As a fledgling coach with a private practice, back in the day when if you said you were a coach the inevitable question was “oh, what sport?” a book that made an earth shaking difference was the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. If you are in business, thinking of starting a business or have a friend or loved one who is suffering in a business, this book is a must. There are several brilliant ideas in this book including:
- If you have started a business, you are either a technician (that’s what I was as a coach, so is your friend who loved to knit and started a knitting shop), a manager (the guy who understands the processes and systems that a business must have to succeed – people who buy franchises are usually managers) or a visionary (the person who sees a gap in the market place – Don Fisher started The Gap because he couldn’t find a pair of jeans, Steve Jobs wanted computers to be friendly). You might have a little of the other two but you are primarily one of these and if you are going to succeed you need to partner with others who have the other two or find a way to grow yourself enough to get the other two covered. It is stunningly simple and true. The crazy thing is that as I have moved out of the small business world into the corporate world, I find that the same holds true for leaders inside organizations who need to be “intrapraneurs”.
- As a business owner, you need to find a way to spend as much time working on your business as you spend working in your business. Obvious? Maybe, but in 1995 I didn’t know it. Again, totally applicable to people in organizations.
- Anything that works in the business must be systemized and if possible automated. You have to do this so if you get the flu and can’t make it in, the whole house of cards doesn’t fall down. You also have to do it so you can grow. It was the compelling evidence for how important this is that made me start my own coaching company with coaches using my system to coach the audience I had mastered. And finally, I have used this maxim again and again as a manager in a much larger machine and it has served me well.
Michael Gerber has many other books out and has an institute and all that, but for sheer straightforward simplicity for people who maybe don’t think of themselves as “business” people, this book is a bible.