The greatest challenge facing business managers all over the world is not to achieve success. We all know of individuals, groups and organizations who have achieved amazing success since the turn of the century. However, many times these people achieved incredible results only to fall way, way back down. The greatest business challenge is not to achieve success. The greatest challenge is to sustain success over the long term.
BEAT YESTERDAY: A Business Novel is filled with practical insights business managers all over the world can use to perform better today than they did yesterday, and better tomorrow than they do today. The primary topics in the book are leadership, branding, innovation, personal effectiveness and teamwork.
BEAT YESTERDAY is the story of a frustrated middle-aged guy who is fighting every day to keep alive his purpose at work. The main character, Steve Clark, has been a high school math teacher and soccer coach for nineteen years. Much of his early idealism has worn off after years of grading papers and dealing with apathetic students. Forty-six years old and fifteen pounds overweight, Clark finds himself stuck in a dead-end job with nowhere to turn. What still stirs within him is the reason he got into high school teaching in the first place: to explain practical ideas students can use to achieve success and sustain it over the long term of their careers.
Early in the story, Clark meets Tom O’Brien, the senior director of operations for a division of Clocks-For-All, Inc., an international company. Their worlds get turned upside-down as Steve helps Tom to accelerate his impact within his company and Tom helps Steve spread his ideas to other business people through the formation of The Best Yesterday Club.
Throughout the book, Steve struggles in applying his ideas effectively at home. His behaviors remind the reader it is not enough to know what to do. The key is to actually do what you believe in.
In the climactic speech at the end of the book, Steve Clark teaches eleven shortcuts that can generate great short-term results, but will ruin the long-term performance of an individual, group and organization. He also explains the importance of mastering basic processes and the impact those approaches can have on generating long-term success.
In the classroom, Clark uses his own version of The 80/20 Rule. He spends 80% of every class teaching math and 20% teaching his ideas on how to achieve and sustain success. His unorthodox teaching style garners rave reviews from the alumni, but creates massive problems in his career. His tenured status is threatened by the new principal and the chairman of the Board of Education. His job is on the line in the courtroom-like drama near the end of the book.
This is not a book about business theory or how to make systemic changes in organizations or societies. Instead it focuses on how an individual’s behavior impacts short-term and long-term results. Beat Yesterday is a fictional story. However, all of the characters in it are based on Dan Coughlin’s observations of real-life performers in two very different categories over the first quarter-century of his career.
For the first twelve and a half years he served as a college head soccer coach at two different universities, a high school assistant head coach, and a high school math teacher. He then left the academic settings and started his own management consulting business.
Over the next twelve and a half years he worked as an executive coach, keynote speaker, and/or seminar leader for McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, GE, Toyota, Marriott, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Subway, Abbott, Prudential, St. Louis Cardinals, Boeing, RE/MAX, and more than two hundred other organizations including small and medium-sized businesses. His messages to them focused on managing for long-term business success.
What he found in working with people in these two distinctly different phases of their lives is the keys to achieving and sustaining great success are very much the same in professional settings as they are in high school ones. he also discovered people in both groups achieved very good results in the short term they were unable to sustain over the long term for the same reasons.
As you read this book, identify the characters you feel you most resemble, and then think about which of your current behaviors you most definitely want to continue, which you feel you need to change and what you want them to become. Also, pull out an old-fashioned spiral notebook and capture the ideas you feel are most relevant for you to beat yesterday’s performance in all areas of your life.