Book Review: Think Like A SheEO by Vicki Saunders with M.J. Ryan

I have to confess that in March, after attending CEO Talks where Vicki was the speaker, I did a mini review; however, as this week’s FinanciElle “Statements” interview is Vicki Saunders, I wanted to do a more in depth review of the book because I thought it’s one of the best business books I’ve read.

There are so many actionable take a ways and thought provoking exercises and references to a lot of other great reads.

The book is structured around the 8 SheEO principles:

Principle 1: Everything is broken…What a great time to be alive

In this chapter five of the most significant new trends that are exciting for SheEO’s are discussed:

  1. The idea economy
  2. The long tail is the SheEO’s best friend
  3. Software is eating the world
  4. New ways to work
  5. Hackathons, Incubators, and crowdfunding

“This new reality has created millions of opportunities for niche products and niche businesses. Find your niche” #IamASheEO

Principle 2: Meaning is the new money

This chapter goes into why meaning and the intrinsic motivators of high performance:

  1. Autonomy: the drive to do it your own way
  2. Mastery: the desire to learn and grow, and take on new challenges
  3. Purpose: the deeply felt need to make a difference in the world

It goes into discovering what matters to you and looks at some approaches to help you on your journey to discovery

  1. Creating a word cloud made up of your responses to a series of provided questions
  2. Finding your tribe
  3. Identifying your sentence
  4. Getting in touch with your core values
  5. Uncovering your themes
  6. Getting outside of yourself

There are also exercises on defining organizational meaning, what success is on your own terms, and overcoming self-limiting beliefs

“Meaning gives you the “why”; and in order to build a powerful “What”, you need to be in touch with your powerful “Why””. #IamASheEO

Principle 3: You can’t be someone else and lead

This chapter goes into being yourself and playing your own game by your own rules, it talks about how doing that and being authentic requires three things:

  1. Self-awareness: This is who I am
  2. Self-acceptance: It’s good that I’m like this. I have value without having to do anything, just by being me.
  3. Self-confidence: I can rely on what I know and do to take meaningful action in the world

There are also exercises on identifying where your passion lies, the five questions exercise to find out what you really want and how you’re going to get there, five exercises around looking beyond your own self-imposed limitations and fears.

“You can create greatness only when what you’re doing is totally aligned with who you are, what you believe, and what you want to do.” #IamASheEO

Principle 4: It doesn’t have to be hard

This chapter talks about and provides exercises on working from your strength and finding flow.

“I support creating success with ease. Because it doesn’t have to be hard.” #IamASheEO

Principle 5: You can have what you want

This chapter talks about cultivating your ability to find alternative ways to solve things, through the exercise of flipping it when you face a roadblock and a formula for getting what you want which is based on a model of putting out an audacious vision and then bootstrapping your way to it, making it up as you go along based on the feedback you’re getting on what you’re putting out.

There are also exercises on evaluating your fear signal, questions to ask yourself to help you get the most useful feedback from any situation that appears to be a failure, and six suggestions for handling regret.

“When we speak to ourselves with a loving voice, we create the conditions that allow us to change.” #IamASheEO

Principle 6: Follow the energy

This chapter talks about tools to create the right energy to get things done–

Energy for impact personal strategies:

  1. One thing at a time
  2. Rocks first
  3. Do a weekly airplane view

Energy for impact meetings:

  1. Track the energy in every meeting
  2. Be an excellent agenda setter
  3. Identify objectives before you start
  4. Use “I Propose”
  5. Stop sitting around and talking

Energy for impact brainstorming:

  1. When you’re stuck, call a five-minute brainstorm
  2. Do it Google style
  3. Float the blue balloon

Energy for Impact business development:

  1. Be agile
  2. Stop trying to be all things to all people
  3. Who are the five people like you?
  4. Use the one-meeting rule

Energy for impact funding:

  1. Don’t go for fifty funders when one will do
  2. Find your values fit

“Throwing more time and effort at something doesn’t necessarily produce good results. Follow the energy.” #IamASheEO

Principle 7: Integration is the new balance

This chapter talks about taking time to be still, taking time to reflect on what you’ve been doing so you can improve, upon reflection if there are things you want to change there are tools offered to help such as the 90 percent rule and looking at what advice you give others.

It provides extend and restore tools for self-care around your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual spaces. It shares, the five attributes of developing a growth and learning mindset as well as tools on practicing gratefulness and praise of others.

““Balance” creates the false belief in an achievable equilibrium rather than recognizing our state of flux. Integration.”  #IamASheEO

Principle 8: It’s a post-hero world

None of us can do it alone and so this chapter looks at the different relationships that to succeed not only in our individual endeavours but in creating the global transformation we need. It looks at:

  1. Creating a circle of advisers
  2. Partnerships
  3. Entrepreneurial coaches
  4. Dealing with advice
  5. What to get help with
  6. Crowdtesting

“How can we reconcile advice? No generalization is always true. No advice is necessarily right” #IamASheo


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