Good to Great

Good to Great (New York: Harper Business, 2011)

From Publishers Weekly: In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins’s 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins’s crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies’ stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company’s economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins’s strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins’s perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn’t benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.

© 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The 5 Levels of Leadership

The 5 Levels of Leadership (New York: Center Street, 2011)

From Amazon: True leadership isn’t a matter of having a certain job or title. In fact, being chosen for a position is only the first of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than “the boss” people follow only because they are required to, you have to master the ability to invest in people and inspire them. To grow further in your role, you must achieve results and build a team that produces. You need to help people to develop their skills to become leaders in their own right. And if you have the skill and dedication, you can reach the pinnacle of leadership-where experience will allow you to extend your influence beyond your immediate reach and time for the benefit of others.

Through humor, in-depth insight, and examples, internationally recognized leadership expert John C. Maxwell describes each of these stages of leadership. He shows you how to master each level and rise up to the next to become a more influential, respected, and successful leader.

Now, Discovery Your Strengths

Now, Discover Your Strengths (Gallup Press, 2013)

From Amazon: Effectively managing personnel–as well as one’s own behavior–is an extraordinarily complex task that, not surprisingly, has been the subject of countless books touting what each claims is the true path to success. That said, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton’s Now, Discover Your Strengths does indeed propose a unique approach: focusing on enhancing people’s strengths rather than eliminating their weaknesses. Following up on the coauthors’ popular previous book, First, Break All the Rules, it fully describes 34 positive personality themes the two have formulated (such as Achiever, Developer, Learner, and Maximizer) and explains how to build a “strengths-based organization” by capitalizing on the fact that such traits are already present among those within it.

The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited (Harper Collins, 1995)

From Amazon: In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

The Leadership Challenge

The Leadership Challenge (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

For more than 25 years, The Leadership Challenge has been the most trusted source on becoming a better leader, selling more than 2 million copies in over 20 languages since its first publication. Based on Kouzes and Posner’s extensive research, this all-new edition casts their enduring work in context for today’s world, proving how leadership is a relationship that must be nurtured, and most importantly, that it can be learned.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Jossey-Bass, 2002)

From Publishers Weekly: In keeping with the parable style, Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO) begins by telling the fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. Story time over, Lencioni offers explicit instructions for overcoming the human behavioral tendencies that he says corrupt teams (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results). Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group

Death by Meeting

Death by Meeting (Jossey-Bass, 2004)

From Publishers Weekly: The business meeting—a necessary evil or a vital and invigorating component of running an organization? According to management consultant Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO), meetings should fit the latter description, but more often than not, he says, they don’t. In this lackluster audio fable, Lencioni offers practical advice on how to revitalize your business by energizing your business meetings, but his pallid, passive prose would challenge the most skilled narrator, and Arthur is no exception. The voice Arthur lends Will, the young hero of this tale, resembles that of Sesame Street’s Ernie on downers, and the various inflections he gives business owner Casey McDaniel and his management team don’t make up for the characters’ lack of character. Nevertheless, Lencioni’s message comes across loud and clear—meetings should be interactive, not passive, and they should be structured (i.e., issues of immediate importance should be discussed in “weekly tactical” meetings, and issues that will fundamentally affect the business should be addressed in “monthly strategic” meetings). Although managers will find this advice worthwhile, they would gather just as much if they skipped the sluggish fable and listened to the last few tracks.

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks For The Feedback (Penguin Books, 2015)

From Amazon: “Thanks for the Feedback is an extraordinarily useful book.  It’s full of helpful techniques that can be put to use by anyone seeking to manage an organization, lead a team, engage a business partner, or navigate a relationship…. Stone and Heen have done a remarkable job of showing individuals and organizations how to leverage the enormous value of feedback, one of the most powerful instruments available for human learning.”

The Elephant in the Office

The Elephant in the Office (Elephant Conversations Ltd., 2013)

As a former lawyer, Diane A. Ross thought she was a difficult conversations expert… so why was she still struggling through those dreaded “tough talks” with her coworkers and colleagues?

So began her revelation: the communication skills that knocked ’em dead at the negotiating table were actually destructive to her workplace relationships. Conflicts went unresolved, productivity was stifled, and communication suffered – big time.

Sound familiar?

The Elephant in the Office: Super-Simple Strategies for Difficult Conversations at Work is the answer for anyone who has ever wrestled with managing difficult conversations in the workplace. It’s full of real-life, easy-to-implement strategies that have stood the test of time. [From the Amazon review.]

Crucial Accountability

Crucial Accountability (New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2013)

Hold anyone accountable. Master performance discussions. Get RESULTS.

Broken promises, missed deadlines, poor behavior–they don’t just make others’ lives miserable; they can sap up to 50 percent of organizational performance and account for the vast majority of divorces. Crucial Accountability offers the tools for improving relationships in the workplace and in life and for resolving all these problems–permanently.