This list of books and articles is just a small slice of available resources on the never-ending scroll of these topics. They are some of my go-to’s. Some are time-tested classics, some represent new thinking.
“How Remote Work Will Create Economic Winners and Losers”
by Noam Scheiber
New York Times, 2020
I’m becoming more keenly attentive to issues around equity when it comes to flexible work arrangements. I appreciate the examples of possible organizational change for the future.
Find this article online at your local library.
Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
by Patrick Lencioni
This classic work is one I’ve turned to again and again as I’ve built and rebuilt teams. While the 5 dysfunctions label seems negative, using the positive attributes of the pyramid to understand what is happening with a team is priceless. I know a team is on its way to health when I stop pointing in frustration at the Lencioni pyramid that is a semi-permanent fixture on my office wall.
The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2014
I have to admit that I didn’t read this all the way through. It was punishing. The first half of the book is a testament to the pitfalls of plowing through crisis listening only to the voice in your own head. That was a sure path to destruction for this leader, although it appears he pulled it out in the end. I stopped reading when it seemed like he learned the lesson to bring others into the conversation. Redemption, profit, and millions of followers ensue.
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is always thought-provoking. This book isn’t about team building, per se but about how we form groups and the art of leadership. It’s short and worth reading.
“Culture Change that Sticks”
by Jon Katzenbach, Ilona Steffen, and Caroline Kronley
Harvard Business Review, 2012
I read a lot of books and articles about culture, leadership, and change management. While this article is about culture change rather than identifying a culture in an organization, I think it provides helpful insights into healthy organizational culture. Of the many books and articles I’ve read on the topic, this one rises to the top.
Courage: The Backbone of Leadership
by Gus Lee with Diane Elliott-Lee
“Crossing the river of fear” became a stock saying in my home after my husband and I both read this book for our respective work situations. We would often encourage each other by saying that today was the day we were going to cross the river of fear with someone by having a difficult conversation. While some of these concepts are more popularized in the Crucial Conversations canon, Courage is still a worthwhile read.
The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Winning Over the Next Generation of Leaders
This annual survey reveals what the new generation of workers thinks about work. The results show that they are eager to be developed as leaders and think that twice as much time should be devoted to their development than is actually happening.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
by Simon Sinek
From tribes to the Marines to teams at work, Sinek explores the Circle of Safety where leaders sacrifice their own comfort for the good of the team. As always, he uses compelling examples to illustrate his point, which makes this a good read. While it’s important for me as a leader to make sure others get served first, when it comes to training and professional development, I’ve got to remember to get in the chow line too.
The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crisis of Growth
by Chris Zook and James Allen
Harvard Business Review Press, 2016
While I’d like to debate some of the findings and advice in this book, I still think it’s a worthwhile read for any leader looking for guidance on how to grow an organization, no matter the stage it’s in. There are some gems to gather here.
“Rebirth of an App: The Story Behind Denver’s Ibotta and Why the Popular Retail Startup Felt the Need to Rebuild from Scratch”
by Tamara Chung
The Denver Post, 2017
This article about Ibotta is an excellent example not only of the Founder’s Mentality as described by Zook and Allen, but also follows the path they describe of the Insurgent Mission, Front-line Obsession and the Owner’s Mindset.
The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels
by Michael Watkins
Harvard Business Review Press, 2006
The first time I read this book I was moderately impressed. I had given it as a gift to someone who was starting a new job but wasn’t in that situation myself. When I read it again as a new employee in a new role in a new organization, I took the time to do the suggested activities and take notes. By going through the process, I had a more measured approach to orienting myself to my new position which kept me from jumping in to making changes too soon. I used my notes over the first eighteen months on the job to see what was still “bat shit crazy,” what organizational idiosyncrasies I had learned to love, and which I had learned to appreciate or at least live with.
The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting up to Speed Faster and Smarter
by Michael Watkins
Harvard Business Review Press, 2013
Updated version by the same author. Definitely a worthwhile read for those in a new position.
“Can Leadership Be Taught? Perspectives from Management Educators”
by Jonathan P. Doh
Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2003
“A (Blurry) Vision of the Future: How Leader Rhetoric about Ultimate Goals Influences Performance”
by Andrew Carton
The Academy of Management Journal, 2014
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity
by Kim Scott
St. Martin’s Press, 2019
I think this book is a worthwhile read both for people new to supervision and those of us with a few more years under our belts. In some ways Kim Scott takes us through her own leadership journey as she coaches to different ways to approach supervision.
“Biden’s ‘Record Player’ Just 1 of His Vintage References”
by Thomas Beaumont and Michelle L. Price
AP News, 2019
A coincidence of timing is the current conversation about the examples being used by a candidate for public office. I don’t mean to pick on him – this habit seems to be a trademark of campaign season
“How CEO’s Manage Time”
by Michael E. Porter and Nitin Nohria
Harvard Business Review, 2018
I read this article when I started in my new role as executive director. I have a bit of an obsession with investigating how people who accomplish a lot spend their time.
Agile Project Management with Kanban
by Eric Brechner
Microsoft Press, 2015
I not only bought this book, I listened in on an online class to learn more about how this process works. I practiced it by myself for a while and then brought it to the team to help us align our work. When an agile expert joined our team, we got better at it. There are fewer surprises and much more support for each other’s work.