Book Spotlight: Profit in Plain Sight by Anne C. Graham

About The Book

Title:  Profit In Plain Sight

Author: Anne C. Graham

Publisher:  Morgan James

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Pages: 289

Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / PDF

ISBN: 978-1-63047-293-1 

Genre: Business

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Book Description:

  1. 84% of business owners and CEOs surveyed score a C, D or F on the Return on People Benchmark – they can’t even give every employee a decent raise, let alone hire, invest in facilities, equipment or technology, or expand into new markets!
  2. 40% companies who increase their revenues in a given year will actually decrease their profits… and there’s a better way to increase both.
  3. 96% of companies will put their greater goals on hold this year with one simple phrase: We don’t have the budget for that.

Imagine if leaders were able to break free of their profit constraints, stop being victims of exchange rates and oil prices, and be in control of earning all the profit they need to fund the growth they want.

Savvy entrepreneurs would never start a new business without a Business Plan.  Experienced executives would never try to lead their business without a Strategic Plan.  But almost every manager confesses that they don’t have a Profit Plan beyond their P&L, and that means that profit becomes the leftovers between disappointing revenues and higher-than-expected costs.

Profit in Plain Sight offers the Profit Plan that’s missing, with a step-by-step roadmap that enables these busy leaders to grasp the big picture, and to implement solutions in less time per week than they are spending on email per day.

Unlike many  business books, Profit in Plain Sight gives readers access to the “hows”, not just the “shoulds”, with downloadable training resources and action plans  at the end of every chapter, plus regular opportunities for the reader to reflect on how their thinking is changing and growing.

This book finally helps leaders who are passionate about their business have all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, with tough questions to start changing the conversations in everyday management meetings, with practical, actionable techniques that are quite different from conventional cost-cutting approaches or the all-too-dangerous “increase revenues at all costs” techniques.  Instead, Profit In Plain Sight offers take-it-to-the-bank results.




Book Excerpt:
Prepare to Transform Your Most Persistent Market
Challenges into Profit, Passion, and Growth
… with The Proven Leadership Path that Delivers
  • How much easier would igniting profit, passion, and growth be if everyone in your
    business embraced change and became part of it?
  • What would be possible
    if transforming your business felt more like play than like work?
  • How quickly could you
    turn good intentions into tangible results
    if you
    simply could take small steps that
    require less time than you are devoting
    to e-mail in a
    given day?
IBM is a legendary company, not only because of its
enduring success for over 100 years in the fast-changing world of technology,
but because it leads its category
by a factor of
in terms of
profitability and continues to transform itself to
generate growth opportunities. Customers are incredibly loyal, the company has
a stellar reputation for quality, and, as the holder of more patents than any
other high-technology company, its strengths in innovation are readily
apparent. It seems that IBM has found ways to conquer some stubborn challenges,
doesn’t it?
But it didn’t start that way. IBM’s roots go back
to the 1880s and at one time its products consisted of employee time-keeping
systems, weigh scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and punched
card equipment. Hardly the glamorous “Creating a Smarter
Planet” organization we know today.
IBM’s secrets to success came from an unlikely
resource who was named President in 1915: Thomas J. Watson, the second in
command at National Cash Register. With just a few practical
tenets, Watson laid down the enduring foundation
for IBM’s success — a focus on the customer and on customer service, a sales
culture that built trust and respect, and an environment that instilled pride
and loyalty into every worker. The result? Profit, passion, and growth, with
integrity. In the 1990s, IBM had to reinvent itself or risk becoming irrelevant
in the marketplace, which it did by reemphasizing its customer focus and
creating clarity in its positioning.
In the 2000s, it had to reinvent itself again as
the competitive landscape shifted once more, which it did by emphasizing its
role in providing integrated solutions, not merely products.
This is not a book about IBM. But as subsequent
legendary leaders have proven, those enduring, practical tenets can serve every
business well.
How Many of these Stubborn Market Challenges Are
Grinding You Down?
Each year a variety of organizations publish lists
of the Top 10 CEO Challenges based on polling business owners and leaders. And
inevitably, five stubborn market-related issues keep coming up again and again
on these lists, although the order may shift from year to year:
1. Earning
Customer Loyalty and Retention
2. Generating
Sustained and Steady Top-Line Growth
3. Ensuring
Bottom-Line Growth in Profit
4. Building a
Corporate Reputation for Quality Products and Services
5. Stimulating
Innovation and Creativity and Enabling Entrepreneurship
Why don’t we ever get traction and put those
Challenges behind us? Because 70 years of thought leadership in the business
press, from universities and in executive programs, has left us with more
shoulds than hows and a lot of flavor-of-the-month distractions that
sound promising but are hard to translate into bottom-line impact.
Let’s change that.
This Book Is for You When …
… most of the books you’ve read are sitting
on your shelf and have not had any impact on your business;
… some of the books you’ve read have inspired
you but you struggled when you tried to put them into practice because the
author shared the
shoulds but left you to figure out the hows; and
… you’ve tried to implement ideas in the past
as an army of one only to run out of steam, run out of time, or run out of
focus when you find yourself spending more time trying to get people to change
and get on board than actually implementing anything.
Move Beyond the Myths
Here’s your wake-up call and a bold promise.
We’re Too Busy
FACT: All of us are
busy. None of us have spare time. Or do we? Over 90% of executives polled admit
that they spend between 1 and 2 hours a day on e-mail … often more. So here’s
your wake-up call: unless you work in the order entry department, e-mail does
not move the needle
in your business because it does
not create cash flow, profit, or growth. In fact, it
leaves you working everyone  else’s
agenda when, as a leader, it is up to you to set the direction and lead by
doing. E-mail is a nice, easy, reactive way to start the day and waste most of
the morning. And it’s killing your company.
We Have to Be “Always On”
FACT: We’re tethered
to responding instantaneously to our phones, our e-mail, and other
interruptions, and there are times when that’s appropriate, but more often it’s
simply busy work. I’m not saying that you have to abandon e-mail — it’s a part
of our lives in the 21st century, just as the telephone and voice mail became a
reality in the 20th. But what is currently in your in-box or on your priority
list that is
more important than securing the future of your business for your
employees, your family, and your community? What’s more important than building
a profitable, growing business
that can weather any economic turmoil that global
change can throw at it?
There’s No Way Out
FACT: The noise is
getting louder now that texting and social media elements are also in the mix
of e-mail, voice mail, and more. Yet one simple shift is all that’s required to
completely transform
noise into results, and I invite you to share
Appendix 1 with your entire organization to help them make that shift. In the
meantime, here’s my bold promise.
If you have
time for e-mail, you have time
to once and for
all overcome the stubborn
challenges holding you back.
When you follow the Solutions in Plain Sight
outlined in this book and access the Rapid Results Resources that ensure you
have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel, you will transform your
business in less time than you’re currently spending on e-mail.
Close the Gaps when you apply uncommon strategies
and tactics that will shift your thinking forever
Our biggest challenge as business leaders at all
levels is simply to overcome the thinking that’s kept us stuck with those
Challenges. Many of us were taught old-world thinking, long before today’s realities
of the Internet, globalization, recurring corporate scandals, all-too-frequent
recessions, and a rate of change that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s time to
hold our beliefs, myths, and common practices up to a very harsh light of
uncommon sense and retool for the future. It’s time to replace them with a road
map that delivers results. This first section, Possibilities, is going to give
you two powerful tools to do just that.
Most businesses won’t succeed in making the shift.
They’ll remain mired in the “we’ve always done it this way” paradigm, because
they simply won’t invest the time and energy to be open
to new approaches, and they won’t take the time to
build a road map that takes them to their Possibilities, step by step. They’ll continue
to default back to “business as usual,” because they think it’s easier, even
though they know it’s not working, and they need a new approach. Unfortunately,
they’re unknowingly making their lives and the lives of everyone in the
organization more difficult, and more uncertain.
Take a look at the shapes Figure 1. How many forms
of transportation can you spot? Look carefully, as the shapes hold the key to
your transformation. How many did you see? What were they? (Go to Appendix 2
for the answer.)

Rapid Results Resources: Put
some energy into your regular meetings and start the process of
Transformation with “The 101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership
Team.” Use a couple of the questions every week to get your team thinking about
Profit, Passion, and Growth, and to get their creative juices flowing. Download
your copy at
Solutions in Plain Sight: Inform. Inspire.
Motivate. Systematically Transform.
By opening the cover of Profit
in Plain Sight
, you’ve already taken your
first step to becoming more open, more focused, and more successful. You’ve
taken your first step towards creating a process for sustainable levels of
increased profits. And you’ve taken your first step that will differentiate
your business from your competitors’ when you implement well. Just keep turning
the pages to make it happen.
Infuse Your Employees With Possibilities
What does it mean to Infuse
employees? It means embedding the desire to be part
of something more, to be the best, to behave every
day in
ways that add value to your customers, and to earn profit with integrity that
will help the entire company grow and succeed in the future.
It means engaging them with the Drivers of
Transformation that you’ll see in Part I, Possibilities, which will give them
the powerful AHA! Moments of information, inspiration, and motivation.
It means involving them in creating the road map
forward, because information, inspiration, motivation, and good intentions need
to be turned into action before you can transform stubborn challenges into
Profit, Passion, and Growth (see Figure 2).
People support what they create. When you Infuse your teams with the passion and talent to be part of the solution,
you’ll divide and conquer the workload and transform your profit and growth
more easily than you might imagine.
Enthuse Your Customers
What does it mean to Enthuse
your customers? It means creating an environment
where they love doing business with you and know that your success is part of
their success, because you save them time, make or save them money, solve real
problems for them, give them peace of mind, and make them feel good. It means
being the path of least resistance and getting it right the first time. It
means they’re happy to pay for the value you provide.
It’s what happens in Part II, Practicalities, when
you take action with the systematic approach of the Profit in Plain Sight
Framework to solve the five stubborn challenges that are holding you back from leading
your market by industriously activating your road map to success (see Figure
Activate the
power of
Infused employees with the Two Drivers of Transformation.
Trigger the
factors that
Enthuse customers as you systematically overcome five
stubborn market-driven challenges with integrated solutions that build upon each
Achieve Profit,
Passion, and Growth … in less time than you’re spending on e-mail.
Overcome Your Biggest Obstacles
Right now you may be thinking you don’t have the
time. Your people aren’t onside. You have other priorities that need your
attention and focus. You’re uncertain of whether you can make a commitment to
see this through. You don’t believe that significant profit increases are
possible in your business or in your industry. Hogwash!
Bringing the voices of your customers into your organization is a
powerful, counterintuitive, yet proven, approach to see what’s possible from a
tactical perspective and will powerfully move you past
“we’ve always done it this way” thinking with each of five stubborn
market-driven challenges. In this book, you’ll learn exactly how to do that for
You’ll stop guessing at what it will take to keep your customers loyal
for longer and know for certain how to become their preferred partner. You’ll
stop guessing what they might value and know for certain how to deliver value
to them that results in Top-Line Growth. You’ll stop applying bandaids to
quality issues and get the sludge out of your system to stop the profit leaks
and grow your Bottom Line. And you’ll know exactly how to avoid “me too”
inventions that are passing for innovation and innovate in low-risk, low-cost ways
that will set you apart from your competitors.
The Only Person Who Likes Change Is a Baby with a
Wet Diaper
Even with technology, globalization, credit crunches,
and economic turmoil, people still need to buy goods and services and people
still do business with people. The need to
your customers
with the desire to do
business with you and to
infuse your
with the passion and talent to deliver never
What does need to change is how you tackle those
five stubborn market-driven challenges, and therein lies the stumbling block.
Your people can’t buy into the typical approach of
an endless stream of unrelated tasks, so-called best practices (which
don’t differentiate
you from your competitors), flavor-of-the-month management and proverbial
silver bullets. Over 90% of business owners, leaders, and key employees polled
admit they get lost chasing bright shiny objects, and those are simply the equivalent
of trying to change nice, dry, comfortable diapers to icky wet diapers
that don’t make sense to your people. Uncertainty, seemingly wasted time,
wasted effort, confusion, and the feeling of a lack of progress simply causes
fear and resistance.
Harvard Professor W. Earl Sasser was the first to refer to the plethora
of stand-alone tactics as “Kidney Stone Management” (his lengthy list back in
the 1990s has only expanded with time).
We’ve trained our staff to expect that whatever new idea is out there,
it’s a kidney stone
— it will only cause them
pain for a while, it will pass, and business as usual can return
. No wonder our people are burned-out and skeptical when so many new
initiatives are launched, so many seem important, and so many run out of steam.
Explain Kidney Stone Management to your executive and management teams at all
levels. You’re guaranteed a few rueful chuckles of recognition and an AHA!
Moment that indicates that approach is no longer going to be part of your
leadership practices.
That’s the reason Profit in Plain Sight will make a difference when others haven’t — solving these Challenges
for good comes down to realizing that you’re in wet diapers and wanting the dry
ones you’ll get by shifting the way you do business. Dry diapers are the result
of implementing the step-by-step road map of over 57 detailed, value-add Profit
and Growth Accelerators for
near term yet sustainable Profit, Passion, and Growth.
When your people have a mental map of where they’re going, and how
they’re going to get there (see Figure 3), Kidney Stone Manage-ment is no
longer a problem and they will be informed,
inspired, and motivated to get into the dry diapers. A systematic and integrated process rather
than a series of disconnected events will consistently create successes and a
sense of forward momentum and progress — the transformation you’re looking for.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Unsuccessful businesspeople try to go it alone,
reluctant to show their weakness by asking for help. Successful businesspeople
ask for help all the time. They call it getting input and they know the value
not reinventing the
Profit in Plain Sight is the window to Rapid Results Resources that are not just shoulds but specific hows — proven step-by-step instructions plus additional
proven strategies and tactics that are beyond the scope of this book.
They deliver results more rapidly and easily than
you might imagine. They deliver
smart practices specifically implemented in the context
of your unique company. All you have to do is commit to transforming
passive reading into active learning
for results.
Every business leader who has succeeded in doubling
their profitability or more — in less than one year, in less time than they and
their team were spending on e-mail — has identified obstacles to success. And
as they began the process, they found that each and every obstacle dissolved
with the straightforward, practical approaches laid out in this book. At this
point, all you need to do is finish reading the next two pages, and take the
actions outlined. Then, turn the page and do it again. That’s it. Are you with
We’ve all heard that you can lead a horse to water
but you can’t make it drink. But I always say that you
can make the horse
thirsty or make the water sweeter. From the sheer fact that you’re reading P
in Plain Sight
, I know you’re thirsty.
Make Your Horses Thirsty Too
Embracing a process to transform challenges into
opportunities doesn’t come from rigorous change management processes that
try to force-fit people into a change that they haven’t bought into. That’s
just leading the horse to water. Instead, it comes from naturally leading your
team where you want them to go by building an
infused culture that thirsts for excellence and that reflects their desire to
find the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that end. When you share
this book throughout your organization, you’ll help lead your teams’ thirst for
where you want them to go.
Make the Water Sweeter
Sweeter water means helping you and your organization find ways to
streamline complexity and stay focused on what really drives your business
forward. That’s where the systematic Profit in Plain Sight Framework is
extremely valuable — bite-sized modules are easy to implement, in less time
than you’re currently spending on e-mail. Make the process painless and make
the water sweet when you take an integrated approach rather than succumbing to
Kidney Stone Management.
I’ve spent time in the trenches “doing,” and even longer with the responsibilities
of leading others. I’ve experienced the frustration of dealing with these
Challenges over and over, just as you have.
I’ve used every one of these Solutions in Plain Sight, as a leader in large
and small companies and with my consulting clients. They’ve worked across a
broad range of industries and they’ll work for you too.
Simply. Accelerate Your Results
There is really only one theme to this book — driving Profit, Passion, and Growth. We’re going to
put many lenses on that theme, but never lose sight of that as our goal.
There are only two outcomes you need to achieve in order to realize Profit, Passion, and
Growth —
enthusing your customers, and infusing your employees. I’ll show you what you need to do
accomplish both.
There are Two Drivers of Transformation that serve
as wet diapers to motivate change and, in Part I, you’ll see Possibilities as you
learn how to activate them to kick-start the process and help
you measure success and progress.
There are 15 practical, actionable Solutions in
Plain Sight in this book and a total of 57 Profit and Growth Accelerators in
the Profit in Plain Sight Framework. In Part II, Shift to Practicalities,
you’ll see your Profit in Plain Sight road map
unfold as we tackle each of the five stubborn market-driven challenges.
Whether you take action on every Challenge or
cherry-pick just those that are holding your business back the most, you will
see impact on your Profit. You’ll impact the Passion your teams bring to the
business. And you’ll sow the seeds for Growth.
There are no quick fixes … but Rapid Results are
within your reach.
You can reach and exceed your goals. You can secure your
business from the ups and downs of economic turmoil, and invest in everything
you need to take your business to the next level and help drive our economy
forward. You
can finally feel confident in your plan for the future.
If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?
Work is slogging it
out in isolation;
play is getting support to achieve breakthroughs and
feeling a sense of progress. So go ahead and put some play back in your day and
some bucks on your bottom line.
This Works.
You Can Do It. You Will Succeed.

Take these Actions
Download your copy of “The
101 Questions You MUST Ask Your Leadership Teams” at
to start changing the conversations at every level of your organization.
This is an ideal tool for executives and mid-level managers to use to spice up your
regular team meetings and begin to shift your culture to one of profit and
See Appendix 1 for the
secrets of achieving focus and transformation in less time than you’re
currently spending on e-mail.
Check out Appendix 2 for
the solution to the “forms of transportation” brain teaser at the beginning of
this Chapter.
Small Steps.
Big Impact!
Five Minutes, Five Questions:
Reflect for Deeper Learning
Reflective questions at the end of every Chapter offer powerful deeper learning
on how your thinking is changing, so that you can generate the AHA! Moments to
break free of the conventional thinking that keeps you stuck when trying to
solve five stubborn market-driven
Reflection simply means taking the time to monitor what’s happening in
your own mind, evaluate what you’re learning, and ponder what is shifting or
changing in terms of your attitudes and behaviors, with the goal of eventually
building a new mental framework of how things work. This will allow you to
continually add relevant information and discard the irrelevant.
Your first step is internal transformation, to identify what attitudes have already shifted and what
behaviors will follow.
But the reflective process only works if you use it.
Ask yourself these questions right now:
1. How can I use the reframing approach I saw in the brain teaser as a
metaphor for opportunities hidden in our business?

2. Which items on the list of five stubborn market-driven challenges are
top of mind for me right now — and why?


3. How effectively are we solving those challenges today?


4. How often do our people see our efforts as Kidney Stones because we fail
to give them the big picture with a road map for implementation?


5. How committed am I to create an environment where my horses are thirsty
and the water is sweet?

Inspire. Motivate. Transform.
Are you ready to get started with the Two Drivers
of Transformation that deliver big wake-up calls and pave the way to transform your
business more quickly and easily than you might imagine?
If you prefer, you can go right to whichever
Challenge is your greatest burning issue today, and then work backwards to put the
foundational work in place that may be required to trigger the


About The Author

Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more in less than one year, in less time than they’re spending on email.  Drawing on over 25 years of deep profit and growth expertise from her “in the trenches” and executive experiences with Fortune 500 companies and smaller firms, she closes the all-too-frequent gap between the good intentions vs. year-end results.  The solution is the roadmap she wishes she’d had – a Profit Plan that transforms “we don’t have the budget for that!” into a “YES!” to funding every greater dream and goal for their business as they create prosperity for their company, their employees, their customers, and their communities.

As a best-selling author, international speaker, and accelerator, Anne inspires thousands of business leaders each year to Profit… On Purpose by moving past conventional thinking to discover Profit In Plain Sight.  Audiences and clients love Anne’s fun and interactive approach based on value to the customer, NOT accounting, and her ability to create profound AHA! Moments so that participants leave with a new perspective of their possibilities plus practical actions they can implement for immediate impact.  Anne is the Managing Director of the Legendary Value Institute, a popular faculty member in an award-winning MBA program, and a passionate boater on west coast of British Columbia.

You can visit Anne’s website at 
Contact Anne at:


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