8 Top Titles - Great reads that changed my thoughts and actions in 2015
A big part of my job is to read.
Many of you haven’t got time for it. So I make it a part of my job.
Sometimes, the best option to solve your current issue may be one you haven’t considered because you’re a busy executive answering calls from directors, staff interruptions, customers’ questions…
I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been reading and, importantly, why I read it.
How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
Sally Hogshead (2014) - Buy book
I had to buy this book because I have always wanted to know what the world thought about me. Other assessments (like DiSC) tell you how you see the world and focus on changing you to more like everyone else. Not this book!
Much of the research and anecdotes presented in this book deal with the workplace and how you can leverage your personality "advantages" to be successful.
Even though I struggle with the word ‘fascination’, my fascination advantage was revealed as Innovation – you change the game with creativity, and Prestige – you earn respect with higher standards… which makes me The Trendsetter… or The Avant-Garde… depending which way you look at it.
What I love about this book is that it stays very positive – something I needed at the time. Needless to say, I read this book at a mighty pace and took the bonus assessment.
If you want to give this assessment a whirl, see the link at the end of this blog.
Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love and Live the Life of Your Dreams
Jeff Walker (2014) - Buy book
What a crazy title, eh? I read this as I needed to disrupt my marketing.
Walker is a charismatic man who is easy to read, listen to, watch and learn from. He told me how to stop living in hope with my marketing and actually get my prospects and customers to let me know what I could do to help and serve them. Walker then lays out a formula for creating a powerful sequence of marketing and releasing new products (the Product Launch Formula). It works… for me not in the way that I expected or according to the book.
I have implemented huge chunks of this book and I still have a lot to learn. The first lesson was just to ‘push the boat out’, so that’s why you got my fabulous looking videos at the close of 2015… which did get better as I went along.
Again, it’s a positive book where you feel Walker is actually talking directly to you.
Resonate: For People Who Need to Be Heard
Dr Louise Mahler (2015) - Buy book
Dr Louise Mahler is an Australian voice coach extraordinaire. Her book, Resonate, is a treasure trove of evidenced-based vocal techniques that helps you position your body, voice and mind to present with confidence and persuasion.
I wrote a wildly popular post about this book on LinkedIn. For people who are struggling with getting their message across in meetings, boardrooms, or leading staff, read this book.
I read this book because I need to create an approachable and happy visage on my videos. One tiny adjustment to my lips has given me a happy face – and because my face feels happier, I feel happier. The reaction I get from other people is more positive and friendly. All it took was the world’s smallest facial adjustment.
There will be gold in here for people who need to be influential when they present to others.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Patrick Lencioni (2002) - Buy book
This is a great team building book. Lencioni presents theory in the form of a story so it is easy to picture the transformations.
I read this book as I have a number of CEOs dealing with dysfunctional boards at the moment. Balanced with a lot of other material I have read (research, reports and academic papers), I have to agree that TRUST is the foundation of good teams.
Getting there is hard, especially for volunteer boards. Whereas this book is presented from the perspective of the CEO who can hire and fire her executive management team, it’s a different story for CEOs, Chairs and volunteer board members.
It’s a major focus for me as part of my work this year. No one has cracked the code as yet… although I’m getting close. I’ll keep you posted!
Wealth Through Workshops: Magnetize Your Audience
Callan Rush (2015)
This was a free e-book but a good one. I’ve read a tonne of free business books of late that are delivered by affiliate links… most aren’t worth your time. Rush’s is worth a mention because she promotes education-based marketing, something that I have taken on board.
Rush and Walker provided the inspiration behind my free ebook, Foster Future Growth. Rush’s methods have helped me clarify who is my specific audience (otherwise known as a target market) and helped me develop my education-based marketing plan for 2016.
When I combined Rush’s approach with Walker’s launch formula for Foster Future Growth I got great results – thank you to those who took the plunge and watched and read the material!
Unfortunately, Rush’s free book has disappeared off her site now… that’s how it is with these freebies… mine will too.
Reports, research and academic papers
The Americans produce vast quantities of easy-to-read business books. It is a great shame that there is not as much Australian or UK based material.
I find most Australian and UK papers are dry and boring as if they’re written by a bureaucrat who isn’t interested in helping you succeed and ‘live the life of your dreams’.
Why are we all so serious? Are we afraid to actually admit we LIKE governance and marketing and strategy, and being on boards, and complex problem solving, …and so on?
I love this stuff!
Often, if you can get past the tone of the language there are a lot of useful insights. Sometimes, there’s not… it’s just confusing because there are lots of people writing about governance and strategy who shouldn’t.
These are the ones that inspired action in my work or approach:
The Membership Managers Handbook: Practical information, useful tools and innovative ideas for ensuring long term membership growth in your association
Belinda Moore (2015) - report here
I attended a class of Belinda Moore’s around 10 years ago and her lessons have stayed with me ever since. I haven’t finished reading this very dense report, but one thing jumped out at me regarding our aging board members. Moore states on p.10,
Baby Boomers are resistant to the required changes: Despite wanting to change the world, now that they have reached a situation where they are comfortable, Baby Boomers are resistant to change. They are especially resistant to change when it requires them to give up some of the control they have spent their entire careers trying to attain. Many [Baby Boomers] are reluctant to adopt more innovative initiatives because those initiatives don’t appeal to them personally.
When does good governance lead to better performance?
Dr Robert Kay and Dr Chris Goldspink (2015) - report here
This report prepared by Dr Robert Kay and Dr Chris Goldspink on behalf of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), illuminated two very important facts. See the full article on this report here.
First is that ‘good’ governance is a team activity. Made up of the board and CEO, the team’s primary function is collective sense-making. The ability of the board to read the external and internal environment is fundamental to effective governance. Therefore, governance can only be as good as the team’s collective thinking and decision-making process.
Second, while diversity, independence of mind and openness to alternatives all contributed to effective governance, the most important factor is trust.
Now you can see why I read the Five Dysfunctions of a Team book!
Outthink the Competition®: A Manual for Applying the Rapid-Cycle Strategy Process
Kaihan Krippendorff (2007)
I’ve been reading Kaihan Krippendorff’s e-newsletters for years now. This report is just one of his that I have read. He’s an out-there thinker with some unique perspectives on strategy. I love it, although he can get quite technical and mind-bendy.
At Krippendorff s’ core, though, is pushing bold new ways of thinking. He champions the Outthinkers, those few innovators who defy the standard practices… and that’s me.
Fascination Advantage test
If you want to take the Sally Hogshead Fascination Advantage test, follow these instructions:
1. Go to HowToFascinate.com/YOU
2. Enter the code JOY-2016 how the world sees you and your information
3. Click START NOW!