Scott and I try to keep ourselves up to speed on relevant business literature. With time on our hands this summer, over a glass of fresh lemonade, we found a few books that cranked our wheels, gave us pause, or were just plain fun.
The first is: Ash Maurya's Scaling Lean: Mastering The Key Metrics for Startup Growth. Ash is creator of the Lean Canvas, and with Scaling Lean he provides a set of practical, hands-on tools to help you succeed with your enterprise's growth trajectory. It's very accessible, easy to read, simple but not simplistic in its approach. We recommend it to entrepreneurs as well as managers intent on scaling their company, division, or project.
Second: Value Proposition Design, by Alexander Osterwalder. As a follow-on to their highly successful Business Model Generation, the author delves more deeply into the Value Proposition and Customer Segment building blocks of the Business Model Canvas. The tool, the Value Proposition Canvas, delivers a guiding framework to making explicit the Pains and Gains customers experience and connect them to the features and benefits of a product/service. As a supplement to Blue Ocean Strategy and its Strategy Canvas, the Value Proposition Canvas allows for another level of analysis.
For fun: While I had read it in high school, I decided to revisit William Golding's Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys stranded on an island. While they try to maintain a system of civility, they boys quickly descend into savagery. Reading it with a strategic eye, I was reminded of the territorialism and of the battles for resources that play out in organizations large and small. Management, after all, is the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. It's worth another run to get to the core of human behavior and what drives our behaviors.