Reading… A “Must Do” in Business
I used to brag when I was in college that I had never read an entire book. I thought it was cool that I could get through the cliff notes, pass tests, and continue through my education.
I don’t confess this because I want to damage the quality of my education or my personal brand. Fortunately, I had so much free time on my hands as a professional football player, I realized I liked to read. So, in 1986 I began to read and it hasn’t stopped since.
I actually found it quite easy in the 1980s to get through everything in life without having to read. Information flowed so slowly through the world that we could all keep the same pace by going to classes, training, and watch the news. Even reading a book wasn’t that necessary because someone would put a class on it if it was important enough.
Fast forward (and man has it ever) to 2012. The internet has changed everything. New ideas, blogs with thought provoking concepts (like this one I hope), new technology, updated information on key world topics, are all within seconds of showing up on your hand held device.
Heck, I have all the Olympic updates coming to me with an obnoxious ring tone within seconds of the results. My wife wasn’t too happy at 3:00 am when some obscure sport final was announced with a non-North American winner.
We get information so fast today, you are considered lost if you are communicating information that is more than a few hours or days old.
The business world is being impacted by this more than most elements of life. Businesses can get updated trends, success stories, intellectual property, ideas, and just about anything they need, all within seconds. Books (and book summaries… cliff notes), blogs, white papers, magazines, and any information they seek is available and easy.
So, what does that mean to us? I think it is two things. First, if you are not in the game (reading) you will be left behind in a matter of days or weeks. Two, it is an opportunity to choose the right reading and information to become a leader in business.
The first one is simple. You will look ignorant and behind times if you are not speaking the language and keeping up with the latest trends and information. I see people dismissing sales people and executives in conversations as soon as they realize they are not up to speed with the latest trends and topics. So, this is an easy one. You must get in the game and read to survive.
The second item is more challenging. To be a business leader, you have to filter through all the information and decide what is most important to read. The best way to filter through this is to think through where your clients are powerless and struggling and read in those areas. Example: I am reading a ton around perpetuation. This is a big issue with most insurance agencies. So, I am staying in tune with the M&A markets and perpetuation strategies. I am also reading on business decision making behavior changes, technology, and other items where agencies struggle.
Reading is critical in 2012 and beyond. If you don’t have a plan, you will be left behind. It has become part of what must be done to be successful in business.
The Author, Larry Linne, is the CEO / President of Sitkins International.