In 1986, I founded what was to become the largest independent market research/database marketing company in the consumer electronics and high tech fields. By the time I sold it in 1997, The Verity Group employed 400+ people at its California and Costa Rica offices.
Prior to that, I cofounded Barcus Berry Electronics, Inc. a venture capital-backed start-up with a proprietary audio technology called BBE, which was licensed for use in audio, video, computing, and telecommunication products.
From 1977 to 1983, I wore several hats at Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc. including Director of Market Research, Director Sales Planning, National Sales Manager, Special Markets, Vice President Marketing and, ultimately, Senior Vice President Marketing and Product Development.
Today, I serve on corporate advisory boards, am a contributor for TWICE (the consumer electronics industry’s major trade publication) and lecture frequently at industry events around the world on managing change, strategic planning, and customer relations.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The research that led to the book identified what I see as seven things (“keys”) that everyone attempting to better manage change should practice in their personal and professional lives. The title seemed to neatly summarize the book’s promise.
What is your writing environment like?
Not sure what you mean by “environment” but assuming it is the physical setting, I created a 29-page outline based on the research, which I then used to dictate the very rough first draft of each chapter. Dictation was done with Dragon voice recognition software. Once done I manually edited each chapter before moving to the next. The majority of the dictation was done in my condo overlooking Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle with the research and most of the 2nd of what ultimately became 12 drafts, completed in Southern California. Everything was saved within Google Documents, which gave me access wherever and whenever I had Internet. I used a professional editor for the final two drafts.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
“Finally, of greatest importance, the personal issues of employees rightfully
take center stage in their lives and can distract their focus on business.
This more than anything could be enough to block their efforts on behalf of the company.”
The most important conclusion of the book. While business writing does reference the importance of “employees”, much of it sounds as though they are simply business assets no different than equipment. Or they do so in a clinical fashion, in the case of change management, simply stating the need to get “employee buy-in”. That is a generic description of what is necessary but I found little that says how to do that or how difficult doing it will be.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I honestly don’t know.
What inspires you to write?
In the case of “The 7 Keys to Change”, initially my desire to become a better consultant. However the more I researched and realized the connection between personal and corporate failures, the more convinced I became of the book’s potential to help individuals.
What do you consider the most challenging part about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Generating the self-discipline necessary to do all that must be done, at a high level of quality, in a reasonable amount of time. I could improve on the former and certainly the latter.
Did you learn anything while writing this book? If so, what was it?
I learned how to be a better consultant, but beyond that I also learned how difficult it is to translate knowledge into benefit for someone who doesn’t know what I know.
What have you done to promote this book?
Google and Goodread ads. Goodread book giveaways. Promoted to my social networks (LinkedIn, G+, Facebook, Pin it), and been interviewed on a number of podcast shows.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers?
The ability to research using the Internet, and voice recognition software for those who choose to dictate rather than type.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Do not under estimate the importance of learning and practicing good personal and professional change management techniques, whether that knowledge comes from me or some other source.
ABOUT THE 7 KEYS TO CHANGE
Research by McKinsey & Company and IBM Global Business Services says that 50% to 60% of companies fail to achieve some to all of their goals and objectives, with as many as 20% failing completely.
The divorce rate among first time marrieds continues to hover around 50% increasing to 60%+ among those marrying two times or more.
Is there correlation in these numbers?
This is no coincidence; these and other statistics describing our personal and professional lives demonstrate a strong correlation between failures in one leading to failure in the other.
“The 7 Keys to Change” teaches both the individual and the manager what they need to do to improve their efforts to manage change in their personal and professional lives.”