Recommended Leadership Book - It's All About Who by Morton L. Mandel

by Chris Young

Over the years I have received many books written by well-intentioned authors and presented to me by their publicist for a review.  I endorse only the best.   

I am making a rare recommendation...  “It’s All About Who” by Morton L. Mandel is an important leadership / business book that has been added to my short recommended book/reading/must have list for executives and top managers we coach.  

If you are serious about becoming the leader you can be and creating the business that is possible, you must read this book.  Its All About Who by Morton Mandel - Leadership Book Review

The unfortunate truth is there is so much fluff that has been written by well-meaning people and frankly - a lot of it is not worth the paper it is printed on.  Theory is beautiful yet ultimately success, experience, and practical application matter much more.  

"It's All About Who" is a powerful book sharing Mandel's experiences and lessons.  What makes Mandel different is he has clearly "been there done that" and has been quite successful for all the right reasons.  In 1940, Mandel and his two brothers founded Premier Industrial Corporation.  In 1960, they went public and in 1964 were listed on the New York Stock Exchange.  For 34 out of 36 years, Mandel and his company had record earnings selling nuts, bolts, circuit breakers, chemicals, lubricating oil, and firefighting equipment.

In reading his book, I sense the nobility of who Mandel is and how it inspires him and others to lead.  He chooses carefully to ensure the best poeple get on his "bus".  This man cares passionately about the results and more importantly - the right people getting the results.

Following are four Mandel principles that I believe are key to his success and are truly "universal truths". 

  • Putting the best possible talent into key roles is more important than anything else.
  • Build a rich, deep, and ethical culture.  
  • People, Culture, and values bring a competitive advantage.
  • Superior Customer Experiences differentiate.

Hiring the best possible talent is critical - who you hire makes all the difference.  Ask the next five CEOs you come across what their most valuable asset is and all will proudly exclaim, "Our people".  Yet so many companies rely on the gut feel of managers and HR rather than a data-driven hiring strategy that identifies the right people consistently.  Most companies hope they hire the best possible talent and once in a great while they get lucky.

Mandel believes in hiring the best talent even when there is not an immediate position open.  I agree wholeheartedly.  At The Rainmaker Group, we call this thought process "Always Be Hiring" or "ABH".  

Are you always hiring "freaks of nature" that can take your business to the next level or are you playing the odds that it will all work out?

Creating a rich, deep, and ethical culture is critical.  This is the type of culture I aspire to build with my team at The Rainmaker Group and that of my Clients every day.  It takes a long-term commitment.  A culture such as this looks to the future / endgame while most organizations are more focused on the immediate bottom line results than making the right decisions today.  Mandel shares an especially powerful story where they turned down an important piece of business after much effort when the realization was made that the client expected an intermediary to be paid.  Principles guide and inspire.

People, Culture, and values do bring a competitive advantage yet so few companies are willing to put in the effort.  It takes time, energy, and commitment to bring in the right talent consistently.  There are too many people - including HR - trying to hurry the process and/or relying on "gut instincts" to make that critical hiring decision.  

Leaders need to "slow down to speed up".  When it comes to building a team of the best talent possible in the best culture possible, you have to take the time to do it correctly.  

A consistent, superior Customer Experience differentiates.  Too few companies get that the Customer shapes their future - today and tomorrow.  Serve the Customer in a way that is engaging, memorable, and meaningful every time and the rewards will come.

2013 is just around the corner. Now is your time to make commitments to shape your future.  Read this book to give yourself the jumpstart you need.

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