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B2B Book Club Selection (Vol 5)

November 2022 selection of handpicked business books specifically to help key account managers get better results for their clients, companies and careers.

Every month I share a selection of popular titles to help with your professional development as a key account manager.

Here are the book recommendations for November 2022.

Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It. The Secrets of Getting Ahead.

A much-needed “people skills” primer and master class in all facets of workplace communication

Do you know how to ask for help at work without sounding dumb? Do you know how to get valuable and useful feedback from your colleagues? Have you mastered your professional elevator pitch so that every time you meet someone, they remember and are impressed by you? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need Great on the Job.

In 2008, Jodi Glickman launched Great on the Job, a communications consulting firm whose distinguished client list includes Harvard Business School, Wharton, The Stern School of Business, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup. Now, Glickman’s three-step training program is available in book form for the first time. With case studies, micro strategies, and example language, readers will learn communication skills that can be practiced and implemented immediately.

In today’s economy, it’s not typically the smartest, hardest working or most technically savvy who succeed. Instead, the ability to communicate well is often the most important precursor to success in the workplace. So whether you’re a star performer or a struggling novice,

Great on the Job will give you the building blocks you need for every conversation you’ll have at work.

Why this book?

Key account managers rely on influence to get things done. It’s a boundary-crossing role that needs the cooperation of numerous stakeholders and departments to succeed.

You need to inspire, align objectives, coordinate resources, prioritize task, manage crises and ask for help when you need it. All this requires mastery of communication and persuasion.

Great on the Job offers tips, tricks and secrets to tools to effectively communicate, collaborate, receive feedback and highlight success.

Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights

Insight is everything. At its most profound, it can change the world. At its simplest, it can solve everyday problems. It can be used to build businesses, solve crimes, progress science and make many aspects of our lives quicker, easier, bigger or better.

Yet remarkably we often unwittingly build barriers to seeing what is in front of us. Both as individuals and organisations we can hold on to flawed beliefs and conform to established processes that can interfere with our perceptions. Having clear insight can transform the way in which we understand things, the decisions we make and the actions we take.

In this ground-breaking study, renowned cognitive psychologist Gary Klein uses an eclectic miscellany of real-life stories to bring to life the process of insight. He demonstrates the five key strategies for spotting connections and contractions to ensure you too can see what others don’t.

Why this book?

One of the most important responsibilities of key account managers is to help diagnose and solve client’s problems to help them improve their business.

But very few of us get trained on problem solving, or to find connections between information that reveal new perspectives.

So instead of shining a spotlight on under-served or neglected areas where our client’s should focus, we just end up stating the obvious.

Information is useless unless it is transformed into knowledge that leads to action.

Seeing What Other’s Don’t promises to help us develop strategies that lead to valuable insights to guide our decision making and actions.

Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention—And How to Think Deeply Again

In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding that constantly switching from device to device and tab to tab was a diminishing and depressing way to live. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions–even abandoning his phone for three months–but nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention–and he discovered that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.

We think our inability to focus is a personal failure to exert enough willpower over our devices. The truth is even more disturbing: our focus has been stolen by powerful external forces that have left us uniquely vulnerable to corporations determined to raid our attention for profit. Hari found that there are twelve deep causes of this crisis, from the decline of mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have robbed some of our attention.

In Stolen Focus, he introduces readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention, and veterinarians who diagnose dogs with ADHD. He explores a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their attention in a particularly surreal way, and an office in New Zealand that discovered a remarkable technique to restore workers’ productivity.

Crucially, Hari learned how we can reclaim our focus–as individuals, and as a society–if we are determined to fight for it. Stolen Focus will transform the debate about attention and finally show us how to get it back.

Why this book?

Studies show that when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks – especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention – we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.

In fact one study found that only 2.5% of people are actually capable of effectively multi-tasking.

When you combine that with our massively decreasing attention span, it’s no wonder we can’t seem to get anything done.

Key account managers have very busy jobs that span multiple stakeholders and functions. It’s a problem solving role that requires complete focus. And with almost 5 stars and 3,000 ratings on Amazon, plus shortlisted for several business book awards, Stolen Focus promises to be the book that can help us get our attention spans back.


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