Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Transforming Power by Hugh Ballou

Transforming Power by Hugh Ballou

Hugh Ballou has over 40 years of experience as a choir director and has worked with small organizations and large organizations. I believe the largest had 12,000 members. Now, you may be asking yourself what a choir director knows about transforming power and how he can help entrepreneurs. That’s an interesting story.

As I’ve spoken with Hugh Ballou and as I read some of the articles and his book, it became very clear to me that the situations he faced with the choir members, the religious structure and the members of the congregations often reflect the situations we face in business. This is especially true when we talk about implementing change in any type of organization. This experience has given him a unique perspective when he deals with businesses and other organizations that need to make changes.

First, some detail about the structure of Transforming Power. The book was compiled by collecting personal experiences from over twenty different people who experienced a transformational change. Hugh Ballou hand picked the people that are included and asked the people to share a transformational story that would be beneficial and that would inspire others. Those stories are included in this book.

I looked up a couple of definition for “transformational change” -

A shift in the business culture of an organization resulting from a change in the underlying strategy and processes that the organization has used in the past. A transformational change is designed to be organization-wide and is enacted over a period of time. -

A qualitative change and an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another. -

In the introduction, Hugh Ballou reminds us that each of us see the transformation from our own perspective and so each experience that is shared in the book, is told from that person’s perspective. There are interesting consistencies throughout the book that help illustrate how the need for transformational change can be a universal situation. Each story inspires and encourages leaders to begin the transformational process within their organization. This enables you, the reader, to begin to make a difference for the people who work with you and to the organization as a whole.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people see “leadership” in many different ways. However, this is not talking about someone who was just put in charge of a group. A leader is much more than a manager or supervisor. A true leader accepts the challenge to help the people they lead. Our leadership can also help other people learn how to lead and to create a more positive and encouraging environment. The first step in this process is to realize if we need to make a change in ourselves. How can we honestly ask others to make a change, if we’re unwilling to make changes first?

There are key qualities that all transformational leaders should have. They include:

Sharing responsibilities.

Promoting creativity.

Clearly defining goals.

Effectively delegate to others.

Coach others in an effective way.

Celebrate accomplishments within the group and/or the organization.

Provide knowledge and education where needed.

Value the individuals in the group and/or organization.

Be a model of leadership.

A true leader can be a very powerful and encouraging person. However, something interesting that stood out to me as I read the book was that each story showed us some concern, vulnerability, fear etc. We each have concerns about change and especially major changes. The people who contributed to this project showed us those very human traits. I found it encouraging to realize those traits are common in this sort of situation.

Several of the experiences showed how people tell us they want change, but once the change begins, we see another side to them. It’s important to understand that sometimes they want a change that will make things better for them. Change is one of those times when you will experience growing pains – or we could call them changing pains. Any change will bring some difficulties within the process and as the change is happening. True and lasting change takes time and a transformational leader needs to be prepared for the complete journey.

As a leader is leading the group through a change, they have the opportunity to create a “community” feel and approach to the project. This community atmosphere has the power to create a synergy that is very beneficial to the change that is happening and the people who are involved. It isn’t productive to approach these changes in a dictatorial way. Leading and using the community approach is much more effective and lasting than a dictatorial approach. The community attitude also allows others to step up and be involved in many aspects of the changes that are being made.

Effective communication, delegation and planning are key to a change. When you begin a change, do you communicate the ideas? Do you find qualified people for delegated responsibilities? Are thorough plans developed to assist the change go smoothly? These things help the change process. There may be problems along the way, but leaders who take these initial steps have a higher chance for success.

All these points are illustrated very effectively in Transforming Power. A number of the examples relate to church situations and I enjoyed reading how effectively these approaches and techniques can be used in any organizational situation. Is your group or organization in need of change? This is a book you must read and you will be able to apply many of the examples that are included in your business, church or organization. For a special offer during August 2008, visit

NOTE - For more details about Hugh Ballou – visit Book information available at For full tour details, visit

A SPECIAL BONUS TO EACH PERSON WHO PURCHASES TRANSFORMING POWER TODAY – Hugh Ballou has compiled a list of great FREE bonus gifts for anyone who purchases Transforming Power today. To see a sample of the items that are being given away, visit Just buy a copy of Transforming Power, return to this page and click to submit your invoice number to receive the web page link to download all of these gifts for FREE.

Nikki Leigh – Author, Publicist and Tour Coordinator – Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Get Noticed Get Referrals by Jill Lublin

How many times have you heard that you need to make a name for yourself? That’s something I’ve heard in many different contexts over the years. Get noticed, get referrals and networking – these are all powerful strategies that all business people should utilize.

Jill Lublin writes in an easy to understand manner that walks you through the process of getting noticed and getting referrals. This book focuses on getting noticed and networking in the real world, not on the internet. (But, I hear that her next book will deal with online promotion.)

Are you one of the entrepreneurs who feels that networking and generating referrals is something you could never do? Let’s think about that for a minute. What is a referral? Last time you saw a great movie or discovered a new restaurant, did you tell your friends about it? That is a referral. Have you ever had a friend recommend a doctor or a show? That is a referral. Getting and giving referrals can be just that easy. When people know you and understand what you do, it is easy for them to give you referrals.

Why do you want referrals? That’s easy, referrals are a great way to find new clients for your business. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry, I do that when I talk about referrals and networking because I’ve seen the “magic” in action and it is wonderful for your business.

First you need to get noticed. That is the first thing that Jill Lublin helps you understand in her book. Take a few minutes and think about your business. How many times have you gotten what you need through a recommendation from someone else? It could be a location, a supplier, an advertiser or clients – any of these things can be recommended by another person. These are referrals.

We have to put forth the effort to “get out there”. This means that you have to get noticed through meeting people and interacting with them. Jill gives some great pointers on how to do this. One of my favorite points was “to be completely there”. This simply means that you need to focus on the person you meet and really get to know them. Don’t scan the room for “someone better”. You never know which person could be a key to your future, so focus on each person individually and get to know them. These are the first steps in beginning to build new business relationships.

Throughout the book, Jill Lublin gives us Action Plans. These are at the end of each chapter and they help the reader implement the information they have read. What good is the information if you can’t figure out how to use it in your business? She also provides a wonderful Client Worksheet to give us an idea of what matters we should discuss with a new client. This is only a sample, but could be used to develop a checklist that is appropriate for each of us. The checklist is only a part of the information in Chapter Two about how to deal with clients effectively.

One of the chapters I included was about myths and misconceptions. There are so many myths in business and she chose fourteen common misconceptions and explains why they are not true. It’s a short chapter, but it can be an eye opener.

Where can you go to get noticed and to start this process? Chapter Six gives plenty of examples of where to go and she even suggests that you can start your own group. Once you get “out there”, you need to make a good first impression. Before you go to those networking meetings or the chamber of commerce mixer, read chapter seven. Jill Lublin takes you step by step through the process of making a great first impression and getting started on the road to referrals.

Some advanced networking information includes:

Chapter 8 – Goals, Intentions and Strategies Chapter 9 – Cultivate the Media Chapter 11 – Focus, Focus, Focus Chapter 12 – Always Keep It Real Chapter 15 – Be Flexible and Keep Your Options Open The book contains a wide variety of information to help you get noticed and get referrals, but one of my favorite chapters is number fourteen – Service Makes a Difference. I don’t know about you, but I feel outstanding customer service is a thing of the past in many businesses today. Its sad, but how often have you gone into a business, emailed a business or called a business and been ignored or put on hold for an extended period of time?

Getting Noticed and getting referrals is a great start, but once you have the customer, you must knock their socks off with great customer service. Jill Lublin gives us the ten commandments of business, she tells us to be pleasant, respond to customers, encourage people to come back and to use heart centered marketing. Those are the subheadings in chapter fourteen, but I’ll let you discover the hidden treasures about how to give outstanding customer service.

I recommend this book for any business person who needs to learn how to get noticed. Even if you are getting noticed, are you getting referrals from others? If you aren’t getting referrals and your aren’t networking – you’re missing a big piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle. Jill Lublin’s new book can give you the networking pieces of the puzzle that you’re missing. You can learn much more about Jill Lublin and Get Noticed… Get Referrals at and

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava

Personality – Personality is defined as “the unique, authentic, and talkable soul of your brand that people can get passionate about. Personality is not just about what you stand for, but how you choose to communicate it. It is also the way to reconnect your customers, partners, employees, and influencers to the soul of your brand in the new social media era.”

Have you ever thought about the fact that your business should have a personality? You might not have thought about creating or developing a personality for your business – but in the twenty first century, your business needs a personality. The time for faceless businesses is gone. We have all been told to develop a brand for our business. But, creating a personality that reflects and deepens that brand is taking the idea to a higher level.

Think about your favorite coffee shop or your favorite restaurant. What do you like about that business? Is it the service, the products, the atmosphere, the location, or something else? The personality includes things that set that business apart from other similar businesses.

This book contains six chapters in Part One. Part Two contains learning guides which expand on the content in Part One and various other resources. The contents include:

Part One

1. Sign Here to Read This (How Organizations Lose Their Personality)

2. The Accidental Spokesman (How Unlikely Voices Are Shaping Your Brand)

3. A Signature is Not Enough (How to Define Your Organization’s Personality)

4. Lessons from the Storytellers (Crafting a Backstory People Care About)

5. Conquering the Fear Factor (Getting Your Organization to Embrace Personality)

6. Add Personality and Stir (Finding and Using Personality Moments)

Part Two

· The Butler Was a Marketer (Putting Personality into Action)

· New Styles of Marketing (Ten Techniques are Described in Detail)

· Taking Theory Further (Tools and Guides to Accompany Chapters 1 – 6)

Throughout the book Rohit Bhargava provides ample examples of businesses which are using the techniques that he discusses. The case studies were almost enough to sell me on this book, but learning about each technique and then being given an interesting and detailed example of how each idea can be implemented in real life was invaluable. For example, we all know that Starbucks is very popular. In Personality Not Included we are given details on what they did right and then how they let the personality slip away.

Another fascinating chapter is chapter two when we learn about the many types of accidental spokesmen that can represent a business. In addition, he tells us how each type of spokesmen is effective and how to make the most of their enthusiasm and appeal. In business for years, I’ve learned so much through mistakes that have been made, by me or by others. There are plenty of examples in this book of what techniques won’t work in certain situations or when it’s better to use another option. I love to highlight the valuable information in books and my copy has plenty of information marked for future use for me and my clients.

Backstory is critical when writing a novel, but have you ever thought about sharing the story behind your business? This chapter explains why you should have a backstory and how to use that backstory. The strangest thing happened as I read this chapter. I usually share my business and promotional background with people when I give my experience, but chapter four helped me begin to develop a new approach. My dream as a teenager was to be a novelist named Nikki Leigh and later on I got my feet wet in promotional work as a consolation prize in a management job and I found that I loved it. Those are two of the things I can use to begin to put the backstory for my business on paper. What story do you have behind your business that would attract the public and help them to see you in a more favorable light?

In the opening chapter and introduction of the book I was patting myself on the back because I’ve used many of the ideas that are presented. Then Rohit Bhargava said something that really got my attention. He mentioned that just learning to create a personality isn’t enough. You need to learn the best way to implement that personality plan in your business and learn to identify even more ways to find opportunities to develop this personality even further.

When you read the book, definitely take the time to read the learning guides in Part Two. Here is an example. In Chapter Four (page 112), we learn about How to Use the Backstory Model Picker. This section summarizes the different types of backstory, what they include and who should use each type. Once you read that information, you flip to the guide on page 259 for much more detail on each of the types of backstory and how to utilize them in the best way. There are many “guides” in the book which give you additional information on how to get the most out of the ideas and techniques in the book.

I highly recommend this book for any entrepreneur and business person who wants to understand the need for a business personality. Business managers can also learn so much from the content in this book. It is also for the person who wants to find the different ways to develop this personality. Your business can stand out from the competition in amazing ways - it just needs more personality. When you read the book, keep your eyes open for the interesting ways the author has woven a unique personality into the pages of the book.