When we read a business or self-help book, it’s generally because we want to improve the way we do things and profit from this investment of our time and money.

The hope is that as you get towards the end of the book, you have a good feeling about it and you consider it to be one of the business books that was worth your time and contained some ideas you could definitely use. You can soon relax, reflect on what you learned or what you were reminded of, and consign it to the shelf with the others. And forget it.

We’ve all read books that knocked us for 6 (the cricketing equivalent of hitting a home run in baseball), and really changed our view of the world. Maybe that feeling lasted a couple days, or a week, but pretty soon all but a handful of nuggets is forgotten and we’re back to the way we were before, pulled back to the status quo by the constant drag of daily duties.

It’s somewhat like knocking over the first in a line of dominoes, but the second domino lies beyond the length of the first. The process stops, and there’s no chain reaction, no momentum, and all the potential of the remaining dominoes is still just that, potential.

Why is that? Well, you didn’t do anything! You read a book. You accomplished an event. You didn’t effect a change, you didn’t initiate a process, you didn’t sustain any new behaviour.

We need to recognise that success is a function of learning the new best way of working, adopting it, applying it, coaching to it, and sustaining it. This comes from figuring out what is important to success and knowing how to do it.

We also need to understand that for us to really change for good the way we do things, we have to put into actual practice what we read, or get help to do it. Otherwise, dear reader, all of the power of the book will stay within its covers and won’t be turned into improvement and profit.