среда, 20 июня 2012 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

Here comes Helen Edwards with her new business literature recommendations. We wish you an exciting reading experience!

The start up owner's manual: the step-by-step guide for building a great company
Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
K & S Ranch, 2012.
608 pages
ISBN: 9780984999309

This comprehensive and authoritative books tells the new entrepreneur everything they need to know about starting a business. It provides a step by step guide to how to develop customers using tools such as the business model canvas and metrics for measuring results. A start up is not a small version of a big company and using standard product development and launch processes can lead to disaster. Instead it is critical to get out, talk to customers, experiment with what works and learn from mistakes.

Seeing the big picture: business acumen to build your credibility, career and company
Kevin Cope
Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2012.
vii, 184 pages.
ISBN: 9781608322466

Think of an employee who, in his own opinion, is doing an excellent job. Unfortunately without taking into account the big picture, such an employee may unwittingly be sabotaging his companies real goals - for example with a focus on efficiency and saving money rather than customer service and growth. The first part of this book describes the interplay of the 5 key drivers of any business: cash, profits, assets, growth and people. The second half shows how to use an understanding of these 5 drivers to better understand financial statements.

The power of habit: why we do what we do and how to change
Charles Duhigg
William Heinemann, 2012.
xx, 371 pages.
ISBN: 978043020362

Habits can become hard wired and difficult to change in both individuals and organisations. Investigative reporter Charles Duhigg shows how techniques such as changing one thing, making detailed plans for overcoming deficits in willpower and using habits to predict behaviour can have powerful effects. He tells the stories of Alcoa where the new CEO's focus on a single understandable issue, employee safety, had far reaching effects on entrenched behaviours across the company; how Starbucks rewrote their training manuals to focus on preparing employees for difficult and unpleasant customer interactions; and how Target uses its huge customer databases to predict life events and focus its marketing at the level of the individual.

четверг, 14 июня 2012 г.

Negotiation Books Reviews

Here's a great new article written by Moty Cristal, our Professor of Professional Practice in Negotiation Dynamics, published on Forbes Russia. The original Russian version you can find here.

Dear Readers,
As many of you have requested that I'll review and recommend negotiation books, I've picked the most valuable books on my negotiation books' shelf. There are plenty of negotiation books. Most of them offer a "manual" of "how to…". However, I don't believe that there is a manual which can cover all the various scenarios that could be developing during a given negotiation process. Let alone when it is written from a cultural perspective, and you are trying to apply American negotiation tips to a negotiation session between a Russian business man and a Japanese business woman.


This is the reason that I've picked five different books which are bringing more "concepts" than "manuals". Once you read them, they are easily adjusted to the Russian, or any other, negotiation culture. Some of them were translated to Russian, however, as I'm not speaking Russian (yet..) I can't guarantee the quality of their cultural modification to the Russian business culture. In any case, I'm confident that you, as learned readers, will know how to do the required cultural modifications.

Getting to Yes (Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton)

Probably the most classic and worldwide known book on negotiation, by the Harvard Negotiation Projects professors. The book, first published in 1981, turned the negotiation from a mathematical and quantitative art (See: Howard Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiations) to a popular science. The book states a four pillars methodology:

(1) Separate people from the problem. Meaning, look at the issues to be negotiated, rather than focus on the people because many times focusing on people divert your attention to the emotional level.

вторник, 5 июня 2012 г.

When negotiation is stuck!

Here's English version of article written by Moty Cristal, our Professor of Professional Practice in Negotiation Dynamics, published on Forbes Russia. The original Russian version you can find here.
Dear readers! If you are with me on this column, I guess that you have read some of my previous ones, and are interested to learn more. And this is communication. Not negotiations. I read your interesting comments and with some I agree and some makes me feel how challenging is providing negotiation tips in a written form, without the depth of the context. In negotiation, the context and the subtext are more important and influential than the text itself. An advice to a woman will be different from an advice to a man. A tip for an experienced salesman will be not be relevant for a guy who negotiates his salary, and a process design for a government official will not necessarily work in private sector.


So, here is my suggestion to you: while posting your comments, try not only to "shoot" but also to "talk". Try to direct me towards what is in your mind, what you are interested to learn about in the field of negotiations. From your comments, I've already picked issues for the next few columns: how to deal with difficult negotiators, how should I start my negotiations, what is the difference between the "art of sales" (which I'm not an expert..) and the art of negotiations, the main differences between a two-party process and multiparty negotiations, and even the need for a good summary of the existing books on negotiations, which 95% of them are written from an American perspective and require a significant adjustment when applied in Russia.

Now, imagine the following scene. They were sitting there, facing one another, and hardly said a word. It was obvious that both of them wanted the deal. It was obvious that the alternative was worse. It was obvious that they ran out of time, and it was clear to them that it will end with a compromise. But still, negotiations were stuck. No one wanted to make the first move. No one wanted to be perceived as the weak side. If you picture yourself in that situation, the first step out is to understand why negotiations are stalled.

понедельник, 4 июня 2012 г.

SKOLKOVO Startup Academy: the first module

The first course of SKOLKOVO Startup Academy started on the 1st of June, and today we are ready to draw up the results of the first programme unit. It should be reminded, that students have they evening sessions on Thursdays and Fridays and the whole day sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. They have already plunged into studying and were hot-eyed listening to the first lecturer, mentor of the Academy, Bob Dorf. Bob is a fabulous speaker, and his presentations are full of personal experience, challenging observations and large amount of real examples. Bellow you can see some major theses of Bob Dorf, which he noted during his presentations.


You should work as strong as possible, paying attention to customers’ reaction.

Excited costumers, who tell their friends about you – that’s what matters.

Search for a business model that makes sense and works.

A startup is a temporary organization used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.