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Books Aren’t My Strong Suit

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

Books aren’t my strong suit. Last night I was talking with one of our board members and he was gloating on how he read 41 books last year. I think I read 4, max. Books are difficult for me to read, I am dyslexic and have ADHD so not only am I a terribly slow reader but I get distracted easily. Reading an audio book is me hitting the rewind button constantly, I need a physical book to absorb the material and even then it isn’t fun.

So naturally when I was recommended a book recently I rolled my eyes and went ahead and ordered it. I collect books so owning them isn’t an issue, just the reading part. But this book has turned out fascinating and to the point that I made my leadership team read it and we are already incorporating many aspects of it into our company, and thus I am recommending this onward.

The book is The Great CEO Within – The Tactical Guide to Company Building. As the title implies it is all about tactics, this is not a book about strategy. Instead it is one that anyone in any organization can read and learn how to be better at so many different things. What I loved is that the book is broken down into true bite-size chapters that are 2-5 pages. Think about this as a book with 2-5 page summaries of other books or tactics. There aren’t examples ad nauseam that repetitively tell you how three or four companies do it.

I am not going to rewrite the book here for you and instead just highlight three super meaningful things I learned or at least believe in that I think everyone should start doing immediately.

The first meaty section is on “individual habits” and more specifically getting things done. Anyone that has read the book, Getting Things Done will immediately recognize a lot of the chapter. I cannot stress enough that the art of getting things done is not easy and requires a lot of prioritization and process, but when done right people will wonder how you were able to accomplish so much.

The second was about collaboration with the most important chapter on meetings. Meetings are the root of so much evil, they tie up valuable time and often are useless status meetings that could’ve been an email. But this book breaks down very formal processes for meetings as well as goal planning and accountability. Accountability is all that really matters, if you commit to getting something done then it should get done and everyone should know. No discussion is really needed unless it isn’t getting done, save the time for the difficult discussions you likely are avoiding or don’t have time for.

The last one is on hiring. If you have read the book Who, you will not need to read this section as it basically breaks down that book into a chapter. I cannot stress enough that this hiring process is unbeatable. While not foolproof it is the best I have seen, both for the employer and the candidate. We implemented it the day I started at Searchspring and candidates rave to me in interviews how amazing the process is and employees love having equal say in the process.

This book isn’t going to teach you obscure things but if you are seeking to be more efficient and drive solid tactical work you will find it a bit of a manual for just that. Happy reading.