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- By James Wisler
There are a few books that have helped me as a business owner that I would recommend for everyone, including future business owners. The first one is How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge. Especially for young people with a lot of ambition, I think it can be very frustrating early on in our careers. It can feel like you’re put in a box, or that you want to fly but just can’t do it yet. I’d say I was definitely this way, too—it’s a consequence of having a lot of ambition and confidence and wanting to charge forward to challenge the status quo. This book meant a lot to me because there’s a time in a young person’s life when they need to be mentored and need to develop.
Business ownership is a very heavy responsibility, especially if you have employees. There’s a lot of people looking to you and counting on you. It takes humility to recognize that you need mentorship, and the book speaks to this very well. It’s possible for ambition and humility to coexist in someone, which is what my takeaway was after reading this book. If anyone finds themselves not in charge of a business or not in an ownership position, this book is very enlightening.
The next book, The E-Myth, is pretty popular for businesses. (The E stands for entrepreneurship.) What I took away from this book is that people shouldn’t start a business or own a business for the wrong reasons. So many people get frustrated at work, quit their jobs, and then decide to start their own business. Make sure you get into ownership for the right reasons. Business ownership is not something to take lightly. It can take a lot of financial and personal responsibility.
The last book is kind of newer to me—I just read it around 18 months ago. It’s called The 4 Disciplines of Execution. (We’ve employed it here in this organization.) It speaks about 4 different disciplines, but the one that stood out most to me is the cadence of accountability. People with a musical background probably have a good understanding of cadence, which is a way to describe a rhythm. In order to execute properly, you need to have a continuous cadence of accountability for both yourself and others around you. This doesn’t have to be something negative at all. In actuality, accountability can be a very positive thing. This book speaks to that and helps you to understand the importance of not just accountability, but applying it consistently.
If you’re a business owner, someone thinking about starting a business in the future, or even an employee who isn’t considering business ownership, these are some useful books to read. They can help you develop a mindset that leads to better relationships at work. So many times there’s a push and shove dynamic between employees and employer. Most of the time I find that neither side wants to push or shove—it’s really due to a lack of understanding. I consistently try to put myself in the employee’s shoes when making decisions because I used to be an employee. But sometimes you’re an employee who’s never been a business owner, so gaining an understanding about what happens on the other side can be a very powerful tool.
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