Let me help you plan your reading for 2011.
The issue is… Leadership Development.
Look at those words. Think about them. They say a lot. Mainly they say this – leaders have to be developed, and leaders have to focus on, and work on, continual development. This does not happen by accident. Some leaders may be “born,” but most leaders are “developed.”
And one practice of ever-developing leaders is that they read. They read books for the purpose of personal development.
I thought about all of this after a great conversation over breakfast with my blogging colleague, Bob Morris. We talked about a lot. We share a love of reading, we share a deep appreciation of good authors and good books, so we are probably a little “biased” in our view of leadership development. But I think the evidence is on our side – leadership development does not happen by accident, and reading good books is a critical and time-tested path to leadership development.
So – assume that you are leader, and that you want to work on leadership development. What should you read? I’ve got a suggested list. If Bob, or my First Friday Book Synopsis colleague Karl Krayer were to suggest a list, it would be a different list. These are mostly books that I have read. It is my list of “areas of focus.” Some of these books are not new. But they are all worth reading, and if you want to get serious about leadership development, I think this is a pretty good list to start with.
Of course, there are other areas of focus that need/deserve/beg for attention — and other truly deserving book titles. This list is only a beginning…
So – here it is – my suggested reading list for leadership development. It includes seven areas of focus, with a total of eleven books. That is one book a month for 2011 (giving you either July or December “off”). Whether you choose these titles or not; whether you choose these areas of focus, or not; this I recommend: follow a leadership development plan. It is worth the investment of time!
|As you focus on:||A good book to read is:|
|The Right Values||True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership (J-B Warren Bennis Series) by Bill George and Peter Sims|
|The Right Strategy||The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger L. Martin
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm by Verne Harnish
|Effective Leadership||(note: this was a tough “focus” for which to choose the “best” book(s). I absolutely would include this Kouzes and Posner book: it is practical, and extraordinarily valuable).
Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst “Best” Practices of Business Today by Susan Scott
|Effective Communication||Words that Work by Frank Luntz
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
|Functional, Effective Teamwork
|The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni|
|Cultivating Creativity and Innovation||The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
|Successful Execution||Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan|
I hope you succeed at your attempts at leadership development in 2011.
Note: this is not my first attempt to suggest a reading list. Earlier, I posted this: Build Your Own Strategic Reading Plan — or, How Should You Pick Which Business Book(s) to Read? It has other suggestions, for other areas of focus.
So many books…so little time!
Here are three ways we can help with your leadership development efforts:
#1: You can bring me, or my colleague Karl Krayer, into your organization to present synopses of these, and many other books. These synopses provide the key content, and facilitated discussion of the implications. Contact me at .
#2: You can purchase our 15 minute version of these synopses, with audio + handout, from our companion web site at 15minutebusinessbooks.com. (Most of these were presented live at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. Be sure to read the faqs).
#3: Our blogging colleague Bob Morris is an accomplished business consultant, and can help your organization tackle these (and other) issues in an extended way. Contact Bob directly at .
Update: My blogging colleague Bob Morris, added some worthy volumes to this list. Check out his expanded list by clicking here.
Here’s his expanded list:
The Right Values
True North by Bill George and Peter Sims
The Executive’s Compass by James O’Toole
The Highest Goal by Michael Ray
The Heart Aroused by David Whyte
The Right Strategy
The Opposable Mind by Roger L. Martin
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Unstoppable by Chris Zook
Enterprise Architecture as Strategy by Jeanne Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson
Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott
Encouraging the Heart by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Maestro by Roger Nierenberg
True North by Bill George and Peter Sims
Words that Work by Frank Luntz
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Influence by Robert Cialdini
The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin by Dan Roam
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
Functional & Effective Teamwork
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman
Collaboration by Morten Hansen
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Cultivating Creativity and Innovation
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Freedom, Inc. by Brian M. Carney and Isaac Getz
The Idea of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation by Thomas Kelley
Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono
Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind by Guy Claxton
Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki
The Other Side of Innovation by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Open Innovation and Open Business Models by Henry Chesbrough
Plus two additional categories:
Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice co-edited by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana
The Talent Masters by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan
The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development co-edited by Ellen Van Velsor, Cynthia D. McCauley, and Marian N. Ruderman
Extraordinary Leadership co-edited by Kerry Bunker, Douglas T. Hall, and Kathy E. Kram
Employee Engagement & Talent Management
A Sense of Urgency and Buy-In by John Kotter
The Art of Engagement by Jim Haudan
Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees by Lee J. Colan
Growing Great Employees by Erika Andersen
Definition: Talent Management refers to the process of developing and integrating new workers, developing and retaining current workers, and attracting highly skilled workers to work for a company.
Talent…Management. The two words say so much. One, that everyone who works with you/for you is “talent.” Next, somehow, the talent has to be managed.
But, as we all know, there is no magic formula. There are only guidelines – hints. And many of these are quite good, like:
• only hire people who can to the job at hand very well
• only hire people who can get along well with others
• make sure that each person is doing what he/she is best at
• give people the training and support they need to get better at their job
• recognize and reward excellent work
• praise in public; criticize in private
• if you’ve got the wrong person in place, make a change in the next 3 seconds – every second, every day, you delay, you drag down the morale of everyone. (This is a remarkably consistent theme in many books we’ve presented over our 12+ years).
In other words: hire well; train well; encourage well; recognize/reward well… and keep in touch with the current thinking of your “talent.” Know what their strengths are now, their weaknesses, and their concerns.
These are all wise suggestions/reminders, and we have presented a number of books at the First Friday Book Synopsis over the years to help you better “manage talent.” My favorite is still the classic Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, which I presented more than a decade ago (hard to believe!), and recently Karl presented his synopsis of Make Their Day!: Employee Recognition That Works by Cindy Ventrice – a very fine, practical book.
But here is my latest thinking about talent management. We have to add an element right now that is crucial. People who manage talent have to read the current state/mood/thinking of the talent they manage.
Here is why. This is an era of great uncertainty and anxiety. We all read the news. Companies are reluctant to hire (even companies with plenty of cash available); and joblessness continues to be a pervasive problem. And though the unemployment rate for college graduates is still low (4.5%, much lower than the overall unemployment rate), a growing number of college graduates are “settling” for jobs that are not what they had hoped for/signed up for with their college and/or graduate school education. It really is an age of uncertainty and anxiety.
And an anxious employee is uncertain, tentative – not at his/her best. Uncertainty breeds loss of confidence, thus loss of competence.
Successful Talent Management is going to increasingly require leaders — all those who supervise others — to help people survive and successfully navigate such uncertain waters. People need to feel secure, and then confident in their abilites (and their company).
Talent Management, more than ever before, is going to have to add “confidence building” to its list of practices.
I am enjoying reading the new Guy Kawasaki book, Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition.
I read his blog regulary, and his earlier book (which I presented in 2005), The Art of the Start, is one of the few books that I periodically go back to to jump start a new project that I tackle. He is a practical, and valuable writer. But when you read him, put on your seat belt…
This new book is Kawasaki at his best. Hundreds of pages, fast and furioius, cajoling us to get to work and beat the competition. The pace is borderline frenetic, from the opening words: “Imagine the American Dream on steroids and Red Bull and you have some idea of what life is like in Silicon Valley. Sure, Frank Sinatra called New York “the city that never sleeps,” but that’s only because Frank never visited the Valley…”
In his book, he speaks to these business realities: the reality of starting, raising money, planning and executing, innovating, marketing, selling and evangelizing, communicating, beguiling (what a great word), competing, hiring and firing, working, and doing good. I’ve got a hunch that we will all learn much from this book.
If you are in the area, I hope you will join us for the Frist Friday Book Synospis in February. You will be glad you did.
(Karl Krayer will present the synopsis of A Leader’s Legacy by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, two fine repeat authors for our event also).