A management consultant offers a coaching session for small-business owners.
Business startups continue to proliferate, but the failure rate for new ventures is high. Unfortunately, unskilled business owners could be the fundamental reason for the lack of sustainable success. This handy primer by Viva (The Entrepreneurial Game, 2014, etc.) is a jolt of reality that should help such owners better understand the role they need to play in leading the businesses they founded. The author, a consultant who has experience with both small and large companies, says that his goal is “not to tell you what to do or to give you the answers, but to ask the right questions or to give you opportunities to think, so that you come up with the answers appropriate for your business and for yourself.” He does this well in a book that touches on many key areas without delving into any particular one in too much detail. The text’s introductory approach allows it to cover a lot of ground, including issues such as leadership versus management, goal-setting, strategic planning, communication, delegation, performance management, exit and succession planning, and others. Much of this information is available in other books (as evidenced by Viva’s own references), but the author’s stated approach here is to provide a tasting of topics rather than a full-course meal. As with any such work, the downside is a lack of depth. That said, this book’s format works exceedingly well, providing a nicely balanced combination of brief counsel and relevant examples. In each chapter, Viva inserts short vignettes from his own experience to illustrate specific points, and he includes several self-assessment questionnaires that encourage readers to honestly evaluate their own attributes. The writing isn’t always crisp, and it falls prey to occasional typographic errors (“one or tow others”; “No Mans Land”) but the value of the content overshadows these deficiencies.
An intentionally broad, somewhat cursory survival manual for beginning CEOs.