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Book Review: 'Enhancing Your Executive Edge'

I was on vacation last week and had the time to read three books, one of them called Enhancing Your Executive Edge by Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston. Published by McGraw Hill, it is a terrific read for all executives and managers.

In defining "executive edge," the authors quickly hook you in the introduction. They set the stage by showing their methodology, providing the reader with an experience in self-development and growth through an online assessment that determines your current "edge."  I would suggest you take this assessment after reading this blog.

As you read through the introduction, Zoller and Preston describe their plan of breaking the book into five major buckets with 18 distinct chapters on:

  • self-management and social awareness
  • personal branding
  • communication and presence
  • business protocol -- the details of executive edge
  • motivation, perseverance and excellence

Throughout the book, they make you work through various scenarios and checklists to assess your current status and your desired outcomes. In addition, they offer strategies to help executives handle various situations such as:

  • strategies for not being and looking arrogant
  • strategies for working with arrogant people
  • strategies for not posturing and avoiding extreme one-upmanship
  • strategies for working with others who are posturing

The chapter on "Knowing How To Read People" is outstanding, with checklists and tips that are critical in enhancing your ability to manage people. This chapter alone can assist any person in becoming a more effective leader.

One of the aspects that I always stress with my clients is to build "business ecosystem partners," or a network of people that can help you grow your business, as well as your personal level of professionalism. In Chapter 6, the authors hit this topic head on and show how to strategically build relationships and influence by providing useful tips.

The following chapter then moves on to showing the reader how to increase their effectiveness by learning to network and socialize in business. They do this by helping you build a BLT -- "believability, likability, and trust" -- in your business environment and in any situation. The authors walk you through their checklist in preparing for an event, how to work the event and how to appropriately follow-up after the event. If your salespeople network, this chapter would make a great sales training meeting. If your managers work events, this chapter is worth a discussion at your manager's meeting.

Standing out is part of the concept of having an executive edge. Zoller and Preston focus on personal branding extensively and how to build it. An entire section provides a great level of insight into how individuals can create a real presence. Their helpful tips will provide you an action plan to increase your ability to raise your position.

This book is a great read for the first-time manager and it would make a terrific book for an organization's management team to read and discuss. Hint: Add this book to each manager's executive development plan.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 23, 2015 at 11:48 AM