on October 11, 2012
The title throws you a little: 'Making Work Worth It" because this book is so much about shaping the attitudes of an organization and creating a 'tribe' sensation/motivation among employees and customers. So 'work' may be the wrong word. I'd leaned towards 'Making Entrepreneurship Worth It" as the title.
Where Seth Godin's book "Tribes", was about why to create 'tribes', I feel like "The Commitment Engine" gives you steps toward actually creating a product or service 'tribe'. I enjoyed it and plan to read it again (with a highlighter in my hand).
on October 11, 2012
I have never read a marketing book like this one. Everyone knows a business needs customers and until John's book, every marketing book I saw started with the customer. This one ends there; but it starts elsewhere, with Purpose.
Making money these days is hard and it gets so frustrating trying to figure-out what has to be done to get your customer's attention and then their money. The internet is totally spammed-over with people trying to "message" out what they think others want to hear in the hopes they can make some money from it. The Commitment Engine is for those tired of all the spam-like approaches, whether it's digital or real world cold calls. It calls for us to first look inside our business and ourselves to identify why what we do is important to us. If it's important to us; it's also important to others. Building on that knowledge of why we do our work, John develops a step by step process of how to take that purpose to people who "get it".
A global Enterprise can afford to be a financial entity crunching marketing numbers to get ahead; but not the individual business owner. A person needs meaningful income or they fail from either lack of money or burn-out from lack of meaning. This book describes a vital path, from business meaning to business income.
It's an obvious read for anyone in business for themselves; but the treasure trove is when every employee of a business can also experience purpose through their work. John Jantsch calls this a Fully Alive Business and the book is populated with examples of them. If any business has a desire to grow, there are footsteps to follow here.
Edward Deming once said, "It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." Today, change is occurring at a blinding speed in business. If you hope to survive, you will need to change. It is no longer enough to offer a good product or service at competitive prices. Markets are more and more competitive and are demanding more from providers. But often what they are demanding is intangible. Customers, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders are seeking to do business with companies who are driven by purpose.
At one time, owners were willing to put in long hours and sacrifice quality of life in return for an adequate living from their company. Now owners are looking for more than just financial return from their company. Likewise employees are no longer just seeking a living wage.
So how does a company satisfy the diverse interest of all the stakeholders? How can a company "make work worth it"? That is the question John Jantsch sets out to answer in the Commitment Engine.
According to Mr. Jantsch, "There can be no life, passion or purpose in a business that lacks commitment. It is what drives us forward and drives us away. It is what drives us to take the road less traveled or herds us into the deeply rutted path." Commitment is the heart and soul of the business.
Mr. Jantsch believes there are three parts to having a committed business. The first is clarity - you must be crystal clear about what one thing you do better than others in the same field. As you gain clarity, you find a clear path for charting the course of business.
The second part is culture. Every business has a culture. Is the culture aligned with the purpose? Are you as the owner trying to control the culture or are you willing to release control and allow the culture to develop.
The third part is community. "When you have a clear picture of what the business stands for and the people who fill in that picture are given the freedom to manage their results, the natural outcome is a strong, vibrant, and supportive community."
The Commitment Engine is painting a picture of the direction business is taking. You can resist the changes which are taking place all around you/your business. You can hold on to the old way of doing things. But you will be fighting a losing battle.
This book is forward looking. It might be a bit uncomfortable for those who want to cling to the past. On the other hand if you are looking to get ahead of the curve, this book should give you lots of insight on how to position your business to survive in the turmoil of change going on all around you.
The book is written in a very conversational style and is therefore very easy to read. You will need to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
on May 14, 2015
How to build a purpose-filled company with a great culture. Out of the many good tips the author provides, there are 3 that I'm going to implement:
1) On a regular basis (the author suggests weekly), schedule a 30-minute meeting with everyone who reports to you and make them own the agenda;
2) The author credits Dan Sullivan for this, and it relates to the regular meeting with employees.....in an effort to keep folks moving forward in their personal and professional lives, ask them "If we were having this discussion 3 years from today, and you were looking back over those 3 years, what has to happen in your life for you to feel happy with your progress?"
3) Commitment beliefs have to be reinforced at every turn. Share them in your internal communications, organize monthly themes around them, make them part of the hiring process, and create rewards and recognition around them.
on October 11, 2012
John has a no-nonsense approach that really clicks for me. This time he's straight shooting about making a commitment to your dreams, getting off the pot and getting to work! If you are on the fence about starting a business, need a new boost of energy, or are making a change in your business, read this and then go DO IT.
While you're at it, get the Referral Engine too, I got it as an audio book and have probably listened to it a dozen times so far.
on January 26, 2013
John is a friend, so you can discount this a bit accordingly. My take is this: you'll have no finer teacher, especially if you're an entrepreneurial kind, for finding a path that is heart-felt and conscience-minded on your journey to business success. There is no crushing it here. There is no killing it. There is no fighting and war winning. Instead this is a book for people who want to succeed and do so humbly.
Learning about commitments and making the most important ones (to yourself first) is the basis of a lot of great strength. This book is a great guide to get you started.
Whatever their source of power (e.g. wind, weather, coal, nuclear fission), the most effective engines throughout human history share common attributes: they are well-designed and conscientiously maintained. Moreover, whenever appropriate, they have been modified. For example, steam power enabled Welch coal companies to remove water from their mines, then remove and transport coal to mills from which steel was transported to harbors at which steam-power ships delivered it to other harbors.
John Jantsch makes brilliant use of the engine metaphor when explaining how to formulate a strategy that drives a system that achieve and then sustain a high level of employee engagement and commitment, whatever the size or nature of their organization may be. In other words, a workplace within which employees are what Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba characterize as "evangelists" for the given enterprise. The "commitment engine" really is a process and a system rather than a mechanism.
As he explains in the Introduction, "The businesses that enjoy commitment the most radiate and generate loyalty by awakening the sense of internal purpose first and fo0remost. These businesses then draw from a collection of definable sore characteristics both internally and externally. These same characteristics exist in every business to some extent, but the level of personal intention acts as a potent measure of the degree of commitment one company enjoys over another. These guiding characteristics come to life in the form of habits and define the business through the actions they take when they execute strategy, express culture, and create customer experiences." Jantsch perhaps channels a comparable insight from Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to suggest the scope of Jantsch's coverage.
o Meet the "Four Ps" of a Fully Alive Business (Pages 12-17)
o The Characteristics of Personal Commitment (21-25)
o What Our Fears Are Here to Tell Us (34-35)
o The Business Case for Solitude (44-47)
o How to Think Differently (54-56)
o The Alchemy of Purpose (59-62)
o The Core Value Propositions (73-76)
o The Elements of Shared Commitment (97-100)
o Four Stories Every Business Must Build (104-109)
o The Cycle of Getting Important Things Done (131-134)
o Accountability Meetings (145-149)
o The Committed Handbook (158-160)
o Creating a Culture of Shared Ownership (162-168)
o Build Your Community Then Build Your Business (172-176)
o Find Your Unique Framework, and, It's All About Building More Value (219-221)
It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among the most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among the most profitable with the greatest cap value in their respective industry segment. All of them are driven by a "commitment engine" that functions effectively at all levels and in all areas of their operation. That is, "a fully alive, commitment-filled business, one in which the customer is, in effect, "a manifestation of everything the characteristics of commitment have to offer. The business becomes fully alive when a customer experiences it through the intentional acts of simplicity, inspiration, convenience, innovation, play, community, and surprise."
If that does not describe your organization, you and your associates need to read and then re-read John Jantsch's book. It offers most of the information, insights, and counsel most executives need to establish or nourish and strengthen one.