Book Summary: Trailblazer

Simple and enjoyable read on the importance of capturing your values and transforming them into guiding principles.

The following are the passages I most enjoyed from the book Trailblazer by Marc Benioff and Monica LangleyAll content credit goes to the author(s).

PART I: Values Create Value

You can’t live your beliefs to the fullest unless you develop the imagination and the confidence to express them in bold, meaningful ways.

On Building Relationships

  • The most valued asset of any company is its relationships with its customers.
  • Relationships in business are just like those in life, in the sense that it’s all about connection, not transaction. Business is temporal, but relationships are eternal. Which means they have to be genuine, and built on common ground.

On Trust & Transparency

  • Transparency isn’t about what we gain, but what we avoid losing.
  • Trust and transparency are two sides of the same coin. The people in the trenches need to be able to trust that their team,and their leaders, will be right there on the ground, working beside then, when the going gets tough. Guaranteed.

On Fostering Innovation

  • Let go of preconceived notions and think about the world in an unconstrained way.
  • A company seeking to achieve true scale needs to seek innovation beyond its own four walls and tap into the entire universe of knowledge and creativity out there.

On Workplace Equality

  • They needed to know that I was willing to stand on principle,no matter the consequences, so they could feel protected and free to bring their authentic selves to work.
  • People want to work at companies where they can trust their employer: to create a safe place for them to work, to pay them fairly, and to give them the same opportunities to advance as everyone else, regardless of gender, race, skin color, or anything else.

PART II: Business is the Greatest Platform for Change

Culture is about how you define and express your values.

Building Psychological Safety

  • The fear of speaking up or being a bearer of bad news. When this kind of fear permeates a company culture, the results can be disastrous. It can corrode the trust that holds up a culture. For a company or team to thrive, you need a diversity of voices and people unafraid to bring their true selves and willing to speak the unvarnished truth.
  • Creating a culture of psychological safety results in smarter risk taking and better problem solving.

On Crafting a Vision for Action (V2MOM)

  • The V2MOM became the perfect framework for engaging our beginner’s mind approach to business planning. Articulating our vision kept us grounded in reality, while writing down our values kept us in touch with our guiding principles. Naming our obstacles forced us to honestly confront what is holding us back, and quantifying what success looked like kept us honest – to ourselves and to one another.
    • Vision – What do you want?
    • Values – What’s important to you?
    • Method – How do you get it?
    • Obstacles – What is preventing you from being successful?
    • Measures – How do you know you have it?

On a Beginner’s Mind

  • You can’t reimagine the world unless you learn to shield your mind from the everyday noise and chaos. We need to make time to think deeply.
  • A beginner’s mind is a way of opening yourself to curiosity, gratitude and learning. It means pulling out a blank sheet of paper. It means letting go of the idea of being an expert.

On Overcoming Complacency

  • The first rule of building a smart, sustainable business is learning how to root out complacency.
  • The people who created them get trapped – inside the bubbles they’ve built, the moment the issues coming at them begin to exceed the number of hands available to fix them. All the energy that once went into innovation and scaling up can shift to another priority: the determination to protect and sustain, to simply stay afloat rather than swim… Preserving the status quo becomes the goal.

If there’s anything I think you’ll take from this book; is the importance of investing the time and space into articulating your core values, and embedding them into the core of everything you do.

All content credit goes to the authors. I’ve simply shared the bits I’ve enjoyed the most and found most useful.

Cheers ’till next time!


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