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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Leadership is Social, November 28, 2012
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Every once in a while, you are privileged to witness the embodiment of what has become a buzzword, Servant Leadership - someone who is innately wired as a servant leader - authentic, genuine and sincere. I'm privileged to have met a few of these people in my career - in fact, five "someones" recently at a warm, welcoming, generous visit to Enterasys's headquarters in Andover, MA. Two of the five, Vala Afshar and Brad Martin, have just written a 2012 & 2013's Must Read book, The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence. To understand the power of this book, I need to tell you a story...of how I met them.

Last spring, I started noticing Vala's insightful, kind, wise, and very human tweets. I reached out and he invited me to visit him on my way up to Maine this past September. I arrived and was greeted like a queen! To my incredible surprise, because Vala remembered our tweets about lobster, Brian Townsend, Director of Global Services and Ops, had prepared a feast of lobster tails with a risotto and an unimaginable dessert. How did Vala remember that I loved lobster? Because that's how Vala, and Brad, and the rest of the team, are wired (no pun intended) - to be social, to care, to make sure others matter.

Brad and Vala don't preach about why businesses must be social - they live it, everyday. Theirs is a real, living, breathing, continuous narrative about how a mid-market company refocused their culture to delight their customers by respecting and trusting their employees to focus on providing meaningful outcomes for their customers. They detail the why, how, when, and what in transforming the culture and flattening the organization. Vala and Brad share the culture's benefits to their top line, bottom line and most importantly, human line. If you've read Steve Denning's book, The Leader's Guide to Radical Management, you'd think he was writing about Enterasys - and he was!

When you read this book, as you should, don't start making excuses as to why it doesn't "really" apply to. You'd be lying to yourself and closing the door to creating an excellent company. The pursuit of social business excellence applies to any company making any thing that touches any one in any form, not just technology companies. The fundamental building block of Enterasys' success is not technology - they make that loud and clear - it's people. Technology can make being a social business easier, but it can't make it happen. People do.

Please read The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence. Think about how you can adapt some of these ideas for your own organization. It may seem scary - you may lose the perception of the control you never really had; you may realize you've made some bad hires and constrained some great ones; your customers may see behind the curtain. Yet, overcome the fears, because the rewards are so great, on so many levels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the new standard....., December 20, 2012
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It's a great guide to living and becoming a social enterprise. A true testament to the benefits of enabling social communication between systems, people, and customers. If your business isn't following this books' model for social communication you're already falling behind. Hopefully this book will help others as much as it has helped me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social collaboration leads to results!, December 17, 2012
By 
Ben Doyle (Greenland, NH United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Vala Afshar and Brad Martin use the Enterasys Networks' example to explain the ingredients to become a social business success. Through use of enterprise social media tools like Salesforce.com's Chatter, Vala and Brad describe how a company can leverage collaboration and social technologies to win in our modern economy. Filled with real-world examples, Brad and Vala take care to describe the strong, customer and employee centric culture that is at the core of Enterasys' success. The book is an instructive way to to understand how any company can transform its business using culture and social business techniques. The story of Enterasys is a broadly applicable roadmap to achieve 'social business excellence'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only 'How To' social media business book you need to read, January 1, 2013
This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
An illustration of how one company has seen great success with social media both internally and externally. A great book that is so much more than defining social excellence in a business. Afshar and Martin outline the essential core building block of a company - strong culture (trust, cooperation, etc) and without a strong culture, working towards a common social media strategy will be nothing more than "individual silos of work."

This book captures the essence of how a companies social media strategy and behavior can quickly become a differentiator and business driver. Afshar and Martin liken business and employees to a professional sports team and its athletes. There is a scoreboard within every business be it sales wins, successful projects, etc, just like there is a scoreboard for every spectator to see the `score' at a game.

The book also outlines the key Ingredients to a successful customer support organization focused around "caring more", insourcing, transparency, reporting, dashboarding.... Relating to customer service, Afshar and Martin also explain the ultra-important difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

A few takeaways (this list could be much longer):
1) Remember do not do social, be S.O.C.I.A.L (Sincere, Open, Collaborative, interested, authentic, likeable).
2) Critical success factors - culture, people, process and technology
3) A sense of community motivates people to want to contribute

This book is certainly a must read if you are about to embark on becoming a social business, or if you are looking to revitalize your current strategy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for success through social collaboration!, December 25, 2012
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Having worked at Cabletron / Enterasys for the past 22 years I have had the pleasure of working with Vala and Brad and witnessed them flourish from the ground up to the executive ranks all the while practicing the lessons outlined in the "Pursuit of Social Business Excellence."

Vala and Brad have done an amazing job documenting and blueprinting a proven successful business model in today's social era. "The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence" is a must read for anyone that wants to be a successful leader driven by social collaboration.

After reading this book and following the groundwork laid out, you are guaranteed to have happy employees and even happier customers, which will ultimately lead to success! It continues to work for us at Enterasys Networks!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to be more successful personally, professionally, and in business?, December 17, 2012
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Vala and Brad's The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence allows the reader to take away from this book ideas on becoming more visible and having greater impact in an increasingly social business world. It's an excellent read and highly recommended to help advance your business, career, and personal growth where a social business model is becoming not only more critical, but necessary for success.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Social Recipe, November 26, 2012
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
One of the best modern business books I ever read or practiced im my career . IMHO its a must read to any technology and non technology manager and customer centric organization - your business transformation will start along with reading this amazing recipe book .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational! A Brilliant book clearly communicated in plain language, filled with interesting innovative ideas., February 4, 2013
This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Using their own journey as a real world case study, Brad and Vala catalogue and dissect the steps to re-invent social relationships within an organization. They explain the benefits of exploring new ways to connect with and listen to customers. They discuss the challenges involved when changing a cultural paradigm. They explain how to identify change agents that help improve and streamline the process of using social tools to accelerate the shift to a customer focused value system.

The book is well written and thoughtfully laid out to serve both as a primer and a practical implementation guide. It discusses the reasoning behind the pursuit of social business excellence as well as guidelines for the organizational structure and the thought processes to get there.

Whether you are ahead of the social media curve or working to adapt to a changing communication landscape, this book is a must read. It's a book about people talking to machines and people connecting with other people in more effective ways. In this book you will learn - "If you aren't social, you'll shrink".

The authors combine fresh insights and classic business wisdom with cutting edge technology to offer a revolutionary new angle on business communication that will strike a chord with everyone. You will want to read it cover to cover.

Brad and Vala share a contagious passion for the customer that redefines business relationships in a way that paints a compelling, achievable picture based on sharing a common value system.

The book is a great way to shorten the learning curve for those who wish to create an environment where clear, free-flowing communication thrives. Brad and Vala show how social tools are used to enlighten all levels of management when customers provide feedback - and how management and employees alike use these same tools to communicate within their organizations.

It's the sort of book that inspires one to make positive changes in their personel and professional life.

It's a book about management. Its a book about the customer. Its a book about technology and communication. It's a book about I/T tools. It's a Customer Service manual. Its a positive, healthy book about identifying where and how to improve the lifestyle and culture of your business.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read and I highly recommend it.

Looking forward to more from these guys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended reading., December 10, 2012
By 
Steven Kelly (Hooksett, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Vala Afshar and Brad Martin provide excellent insight and examples as to how to run a successful business today. Anyone interested in learning how to incorporate the social tools of today and tomorrow will be glad they read this book. Enterasys is very lucky to have them both on their team.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can manage my network from Disney World using Facebook on my iPhone., January 28, 2013
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This review is from: The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence (Paperback)
Vala tweets. He tweets a lot. Follow him on twitter and you will get quotes from Colin Powell to Russell Simmons to John Wooden. You will get links to interesting articles on Forbes, Huffington Post and Harvard Business Review. This must make him social right? Not even close.

In their book, The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, Vala Afshar and Brad Martin will tell you how their company, Enterasys, became a "social business" and what that means. It doesn't mean technology, that comes later (I really do use Facebook to chat with my network from Disney World, the beach, or anywhere else). It is embodied in the culture of Enterasys and their ethos, "There is nothing more important than our customers". Think about that for a few seconds and then ask yourself why every company doesn't live that? If you are a customer of Enterasys you understand that statement is just not a marketing slogan but is the essence of what makes Enterasys exceptional, its people.

People, that is what being social is all about. It's empowering your employees, listening to your customers (external and internal) and breaking down barriers so that everyone in your organization is valued and knows that their contributions are making a positive impact. Remember the last time a customer service representative or or sales person made you feel like you were a VIP or receiving special treatment? Chances are that employee was empowered to do so. That's just the tip of the social iceberg.

Vala and Brad will tell you the story of their company, along with many of the ideas it embraced and implemented as an organization and you will have one of two reactions to each idea: the first is "yes, we do that within my company and it works!", the second is "why aren't WE doing that?!?"

Want to find out what you're not doing? This book is a great place to start. Vala and Brad would tell you to start by asking your employees and customers.
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The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence
The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence by Vala Afshar (Paperback - November 14, 2012)
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