2021 MCFA Reading List

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Never Eat Alone, And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time – Keith Ferrazzi

Greater Than Yourself – Steve Farber

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

The Talent War – Mike Sarraille and George Randle, with Josh Cotton

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People – Gary Chapman and Paul White

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich – Timothy Ferriss

Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life – Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow, with Matthew Rudy

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael Gerber

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – Adam Grant

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport

The New One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Winning the NFL Way: Leadership Lessons From Football’s Top Head Coaches – Bob LaMonte with Robert Shook

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell – Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horowitz

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty – Patrick Lencioni

The Strong Gray Line: War-time Reflections from the West Point Class of 2004 – Cory Wallace

Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork – Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable… About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life – Patrick Lencioni

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger

Freedom – Sebastian Junger

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t – Jim Collins

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life – David Brooks

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek

Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead – Jim Mattis and Bing West

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – Gay Hendricks

Deliberate Discomfort: How U.S. Special Operations Forces Overcome Fear and Dare to Win by Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable – Jason B.A. Van Camp with Andy Symonds

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less – Richard Koch

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph – Ryan Holiday

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

First Things First – Stephen Covey

Hard Work: A Life On and Off the Court – Roy Williams, with Tim Crothers

My American Journey – Colin Powell, with Joseph Persico

Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool For Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future – Cameron Herold

Leadership is a Relationship: How to Put People First in the Digital World – Michael Erwin and Whillys DeVoll

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear

Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success – John C. Maxwell

The Gap and The Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success – Dan Sullivan, with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Reflect & Rejoice

“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”
-Winston Churchill

“Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”

The end of 2021 comes with great reflection over a year filled with wins and losses, lessons learned, lots of joy and sadness, success, and a few failures. And while I talked about failing forward last week, I am going to do something I don’t often do and celebrate success.  
Over 2021, I’ve talked about grit, optimism, problem-solving, mentorship, mission and meaning. I’ve talked about a “get to” versus a “got to” attitude and “planning & prioritizing.” I’ve even talked about vacations a few times…but the thread that ties all these topics together is leadership. And most of the time, I am writing reflections on how I can do things better or areas I’m striving to improve. I’m writing to you in hopes that we inspire you to think about your leadership roles – at work, at home or in the community.  
If you are like me, win or lose, we keep moving forward. We try to learn from our failures and our success.  As Chris Earle said, we strive to be “humble in victory and gracious in defeat.” We remind ourselves, “you’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re next as bad as they say when you lose,” as said by Lou Holtz. In short, we try to remain even-keeled and balanced and keep looking at the horizon.  
But can we really be happy if we don’t enjoy the journey? If we don’t celebrate the wins? If we don’t reflect on progress?  
We have 25-year visions and 10-year plans, but for the next two weeks, I will reflect on how far we have come as a team and a company and how far I’ve come as an individual. I’m going to celebrate the wins of the year!
New employees, business growth, better system, new clients, new adjacent possibles, new partners, the launch of MCFA University, Inspiring People & Places podcast and the official launch of the Friendly Strife Foundation (more info coming soon). There is plenty of work to build and improve upon, but we reflect and rejoice for now. We measure the gain, not the gap.
Why celebrate? Because as Oprah said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” And as leaders, we want our employees to celebrate their successes. And the only way we do that is by doing it ourselves.  
To our MCFA team – it’s been a great year. Thank you for entrusting us with your professional career. Thank you for everything you do to represent our company to our clients and help them plan, develop and execute projects and solve problems.

To our partners and clients (past, current and future – that’s YOU!) – we value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in the year to come.  
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2022! May this season be a time of joy, peace, reflection and hope! 

The best is yet to come. Cheers!

BJ Kraemer, President

Inspiring People & Places: Episode 23

Title: “Help Everybody Everyday with Matt Handal, A/E/C Proposal and Marketing Expert”

Episode Summary:

BJ sits down with Matt Handal, Proposal Expert and Founder & Editor of “Help Everybody Everyday,” where he provides A/E/C marketing, training, and support advice.

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Visit Matt’s website here.

Purchase Matt’s book, “Proposal Development Secrets: Win More, Work Smarter, and Get Home on Time.”

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: Matt Handal, Help Everybody Everyday

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Return On Failure

“Traditional parting words is wishing a shipmate ‘Fair winds and following seas,’ but I want to wish you the opposite, ‘Howling winds and stormy seas,’ because those are the conditions that will make you a better sailor and officer.”
-General James Mattis
Commencement Address to Naval Academy Prep School Class of 2006

It’s Army/Navy week, so before game day, I thought I would give a shout-out to all of our Naval Academy friends with a quote from General Mattis that I heard him say at the Naval Academy Prep School many moons ago. 

I sat in on a leadership conference this week, and John Maxwell was the keynote speaker. As usual, he was full of knowledge with an entertaining delivery. The topic that hit me most was “Return on Failure.”

In this email blast, we have talked about Return on Investment, Infrastructure, Time and Attention. This was the first time I’ve heard the phrase “return on failure.” The concept is straightforward – what has your return on failure been? How have you gotten better from your failures?  

We all strive to win and not have projects go off track. We think there is some magic smooth road to success in life, but no one has ever grown from an easy path. You have to take the losses, the punches in the face or the gut, the “oh $hit!” and “gosh darn it’s” to grow. In short, if you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing.  

December is a month of reflection. How did your year go? What is your return on failure this year? What did you set out to accomplish? How did you do?  Are you saying the same thing to yourself as last year? Then you may not be getting any return on your failure.  

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.  

What can you change? What lessons did you learn? Did you take too many risks? Did you over-commit? Or did you not challenge yourself enough?  

Either way, I am cheering for you to step up in 2022. Challenge yourself to take on a little more than you think you can…stretch and fail! But fail fast, so you can learn and increase your ROF. It’s the fastest way to grow!

Go Army!! Beat Navy!! 

BJ Kraemer, President