indispensable book

Indispensable Book Summary and My Thoughts

How do you become Indispensable? Great question.

This is the 35th book in the series Learning Together and Leading Together where we are going through the Personal MBA plan curated by Josh Kaufman. Our goal is to get through 99 books this year. Do we read the whole book? Nope. We digest the summary(s) of the book and I give my thoughts and you give your thoughts. Feel free to follow along and comment if you would like.

The best summary I found about Indispensable was found here. That review is below tweaked by myself.

Book Summary:

Focus on one thing. Master the category. Become a category of one to your customers. Ask:

  • What do we do best?
  • What do we love to do?
  • What do our customers value?

The 5 Drivers of behaviors that result in becoming indispensable

  • Create and sustain momentum (Decide. Take the next step, then the next, then the next)
  • Develop habitual dependability
  • Continuous connection
  • Big picture outcome
  • Engage, enchant and enthrall

Six New Basics

  • Say “why not” continuously.
    • “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought”
    • The restaurant boss who thinks it’s his job first and foremost to make his employees job the best they have every had
    • Why not use products and services for which you’ve always charged to invite customers into a much more profitable relationship based on higher margin sales?  This provides indispensable service that locks them in (only a very small number of customers take advantage)
  • Get back inside the box.
    • Instead of saying “let’s be different”, say “let’s be really good at what we do first, then we can be different.”  All the differentiation in the world will be wasted unless you have mastered your core business
  • Partnerships
    • Do clients come to you for advice on things that are outside my range of services? They must trust your judgement
    • What other businesses in your market are complementary? Give your product or service away through them.  Generate interest for them and new customers for yourself.  Who else do your customers do business with?
  • Selling is dead
    • The idea of talking someone into buying your product is dead. It’s cumbersome and inefficient.
    • Get to know your prospects business inside out.  It’s not selling, it’s about people buying.
    • Find out what your clients objectives are, and offer a product that helps them meet those objectives

My Thoughts:

What I loved about this book is how straight forward it is. Sure it had plenty of case studies in it but at its core it was very challenging. The phrase above that got to me the most was, “let’s be really good at what we do first, then we can be different.” Being indispensable comes down to trust. If I trust you and your judgement then I will find you indispensable. The way you go about building trust is key. The thing about trust though is that it can be lost very quickly, especially if that trust is broken quickly in a short amount of time.

Besides trust this book comes down to teamwork. Notice that you are not indispensable to yourself but to someone else. You have to work as a team not not a lone ranger. I think this is very important and often times overlooked. This is not a case of leave me alone and let me work everything out on my own.

Finally, the idea of a big picture outcome is huge. This is basically saying that being indispensable has nothing to do with you but everything to do with how you see the bigger picture. Think about that for a moment. So many employees and entrepreneurs get caught up in their own product or service that they miss the big picture. You may have found the perfect cog for a machine that will revolutionize that machine. The only problem is that that machine was a typewriter and everyone now uses mobile devices. That is a perfect example of not seeing the big picture.

Would you consider yourself indispensable? What do you need to do to become that way?

If you need a hard copy of the book go here: [amazon_enhanced asin=”0471703087″ /]


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