Category Management

The Coaching Habit

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
by Michael Bungay Stanier
Box of Crayons Press
Retail Price: $14.95
Amazon Price: $10.56

Book Description:   Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching employees is done badly, or not at all. They’re just too busy, and it’s too hard to change.

But what if managers could coach their people in 10 minutes or less?

In Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Coaching is an art and it’s far easier said than done. It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer, or unleash a solution. Giving another person the opportunity to find their own way, make their own mistakes, and create their own wisdom is both brave and vulnerable. It can also mean unlearning our ”fix it” habits. In this practical and inspiring book, Michael shares seven transformative questions that can make a difference in how we lead and support. And, he guides us through the tricky part – how to take this new information and turn it into habits and a daily practice.

-Brené Brown, author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples’ potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how—by saying less and asking more–you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

– Get straight to the point in any conversation with The Kickstart Question
– Stay on track during any interaction with The AWE Question
– Save hours of time for yourself with The Lazy Question, and hours of time for others with The Strategic Question
– Get to the heart of any interpersonal or external challenge with The Focus Question and The Foundation Question
– Finally, ensure others find your coaching as beneficial as you do with The Learning Question

A fresh, innovative take on the traditional how-to manual, the book combines insider information with research based in neuroscience and behavioral economics, together with interactive training tools to turn practical advice into practiced habits. Dynamic question-and-answer sections help identify old habits and kick-start new behavior, making sure you get the most out of all seven chapters. Witty and conversational, The Coaching Habit takes your work–and your workplace–from good to great.

Review

This is a fantastic book for managers that presents a  coaching methodology that they can use to guide employees to achieve higher levels of skill, experience greater engagement with organizations, and promote personal development. It is clearly written and without jargon and gives specific coaching techniques that help readers apply the principles in their own lives.   The author shares practical advice broken down into simple steps that will help you become a coach to your team naturally and successfully.

~Reviewed by Rich W.

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    Fairness is Overrated

    Product DetailsFairness is Overrated
    by Tim Stevens
    Thomas Nelson
    Retail Price $14.99
    Amazon Price: $11.43

    Book Description: 

    Profitable organizations require a healthy culture, and Pastor Tim Stevens knows the secret sauce for a vibrant and successful workplace. Drawn from his experience working at Granger Community Church in Indiana, where he leads a team of more than 130 people, and from growing a worldwide ministry—5,000 people in three locations in Granger and 1,800 churches in India—Fairness Is Overrated lays out a practical blueprint for success. Short, digestible chapters—fueled by practical bullet-points, discussion questions, and real-life examples—give lessons and practical advice few leadership manuals teach, such as how resumes are worthless and Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be prohibited at work. Whether it’s the power of switching off the iPhone in a meeting, balancing the visions of artists and leaders, or how to fire people with grace, Fairness Is Overrated is packed with practical tips for real leadership, every single day.

    Review

    If I had to recommend only one book on leadership for someone to read, this would be it.  All leaders, born or made, should read this.  The book is small and organized in small, bite-sized chapters.  The author’s insights are succinct and highly useful and he supports his advice with real business stories and leadership anecdotes, then he shows you how to apply his suggestions to your own situation.  If you are looking for principals that will work in your office culture to make it successful, look no further.  While the book is short and sweet it is packed full of good information.

    ~Reviewed by David H.

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      The Alliance

      The Alliance
      By Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh
      Blackstone Audio
      Retail Price $19.95
      Downpour Pric
      e:  11.96

      Book Description: 

      Introducing the new, realistic loyalty pact between employer and employee. – – The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: the old model of guaranteed long-term employment no longer works in a business environment defined by continuous change, but neither does a system in which every employee acts like a free agent. – – The solution? Stop thinking of employees as either family or free agents. Think of them instead as allies. – – As a manager you want your employees to help transform the company for the future. And your employees want the firm to help transform their careers. But this win-win scenario will only happen if both sides trust each other enough to commit to mutual investment and mutual benefit. Sadly, trust in the business world is hovering at an all-time low. – – We can rebuild that lost trust with straight talk that recognizes the realities of the modern economy. So paradoxically, the alliance begins with managers acknowledging that great employees might leave the company, and with employees being honest about their own career aspirations. – – By putting this new alliance at the heart of your talent-management strategy, you’ll not only bring back trust, you’ll be able to recruit and retain the entrepreneurial individuals you need to adapt to a fast-changing world. – – These individuals – flexible, creative, and with a bias toward action – thrive when they’re on a specific ”tour of duty,” when they have a mission that’s mutually beneficial to employee and company that can be completed in a realistic period of time. – – Coauthored by the founder of LinkedIn, this bold but practical guide for managers and executives will give you the tools you need to recruit, manage, and retain the kind of employees who will make your company thrive in today’s world of constant innovation and fast-paced change.

      Review

      This book is a how-to about managing employees in both large and small company settings.  Since people view work differently and no longer stay loyal to the company like in the past, the authors look at ways to retain and acquire new talent for your organization.   The authors bring much to the table including how to manage people with respect, lending them to greater company loyalty while they are with you and when they leave.  This is all about reframing relationships with team members.  This was an excellent book to listen to on my commute to work

      ~Reviewed by John C.

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        The Curve Ahead

        The Curve Ahead
        by Dave Power
        Palgrave Macmillan
        Retail Price $25.00
        Amazon Price: $18.30

        Book Description: 

        Why do most growth companies stop growing? These fast-growing businesses are the engines of economic growth and wealth creation, but most fall behind the curve before reaching their potential. Executives are surprised when their business models mature sooner than expected, victims of the familiar S-Curve. Tragically, once-promising companies are often sold by investors too ready to throw in the towel. So what can leaders do to keep moving forward?To sustain growth, companies need to discover their next S-Curve. But few have a repeatable process for uncovering new opportunities before their core business stalls. The Curve Ahead offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth. It describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools.The Curve Ahead utilizes the power of storytelling to illustrate its messages. Power describes how LoJack and Groupon fell behind the curve, while Amazon, Jawbone, Darn Tough Socks and many others have fueled growth with a series of new S-Curves.

        This book will help thousands of mid-sized companies stay ahead of the curve and discover the path to unlimited revenue growth.

        Review

        This is a must read for any business leader dealing with the challenges of growing their business. Before undertaking a growth strategy you must have a clear understanding of why you’re growing. No doubt that enduring companies excel at doing what is discussed in this book. The content of the book is really great, as the author fills the whole idea with examples from successful companies as he encourages the reader to keep their eyes on the road ahead for the next S-Curve.  If you are thinking about growing your organization, this is a must read.

        ~Reviewed by Dave H.

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          XL R 8

          Accelerate
          By John P. Kotter
          Harvard Business Review
          Retail Price $25.00
          Amazon Price: $18.63

          Book Description: 

          It’s a familiar scene in organizations today: a new competitive threat or a big opportunity emerges. You quickly create a strategic initiative in response and appoint your best people to make change happen. And it does—but not fast enough. Or effectively enough. Real value gets lost and, ultimately, things drift back to the default status.Why is this scenario so frequently repeated in industries and organizations across the world? In the groundbreaking new book Accelerate (XLR8), leadership and change management expert, and best-selling author, John Kotter provides a fascinating answer—and a powerful new framework for competing and winning in a world of constant turbulence and disruption.

          Kotter explains how traditional organizational hierarchies evolved to meet the daily demands of running an enterprise. For most companies, the hierarchy is the singular operating system at the heart of the firm. But the reality is, this system simply is not built for an environment where change has become the norm. Kotter advocates a new system—a second, more agile, network-like structure that operates in concert with the hierarchy to create what he calls a “dual operating system”—one that allows companies to capitalize on rapid-fire strategic challenges and still make their numbers.

          Accelerate (XLR8) vividly illustrates the five core principles underlying the new network system, the eight Accelerators that drive it, and how leaders must create urgency in others through role modeling. And perhaps most crucial, the book reveals how the best companies focus and align their people’s energy and urgency around what Kotter calls the big opportunity.

          If you’re a pioneer, a leader who knows that bold change is necessary to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world, this book will help you accelerate into a better, more profitable future.

          Review

          This is a fantastic book for those leaders who are movers and shakers and want to make things happen…quickly!  In this book the author explains how to implement strategies of a dual operating system that will help you get ahead and stay that way.  Kotter presents us with a proven model that will not only impact the way you do business, but how you run your organization.  Following his lead, your business will see improved productivity and exponential growth..

          ~Reviewed by David H.

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            The Alliance

            The Alliance
            By Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh
            Harvard
            Retail Price $25.00
            Amazon Price: $15.81

            Book Description: 

            Introducing the new, realistic loyalty pact between employer and employee.

            The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: the old model of guaranteed long-term employment no longer works in a business environment defined by continuous change, but neither does a system in which every employee acts like a free agent.

            The solution? Stop thinking of employees as either family or as free agents. Think of them instead as allies.

            As a manager you want your employees to help transform the company for the future. And your employees want the company to help transform their careers for the long term. But this win-win scenario will happen only if both sides trust each other enough to commit to mutual investment and mutual benefit. Sadly, trust in the business world is hovering at an all-time low.

            We can rebuild that lost trust with straight talk that recognizes the realities of the modern economy. So, paradoxically, the alliance begins with managers acknowledging that great employees might leave the company, and with employees being honest about their own career aspirations.

            By putting this new alliance at the heart of your talent management strategy, you’ll not only bring back trust, you’ll be able to recruit and retain the entrepreneurial individuals you need to adapt to a fast-changing world.

            These individuals, flexible, creative, and with a bias toward action, thrive when they’re on a specific “tour of duty”—when they have a mission that’s mutually beneficial to employee and company that can be completed in a realistic period of time.

            Coauthored by the founder of LinkedIn, this bold but practical guide for managers and executives will give you the tools you need to recruit, manage, and retain the kind of employees who will make your company thrive in today’s world of constant innovation and fast-paced change.

            Review

             

            If you are a manager, then this book is an essential read for you.  The author will detail how to build teams by making your employees your allies and giving them a stake in reaching goals. He will show you how to get your staff to buy into the dream and help you to accomplish projects in a timely fashion.  This book makes you realize that in today’s culture, workers will come and go and the key to making it all work is to get the employee invested in the current project and not asking for commitments past that.  It is really thinking small while having it all fit into a long-term goal.  It was a very interesting book that I found enlightening and helpful.

            ~Reviewed by Sean T.

             

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              Six Simple Rules

              Six Simple Rules
              By Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman
              Harvard Business Review Press
              Retail Price $30.00
              Amazon Price: $21.62

              Book Description: 

              Does your organization manage complexity by making things more complicated? If so, you are not alone.

              According to The Boston Consulting Group’s fascinating Complexity Index, business complexity has increased sixfold during the past sixty years. And, all the while, organizational complicatedness—that is, the number of structures, processes, committees, decision-making forums, and systems—has increased by a whopping factor of thirty-five. In their attempt to respond to the increasingly complex performance requirements they face, company leaders have created an organizational labyrinth that makes it more and more difficult to improve productivity and to pursue innovation. It also disengages and demotivates the workforce.

              Clearly it’s time for leaders to stop trying to manage complexity with their traditional tools and instead better leverage employees’ intelligence. This book shows you how and explains the implications for designing and leading organizations.

              The way to manage complexity, the authors argue, is neither with the hard solutions of another era nor with the soft solutions—such as team building and feel-good “people initiatives”—that often follow in their wake. Based on social sciences (notably economics, game theory, and organizational sociology) and The Boston Consulting Group’s work with more than five hundred companies in more than forty countries and in various industries, authors Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman recommend six simple rules to manage complexity without getting complicated.

              Showing why the rules work and how to put them into practice, Morieux and Tollman give managers a much-needed tool to reinvigorate people in the face of seemingly endless complexity. Included are detailed examples from companies that have achieved a multiplicative effect on performance by using them.

              It’s time to manage complexity better. Employ these six simple rules to foster autonomy and cooperation and to effectively handle business complexity. As a result, you will improve productivity, innovate more, reengage your workforce, and seize opportunities to create competitive advantage.

              Review

              This is an exceedingly interesting book on a very hot topic! The strongest part is that the authors are very close to practice and the book includes real practical examples.  These six simple rules are transferable and applicable to any business:

              1. Understand what others do.
              2. Reinforce Integrators.
              3. Increase the total quantity of power.
              4. Increase the shadow of the future.
              5. Increase reciprocity.
              6. Reward those who cooperate.

              The authors go into detail with each rule, but their premise is really quite simple and uncomplicated.  They truly are the voice of reason for today’s managers and leadership.

              ~Reviewed by Rich W.

               

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                Its not the how or the what but the who

                It’s Not the How or the What but the Who
                By Claudio Fernadez-Araoz
                Harvard Business Review
                Retail Price $28.00
                Amazon Price: $17.71

                Book Description: 

                Why surround yourself with the best? Because it matters—in all aspects of life.

                In fact, in professional environments, getting people right—what global leadership authority Claudio Fernández-Aráoz calls “the art of great ‘who’ decisions”—marks the difference between success and failure. To thrive, you need to identify those with the highest potential, get them in your corner and on your team, and help them grow. Yet surprisingly very few of us are able to meet that challenge.

                This series of short and engaging essays outlines the obstacles to great “who” decisions and offers solutions to address them in a systematic way. Drawing from several decades of experience in global executive search and talent development, as well as the latest management and psychology research, Fernández-Aráoz offers wisdom and practical advice to improve the choices we make about employees and mentors, business partners and friends, top corporate leaders and even elected officials.

                The personal stories and cutting-edge studies described in the book will help you understand both your own failings and the external forces commonly at play in staffing decisions. The author shares concrete recommendations on how to select the best people, bring out their strengths, foster collective greatness in the groups you’ve assembled, and create not only better organizations but also a better society.

                Starting with the cases of Amazon pioneer Jeff Bezos and Brazilian tycoon Roger Agnelli and continuing with individual and corporate examples from around the world, Fernández-Aráoz paints a vivid picture of what great “who” decisions look like and presents a fresh and commanding argument about why they matter more than ever today.

                Review

                 

                This book will be an  INSTANT CLASSIC! Whether you’re leading change or changing your life, this book delivers.  The author takes the stance that it IS more about who you know and who you surround yourself with than your own abilities.  He encourages you to surround yourself, both in business and in your personal life, with quality people and gives you tips on how to make this happen.   Instead of endless dry facts or empty clichés, this book breaks down its major points chapter by chapter, illustrating them with a detailed analysis. It has a nice balance of personal stories and research that makes that make it easy to apply the content to your own life.

                ~Reviewed by Rich W.

                 

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                  Collective Genius

                  Collective Genius
                  By Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback
                  Harvard Business Review
                  Retail Price $28.00
                  Amazon Price: $19.06

                  Book Description: 

                  Why can some organizations innovate time and again, while most cannot?

                  You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help—but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it—and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how.

                  Preeminent leadership scholar Linda Hill, along with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, MIT researcher Emily Truelove, and Being the Boss coauthor Kent Lineback, found among leaders a widely shared, and mistaken, assumption: that a “good” leader in all other respects would also be an effective leader of innovation. The truth is, leading innovation takes a distinctive kind of leadership, one that unleashes and harnesses the “collective genius” of the people in the organization.

                  Using vivid stories of individual leaders at companies like Volkswagen, Google, eBay, and Pfizer, as well as nonprofits and international government agencies, the authors show how successful leaders of innovation don’t create a vision and try to make innovation happen themselves. Rather, they create and sustain a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again—an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.

                  Collective Genius will not only inspire you; it will give you the concrete, practical guidance you need to build innovation into the fabric of your business.

                  Review

                  This is a very accessible, easy-to-read look at innovation in the area of leadership and the culture of the workplace. The stories that the author’s provide from not only personal experiences, but well-chosen, real-world illustrations of how challenging, and ultimately rewarding, it can be to gather a team and establish a culture that is open to change and new ideas, and that is committed to innovation as the way to do business. The short chapters seem to be perfectly tailored to today’s time-crunched businessmen and businesswomen. This book is a great read for anyone seeking to stimulate and encourage innovation. The practical observations that you find here easily translates into guidance likely to encourage both individual and organizational creativity.

                  ~Reviewed by David H

                  ~Reviewed by Douglas R.

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                    I Hear You

                      I Hear You: Repair Communication Breakdowns, Negotiate Successfully, and Build Consensus . . . in Three Simple StepsI Hear You
                    By Donny Ebenstein
                    AMACOM
                    Retail Price $24.95
                    Amazon Price: $17.22

                    Book Description: 

                    Birth, death, and conflict-three things you truly can’t avoid. Whether it’s big or small, conflict eats into productivity and makes people feel stuck. Yet solutions exist for even the toughest situations with the most intractable people. The answer lies in better communication-not just using different words, but rather learning to think differently. “I Hear You” supplies proven techniques for stepping outside one’s point of view and seeing things from other perspectives. Sample dialogues show how this shift in thinking leads to better conversations and greatly improved outcomes. Readers learn how to: tell the other person’s story-the cornerstone of real engagement; look from the outside in and see themselves as others do; recognize the role systemic factors play – and transform a conflict into a shared challenge; and overcome the defense mechanisms that derail dialogue. For anyone trying to negotiate a difficult situation with a boss, colleague, employee, or client, “I Hear You” changes opposition into understanding and mere talk into real trust.

                     

                    Review

                    This book is a must have for anyone who deals with conflict at work or in their personal life. Communications breakdowns are the cause of so many corporate and entrepreneurial headaches.  As a Human Resources Director this book has unlocked the keys to success with employees who have been in conflict and underperforming for years. When you know how to tie the values an employee is seeking to fulfill to the production needed in the organization you will truly have the magic formula. This has revolutionized how we listen in a conflict and are able to deal with the root causes, not simply offer a list of do’s and don’ts. This enables lasting change and individual growth that pays dividends that spread outside the circle of the employee .  It is certainly almost required reading for all Managers!   Buy it….you won’t be sorry!

                    ~Reviewed by David H.

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