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A recent study by A. T. Kearney finds that "companies committed to corporate sustainability practices are achieving above-average performance in the financial markets during this slowdown. In 16 of 18 industries examined, companies recognized as sustainability-focused outperformed their industry peers over both a three- and a six-month period, and were well protected from value erosion. Over the three-month period, the performance differential came to 10 percent; over six months, the differential was 15 percent."

Check out the report, "Green Winners: The performance of sustainability-focused companies during the financial crisis" at,3,1,262 . Sustainability practices protect the environment, promote social well-being, and achieve shareholder value. The analysis included 99 sustainability companies from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) or the Goldman Sachs SUSTAIN focus list.

The following characteristics

represent those firms that passionately and successfully pursued sustainability as its passionate purpose:

  • Maintain a long-term planning perspective with a five-year or longer outlook rather than a focus on short-term gains

  • Have strong corporate governance which oversees management activities to ensure policies, processes, and people that serve the needs of stakeholders. This requires a degree of transparency and boards of directors free of conflicts of interests.

  • Practice sound risk management with a five- or 10-year outlook.

  • Build from a solid history of investing in green innovations.

Practical Pointer. Companies are well served to examine all their sustainability practices and strengthen how genuinely committed they are to them.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


The famous book by Napoleon Hill encourages us to “Think and Grow Rich.”  I am a firm believer and expand that to also “Read and Grow Rich.” Whoever learns the fastest and the most, wins!

Hill explains, “The human mind is constantly attracting vibrations which harmonize with that which dominates the mind.  Any thought, idea, plan, or purpose which one holds in one’s mind attracts a host of its relatives, adds these ‘ relatives’ to its own force, and grows until it becomes the dominating, motivating master of the individual in whose mind it has been house.”

Reading is another way to stimulate the mind and attract success.

Fact.  According to recent studies*, business people who read at least seven business books a year earn over 2.3 times more than those who read only one book per year.

Why?  They have a constant flow of new ideas and strategies they can use to help their careers, their teams and their companies.

Who has time to do all that reading? A study by Bersin & Associates** found that while 74.9% of all managers understand the correlation between reading and competitive advantage, they simply do not have the time.

What to do?   Here are some practical pointers to get the benefits of reading even when pressed for time.

  • Share.  Reach a deal with the members of your executive team, MasterMind group, or other business groups that you will regularly share the highlights of business books with each other.  Put time on the agenda for this sharing.
  • Read Book Summaries.  Summaries of business books are available from The Business Source and other companies.  Rather than read 300 pages to learn insights, you can read a five-page summary in 15 minutes and take away most of the wisdom.
  • Divide and Conquer.  Make a goal to read a book in a reasonable amount of time.  Break that down into one chapter every number of days.  Put this on your calendar.  Do it!  It is easier to read a few pages than the entire book and once you get started reading a few pages, you will find it is a positive addiction and a pursuit of passionate purpose.
  • Use Your Time Wisely.  Are you using your commute time effectively?  While driving, listen to an audio version of a book or a book summary.  Take mass transit – you can reduce global warming and find time to read.

 Read and grow rich.

* Sources: United States Department of Labor, Survey by Yahoo! Chief Solutions Officer Tim Sanders and Business Majors

** Source: Bersin & Associates Research Study -How Executives Stay Informed: A Study of Resources Used and Time Spent Locating Critical Business Information.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and