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Posts Tagged ‘Big Picture Thinker’

Top Ten Books-Understanding Humans and Organizations

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Books offer a world of knowledge.

The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain, Daniel Goleman.

I find that the more time I take to bolster my thinking brain the better my decisions are in business and in the other aspects of life.  Reading books from a range of authors offers me a better way to think, connect ideas and see the bigger picture.

The following list is for anyone in a professional and/or managerial role that is looking for a less bumpy way to evolve through the shift to the [connected/digital era] we are experiencing now. Some of these books were published more than twenty years ago and some were published this year. Some of the older publications have updates and you may prefer to read those. They are all related and they all provide a picture of the workplace to come. I have listed them in the order that I think will most benefit you to read but you can choose your own way through them.

(1) The Art Of Systems Thinking (1997)

Joseph O’Connor & Ian McDermott

This little book is a gem for anyone struggling to understand how and why things happen in any organization. If you want to influence the decision makers in your organization to buy on board to your workplace ideas, start with this book. Being prepared to answer the Why, What, When, Who, Where questions will be easier once you understand Systems Thinking.

(2) The Fifth Discipline (1990)

Peter Senge

Still the best starting point to grasp a reasonable understanding of the value of knowledge in organizations. If you haven’t read this don’t wait – it is as relevant today as it was when first published.

(3) Emotional Intelligence (1995)

Daniel Goleman

Since Daniel Goleman first wrote Emotional Intelligence a number of other authors have published perspectives on Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. I believe that starting with Daniel Goleman’s work offers the reader a solid place to begin to understand how EI affects many aspects of organizational success.

(4) Who Are You Meant To Be? (2013)

Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard and Anne Dranitsaris PhD

Anyone who has experienced one or more of the many personality or competency based assessment tools in their career will appreciate the work that Heather and Anne have done to bring actionable meaning to the awareness the other tools offer. If you have developed a cynical or resistent attitude towards such assessments based on past negative experiences,  put it aside just long enough to understand the value offered here. Understanding this work will serve you well in any aspect of your life.

(5) Flourish (2011)

Martin E.P. Seligman

Martin Seligman has a friendly, let’s talk, way of writing about psychology. In this work he says: Coaching is a practice in search of a backbone. Two backbones, actually: a scientific, evidence-based backbone as well as a theoretical backbone. Positive psychology can provide both. And that, for this executive coach sounds like great common sense. Even if you are not a coach, this book will provide a nice little positive mood swing, something we can all benefit from.

(6) Immunity to Change (2009)

Robert Kegan & Lisa Laskow Lahey

I like this book as it fits neatly into my own research and work on change and resilience. If you have responsibility for strengthening the outcomes of change in your organization it can be a useful tool to add to your toolbox. I don’t see it as the answer but it does offer some thoughts that help when working through change with diverse teams. The more tools we have to work with the less chance of falling into the ‘one size fits all’ method of change management.

(7) Clear Leadership (2001)

Gervase Bushe

This is an interesting work, somewhat more complex in the ideas inside it that the title suggests. However, it is worth having on your book shelf to refer to once in a while. It has a way of offering clarity when the fog rolls in.

(8) To Sell is Human (2012)

Daniel Pink

I appreciate the work that Daniel Pink has produced, while Drive certainly struck home with many, is it possible that To Sell is Human is more practical? I think so, and I would like to know what you think once you read it.

(9) The Connected Company (2012)

Dave Gray & Thomas Vander Wal

“To keep pace with today’s connected customers, your company must become a connected company. That means deeply engaging with workers, partners, and customers, changing how work is done, how you measure success, and how performance is rewarded. It requires a new way of thinking about your company: less like a machine to be controlled, and more like a complex, dynamic system that can learn and adapt over time.” I always prefer reading authors who have tested their theories and research through their own hands on efforts, it lends a level of credibility that makes all the difference.

(10) Flat Army (2013)

Dan Pontefract

An unobstructed flow of corporate commonality.

Dan has deftly connected the wisdom of many other organizational behaviour and business research authors, added his own brand of organizational dynamics, and woven in his experience of employing these ideas in currently successful businesses. A rarity in leadership writing, offering the theory, research and practical application from the cyber desk of someone who can say, I researched it and also applied it. If you are not familiar with the other works on this list, I suggest you read them first as a way to ease into the groundbreaking work offered in Flat Army.

And that is my Evolve Top Ten List that offers much to consider about organizational life! What are your suggestions? What books have helped shape your thinking and how did they make a difference in how you went about your work?

 

Create Your Niche-A Personal Perspective

In the Winter blog series we talked about The Leadership Change Gap, Values Based Leadership ROI, and Improving Performance-A Value Proposition. Spring is now here and it is time for a new thread. This season we take a look at coaching from a more personal perspective so let me know if anything in particular resonates with you.

Coaching has so many meanings these days that it seems to have become a little blurred in peoples minds. This is one of the reasons why it helps to define a niche for ones coaching practice. The niche that a coach defines for their practice helps clients and prospective clients understand what benefits they will gain from working with the coach they choose. I am starting this series with a look at how I created Evolve Executive Coaching.

I chose Executive Coaching as the area to focus on because throughout my corporate career working with managers, supervisors, executives, and emerging leaders has always been the most rewarding aspect of my work. Since moving to the entrepreneurial world, especially small business, I have also discovered that same level of rewards in working with the creators and drivers of these businesses. I am building my business by having coaching packages that are suitable for owners and managers in small businesses and packages that are suitable for executives in medium to large organizations.  I tend to be a ‘big picture’ thinker so from my perspective working toward successful change with leaders and emerging leaders is the most impactful way to use my own skills.

Having a front row seat to observe all these different types of leaders create even more impact in their organizations and communities through the coaching plus action process is terrific.

I know from my years working in medium to large organizations that when the leadership is effective, the culture in the organization is more conducive to a good employee experience. That counts, not just because I want everyone to have a good experience at work, but because when employees have a good experience in the workplace, the customers they serve are much more likely to also have a good experience with your business. Independent business owners also benefit from this type of coaching as it helps to create an approach to employees and customers that improves their ability to create the type of trust and value proposition the customer is seeking.

Coaching benefits come about through two primary ways: the ‘aha’ moment when something just clicks and the longer process of understanding how and when we create the results we get. Those ‘aha’ moments shed light on a challenge but that understanding rarely provides the solution. Coaches take those aha moments and create the solution with the client, the “Evolve” process and turning that into sustainable change. Sometimes it can be accomplished in two coaching sessions [assessments help speed up results] and sometimes it occurs over a longer period of time. Evolve Executive Coaching offers complementary exploratory sessions to determine the best choice for the client and their readiness for committing to the process.

This month I am adding new service packages to my practice because I have been working with several professionals that are in the beginning or middle of wanting something different from their work. This work reminded me how much I enjoy working with people in transition that are committed to change. Being part of this transition is very rewarding for me as the results are positive but more importantly that these clients trust me enough to work with me at a vulnerable point in their career is meaningful. Watch the Evolve Executive Coaching blog, Twitter and LinkedIn posts for details on these packages.

The next post in this series will include some quotes from Evolve Executive Coaching clients that talk about the benefits they achieved from the packages they signed on for. As always, client confidentiality is honoured, so while the quotes are real quotes from clients they will not be identified.

I leave you with a few questions to either answer via the comments or to take away and consider on your own, so here are a couple of questions for you today:

When was the last time you sat down and looked at your own Evolve process? What did you learn when you did this? What actions did you take based on that review?

 
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