As we take some time during the upcoming holiday season to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, undoubtedly we will begin to reflect on how we can develop our best selves, both professionally and personally. We wanted to take a moment to provide you with our list of Top 5 Recommended Reads for Social Enterprise.
Blue Ocean Strategy
When first published in 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy challenged the tenets of competitive strategy, the then dominant school of thought, and called for a shift of focus from competition to creating new market space and hence making the competition irrelevant. This is really the basis of how good social enterprise emerges. Based on over a decade-long study of 150 key strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, the authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne argue that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool and that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans” – untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.
Managing the Non Profit Organization by Peter Drucker
Written by management guru Peter Drucker, who puts together his ideas on the tasks, responsibilities, and practices necessary to manage nonprofit organizations. Included are interviews with prominent leaders and experts in nonprofit organizations, including Philip Kotler of Northwestern University, Max DePree of Herman Miller, Albert Shanker of the AFL-CIO, and Frances Hesselbein of the Girl Scouts. Drucker looks at the mission statement, strategies, marketing, performance, and personnel as they apply to nonprofit organizations. Using many examples, he identifies the characteristics necessary for nonprofit organizations to survive and meet the needs of today’s society. While this is an older book, it offers great insights on how to build a stronger and more resilient organzation.
Building Social Businesses by Muhammad Yunus
The visionary who pioneered microcredit Grameen Bank, and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business”. Its goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. In Building Social Business, Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise, and transform lives.
The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
This book will change how you view business and how to launch a new business or product line. Ries challenges the traditional “build it and they will come” model to help organizations and startups build lean profit and value driven businesses. This is particularly important for nonprofits as they must do more with less – without exception.
Delivering Happiness: a path to profits, passion and purpose
In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh – the CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer – explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories he provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos’s Core Values (“Deliver WOW through Service”), and the reason why Zappos’s number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else – great customer service, long-term branding – will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.