We at Excell Puget Sound think the following resources make a great reading list for entrepreneurs and business owners. Click on the book cover or the book title to read more about our recommendation and to order a copy for yourself.
Onboarding: What New Hires Need in Those First Critical Months — PBP Executive Reports
Successful onboarding is a make-or-break time. It takes smart effort. However, is worth the investment, increases loyalty, and minimizes turnover – all results that show up in the bottom line.
Included in this Executive Report:
1) What is Onboarding?
2) Before Day One
3) The First Day
4) The First Week
5) Beyond the First Week
6) The 3-Month Review
7) The Final Step
In his international bestseller, The Happiness Advantage, Harvard trained researcher Shawn Achor described why happiness is the precursor to greater success. This book is about what comes before both. Because before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible. Only once we learn to see the world through a more positive lens can we summon all our motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve our personal and professional goals.
Leadership and Self-Deception — by the Arbinger Institute
The book is a parable that pulls the reader in and sets out how we deceive ourselves, what the impact is on us and our organizations and develops how we can get “out of the box”, our habits of self-justification. This is not a lightweight book and it is an easy read. Why we do what we do takes center stage and is often what gets in our way and what we can do to improve our performance.
Synchronicity, The Inner Path of Leadership
— by Joseph Jaworski
We have all experienced those times when everything flowed and everything came together. We also have endured those times when nothing went right and the more we pushed, the more we seemed to step in it. Like most leadership work, the hard part is about ourselves and requires us to search inside. This biographic discussion uncovers a path to increasing our ability to enter and enjoy those flow states. Jaworski describes three states that one must achieve to experience flow and enjoy knowing you are on the right path for you and your endeavors. Especially eye opening for me was the understanding that time is right or not and no amount of pushing or rushing will make something happen.
Fierce Conversations — Susan Scott
From her work in leading peer to peer executive groups, Susan Scott sets out how to be real and effective. My belief is that outstanding CEOs ask great questions and dig for information and data that provides full answers. Susan Scott sets out exercises and approaches for how to be outstanding with our questions.
Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When Stakes are High — Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
I love books that teach tools and concrete skills. Nothing more important to running a company then to be persuasive rather than abrasive, to be able to continue listening under stress, to turn conversations in to action. There is this and more for anyone who takes the time with this page-turner.
What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There: How successful people become more successful — Marshall Goldsmith
Executives and Entrepreneurs rise…. until they don’t. Most often what stops is not lack of technical knowledge or skills. They know their industry, supply chain management or sales. What gets them is personality issues those things that most of us remain unaware of as we move through our careers. Goldsmith is direct and clear in his approach to making change happen by teaching people who want to change, how to get others to help in our quest. What Goldsmith teaches is simple and it is not easy. Mostly, he teaches people to stop doing things that get in their way.
It’s Your Ship, Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy — Captain D. Michael Abroshoff
Captain Abroshoff learned as he led. His story is engaging and it describes a process for building confidence, teamwork and excellence. His approach can be used in any business. Some of his recommendations are to create trust, lead by example, communicate purpose and meaning and expect results. Not earth shattering?…. well, read how he did it!
The Great Game of Business — Jack Stack
This is a real life story about how Stack made a success out of an old-line rust belt business. He did so by teaching every employee how the “game of business” works. He started with meaning and hard skills, like the ability to read and use financial statements. What I love about this book is how it is organized and presented. A CEO for CEO’s writes it. The outline form of the book makes getting key ideas easy and quick. The focus on what steps to take, when and what is important provides immediate value and allows one to dive in later.
No Man’s Land — Doug Tatum
Starting a company is tough. Growing one is even more challenging. Human beings grow to maturity through stages. Any stage missed requires us to go back and do work before we move ahead. Tatum outlines the stages that companies grow through and what stops those who don’t pay attention.
Shannon Bruce, Executive Coach and Group Leader for Excell Puget Sound Kitsap, has reviewed her top three all-time books on leadership
Shift: A Guide-book to Above-the-Line Positive Thinking — Cathy and Gary Hawk
I highly recommend this book as a must read resource to create a culture of positivity among leaders and teams. Because this book is based on how to improve your engagement with self and others, it’s applicable for all types of ecosystems and will benefit individuals, families and companies. You will learn a new operating system for interacting with yourself and others that shifts the focus away from negative thinking and drained energy to positive thoughts that restore well-being, vitality and results. The book is both context and content rich, providing the brain science behind the work, while providing instructions on how to use the tool to support ongoing and sustainable behavior change. The greatest impact of this book is that it will support you in taking ownership of your own thoughts and energy to increase your vitality, deepen your relationships with individuals and teams and improve the quality of your outcomes in both life and work.
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization — Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-WrightPeople are wired to be in relationship and as a result automatically form tribes. Each tribe has a unique culture that thinks, feels and acts a particular way. This book provides a solid framework for understanding the culture of the five tribal cultures, as named by the authors, to supports leaders in expanding their own leadership capacity as well as understanding how to engage and interact with others at the stage of culture they are operating. The natural result is teams and organizations thrive as you learn now to leverage the culture of the tribes you are interacting, either at home or at work.
The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything — Stephen M.R. Covey
Trust acts as an exponential dividend that accelerates results. This book is a comprehensive resource that looks at trust through multiple lenses starting with self-trust, relationship trust and stakeholder trust (organizational, market and stakeholder trust). It also explores how to develop a solid foundation of trust by strengthening the four cores of credibility which include integrity and intent (character) along with capabilities and results (competencies). As the title suggests, this book will change everything.
Lauren Owen, former Group Leader for Excell Puget Sound SouthSound Group, reviews her top leadership books of all time.
Every Family’s Business: 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth — Tom Deans, PhD
I like this book because Deans takes a different approach to family business. Dean’s view? If the majority of your wealth is tied up in your family business, treat it like the important investment it is. Don’t assume that the best thing for your kids (or the business) is having them work in it (and eventually lead it in the future). Deans advocates having yearly tough conversations between you and your successors about what each wants out of the business, including if and when the business should be sold. He includes a list of the questions that should be asked and answered by both parties. Told in a story format, it’s an easy read.
Decisive: how to Make Better Choices in Life and Work — Chip and Dan Heath
The Heath brothers have taken the best of existing research on decisions-making and boiled it down into a four step process. I liked this book so much that I bought it for all my Excell group members, who now incorporate many of the points from the book into how they make decisions (and how they coach each other).
Super Freakonomics — Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
This blend of economics and behavior science examines why and how people act the way they do. In addition to answering the interesting and often amusing questions posed, such as “Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands (and what can you do about it)?” And “Did TV cause a rise in crime?” the real insights come from how often the best solutions come from the cheapest, simplest solutions. This readable book is a good exercise in critical thinking, something we as business leaders need to do every day and encourage in our teams.
Land on Your Feet, Not on Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform — Jim Hessler with Steve Motenko
Written by former Excell facilitator and current Boss Show Host, Jim Hessler, this book is entertaining, inspirational and practical. Each chapter, or Plank, starts with a case study and incorporates real life stories from the author’s background in corporate leadership with key points from the best of current psychological studies in leadership effectiveness. The reader is challenged in each plank to apply the principals into his or her leadership practice with assignments called “Making It Real.”