|By Joe Mechlinski||
|January 25, 2013 04:50 PM EST||
I’ve read a lot of books about business over the years. As a broad generalization, they fall into two categories: those based on objective study of data (think Good to Great) and those based on more subjective interpretations of personal experience (say, Think and Grow Rich).
Data-based books offer the comfort of assurance that “this is how things are,” but can leave the reader wondering what to actually do to activate the insights. Alternatively, the firsthand books make it clear what the author did, but leave readers not at all confident they will have the same experience.
I mention this because Grow Regardless inhabits an unusual middle ground. While Joe Mechlinski has clearly written a book based on his own experiences, the model he has developed and the power of his conclusions are quite remarkable. The result is a book that not only conveys Mechlinski’s considerable passion, but leaves you knowing, without a doubt, that he has got it basically, fundamentally, and deeply right.
Can You Really Grow Regardless?
Mechlinski confronts head-on the notion that people, or businesses, are inherently limited by their size, their industry, the economy, interest rates, and so on. He’s hardly the only inspirational author to argue that, in light of said limitations, dreams can come true.
But Mechlinski goes further. He explains how better performance is not simply gotten at the expense of others, or available only to a privileged few. Seriously better performance is available to everyone, including at the industry or economy level. And as you read his prescriptions, you realize he is quite right. This book is not about gaining market share; it’s entirely about creating real economic value¾regardless of your situation.
When I first met Mechlinski, I was impressed by his energy, his graciousness, and his clear commitment to excellence. What I didn’t know was how he had gotten there; his personal story is one of great achievement against significant odds. As a youth, he was disadvantaged and devalued at every turn¾a real underdog if there ever was one.
Throughout it all, he continued to learn from others. But one of the most important lessons Mechlinski learned was one he learned on his own: to be guided by a small number of core ideas and values. Mechlinski has built a thriving consulting practice founded on those core ideas and values. He works with his client organizations to build businesses based on those same ideas and values. The success of his own consulting business¾and it is objectively quite successful, in the top ten percent of his line of business¾is a testimony to his ideas. More importantly, so are the stories of the five leaders, clients of his, profiled in his book, who have not only taken on these beliefs as their own, but also directly helped to refine his ideas and philosophies.
Reading these stories, I had the repeated sensation of thinking, “Well, yes, that is how things work, isn’t it?” That’s the same feeling I have when reading data-based books. But I also had the sensation of thinking, “That is exactly how you do it, isn’t it?” And that’s the feeling I get from subjective, first-person books.
Plenty of books will tell you that business is mainly about relationships. Jim Heskett, whom Mechlinski cites, wrote years ago about the important link between great employee relationships and great customer relationships. Dan Pink, as Mechlinski also notes, has written about motivation, and Daniel Goleman about EQ, or the emotional quotient. Mechlinski knows these sources; he’s read and absorbed them seriously. But unlike all those dispassionate observers of business success, Mechlinski feels these truths. He lives these truths. Others have discovered objective data, but Mechlinski has subjectively verified it. He knows that beliefs drive behavior, and so he is quite insistent about the power of beliefs and mindsets.
Mechlinski has uniquely packaged and synthesized these truths into an utterly enjoyable read. The eQ Growth Methodology™ is deceptively simple: relationships, story, and employees; the three Ps: philosophy, process, and practice; and the five power concepts, including Hit the Reset Button and Start with Why. Unfortunately, to list them is not to understand them. I did not magically “get” Grow Regardless by reading the Table of Contents, and you probably won’t either. That’s not how human beings work.
So, do yourself the favor of reading this book slowly. Savor it. Then, pass it on to others. That’s how it works. And that’s how you can make it work for you¾and for all the teams, groups and systems of which you are a part.
Charles H. Green is the Founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates. Charles specializes in commercial relationships where people in one organization get paid to persuade other people, within or outside their own organization. That includes sales, and it includes advice giving, both internal and external.