Our Top 5 Reads for Successful Entrepreneurs

When you’re pondering how to improve your mindset and grow your business, it makes sense to find inspiration from people who’ve been there. There have definitely been some challenges recently in global markets, which give all business types food for thought. Due to the Corona crises, we all have big questions on how to reposition our businesses and create the „new normal.“ Here, we share some insights into great reads. We believe these titles will enhance your thought processes as a tech employee or startup owner: 

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5 Must-reads for entrepreneurs

These amazing books are full of insights for successful entrepreneurs, making them perfect materials for the month of April. These ideas can help when you’re feeling pressured to update your business model and stay relevant:

How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene Boer

In a B2B startup, you’re building a team of personalities who have succeeded in other organizations. Your team members have their own ways of doing things based on their prior experience. The challenge is to motivate them and integrate them into a new culture. This book helps you focus on 5 management practices while keeping your style simple and consistent:

  • Keep your expectations clear (i.e. using measurables).
  • Practice good communication.
  • Maintain a strong meeting vibe.
  • Have quarterly chats with your employees.
  • Make time for rewarding and recognizing all staff.

Wickman and Boer discuss how often to meet with your team. They conclude that once a week is best. That’s 52 times a year. This plan doesn’t mean wasting time in meetings, but making sure you’re keeping a close connection with your team. An interesting contrast to this leadership style is the notion that you, the startup founder or manager, might easily stop working on yourself. You can’t afford to stop challenging yourself. You must strive to be the best leader you can be. It’s easy to download a free toolkit by these authors and start improving your leadership approach.

What you do is who you are by Ben horowitz

Ask any entrepreneur. The hard part about starting a company is customizing it to fit your vision. You are the person responsible for creating the ideal culture. Part of this goes into how you build business protocols and put key people in place to oversee operations. When you read this book, you will find many historical and modern examples of how to create an outstanding business culture. Then, you will get advice on how to make it run smoothly under your leadership. Building the best culture starts with recruitment. It requires strong leadership from the founder or external CEO. Horowitz discussed with the Jordan Harbinger Show how he learned lessons on building a sustainable culture from prison systems, the Haitian revolution, and other surprising cultural examples.

The Hard things about hard things by ben Horowitz

This book differs from the previous selection because Horowitz specifically didn’t seek to create another blah-blah tome on management. He shares much background information about his career and personal life. He also offers great chapters about laying off employees, stealing talent from a friend’s company, managing office politics, and recognizing good sales managers. He communicates the need to „control your own psychology“ as a CEO, which is discussed in this review by TechCrunch’s Lena Rao.

Good to great by Jim Collins

Viewing the world from Collins‘ viewpoint, it’s easy to get lost in his complex model of managing a company. We focus here on the levels of a manager that can transform leaders from GOOD to GREAT:

  • Highly capable individual
  • Contributing team member
  • Competent manager
  • Effective leader
  • Level 5 executive

It will take critical self-analysis to determine where you’re currently positioned along this spectrum. You might have been at one point when you were working in another organization. Now, you might have changed your position because you’re managing your own startup. It’s a whole different ball game when your name is behind everything the company stands for.

The five dysfunctions of teams by patrick Lencioni

We’ve all worked on teams with varying levels of success. Some were highly dysfunctional, and others were synergistic. We’ve also worked on every type of team in between. We keep the fondest memories of effective teams and often miss that kind of camaraderie when we move to other organizations where a sense of cohesion or shared identity is in short supply. In this read, it’s worth your time exploring these 5 questions about your team:

  • Do your team members openly and readily disclose their opinions?
  • Are your team meetings compelling and productive?
  • Does your team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus?
  • Do your team members confront one another about their shortcomings?
  • Do your team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team?

After considering these questions, you will most likely have much to learn about how you’re succeeding (or failing) as a leader. Watch how your team interacts when they don’t think you’re looking for anything specific. The leadership fable of a tech company offered by Lencioni in this read will help you analyze your own team from another perspective.

Dare to change your thinking

A common danger of running a business occurs when you get so caught up in operations that you develop tunnel vision. When you explore the ups and downs facing other entrepreneurs, you will view your current problems and maybe even laugh at them. There will be growing pains while building any organizational culture. Take time to work out some issues during the economic slowdown before refocusing on recruiting new workers who fit your company. It’s vital to keep your own managers and employees conversing on new topics. Share these great reads and others you love with your team. You don’t have to pinpoint which parts are crucial to understanding your culture.

A great leader strives for transparency and openly admits when mistakes made while running the company. Don’t be afraid to reflect on lessons learned because your team should respect you for achieving that level of confidence in yourself.

For further reads have a look at articles on our blog, such as remote work and COVID-19 as well as a discussion about who should lead the company (founder vs. CEO) 

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Von Lorenz Hartung | 21.04.2020 | Tech Trends

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