Sunday, January 13, 2008

I read Library 1 by January 2008.

Happy New Year Everylu!

Its 2008 and I am ready to brave the blog! The first time I wrote my smart goals after joining lululemon, one of my goals was to complete Library 1 by the end of the year. To celebrate reaching this goal, I have written comments on each book to inspire progress in your own reading.
It is really amazing that we work for a company that prioritizes our well being to such extent that we have recommended reading to support our physical and mental growth.
Which book are you reading next?

Library One

Good to Great by Jim Collins
The book begins by asserting that good is the enemy of great. This takes a minute to wrap your head around but then it makes sense as the book progresses. Too, it helps to keep in mind that the author is an accomplished rock climber as well as business researcher. After looking at over one thousand companies, the research team narrowed their study group down to 11 companies that made improvement over time as such to make the move from good to great on their own.
What each company has in common is a corporate structure which encourages disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner or the company has integrity around finding the right people for the right job. The idea is to have the right people in the right seat on the bus.

We see this culture at lululemon in the way that we are each encouraged to discover our gravitational pull within the company and also through being both supported in and held accountable for our personal, health and professional goals.

After reading Good to Great, I was very curious about a little book called Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. In this small volume, Jim Collins relates the same principles utilized in corporations to successful management of non-profit or municipal entities. I look forward to reading Built to Last in Library Two.

Focal Point by Brian Tracy
I loaded the Brian Tracy CD’s into iTunes on my computer so when I play music on shuffle I get tidbits of wisdom mixed in. This guy is great because he basically distills all the great ideas from the last 5ooo into little sound bites that are very tasty. The book Focal Point continues this legacy by placing emphasis on the 80.20 principle: 20% of effort yields 80% of results. This means we need to prioritize our time and activities by identifying the most important aspect or focal point in each area of our lives through a personal strategic plan.

The 80:20 principle began as the Pareto principle, formulated by Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Paredo in 1897. While studying the patterns of wealth in England, Pareto discovered that 20% of the people held 80% of the money. Then he realized that in other countries and time periods the same pattern held true. For example, in the crime industry 80% of the crimes are committed by 20% of the criminals and accident statistics show that 80% of the accidents are caused by 20% of the drivers. Author Richard Koch, in his book The 80/20 Principle, describes that a predictable imbalance is at work in the universe.

At lululemon, we frame our work around our 80.20 everyday! This is smart because we can then accomplish so much more with greater quality by simply prioritizing our actions and managing our time.

This book really speaks to me so I got my own copy to use for reference and inspiration. Library 3 features Brian Tracy again so I look forward to reading Goals because his writing is so clear and the content is immediately useful.

Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz
The author of this book is the CEO of Starbucks and he is a man with vision. This book is not just another success story. The fact that a new Starbucks opens everyday is beyond success. First, Starbucks is very employee friendly. Next, what Starbucks sells is larger than coffee because they offer an experience. Last, happy employees make an awesome experience for each guest and the company is revolutionary by choosing not to profit on the backs of workers. The cycle is beautiful and sustainable: this is culture.

These principles are alive and well at lululemon. We are changing the world one pair of pants at a time. The Guest Experience is everything: wow it’s you! Educators’ having smart goals and healthy life skills provides the basis of our development checklist. We think about who we are being when we are at work. I did not really like Starbucks before because they are everywhere but now I understand why they are everywhere. Plus, the coffee is so much better than at Le Pain its really remarkable.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt
This book is sneaky. It is different than the others because it is written as a narrative. The story is about a plant manager where the plant is on the brink of closure and his marriage is on the brink of disaster. I still do not know what kind of plant it is but I do know how the plant manager analyzed the bottlenecks that inhibit throughput by utilizing the theory of constraints.

This book is more tedious than others in Library 1 because it teaches through metaphor, poses unanswerable questions, and causes you to think in new patterns. By following the main character to work, at home, and on outings with his kids the reader engages with the Socratic process of solving the problems at the plant and in the home.

I plan to read the Theory of Constraints by the same author because The Goal made clear the import of understanding business theory to better effect progressive change and increase profitability at lululemon athletica Pasadena.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
Ok, this is a fun read because there is absolutely a science to retail. Underhill and his team of researchers observe people shopping everywhere from the mall to the grocery store. They use video equipment to follow tens of thousands of shoppers and dissect hundreds of hours of footage.

Underhill adapted anthropological techniques to the world of retail to study how and why we buy so we can do better making the experience of shopping work for the end consumer. Plus, he points out that the Internet cannot replace the mall: can’t replace the power of Guest Experience!

This information was very useful in preparing for the holidays in terms of setting up the floor plan, quick grabs, d├ęcor, and windows. I plan to read The Call of the Mall also by Paco Underhill.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
This is my favorite book in Library 1 because it is fascinating! The author, staff writer for the New Yorker Magazine, Malcolm Gladwell writes about human behavior patterns that reveal where the smallest thing can trigger an epidemic of change. Also, the book discusses the type of person or group capable of setting these changes into motion by connecting people and communicating in a way that causes change to stick.

These ideas are empowering because little things add up: changing the world one pair of pants at a time, moving from good to great, and setting viable priorities. Blink is another title by the same author that I look forward to reading in Library 2.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
This book proved to be beyond useful. I read it. Then, I decided to have my 16 year old son read it. There is even a personal workbook that you can get to work through each of the chapters which I will now tackle.

This work is a good investment of time and energy because paradigm shifts do not happen overnight but do yield amazing breakthroughs in patterns of being. This is more than a good read; I am going to be working with this one for a while and hopefully you will see evidence of this in me as I grow.

I look forward to reading The Eighth Habit as it is in Library 3.

Well my lulufriends, that is it for Library 1! Read on…


Tori said...


I must commend you my friend! Congratulations on reaching this goal. Not only did you put in the personal time, but you took the time to share this with all of us. Thank you so much! I know I have been inspired to keep reading. I'm reading 7 Habit right now, and look forward to the growth changes it encourages one to make. Like you said, change does not happen overnight, but one step at a time. Here's to a New Year and making steps with the support and encouragement of eachother.



Jules said...

Wow! How inspiring. Great job my friend.