A year in review through books

A Year in Review Through Books

by | December 3, 2019

It’s been a big year of growth at Equinox with the addition of three new team members and a focus on a culture of “Business First” in everything we do. Our real work this year centered around building strong processes and eliminating inefficiencies in our business. I wanted to share with you a year in review through books that inspired me and guided our activities at Equinox this year.

“The Great Game of Business” by Jack Stack

Our primary goal for the year was to increase the visibility and adoption of our General Counsel Services (GCS). More specifically, we wanted to double the number of clients we serve under our GCS solution. To achieve this goal, we needed to evaluate the scalability of our internal processes and get the entire team involved in identifying and eliminating inefficiencies. The “Great Game of Business” discusses a tool called “Mini Games” to get the team focused on an opportunity or weakness. We implemented quarterly Mini Games that built upon each other throughout the year.

“The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Another tool from the Great Game of Business is the daily huddle. Our team has been using the huddle format for a couple of years now and have found it helpful in keeping us focused on priorities and working together. But the huddles became looser and more of a to-do list than a tool to focus on goals. After reading “The ONE Thing“, we adjusted our huddle agenda to share “the ONE thing” that will have an impact on our goals. It’s a variation on the book’s focus, which states you should focus on “the ONE thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier.” That goal is more significant than what we’ve been able to tackle, but we’re taking a step that direction.

“Range” by David Epstein

Our culture has put a considerable focus on specialization. We promote a philosophy of “practice makes perfect” and believe that the more one does of a particular activity, the better that individual is in that domain. “Range” challenges this approach and highlights how the “generalist” is often a better problem solver. An individual with broader experiences can tackle a business problem more thoroughly and holistically due to their exposure to different ways of looking at the problem and different domains from which to pull data and solutions. The book resonated with me as a General Counsel. A General Counsel is a generalist who has knowledge of all facets of the business, helping the executive team with strategic, proactive business counsel, and overall risk management. A “specialist” is definitely a valuable resource but may not know to ask about other areas of the business, and as a result, essential factors can get missed. The General Counsel can, with their holistic view, can provide context and guidance.

“Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller

We do a lot of work on branding at Equinox – but it’s work that is never done. As we focus on the visibility and adoption of our General Counsel Services solutions, we are more carefully defining our core customer and their needs. Working through the methodology of “Building a StoryBrand” was easy and provided several “a-ha” moments. The book offers a step-by-step guide to the 7 step program that breaks down branding into a storyline like a movie. When you look at your selling process in this way, it’s simple (or at least approachable). It’s an easy read with lots of tools to help you apply the concepts to your own business.

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande

This was, by far, the most impactful book I read this year. “Being Mortal” discusses our society’s approach to old age and terminal illness and how the medical community seeks to prolong life, sometimes at the sacrifice of quality of life. As the child of an aging parent trying to make the “best” decisions and as an attorney assisting clients with their estate and end-of-life planning, Gawande’s message really hit home.

Enjoy the list! I hope you find some nuggets of good advice that will move your business forward!