Sales and Sales Management Blog

March 25, 2011

Book Review: Business Fitness by Dawn G. Lennon

Filed under: Book Reviews — Paul McCord @ 2:00 pm
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Seldom do I review a book that was released several years ago.  But when I receive a copy of a book from one of my readers who thinks enough of it to send it to me to possibly review—and its a book that wasn’t written by them, well, that certainly indicates the book merits some investigation.

That was the case with Business Fitness: The Power to Succeed—Your Way (Glenbridge Publishing Ltd:  2007) by Dawn G. Lennon.  Pam Burzynski, a Realtor and reader from Pennsylvania liked the book well enough—and thought it relevant to others in the sales world—that she sent me her own autographed copy.  Talk about a sales job—I had no choice but to read the book after that.

And it was well worth the time spent reading.

There are a number of reasons I really like this book.  First, Lennon writes in much the way I try to write in that the book is “simple.”  By simple I don’t mean elementary.  Simple in this instance means highly practical and down to earth.  No high flying, impractical discussions of fun–but ultimately useless–business theory; just real world guidance that will have a major impact if implemented.  Second, Lennon uses lots of dashes.  I have an unlimited supply of dashes and spew them out unhesitatingly in my writing.  Even though she uses them far more sparingly than I–I’ve found another dashaholic.  Third, her observations, guidance, and advice are spot on.  Fourth, this is an ACTION book.  This isn’t about Lennon giving you information; it is about actively implementing what you learn.  Business is action.  Information is worthless if it doesn’t result in some sort of action—and action, not just information, is the real meaning of Business Fitness.

Business Fitness isn’t a sales book per se.  As the title suggests, it is a book about becoming fit as a business person.  The fitness needs of salespeople are the same as any other business person—at least the general business fitness areas that are dealt with in Business Fitness.

Lennon breaks our fitness needs into two broad categories—what she calls Private Moves and Public Moves.  “Moves” are the actions you take.  Some of your business moves you do in private—only you know you are taking them.  Others are, of course, the moves you make in public.  This combination of public and private moves determines where you go in your business career.

Lennon lays out four private and three public moves:

Private Moves:

  • Stay Well.  Basic?  Certainly.  So basic she need not address it?  Hardly.  Take a look around you.  How many of your co-workers or competitors are physically fit?  How many have the physical and mental stamina to out work you?  We are a nation of sloths.  Lennon’s first private ‘move’ is basi– yet one of the most important and most neglected.
  • Stay Focused.  Goals.  Making where we want to go real by creating written, specific goals, each with a completion date, is mandatory in order to stay on track.  If we don’t have specific goals we are simply hoping that something good happens and that we’ll like where it takes us.
    Think you’ve heard too much about goals?  Lennon gives you practical guidance on how to set them, monitor them, and reach them.
  • Stay Current.  One of the most critical of the private moves—and one so many salespeople blow off if their company doesn’t provide for it.  Every businessperson is responsible for their own growth.  Expecting the company to provide for your training and skill development is one of the surest ways to fail in sales.  Lennon gives a great checklist of where to get the stuff you need to “stay current”
  • Stay Connected.  Your network is one of your major keys to success.  Lennon gives an excellent overview of how to build your network—and what to do with it.

Public Moves:

  •  Attract a Following.  No matter what you do—whether you are an inside or outside salesperson, a sales manager, a business owner, or professional building a practice, your success depends upon your following.  Building that following takes time—and a great deal of effort.  But what is the right effort for building a following?  How do we create a brand with our clients or within our company?  What if we already have a personal brand—and it is negative?  Lennon goes through the process of how to create and manage a following that will help you reach the success you seek.
  • Take the Lead.  Leadership is a hot subject right now. And one that can really put you in the spotlight—for good or ill.  Lennon’s advice and guidance on how to take—or not take—and handle a lead role is really to the point and a chapter you should take to heart.
  • Implement New Ideas.  Solving problems and implementing new solutions is the culmination of all the business fitness you’ve gone through.  As Lennon says, “When you’re business fit, you see the big picture more clearly.  Ideas for breaking new ground and solving problems are in your line of sight.”  Businesses crave men and women who can help them solve their problems and make the moves that will advance the company.  Learning how to recognize solutions is important—equally important is learning how to get those solutions implemented.  Traversing the political and cultural grounds that lie between your idea and its successful implementation is the real crux of implementing new ideas.  Lennon takes you through the process to a successful implementation.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Business Fitness.  More importantly, I encourage you to read it and implement the lessons you’ll find.  Lennon not only gives you sound advice, at the end of each chapter she gives you a questionnaire or form to help you think through where you are on that particular move.

If you want to succeed, get business fit.

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3 Comments »

  1. It’s not every day that I get such a wonderful,professional gift–this wonderful review. (The dashes are used here especially for you!)Not only am I grateful to Pam for sending you her copy, but I am also beyond delighted for your support of the book’s content, particularly as it applies to sales professions. I appreciate your generosity and your ability to point to the key needs and issues that drive the book’s message. Our careers in business go a lot easier when we can see clearly what’s really going on around us and then know the smart things to do. Many thanks, Paul.

    Comment by Dawn Lennon — March 25, 2011 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  2. Paul I’m both thankful and honored that you took the time to read and review Dawn Lennon’s book. Of course I thought it was fabulous, and since I have been following you via your newsletter, blog and books for years I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to send it to you. I’ve always loved your books, your style, and now that you pointed it out–the way you use dashes. Confession, I’m a dashaholic too–maybe there’s an online support group we could all join.
    With great gratitute,
    ~Pam

    Comment by Pam Burzynski — March 25, 2011 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  3. I love Dawn’s writing and have found incredible wisdom in her words. Like you pointed out so eloquently – she writes things we can implement, that are easily understood, and are clearly conveyed. I purchased this book a few months ago and haven’t read it yet due to an overactive reading schedule in another leadership program, but your review has certainly amped up my interest!

    Comment by Daria — March 29, 2011 @ 6:02 pm | Reply


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