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Friday, August 10, 2012

A few of my Favourite Summer Reads

Ahh sunshine, books and a lounger!  Who could ask for anything more?

Woman readingWoman reading (Photo credit: National Media Museum)This past month a few awesome business books have inspired me, and I would love to share some of the highlights or 'takeaways' with you.

Switch by Chip Heath is a thought provoking look at what it takes to make change in your life.  Getting used to routine and constancy does not make for innovation.  Heath calls for digging into the 'elephant' (rational side) and 'rider' (emotional side) in all of us.  Although some of us are more strongly one or the other, he suggests the following:

   1.  Direct the rider!  Follow the bright spots that are working in the company or environment, and clone it!
   2.  Point to the destination.  Change is easier when people can see where they are going.
   3.  Motivate the elephant.  Tell first graders they can be third graders by the end of the year.  If you believe it they will too.
   4.  Find the feeling!  If you can make people feel something then they are more likely to respond with positivity.
  5.  Shrink the change.  If you can break down change for your followers you will grow your people in time.  Inspire growth mindset.
  6.  Build habits and encourage or rally the herd.

Cover of Cover via Amazon
How the Wise Decide by Bryn Zeckhauser revealed some great principles to carry over to your work environment.  His message for success involved doing the following:

   1.  Go to the source to discover what works. Provide the very best work environment and treat your workers with respect and dignity.  Strive for excellence!
   2.  Fill a room with baboons.  I love that image as I can visualize territorial baboons beating on their chests to get their testosterone flowing on the competitive business floor.  Feeling safe while differing in opinion and embracing diversity is all part of a great meeting.
  3.  Conquer the fear of risk.  Say no more!
  4.  Make vision your daily guide!  Starbucks was used as an excellent example of exemplary vision carried through on a daily regimen.
  5.  Listen with purpose.
  6.  Be transparent.  Authenticity!
  7.  Recognize profitability is essential to the future of the company.

Cover of Cover via AmazoDeath By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni focuses on one of the most problematic concerns in modern business;  bad meetings!  His blueprint for leaders is nothing short of groundbreaking.   I loved the idea of creating different timed meetings based on the strategy and analyses required for the purpose of that meeting.

Cover of Cover via Amazon

My very favourite read this summer has to be The Way of the Shepherd by Dr Kevin Leman.  A young inexperienced reporter meets and interviews the most respected CEO in the U.S.  and receives some keys to exceptional leadership.  I loved this book because it brings to mind servant leadership as applied in the Bible.  These are the 5 principles as applied in the wonderful metaphor, about a shepherd herding his flock of sheep.

  1.  Know the condition of your flock.  Taking a personal interest in each of your team members is essential for building trust and team playing.  Know your sheep by name, and care about their needs!
  2.  Discover the shape of your sheep.  Start with healthy sheep so you don't inherit someone else's problems.  Make sure each person has the skill set to do the job.  Know your people's passions and encourage them to pursue their dreams. You want positive can-do people who have team playing attitude.  Place introverts in their dream position and the same for extroverts.
  3.  Help your sheep identify with you.  Imprint your personality on everything you do and stand for authenticity and loyalty.  Set high standards and communicate your vision relentlessly.
  4.  Make your pasture a safe place.  Keep people well informed to eliminate fear and anxiety.  Do regular reviews to let your staff know how they are doing.  Infuse every position with importance, and make sure everyone is valued in your team.  Rotate opportunities amongst the flock so rivalries are not allowed to simmer.  Cull instigators from the flock.  Stay visible at all times!  Don't allow individual problems to fester into flock problems!
  5.  The Staff of Direction.  Know where you are going, get out in front and keep your flock on the move.  When directing use persuasion rather than coercion.  Make requests, not demands and offer suggestions and ideas.  When people mess up use the incident as a teaching point.  Give everyone freedom of movement but make sure they know where the fence line is.  Don't confuse boundaries with bridles.  You cannot protect someone who has strayed beyond your reach.  When your people are in trouble- go and get them out!
  6.  The Staff of Correction.  Protect your sheep and stand in the gap and fight for them against external enemies.  Approach discipline as an instructive exercise instead of a punishment.  They will be more inclined to listen.  Inspect on their progress!  Check to see how each member is doing in their respective flock.
  7.  The Heart of the Shepherd.  This type of leadership carries a huge cost.  What differentiates a great leader from a mediocre one is that she has a heart for her people.  Time, commitment, personal energy are required for this kind of investment.  Prayer too:)

If you have read something inspirational be sure to drop me a line please!  I would love to hear what you have been reading?

Many Blessings
Pippa



 
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