Given what my day job is I tend to read a lot of books around the broad themes of leadership. These are the ones I found most helpful - which of course was related to where I was at when I read them.. Or maybe I just got sucked in to buying books with red, white and black covers…
Despite the title, this was a fascinating look at the Jesuits through the lens of leadership, distilling out many of the leadership traits valued and practiced by the order. The author left the Jesuits to pursue a career as a management consultant so writes with deep experience of both.
Manage Your Day to Day (99u)
The 99u site is full of helpful articles and tips. This book (which also has one of those covers that feels really nice!) pulls together a selection of articles. Obviously some resonate more than others and there are some gems that not only inspired me but helped me to be more focused and work more effectively. Things like challenging the ‘conventional wisdom’ of starting the days with some small easy tasks, and obvious yet wonderful advice such as not opening your email for the first few hours to allow you to get the important work done.
The Icarus Deception
Seth Godin at his best. We’re all familiar with the story of Icarus and the warning not to fly too close to the sun. the bit always left out was that he wasn’t to fly too low- too close to the sea either. Godin is the master at motivation and this book really inspired me. One of the things that really stood out was about not wasting time and energy trying to create ‘art’ for the masses who aren’t interested but instead concentrating on those who really want/need what you are doing. I found this really helpful in work as we are building and growing Innovista.
I think Patrick Lencioni is one of the best writers on business/leadership around. His books aren’t manuals or textbooks but parables with the theory in a small section at the end. Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a must read for everyone. The Advantage distills material from all of his books to date so isn’t written in the fable style yet is peppered with real-life examples. The focus of the Advantage is that organisations need to be healthy, not just smart (clear vision, strategy etc.). Some of his material on the importance of recruiting for values led to us overhauling our recruitment policies and processes. This is one of those books that I should read every year.
Leadership and Self-Deception
Big shout out to Andy Masters for recommending this to me. My first read of 2013. Brilliant short book that uses story to unpack the ways in which we deceive ourselves and the consequences for our relationships. One of those books that could be Christian if you change the language…
What were your best leadership reads in 2013?