Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: ‘Leading in Tough Times’

I am not unique in saying that John Maxwell is one of my favorite business authors—there are about 34 million people who share that opinion.

Of all the Maxwell books I have read over the years, Leading in Tough Times is one of my favorites. This timely little book is focused on what a leader needs to do when things get tough. It’s almost an understatement to say that, right now, things are tougher than they have been in years. Is the pandemic over? Who knows? Certainly, the world is opening up again—though warily. In business, we are still feeling the aftershocks of the past two and a half (going on three) years.

But nevertheless, time and business wait for no one.

Let’s get right to it: If you are a leader at this time, or aspire to be one someday soon, you need to read this book. Leading in Tough Times is literally a handbook on both leadership and, more importantly, how to demonstrate leadership in challenging times.

First, Maxwell provides us with an overview of what a good leader is: Someone who not only takes on change but meets it head-on. A great leader has the skills and wherewithal to successfully take his people right through that change and out the other side.

Here is a bit of Maxwell advice, direct from the book:

  • Change what needs to be changed, not what is easy to change.
  • Let go of yesterday so you can move forward tomorrow.
  • Communicate your message with simplicity and power; help others see the path to the future.
  • Activate belief in people. Believe it yourself first, and then get your people to believe it as well.
  • Remove barriers for your people—and then get out of their way.
  • Lead with speed.

One of the most important traits in a leader, especially when we’re forced to adapt to difficult circumstances, is acting with tremendous confidence. If you believe in yourself and what you’re doing, then your people will as well; they will follow you anywhere you lead them.

One of the most important parts of the book is the chapter on communications, especially the section on listening, which is something we could all do more of.

Again from the author:

  • Listen to understand. This demonstrates that you value people and what they have to say.
  • Listening to understand is one of the best ways to influence people. If people know that you are listening to them, really listening to hear what they are saying, they will value you more and—better yet—will trust you more.
  • Listening to understand, of course, leads to learning. As Maxwell says, “One of the greatest gifts I can give a person is the gift of attention.”

Remember: Everyone needs to be made to feel that they have value. Recognizing the accomplishments of your people is the best way to make them an integral part of your team.

And finally, Maxwell advocates that in business, as in all things, leaders (and all people, for that matter) must follow the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

jmax_book.jpgPlease pick up and read this book. At ten bucks, it’s money well spent. Read it, study it, and pass it on to the rest of your team, because (coincidentally), the things you need to be a great leader—values, passion, compassion, and decisiveness—are actually the same characteristics everyone needs to be a great person.

Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.

Leading in Tough Times: Overcome Even the Greatest Challenges with Courage and Confidence

Author: John Maxwell

Copyright: 2021, Hachette Book Group

Pages: 135

Price: $10

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2023

Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: ‘Leading in Tough Times’

01-27-2023

I am not unique in saying that John Maxwell is one of my favorite business authors—there are about 34 million people who share that opinion. Of all the Maxwell books I have read over the years, "Leading in Tough Times" is one of my favorites. This timely little book is focused on what a leader needs to do when things get tough. It’s almost an understatement to say that, right now, things are tougher than they have been in years.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: ‘If Harry Potter Ran General Electric’

01-19-2023

We’ve heard from everyone else—from Santa Claus and Teddy Roosevelt to Atilla the Hun—so why not the world’s greatest wizard? That’s right, now Harry Potter has gotten into the act. To be honest, this is a clever and entertaining little book, especially if you are a reader of the Harry Potter books. But don’t worry if you’re not (I am not), the book is still fun and informative and helpful.

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2022

Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: End the Time Sink With ‘Make Meetings Matter’

12-22-2022

Like everyone else, I have been subjected to a lot of pointless meetings in my day. You know what I’m talking about: meetings where some blowhard pontificates for an hour, reveling in the sound of his own voice while the rest of us are stuck sitting there, silently praying for release. Meetings where everyone is so busy positioning themselves favorably in the eyes of the boss that nothing gets done. Meetings that start 20 minutes late and go on for hours. Meetings where everyone is so busy looking at their devices that they act like the meeting is an interruption.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: A Timely Book on a Timely Subject—'Selling the Price Increase'

12-08-2022

Prices for everything are on the rise. Inflation is getting worse. This means many companies will be or are facing the challenging need to raise prices. It’s a daunting task for companies—especially their salespeople. This new book by Jeb Blount is a true “must have” for anyone who must face telling their customers that prices are about to rise. In this review, I'll share the author's five-step approach to raising prices while still maintaining the value of your company.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: 'Real Change Now—Company Change Mastery'

11-24-2022

If you are uncomfortable with change, or you know change is coming, this is the book for you. My advice is to read it and keep it right by your desk for easy access and constant reference. "Real Change Now" is all about leading change in your company or organization. Author Daren Martin takes us through the different types of change—from intended to unintended, creeping to cataclysmic, and forecast to constant—and how to handle each in a steady and calm way, no matter what the changes and how they are occurring.

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11-04-2022

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08-23-2022

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Leading With Gratitude

07-27-2022

I like this book because gratitude is something in which I have always believed. So, it was fun for me to find a book, a very good book I might add, that said the same thing. I have always been confused and surprised by leaders who do not like to say thanks. I have never understood it. All I can think of is that they are afraid that if they show too much gratitude the person, they are thanking will ask for a raise. Or maybe they are reserving the right to lay that person of someday, so they don’t feel comfortable telling her she is doing a good job.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: TeamWork—How to Build a High-Performance Team

07-14-2022

Interesting fact: Out of 31.5 million small- to mid-size business in this country, 25 million list one employee—the owner. The next 5.3 million business in the group have two to 15 employees, and get this, only the last 600,000 business have more than 15 employees. Frankly, I was shocked by these statistics, enough to make me buy and read the book. I’m glad I did. In this book, author Natalie Dawson talks about how to grow a team and what it takes to scale that team to success by using various methods of employee engagement.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: 'The Millennial Myth—Transforming Misunderstanding into Workplace Breakthroughs'

07-07-2022

This is a book we all must read right now. I have had it with people ignorantly and blindly attacking millennials. We should be trying to understand them rather than just blindly knocking them. It is in our own self-interest to give them a break. We are going to have to work with these folks. And as we boomers age out, we will be turning the reins over to them.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans

06-02-2022

This one’s going to blow your mind. It’s the past, present, and future all rolled into one. It is about exactly what the title indicates—finding ways to connect with customers by creating bonds between your company and your customers. The message is likely antithetical to what you've always believed. I know it was for me.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Back to Human—How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation

05-19-2022

In some ways, the work-from-home situation works out fine, but in other ways, it's really not working. For many of us, we haven't seen our co-workers in person for over two years. While technology has done well to connect us, often we're still not "connecting." Author Dan Schawbel looks at the current landscape and offers some advice.

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2021

Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: The Cult of the Customer

12-30-2021

I am a customer service fanatic. I am nuts about great customer service, customer service stories, and most of all, good books about customer service—how to train people to deliver it and how it helps companies surpass their competition. This is an especially appropriate book because we are in the time of very poor customer service. I am sure this is because of the labor shortage which is certainly causing a dip in customer service. And then, of course, there are the people who are coming to work untrained. But being the glass-half-full guy that I am, I see this as an opportunity, especially in our business. What better time to improve your customer service while everyone else’s is terrible?

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Love as a Business Strategy

12-22-2021

The basis of this interesting book is that we are all better together. If we can look out for each other, and we keep one another’s interest at heart, we will all succeed in the end. Sure, some of you will think that this a good basic premise for doing business, but realistically this message needs to be said repeatedly because some companies just don’t get it. If business is always between people, then the need for caring for those people we do business with is a true prerequisite for doing business.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Amaze Every Customer Every Time

12-10-2021

If you could only buy and read one book on customer service, this would be the one. Filled with easy to read, understandable concepts for delivering great customer service this book would make an excellent primer for training your own customer service and inside salespeople. But it is much more than that. Among his nuggets of knowledge: The customer is not always right. Get this book.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Built to Fail—The Inside Story of Blockbuster’s Inevitable Bust

12-02-2021

Shall we talk about the epitome of a “woulda, shoulda, coulda” story? This is the real deal. "Built To Fail: The Inside Story of Blockbuster’s Inevitable Bust" takes us on a fascinating reverse fortune adventure illustrating how things should not be done in business. How the world’s leading movie rental business literally overlooked opportunity after opportunity only to find that straight path to failure.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Pogue’s Basics

11-19-2021

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

11-05-2021

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: The Secret—What Great Leaders Know and Do

10-29-2021

Here is the simple truth of leadership from one of the most concise books on leadership I’ve ever read. This is actually the 10th anniversary edition and marks over half a million copies sold. So, I guess I’m not the only one who appreciates this one. Of all the books on leadership, this is by far the very best. It is the gold standard of leadership books.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be

10-22-2021

You can read all of the business books on strategy that you want, but if you really want to cut to the chase when it comes to creative ideas for setting your business direction there are no better books than those on advertising by people in advertising. This is one of my favorites.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Experts Never Chase—The Hassle-Free Guide for Expert-Based Entrepreneurs

10-01-2021

Experts Never Chase: The Hassle-Free Guide for Expert-Based Entrepreneurs takes us to the next level of selling. The authors demonstrate from their own experience how to get close to clients on a more valuable and personal way than “selling them.”

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Own Your Weird

09-23-2021

Take some cues from this serial entrepreneur whose ideas are refreshingly creative, even if they aren't all successful. Find lessons of inspiration in a way you've never heard before.

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