Review: Kristen Hadeed – Permission to Screw Up (S)

Permission to Screw Up
Kristen Hadeed

“This is the story of how Kristen Hadeed built Student Maid, a cleaning company where people are happy, loyal, productive, and empowered, even while they’re mopping floors and scrubbing toilets. It’s the story of how she went from being an almost comically inept leader to a sought-after CEO who teaches others how to lead.”

My wife listened to this book as an audiobook on long car rides, and I listened to some of it with her. This book was narrated to great effect by the author. This was amazing because although there was the standard business techniques that you get in any book, they were told as part of an enthralling story. It was told in such a way that the reader felt like they were there with Kristen, and wanted to know what would happen next. There were no bits where I was bored!

I felt like it was a longer than normal talking book that I would listen to, but it didn’t feel that long. [Rose notes that it clocks in at 5.5 hours(as opposed to Get to the Point, which was only two hours)]. I don’t normally like reading things twice, but there were some parts that I HAVE read again, such as the techniques of how to FBI (it’s a feedback technique).

Anyone in a leadership role, not just owning your own business (also middle manager, team leader etc) should read this book. There are business books out there that contradict themselves but this book tell you that even if others say that this is the ‘best way’, if it doesn’t suit your team, don’t push something that isn’t working.

The book by itself was 4 stars, but with the reading it’s 5 stars. The author helped. It sounded as if it wasn’t a book, it was a story. I’m not sure if the author had put in side notes that weren’t in the text, but it sounded like it. It felt like even when she ‘renamed’ characters, it was real in the story.

Some of the techniques that she uses and decided as really good should be highlighted more – like shit sandwiches, but FBI is better than that. They were explained equally, but more emphasis should be put on the FBI. The FBI method stands for: feelings, behavior, impact. It starts with saying how you feel, and then your feedback-ee can’t argue that and get off topic. What is the impact on the relationship, company, team, client etc? Feedback shouldn’t be an ordeal and a sit down session. Everyone in a team should be able to give FBI.

The take home message from this book is that team company culture is important and how to give feedback using the FBI method. Always keep trying different things, and if that isn’t working for you in those circumstances, try something else.

Review: Morgen Witzel – The Ethical Leader (S)

The Ethical Leader
Morgen Witzel

“Ethical behaviour by businesses, or their staff, is often seen as the corporate and social responsibility icing on an organizational cake – something that is nice to do but never really essential. But by turning this view around – and making ethical behaviour a primary focus – Witzel shows how businesses can create and maintain long-term competitive advantage.”

In the first line the author warns the reader – “Oh, no. Not another book about ethics” – in a laughing way that this won’t be one of those books. But it kinda is just another book about ethics. It was very slow to start off with, and there was a point near the start where I wanted to abandon it, but then I pushed through and got to a better part later on.I read it when I knew I would be distracted because I could easily pick it up and drop it again – it didn’t require too much brain power.

A strong point of this book were the inclusion of some really nice case studies that are boxed clearly from the rest of the text. For some of the case studies, the author asks ‘What would you do?’ and then tells you at the end of the chapter what actually happened. Any time there is a fact, it uses a reference. Its worth could be as a reference book because it has A LOT of references that you can refer to (haha). It has both footnotes by chapter and a Bibliography. If you like an idea, it’s easy to go and find out more about it.

The real ethics framework is only the last chapter (Chapter 10), where he gives how to make an ethical decision – how to ask yourself if it is an ethical decision you are making. But in the end, different people have different ways and levels of ethics to adhere to. It’s great to read about, and it’s nice that you should do the right thing, but even with the framework there will never be a black and white question. You can ask the questions, but not reach an answer – it’s just your opinion.

I’d like more items to action out of it, such as how to implement this in your workplace. What can I do to improve my business? How do you look after your shareholders vs employees vs customers? There were no takeaways of what I can do to create value or build employee relationships. Ultimately I just didn’t enjoy it and got nothing useful out of it. It IS just another ethics book – it’s average.

Bloomsbury | 12th February 2019 | AU$35.00 | paperback