Are you contemplating your New Year’s resolutions? You might want to add “read more” to your list.
I’m a big bookworm, and it’s something I have in common with Verne Harnish, CEO of Gazelle’s Global Executive Education and author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. During a recent telephone conversation, Harnish shared with me an interesting bit of information. He was speaking of Bradford D. Smart, PhD, author of Topgrading. According to Harnish, Smart interviewed tens of thousands of senior leaders around the world and compared “A player” executives with “B” and “C players”. “Only one thing correlated,” Harnish told me. “The A player execs on average read 24 books a year – 12 that were in their field, and 12 that were for fun.”
It would seem that reading and success go hand-in-hand.
Harnish said, “I get through about 100 books a year…5 or 6 hours a week.” He admits that “a lot of those books I don’t read completely through, I just skim through them to get the nuggets,” but he also concedes that “I need to read the book versus a book summary. A lot of book summaries get rid of the juicy stories, and it’s the stories that tend to cement the ideas in my mind more than just the facts.”
I find this to be universally true. It’s the power of storytelling. It engages our emotions, puts us into the story and helps us fully digest the lesson.
Harnish and I agree that as business owners, reading should be encouraged company-wide. In fact, Harnish suggests that CPA practice owners with employees initiate a Book of the Month club and read each book as a team.
“You have to out-read not only your competition, but your clients,” said Harnish. “You can’t afford to be less well read than they are.”
Think reading is too inconvenient? Think again. Today’s smart phones and e-readers make it possible to carry thousands of titles literally in your pocket. Anywhere you have to wait, you can be reading. And how much time do you spend watching mindless television or browsing social media for non-business purposes? Try replacing some of that time with reading time. It’s what an “A player” would do.
What level player will you be in 2014?
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Until next time,