Power Up: Recommended Reads for October

9 min read by Charles Craik 23 Nov 2020


With the nights drawing in and the weather dipping in temperature, is there a better time to cosy up with a good book? The Power Up team have been finding great escapism in our busy build up to (dare I say it…) Christmas. Check out what we’ve been reading this month…


Follow the North Star: Why customer-first companies will win [Article]

Author: InVision & Pendo
Reader: Roisin Ryan-Self
Speed Rating: 7/10 

Key Learnings

  • ‘A culture of collaboration across teams, departments, and executive decision-makers that is orientated around the customer will determine which companies remain competitive in today’s market.’ – Pendo use Netflix as an example here, in their culture statement (which they make everyone read during the hiring process) they summarise exactly why they exist – which is for the customer. They do so in an emotive way to highlight the importance of inclusivity and diversity – and if you can’t get on board, and collaborate as a team to achieve this, then you’re qualified out almost immediately.
  • Empathise – Instead of talking about a ‘user’ we’re talking about a REAL person. It’s important for every person in a team to collaborate on customer personas across walls and whiteboards…and encourage participation in their everyday life.
  • Study User Behaviour – Instead of assuming, work as hard as you can to understand the customer’s experience of a product or service. Collaborate on customer journey mapping and make it your team’s common language.

Read it Yourself:


Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds

Author: Carmine Gallo
Reader: Jordan Bambridge
Speed Rating: 8/10 

Key Learnings

  • Take your audience on a journey.
    Everyone loves a good Hero vs villain story. Using your talk or your presentation to build a narrative around good vs evil, the problem vs the solution and why it should be important for your audience to be on your side.
  • Master the art of Storytelling.
    The best speakers are the ones that plant ideas and emotions into an audience’s head.  Using personal stories, stories of others or brand successes can build a simple methodology:  illustrate, illuminate and inspire.
  • Stay in your lane.
    Always remember that authenticity builds connection between a speaker and an audience. By creating a level playing field, you create a 1-2-1 connection with an audience that is vital to a great talk. Don’t try to use Bill Gates or Steve Jobs speech techniques, take the learnings and build your own style.
  • Painting a picture.
    Use language to your advantage to not only tell a story but to paint a mental picture of an experience, a thought or emotion. If you can capture the authenticity and narrative and you are able to build a mental picture for your audience, you will deliver an outstanding talk!

Read it Yourself:


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author: Patrick Lencioni
Reader: Be Peters
Speed Rating: 7/10 

Through story-telling, Lencioni provides thought-provoking and insightful ideas that resonate with real life situations. A new manager comes in to fine tune a highly dysfunctional team, no-one in the company thinks Kathryn is the right fit for the job, but of  course, she is. Taking into consideration all levels of leadership, this book is not only for managers but the whole team. 

Key Learnings

  • The less you say, the more you hear – Kathryn takes a lot of time to observe the team, their personalities and relationships. She takes the time to gather all the information before making any decisions or assumptions.
  • There’s power in silence – There are many times in the book where Kathryn is confronted or challenged. She waits for the person to vent and express themself before she then calmly responds. This diffuses the situation, gives Kathryn time to think before she speaks and also allows the other person to get everything off their chest.
  • New perspectives are valuable perspectives – One of the core issues that Kathryn faces in the book is that she lacks experience within the company, meaning many of the members don’t respect her decisions. However leadership skills are transferable across the board and the new perspectives she does offer, she wouldn’t have if she’d have worked for their company for a long time. 

Read it Yourself:


Gap Selling

Author: Keenan
Reader: Ian Garstang
Speed Rating: 8/10 

Gap Selling by Keenan is a fascinating book that shares nine principles of selling. This B2B focused book looks at problem-centric selling and how it can increase sales through understanding the problems potential customers face and the knock on effects. It then applies this methodology to relationships, objections, price and closing.

Key Learnings

  • No problem, no sale – If the client doesn’t have a problem that your service can solve, you won’t complete a sale, we need to discuss and find the problem first.
  • In every sale, there’s a gap – Many clients don’t understand the extent of the problem. Experienced ‘business development consultants’ know that potential customers may need help gaining a clearer idea of what they need and want.
  • All sales are about change – Clients want to make a purchase in the hope that they will move from a position of discomfort to one of comfort. Our team needs to ensure that we show potential clients that we are the best option to bring about this change.
  • Customers don’t like change (even when they say they do) Unexpected changes are unsettling for anyone. The narrative you build during the sales process must be maintained in order to avoid a last minute u-turn in the decision.
  • Sales/Change is emotional – Clients worry about loss of control, uncertainty, surprises, loss of face, job security, extra work for them, the ripple effect from this decision and many others things. A good business development consultant should address these issues.
  • Asking why helps to get customers to yes – The more you ask why,, the more you will understand your customers’ motivations. The more you learn about them, the easier it is to solve their problems..

Read it Yourself: 


The radical act of choosing common ground  

Author: Nisha Anand
Reader: Be Peters
Speed Rating: 9/10 

In this TED talk Anand discussed finding radical common ground with people to create big change. Although people may have huge indifferences, you can always choose humanity and bond with people you share radical opposing views with.

Key Learnings

  • We can build bridges with anyone – Everyone has to cohabit, we all share air, parks, spaces and so much more, there are far more things that bind us than divide us .
  • Social media is an echo chamber – When you surround yourself with the same type of people on the internet, with the same likes and tastes etc, you will never expand your knowledge.
  • It’s not politics, it’s policies – When you put your political views to one side and focus on a common goal with another political party, you can achieve change and form allies that favour both parties. . 

Watch it Yourself:

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