3. The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky
My favorite homebuilding executive often said, “We’re not building homes for practice. Understand what drives profits.” Purchasing Managers often lose the forest for the trees. We get so immersed in our pivot tables analyzing the cost of one linear foot of poplar shoe moulding we forget the point: Profitability. This book is guaranteed to provide new ideas.
4. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Ever since we humans made our ways down from the trees, we’ve been telling stories and sharing ideas. The best ones—ancient myths that transcend time and place—still exist. The bad ones, like your yoga-mat-for-cats idea, die quickly. This recent classic by the Brothers Heath will boost your story-telling and idea-spreading immediately.
5. Deep Dive by Rich Horwath
Ask ten people to define the term “strategy” and you’ll get eleven different answers. In Deep Dive, Horwath lays out the basics of strategy in a way that is readable, memorable and entertaining—no small feat considering the topic. (Full disclosure: Horwath was a professor of mine and is a friend.)
6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Years ago I was driving Scott Sedam, housing industry thought leader, to the airport after a consulting gig. “If I could read only one book this year,” I asked him, “what would you recommend?” He said Purple Cow. I now read this book every year to help me answer the question: “How am I better or different?”
7. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
Yes, this 1990 Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith vehicle was a cinematic Edsel. However, the book is a hilarious examination of self-interest and the art of maintaining appearances. At 700 pages, Bonfire isn’t for everyone, but the audio-book is every bit as engaging.
Pick one of these books and send it to your favorite purchasing manager. Don’t be tempted to ship the book directly from amazon.com to your client. Ship it to your office and then write a note to your client in the front pages of the book. Make it personal and include the date, along with your legible name. Include a small marketing piece as the bookmark. 2016 will be a good year, if you—and your clients—focus on the right things.