Book and Article Reviews
Whitmore, John. Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose Nicholas Brealey: 2002
Coaching has been a buzzword in business circles for some time. In Coaching for Performance, Whitmore explains, teaches and applies the GROW model as a way to master the skills needed to help people unlock their potential and maximize their performance.
Carol’s Know How Note: The GROW model can be used in many situations beyond coaching. Use it anytime you want to move a conversation towards powerful action. For example, you want to have a brainstorming session with your team. Just follow the model to facilitate the brainstorming session (I’ve inserted a few tips so you get the gist of how to use it)
GOAL: Set the agenda for the brainstorming session. “Team, today we are going to have a brainstorming session about what we might do about Customer XYZ’s issue.”
REALITY: “Let’s begin by going around the table and hearing from each of you what you know about the customer’s issue.”
OPTIONS: “Now that we have a full picture of what’s going on, what can we do about it? Let’s try to get at least 10 ideas on the table:
WHAT / WILL Commitment: “Out of all the ideas we have generated, which 1 or 2 makes the most sense for us to get started on”
And remember, execution is always the tricky part. So assign action items as well as when you are going to check-in on progress. And also remember, there is no such thing as a perfect solution to any problem, so plan for roadblocks and issues along the way.
Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Fireside, Simon & Schuster: 1990.
The book lists seven principles that, if established as habits, help a person achieve true interdependent effectiveness. Covey argues this is achieved by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he believes to be universal and timeless.
Carol’s Know How Note: This book has so many great leadership ideas that I could write a whole workbook on how to apply Covey’s principles to your leadership [maybe I will!]. But for now, just one application idea. Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This week, instead of replying to someone’s idea with your thoughts, ask them 2 probing questions about what they think, FIRST. And then reflect on what you learned, that you might have missed, if you didn’t ask those questions.
Hesselbein, Frances and Alan Shrader, Editors. Leader to Leader 2: Enduring Insights on Leadership from the Leader to Leader Institute’s Award-Winning Journal. Jossey-Bass, Inc. Publishers, San Francisco: 2008.
The challenges of today and tomorrow demand new ways of leading organizations, building collaborations, and creating communities. Since its premier issue, the award-winning journal Leader to Leader has presented the best thinking of leaders, for leaders. This collection of articles from the widely acclaimed journal brings together the timely but classic wisdom of world-renowned leaders, best-selling writers, legendary thinkers, and esteemed business philosophers.
Carol’s Know How Note: Lots of great short, thought provoking articles in this compendium. Here’s an idea to provoke your own thinking on leadership. Before you actually read one of the articles… create a 5 point outline of what you would say based on just the article title. Have fun comparing what you know about leadership and what these leadership consultants know about leadership.
Kaye, Beverly and Jordan-Evans, Sharon Love ’em or Lose ‘em Berrett-Koehler. 2005
They’re your talented, committed employees – high-potentials and solid citizens alike. Regardless of economic swings, you need them to stay. And you need them to be engaged, motivated and producing at their peak. Research shows that managers have more power and influence than anyone else in engaging and retaining talent. Read this book to learn how to engage and hang on to talented people.
Carol’s Know How Note: I’ve shared this book with thousands of leaders and everyone loves “Love ‘em or Lose ‘em”. It’s easy to read and full of great, no cost ideas on how to engage and motivate people. My tip is based on the ‘Ask – What Keeps You’ chapter. Once a year ASK each employee what he or she is looking for in the work environment. Create a list together of their 5 most important aspects of the work environment (e.g., challenging work, talented colleagues, supportive boss). Then ASK them, if any of these aspects are not up to their expectations. And then ASK them what you could do to make the environment more engaging for them. [And here’s were the book is really helpful – each chapter is focused on strategies managers can implement to give employees the work environment they are ASKing for!] Pick a strategy or two and DO IT! And then ASK again, did we make the environment better?
Kouzes, James M. and Posner, Barry Z. The Leadership Challenge John Wiley & Sons. 2007.
The Leadership Challenge, one of the best-selling leadership books of all time, is considered by many as the most trusted source on becoming a better leader. The authors emphasize that the fundamentals of leadership are not a fad. While the context of leadership has changed dramatically, the content of leadership has endured the test of time. With scores of case studies and a timeless and inspiring message, The Leadership Challenge, is a “personal coach in a book,” guiding readers through the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.
Carol’s Know How Note: Do a little research of your own – patterned after what Kouzes & Posner did. Take a Leader you admire to lunch and ask him or her to describe their ‘personal best leadership experience’. Then ask them what they learned about being a leader through that experience. Then ask yourself, what can I learn from their experience.