The E-Myth - Michael Gerber
After listening to the audio samples, I decided to buy the lecture version of this ebook, rather than the standard text.
Gerber is half comedian half business guru. This book scores 10/10 on the Z scale of awesomeness, I rate it so highly that I've already listened to it twice and plan on listening to it a third time.
Many of Gerber's arguments resonated very strongly with me. The core precept of this book is that:
A business should give you more life, not take it away.
I know so many entrepreneurs who have their entire lives consumed by their business, they are too busy to see friends, eat or even fart...
Gerber frames the purpose of a business nicely, "If you're not selling your business you're buying it." Imagine you're a private equity analyst, would you buy your own business?
Gerber talks a lot about 'turn key operations', functions, process and formula. How fascinating is it that a teenager who is not organised enough to clean their room can be a productive member of the team at McDonalds?
"The system is the solution, it turns ordinary people into extraordinary performers." I'm so fascinated by the McDonald's training process that I have actually applied to work there 8 times! (i've always been rejected, they must know I am trying to learn their secrets!)
Yes I didn't even get the job for the overnight shift!
Another aspect of Gerber's talk that I particularly enjoyed is his description of an investigative, scientific process within business. Lets come up with a plan...
Come up with a new idea (innovation).
What are you assumptions about the innovation, what are you testing? (quantification, to discover answers, find facts. What are all your planning assumptions? Remember there will always be unknown unknowns.)
How are you going to test these assumptions about your innovation (orchestration).
Do the work (implementation).
This is very similar to Carlos Eduardo Espinal's Product Market Fit Cycle worth checking out.
Gerber has some fairly radical thoughts about the orchestration phase, he believes in the removal of discretion. Giving people choice leads to in-action, or in-consistency of action.
To keep the process scientific there should also be some forecasts, what are the expected out-comes for the plan; are there comparable benchmarks that can be used to set expectations; what is the budget required for implementing the plan?
While steps one to four are an outline structure for making a plan, it may need broken down into many smaller more manageable sub plans. Each with their own one to four steps that are run to reach the overall plan objective.
This is a feedback look that can be repeated many times if there are routine jobs within a business this work can become a process. If it's a one off project there may be little value in creating a process.
Gerber also talks about business methodology.
Concentrate - on your objective.
Discriminate - against anything that isn't relevant (don't boil the ocean to make a cup of tea).
Organise - yo self, yo space (you can't organise other people).
Innovate - improve the organisation/implementation.
There is a very very useful section in this book about organisation management, that I found helpful in planning job descriptions and organising filing...
There is a huge amount of good information about hiring and people development. I particularly like the advice: when pitching the business opportunity to a new team member don't start chronologically at the beginning of the business journey. Start with the vision of where you are going and then work back.
Apparently you can't motivate someone. However if you help them succeed at their objectives this will motivate them. Thus it's important that their objectives are the same as the business objectives.
Most importantly you must give people more when they leave your business than when they walked in. What do they need...? If people need the same as you and your business, the common purpose will lead to a brilliant working relationship.
This short review doesn't do the book justice, I highly recommend reading / listening to it!