A compilation of books reviewed by Mariposa Leadership.

March 31, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The Future of Work

thefutureofworkThe Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization
By Jacob Morgan

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Within the next five years, key trends impacting the world of work will be in full swing. By 2020, Millennials are projected to make up just over half of the entire US workforce and will bring expectations, attitudes and styles of working currently uncommon in the workplace. New technologies, such as collaboration platforms, the Internet of Things, and others, will streamline our lives even further. Those, and other trends such as mobility, new behaviors being shaped by social technologies, and globalization are changing the world around – and will change the world in – organizations. These changes promise to upend how companies find and manage talent, how management styles need to adapt and how employees work. Is your organization prepared?

In this book, the author, Jacob Morgan, outlines the key trends shaping the future of work. He paints a picture of the current states of companies, managers and employees, while highlighting the key principles that will make up the future company, manager and employee. It’s a fascinating read that will force you to rethink the direction of your talent planning strategies. Leaders who want to win the war for talent will want to read this book. Buy it now.

March 31st, 2015|Categories: Book Reviews|
February 27, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired

essential guide to hiringThe Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired: A Performance-based Hiring Handbook
By Lou Adler

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

Companies say hiring top talent is a strategic imperative. Yet, many of the hiring methods and policies work against this imperative. Job descriptions focus on skills and experience, which leave many top performers out of the equation. Screening based on compensation ranges weeds out quality candidates. Traditional interviewing lends itself to bias, while behavioral interviewing doesn’t effectively link a candidate’s answers to actual job requirements. According to Lou Adler, Many of these problems can be addressed with a systematic approach: performance-based hiring.

In this book, Lou outlines the various elements of the Performance-based hiring business process and explains its effectiveness. It’s a systematic yet unconventional approach to hiring top talent, requiring a mindset shift. That’s what the content of this book achieves: a shift in thinking about the traditional hiring practices frequently used today, and how to attract and source the top talent your company is really looking for.

Leaders interested in helping their companies win the war for talent in the long run will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

February 27th, 2015|Categories: Book Reviews|
February 2, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Finding the Next Steve Jobs

finding-the-next-steve-jobsFinding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
By Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

Head: 3 ( out of 5)
Heart: 4 ( out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: 4 ( out of 5)

Companies want to cultivate creative thinking in employees, believing that without it, they won’t survive. And it’s true: creativity sparks new ideas and when it permeates the culture, leads to competitive advantage.  Companies, therefore, need talent passionate about the present as much as about the future, and who don’t mind being considered different.  A diverse and inclusive workforce is a recipe for innovation in today’s business environment.

The author, Nolan Bushnell, is the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater. He knows a thing or two about finding and hiring creative talent. Drawing on his experience, each chapter offers insight and tips on how to do just that. While the focus of this book is on hiring creative talent, the innovative concepts could apply to recruitment of other talent. The ideas force us to rethink traditional recruiting and hiring practices, which many studies have shown to be flawed.

Some the ideas presented include:

  • Hiring for Passion and Integrity: Passion is a quality that is inherent; one can’t be trained to be passionate.
  • Ignore Credentials: Employers should stop using a college degree as a sole qualification for employment. Instead, ask unusual questions to test for curiosity and resourcefulness.
  • Look for Hobbies: Hobbies tell us about passions
  • Hire Under Your Nose: Observe people doing their jobs outside of your workplace. Talent can be found anywhere.
  • Comb Through Tweets:  Use Twitter to identify talent. Twitter is a means of expression for many and a lot can be learned by their tweets.

Leaders and human resource professionals interested in building an innovative culture that thrives in the future will want to read this book. Buy it now.


January 1, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Rookie Smarts

rookie smartsRookie Smarts:  Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
By: Liz Wiseman

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

The inexperienced are often viewed as lacking an advantage. But given the pace of change today, inexperience can be an advantage. Rookies might lack know-how and situational confidence that comes from experience but they are eager to close that knowledge gap and aren’t weighed down by obsolete best practices, thus free to explore new opportunities. From this standpoint, rookies can be your best performers!

Anyone can be a rookie, even the most veteran employee, because it’s not about age but about cultivating a mindset.  The author draws on extensive experience, even her own personal career experience, to explain the different modes of the rookie mindsets:

  • Backpacker:  unencumbered and open
  • Hunter-Gatherer: alert and seeking
  • Firewalker: cautious and quick
  • Pioneer:  hungry and relentless

The book also explains the best situations to leverage rookies for company success.

Professionals interested in revitalizing their career and leaders who wish to harness the power of the rookie mindset in their organizations will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

January 1st, 2015|Categories: Book Reviews|Tags: , |
November 26, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The Customer Rules

51Nyn00JcnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Customer Rules:  The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
By: Lee Cockerell

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (5 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

All businesses, large and small, need more than great products or services to thrive. Customers are essential for survival, and employees must deliver exceptional customer service so those customers turn into raving fans and come back for more.

The author of this book, a former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort, knows a thing or two about customer service.  He outlines 39 simple but profound customer service concepts in short chapters, making it easy for leaders, front line managers and all employees to put them into practice right away.

Some of our favorites:

  • Rule #1: Customer Service is Not a Department.  In other words, customer service is the responsibility of all!
  • Rule #5: Ask Yourself, “What Would Mom Do?” In work as in life, try to follow the lessons your mom taught and make her proud.
  • Rule #29: Have a Geek on Your Team. Technology enthusiasts can innovate to improve customer service.
  • Rule #36: Apologize Like You Mean It.  How “I’m sorry” is said means more than the words itself.

Leaders interested in creating magic in everyday interactions with customers will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

Want more?  Sign up for Wise Talk with Sue Bethanis and Lee Cockerell on December 15th at 2pm PT. Lee will share more insights on customer expectations as well as indispensable tips for creating magic in your interactions with customers to win them over and keep them.


November 26th, 2014|Categories: Book Reviews|
October 31, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Delight Your Customers

delightDelight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
By Steve Curtin

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (5 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

Though most businesses seem keen on creating an exceptional customer experience, the customer service experience can still feel lackluster.  At the core of the issue, according to author Steve Curtin, is a failure to distinguish the difference between job function (duties or tasks in a role) and job essence, which is the highest priority – creating a promoter, a delighted customer who is less price sensitive, and positively promotes the business via word-of-mouth. Essence is that little extra something that creates a stand-out interaction for the customer, and is voluntary on the part of the employee. So what can be done to turn an ordinary transaction into an extraordinary one?

Peppered with case studies, this practical book outlines the three truths of exceptional customer service and offers seven simple ways to raise customer service levels. They are based on the premise that in everyday service situations, most customers just want to be acknowledged and appreciated.  Conveying to customers that they matter leaves an impression, turning an ordinary interaction into an extraordinary one, and inspiring customer loyalty.

Leaders interested in increasing the level of customer service in their business to improve their customer experience and generate more loyal customers will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

September 26, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Customer Experience 3.0

customerexp30Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service
By John A. Goodman

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

A top notch customer experience relies on more than providing great customer service. Customer experience management involves the entire company, setting and managing customer expectations from end-to-end and removing barriers along the way.  Companies also need to be able to quantify their customer experience strategy because as the author likes to cite, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.  This book addresses all of this and more.

The content of Customer Experience 3.0 delivers a framework and strategies for creating a successful end-to-end customer experience:

  1. Meet reasonable customer expectations the first time and warn of product limitations.
  2. Make communication channels effortless for customers who want help.
  3. Empower employees to handle customer service issues and allow them to emotionally connect.
  4. Build a full lifecycle Voice of the Customer (VOC) process, with financial analysis.

This book is based on decades of research by the author, John A. Goodman, one of the original pioneers of the customer experience industry. This practical guide addresses many service, marketing and technology myths and offers tips on using the best tools available to enhance the customer experience. Leaders interested in understanding how to create a successful end-to-end customer experience that can be measured and quantified will want to read this book.   Buy it now.

July 30, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Customer CEO

CustomerCEOCustomer CEO: How to Profit from the Power of Your Customers
By: Chuck Wall

Companies used to be more able to set the terms for engaging with customers.  They created products and customers chose whether or not to buy them at the price the company set. It was a simple transaction.  But in the age of social media, transactions have become 24/7 relationships, recommendations are stronger than branding and the customer is now in the driver’s seat. They decide which companies they want to engage with, and on what terms. Companies must adapt to this new reality.

The short answer is to get to know your customers.  Know their goals, frustrations and obstacles. Understand how you can help improve their lives. The author, Chuck Wall, outlines nine powers (or core needs) that customers possess:


  • The Power of Me
  • The Power of Value
  • The Power of Performance
  • The Power of Heart
  • The Power of Simple
  • The Power of Yes
  • The Power of the Platform
  • The Power of Rebellion
  • The Power of Purpose

These nine powers are the result of more than 100,000 first-hand customer interviews combined with the knowledge a decade of experience as an entrepreneur brings. Companies that engage these nine powers win the hearts, minds and ultimately, revenue.   He also offers a unique “solution” for engaging these nine powers: the Customer Thinking approach, which balances analytics and empathy to improve the customer experience and take the lead in the market.

Filled with real stories of companies embracing the power of their customers, this practical book offers both large and small companies ideas and tools for building long lasting relationships with customers. Leaders who want to create better products, services and experiences for their customers will want to read this book.   Buy it now.

June 26, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation

DT for strat innovationDesign Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School
By Idris Mootee

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Executives today will agree that the complexities of doing business have grown exponentially.  Our global world is smaller due to technology that connects us all at the speed of light, driving customer expectations high.  The world’s population consumes natural resources faster than we can replace them, if at all.  Competition in the market is fierce.  Despite all this, most executives have been operating with an outdated management model, one designed for an outdated world.  That’s why this book is a timely and important read for leaders.

Design thinking can be used to make sense of all of this complexity. It connects the dots and drives innovation by allowing us to experiment in the midst of chaos and complexity.  Creative solutions can emerge for complex problems.

This book, written by management guru Idris Mootee, defines design thinking and introduces readers to the applications of it.  As a framework, the author links the application of design thinking tools to eight key challenges most businesses encounter: growth, predictability, change, relevance, extreme competition, standardization, creative culture and strategy and organization.  Each chapter offers tips and thinking points.

Executives interested in a guide for applying design thinking will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

May 29, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The Necessity of Strangers

the-necessity-of-strangers-3D1The Necessity of Strangers:  The Intriguing Truth of Insight, Innovation and Success

By: Dr. Alan Gregerman

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Growing up, many of us were told not to talk to strangers.  We were taught to fear or avoid people we didn’t know.  Early on, we were conditioned to believe people who were different than we were could pose a threat to our beliefs, knowledge and habits by taking us out of our comfort zone.  The author of this book, Dr. Alan Gregerman, proposes a counterintuitive challenge to this conditioning.

Strangers, Dr. Gregerman contends, should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat.  They – not the people we know and are familiar with – are the key to our success.  Strangers are a necessity because of their differences, what they know that we don’t know, and their objectivity and ability to be honest about what matters.  This challenges us to think differently about ourselves, our problems and to see more possibilities. Learning from strangers, and engaging and collaborating with people different from us enable us to find breakthroughs, delight customers, grow businesses and lead the life we were meant to.

Some of the concepts explored in this book include:

  • How to develop a stranger-centric mindset
  • How strangers can offer fresh insights that lead to innovation
  • How to leverage the differences of strangers, while bringing out the best of ourselves to collaborate and become more effective leaders
  • How connecting with and learning from the right strangers can help a business grow
  • Practical tools to use right away to unlock the potential of strangers

Leaders interested in pursuing consumer-led innovation strategies to deliver more value to their customers will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

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