes along smoothly when suddenly there’s a crimp in the flow and devastated we turn back until we regain our resolve. Then we’re off again in tenacious pursuit of our dream that compels us forward. Notice how in the photo, the hose has many curls and returns? Notice too, the solid nozzle at the end – the ornament that, when pressed by force, releases life giving water. Inside the hose, water lays dormant until the gardener grasps the hose, nozzle in hand and squeezes with just the right pressure to lightly sprinkle the plants or sufficiently soak them all the way to the roots. Leaders are like this gardener who scans conditions, matching talent with opportunity to grow team members to excellent harvest.

I love that all this takes place under a crystal dome where glorious sun shines in and all the varmints stay out. Our environment is never fully protected, there are chaotic times, optimism wanes and the economy fails us. The greenhouse, like our organizations are built to provide for livelihood and growth, but even with premium care and planning, not all things will grow. Some will stagnate, some will leave, some will turn to dust – but many will thrive in the environment. Be thankful in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

What about the bicycles? Well – what about them? What is their meaning in this allegory? All work and no play … and now you create the rest of the story.

 

Photo credit: Carey Green

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw  –  My feet may fail, but I know God will never fail me.

From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions – Book Summary

As I sat down to write about this book, From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff, an online article in the Huff Post grabbed my attention proclaiming Afghan Refugee Crisis Worsens. It seems the news is dominated by more and more crises related to refugees who are suffering greatly in violence–torn regions. This book would have been much more uncomfortable to read had it not been for the authors’ presentation of the storyline through the moral compass of each person involved in the refugee evacuation. In the second half of the book, the five principles of moral decision making are conveyed through stories about corporate heroes of today.

Here are the 5-steps to moral decision making which are in the book called The Five Principles – building blocks to making moral decisions.

  1. Be prepared
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Confront yourself
  4. Know yourself
  5. Take courage

The subject of this book, From Crisis to Calling is about developing authentic leaders who make decisions based on deep personal values that positively affect their lives and the lives of their organizations. Leaders of this deep moral character will build cultures of trust, fairness, equitability, and ethical leadership. One final thought from the authors, “Empathy is the essential need of great leaders who are intentional about building their organizations and communities.” Whether leaders or lay people, life’s tough choices need to be infused with moral sense – empathy, compassion, altruism.

CSLews - Book Cover - From Crisis to Calling

 

 

Read the full book summary published on the BizCatalyst360 network.

http://bizcatalyst360.com/from-crisis-to-calling-finding-your-moral-center-in-the-toughest-decisions/

Beyond Books: BKPedia digital subscription

What’s your favorite part of going to a Chinese restaurant? Right. The fortune cookie that sort of ties up the meal when the tiny paper message is pulled from its cracked shell. Whoever is gathered around the table reads their fortune and everyone gets to decide if it fits or if that cookie belonged on someone else’s table. Recently, my fortune was tailor made for me. “Treat yourself to a good book for a needed rest and escape.” I have the perfect solution, instant gratification, because I have a BKPedia subscription.  This means I have hundreds or books available to read anytime, anyplace.  Berrett-Koehler publishers has collections of their own publications as well as content from The Center for Creative Leadership and AMACOM available to read electronically or as a printable PDF. BKPedia is the mecca for avid readers.

The very first thing I noticed when I scrolled down the page on the website [http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/] was the collection of authors I have already come to admire through their books. Here are just a few whose books I can rave about honestly because I read their book and liked it enough to write a book report. See if any of these names stand out: Ken Blanchard, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Peter Block, Cheryl Bachelder, Jennifer Kahnweiler, Marshall Goldsmith, Devora Zack, Fred Miller Chip Bell, and too many others to list. Believe me – this digital subscription is valuable.Capture

Besides books there are also articles and case studies written by experts in the business, economics, and leadership communities. Here’s something you don’t see often. Along with each book, there are observations and thoughts to apply more of what the author is teaching. Many of the authors can be contacted by email to discuss subjects from their book in more detail. I’ve read books where the author provides contact information in their book and have taken advantage of that offer many times in the past. The advantages of dialog with an expert in a field I’m passionate about is something I appreciate.

If you visit BKPedia at http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/ you can sign up for a trial subscription and if you love top selling books on leadership, organizational development, team building, and management this is an opportunity to try risk free. That’s what I did. I have access to two collections adding up to over 300 titles, Advances in Leadership and Management and Organizational Change and Innovation, so there is no way I’ll run out of excellent books to fill my quiver. The first book I laid eyes on in the very long list of titles was A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. That has been on my reading list for over a year and I was able to access the book in a matter of seconds.

Start with a free trial to see how easy it is to find books, read on your computer, tablet, or phone. I don’t know if all books are downloadable as PDFs but the ones I looked at have that feature. BKPedia is a valuable resource with instant access to feed my addiction to lifelong learning. Something for everyone who leads or follows in organizations or at home.

Here’s the link to the BKPedia website to sign up for your free trial. http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/

Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual – Book Report

My first thought as I finished this book? Where was this management philosophy and leadership style when I was working 9 to 5? The good news is, the word is on the street that what was proven to work in the past, no longer works today. In fact, many management techniques of the past didn’t work back then either, and this generation is moving on. To be transparent here, I admit that a few of the ideas presented by author, David Burkus, are strikingly alien to me – but I hold high hope for corporations who dare to go beyond what has always been done. This book was so well organized and segmented by subject, it was a pleasure to read, uncomplicated to absorb, and therefore easy relate to.

From the first page, where I read “Management Needs New Management” I was all in. He starts with an interesting history lesson of a well know ‘mature’ corporation and ends the section with this quote, “We need to ask ourselves whether we can find better ways of working for the future.” Then David Burkus proceeds to offer solutions to faulty management practices embedded into our workplaces today. Under New Management book cover

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and writing the review. I urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. It’s full of real life case studies told in lively, interesting dialog that will hold your attention while being memorable. For corporations ready to try on some new management styles, Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual is like opening the closet door.

Read the full book report here: Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual

The Serving Leader by Kenneth R. Jennings, John Stahl-Wert – Book Summary

Have you ever read a book that so overwhelmingly captured your heart you didn’t want it to end? That’s how I felt when I came to the end of The Serving Leader. Written in the style of a novel, this book teaches like a textbook that’s so interesting you can’t put it down. Each chapter adds precept upon precept, like building blocks which perfectly define and illustrate the Serving Leader.
Condensing the indispensable content of The Serving Leader is a challenge.

The Serving Leader is more than theory. It’s action. Each chapter title, in fact, starts with the directive, Action. This is because “Serving Leaders are in the trenches with their teams, businesses, and neighborhoods doing what others are just writing about.”

serving leader book coverAction: Upend the Pyramid
You qualify to be first by putting other people first.
You’re in charge principally to charge up others.

Action: Raise the Bar
To serve the many, you first serve the few.
The best reach-down is a challenging reach-up.

Action: Blaze the Trail
To protect your value, you must give it all away.
Your biggest obstacle is the one that hinders someone else.

Action: Build on Strength
To address your weaknesses, focus on your strengths.
You can’t become the best unless others do too.

Action: Run to Create Purpose
We all need to be assured of our purpose. If we are going to give our life to something, we want to know it has meaning and that our actions will make a difference. It’s how we are wired.

Read a full book summary here. http://bizcatalyst360.com/the-serving...

The Serving Leader was first written in 2003 when the idea of leadership from a servant’s heart was still a new concept, maybe even considered unlikely. Today, 2016, the authors have updated the text to provide broader insight and acute vision for the future of Serving Leaders

If you are searching for a way to up your game as a leader, become a Serving Leader. This book will inspire you to be a Trailblazer. You can serve a greater purpose. You can make a difference.