New Year Equals Better Business….Hopefully?

As your business get closer to the New Year, you, as the business owner or employee, are probably wondering what the next year holds in store. You are probably getting ready to start planning for the next year with all-new goals and plans, possibly even a retreat. The irony is that all of this planning could be going nowhere. Most businesses have detailed plans, milestones, and goals, but how many businesses actually execute on these goals?

The answer is very few.

If you’re looking to set up your business for greatness next year instead of repeating the same old boring goals on repeat from the past, you could turn to a highly-trained (and expensive) consultant….or you could just use 3 books like the ones below.

 Goal-Setting: Matching Motivation to Purpose

“How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals” by Dean Lindsey

How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals coverWritten by speaker and business coach Dean Lindsey, “How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals” explores the “achievement gap” most entrepreneurs face this time of year. As the end of the year approaches, businesses start planning for the next year.

Predictably, they plan to do better next year with more sales, more revenue, and more enthusiasm….until the next year rolls around and those goal-setting businesses are usually back where they started or worse.

While there can be many factors behind a business’ failure, “How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals” hones in on the “wrong team” factor. The book argues that businesses fail to achieve their goals because they aren’t motivating enough. Specifically, they aren’t PHAT (pretty, hot, and tempting) enough.

The problem with this scenario, according to the book, is that humans aren’t wired that way. We don’t just think rationally, we think rationally. We invest ourselves in a business on a rational and emotional level.(Don’t believe me? Ask a business owner how it feels to lose a high-paying client or customer!)

In “How to Achieve Big PHAT Goals”, Dean Lindsey argues that business owners should not run away from the emotional sides while planning their business. They should leverage their emotions to connect to their goals. When your business connects with its goals on that level (heart + mind), they will achieve things they never thought possible.

Who is this book perfect for? Business owners or employees who want the quick motivation of a self-help book but want something with more practical. Dean Lindsay breaks down motivation into simple, but powerful, concept that will leave you inspired to pursue bigger goals.

Productivity: Working the Right Way

“Great at Work: How Top Performers Work Less and Achieve More” by Morten T. Hansen

How to be Great at Work book cover“Great at Work” tackles the other aspect of business plans, execution of those goals. In particular, it focuses on the “performance gap” that separates ordinary people (about 98-99% of us) from the top performers in a business. The book, written by business professor and researcher Morten T. Hansen, identified the key characteristics of great performers on their jobs and came to some startling conclusions.

Some of those conclusions include:

  •  Great performers actually work less hours than others and still achieve greater results.
  •  People should follow their passion and purpose to achieve work/life balance.
  • There is no “perfect” job. It’s the person and their connection to the job that matters.

These conclusions push readers to go beyond the traditional concept of “working harder to get ahead” and “follow your passion” to “working smarter at the right things” and “following passion and contribution to make value”. As a result, readers are able to think and act in ways that align with great performers.

Using a lot of science (just look at the research appendix, if you don’t believe me) and observation, Hansen shows that being great at your job isn’t a matter of luck or clocking in a lot of hours. Being great at work involves strategy.


Who is the book perfect for? People who are tired of the “follow your passion” conversation and want scientifically-backed practical ideas for becoming performers at work. Morten T. Hansen has a knack for breaking down research into simple, actionable concepts that completely upend traditional ideas about productivity and work.

Leadership: Guiding Your Business Toward Greatness

“The CEO Next Door” by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell with Tahl Raz

The CEO Next Door book titleLike “Great at Work”,”The CEO Next Door” challenges traditional notions about work. This book, however, focuses on leadership. The book, written by consultants Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell with Tahl Raz, challengcaes the traditional view of the “CEO”. Their book contends that CEOS don’t need to come from Ivy league schools, have the right industry “connections”, or spotless industry resume to lead a company.

The CEO can be you.

To prove their point, the authors start off “The CEO Next Door” using Don Slager a man who worked his way to CEO after starting out as a garbage driver for Republic Services. Don Slager didn’t have the industry connections, nor a college degree. He did have one thing…knowledge about his industry. Using that knowledge, he was able to work in almost every position in the company. Afraid at first to take the CEO position because he didn’t feel like “CEO material”, he ultimately decided to become involved because he wanted to steer the company in a better direction. He took the job and excelled.

“The CEO Next Door” not only challenges who can become a CEO, it also challenges who is hired as CEO. Using research, their authors demonstrate that the mold we’re using for CEOs needs to be refreshed. Instead of looking for the CEO candidate with the perfect business pedigree, connections, and resume, the authors urge businesses to focus more on behaviors (what the book calls “CEO genome”) that will lead an organization to greatness.

The book then continues by showing how many people, not just in the executive-suite level of networking, can develop the behaviors that help a business excel. It gives a roadmap for ordinary people with CEO potential and aspirations towards the C-level of their company and provides pointers when they arrive.

Overall, “The CEO Next Door” proves that the next CEO of your business (or someone else’s) might just be the person next door. It then shows that future CEO how to make the leaps that will get them there.

Who is this book perfect for? Aspiring leaders (managers, supervisors, etc.) who aspire to a higher level of leadership but feel they lack “leadership credentials”

Change Your Thoughts and Actions, Expand Your Business

If your business wants to step into greatness, you have to think and act differently. For that you can turn to the three books mentioned above. The above three books, written by experts and backed by research, challenge the traditional ideas and push you as a worker and leader into the realm of greater performers.

If you’re looking to reach that level, these books can certainly put you on the path to greatness.