Issue No. 239 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features my annual Top-10 list and my Book-of-the-Year pick. In 2012, remember to leverage your time and delegate your reading to team members. Ask for a brief weekly book review at each staff or department meeting. And this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Top-10 Books of 2011
As you welcome in 2012, here's a recap of the books I reviewed in 2011 (Issues No. 207 to 238). To read all the book reviews featured in Your Weekly Staffing Meeting, visit the archives here at my Buckets Blog. To download a PDF of the chronological list of book reviews from 2006 through today (all 238 issues), visit the Book Bucket at the Management Buckets website. In 2011, I posted 34 reviews: 32 books, one Harvard Business Review classic article (“Managing Your Boss”), and one DVD (Waiting for “Superman”).
Here are my Top-10 picks of the year. It's a tough assignment to narrow it down to 10, since all of us are at different levels of competency within the 20 buckets. But...maybe this will be helpful to you. Other than my top pick, the other nine are listed in chronological order.
2011 Book of the Year
[ ] Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward, Dr. Henry Cloud – Read the review.
Dr. Henry Cloud, a leadership coach to CEOs and business executives, and a clinical psychologist, has introduced a new term into the leadership lexicon: the pruning moment.
He defines the pruning moment as “that clarity of enlightenment when we become responsible for making the decision to own the vision or not. If we own it, we have to prune. If we don’t, we have decided to own the other vision, the one we called average. It is a moment of truth that we encounter almost every day in many, many decisions.”
The Other Nine:
[ ] The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers, by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan – Read the review.
An insider’s look at G.E. and why their top three executives are extreme students of the company’s top 600 people. Really…they know their top 600 people very, very well.
[ ] Chasing Francis, by Ian Morgan Cron – Read the review.
Disenchanted mega-church pastor finds solace from his uncle/priest in Italy and follows the footsteps and ministry philosophy of Saint Francis of Assisi. Caution! Reading this novel may require vast quantities of pasta and wine.
[ ] 15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentations, by Joey Asher – Read the review.
I was very tempted to make this my top pick of the year—it’s that good. It inspired me to radically change my presentation/facilitation style. Perfect for both rookies and experienced speakers and presenters.
[ ] Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries, by Peter Sims – Read the review.
If your products, programs and services are stuck-in-a-rut, download the Kindle version today. The book focuses on five fundamentals: 1) Experiment (fail quickly to learn fast); 2) Play (a fun environment never snuffs out or prematurely judges the ideas—the case study on Pixar is amazing); 3) Immerse (get out with customers and learn from the ground up); 4) Reorient (make small wins and necessary pivots); and 5) Iterate (repeat, refine and test frequently).
[ ] The Third Conversion, by R. Scott Rodin – Read the review.
This very short novelette, by the author of The Steward Leader, quotes Martin Luther: “There are three conversions necessary to every man; the head, the heart and the purse.” It will change how you do fundraising and/or giving. One of my clients ordered 50 copies.
[ ] Smart Moves for People in Charge: 130 Checklists to Help You Be a Better Leader, by Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman – Read the review.
So smart and practical, I reviewed it twice this year.
[ ] The Company Culture Challenge, by Robert Betzel and David Russell – Read the review.
Gut check time! “Do you know that statistics prove it costs an average of one year’s compensation to replace an employee?” Stuck with team members who “were great actors during interviews, but poor performers on the job?” The recruiting standards chapter is brilliant.
[ ] Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen – Read the review.
I titled this review “Jim Collins Lexicon 2.0.” For example: “First Bullets, Then Cannonballs.” Discipline and creativity will push you to test, test, test—with low risk bullets, then re-calibrate, another low risk bullet, more re-calibration—then when the empirical side of creativity has honed in on the target—let the cannonball rip! One CEO’s mantra: Be “one fad behind,” never first to market, but never last. Collins has six bullet points (sorry) on “The Dangerous Lure of Uncalibrated Cannonballs.” Brilliant.
[ ] The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall – Read the review.
For many people, this will be the top book of the year. The wicked hoax, as the TrueFaced co-authors describe it, is the hopeless equation: “More Right Behavior + Less Wrong Behavior = Godliness.” (Not!) A colleague emailed me this week that he just ordered 20 copies for his staff. Visit their website to view the videos and download a free chapter.
And finally, these reminders for 2012:
C.S. Lewis said, "It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between."
And I would add: 1) Delegate your reading. Assign books to other team members and ask for mini-reports at staff meetings. 2) Read relevant chapters only. Don't feel guilty for not finishing a book. 3) Hold high the value of sharpening the saw and model it yourself and reward others who read. 4) Budget for books. Invest in your people by investing in books. 5) Discover whether your people are readers or listeners. Audio books might be helpful to some.
I have some fantastic books coming in 2012!
P.S. Weekly Insights on ECFA Governance Blog
ECFA recently asked me to post a weekly commentary on good governance on their blog, “Governance of Christ-centered Organizations.” Check it out and add a comment at my first post on “10 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Board.”
P.P.S. Download the Master List of Book Reviews
Click here to download my chronological list of 238 book reviews from 2006 through this month.