Books We Love!

In preparing leaders to address the new world of work, we build on the expertise of the writers, researchers, and leaders who have already done so much to improve business practices and guide people toward success. Here are two ways that you can learn from the authors that we admire:

  1. Our review of the books we love provided below
  2. List of more than 60 books that we recommend (membership required) 

Reviews of Books We Love


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  • 8 Jun 2020 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This fascinating book reveals groundbreaking insights into the 52 discoveries from Gallup’s study of the future of work. Based on new research, it provides insights into key skills, and the importance of managers.

    As the fourth industrial revolution drives rapid change the demands on managers are also changing. Remote workforces, diversity, inclusion, increased automation, gig-workers, and remote working and requiring new working practices. Gallup represents that managers must be developing new skills to handle this new world of work.

    As the nature of work, and the demographics or workers, have changed dramatically in recent years, management practices have been stuck in the past. Millennials, and Generation Z make up more and more of workforces and they don’t want to work for command-and-control bosses. Traditionals (the generation before the Boomers) may be the most engaged of all generations, yet they are slowly disappearing from businesses. Younger generations expect something different, both as consumers and employees. Organizations need to keep pace with these changes and ahead of competitors to remain relevant. Managers are the most influential and powerful 'lever' an organization has for answering this need. More than any other role, managers can increase an employee's engagement, and with it, productivity. Yet, just like the needs and expectations of today's workforce, the role of managers is also changing.

    Unlike usual management books, It's The Manager, is written to be helpful for CEOs, CHROs, and managers. Doing so could well improve an organization's performance and profitability. Chapters are short and punchy. Ideas are deftly explained and presented in actionable ways. Authors Jim Clifton and Jim Harter begin by identifying declining economic dynamism and productivity as the # 1 problems for the world's organizations. Acquiring other businesses has become the most common strategy of organizational growth for all Fortune 1000 companies. Quite obviously, this is an unsustainable option. Maximizing human potential must replace this method of growth and increase profitability if businesses are going to thrive. Replacing the old 'boss' mentality with a new and improved coaching method for management is part of this. This new perspective has the potential to catapult businesses into a future that is both profitable and sustainable. When team inspiration grows, clients, revenue, and quality earnings grow with it. Managers are the key to unlocking an organization's potential, now and into the far future.


    With five sections – Strategy, Culture, Employment Brand, Boss to Coach, and The Future of Work – the authors lead us through how managers can influence teams and ultimately a business' viability at each of these junctures. This structure allows readers to dive into these pages at the point most relevant to their organization. The clear chapter titles make it simple to find scientifically-backed advice on any number of organizational questions leaders or managers may have. Written to be returned to time and again, this business and management book is based on more than 30 years of data, collected across 160 countries through interviews with employees and managers working in a wide range of industries.

    A core theme within the text is that people today aspire to have a good job more than almost anything else. Individuals engage with work that supports their lifestyle, development, idea of who they are, and whom they want to be. More than any other single thing a company can do to provide this ideal is to develop great managers because great managers are the facilitators of good jobs.

    When it comes to strategy, companies need to provide their workers with more than just a task and paycheck at the end of the month. Employees now want purpose with their paychecks, development with satisfaction, ongoing conversations with their managers, and managers who are more like coaches than bosses. Organizations need to develop their teams' strengths rather than focusing on eliminating weaknesses. Job seekers and employees are, above all else, looking for work that supports their life and growth as well as an income.


    To aid this aspiration, managers at all levels need well-defined, articulated missions, and purposes that they can convey to their teams with passion and enthusiasm. They need to be able to help everyone on their team relate to the work they do each day and understand how it is an integral part of creating a bigger picture and meeting a grander purpose. Managers need to feel inspired and valuable to do this; it is up to leaders to develop them. When managers feel this and work together with other managers, organizations can change and evolve with the demands of their market.

    The authors tell us culture begins with purpose, determines your brand, and has a direct, measurable impact on performance. A definite purpose leads to better employee retention. ALL organizations have a culture – yet only a small number have intentionally cultivated theirs. Lack of attention to developing the organization's culture is detrimental to the employees, managers, and leaders' motivation and thereby to the entire business. To understand a company's culture, leaders should be asking themselves some key questions:

    1. How well do our purpose, brand, and culture align?
    2. How clear is our purpose to employees?
    3. Are our employees committed to our culture?

    Once a leader has answered these questions, they can identify their culture and nurture it. Helpfully, the authors have supplied the tools to do just that. Healthy organizational cultures attract world-class talent. They can maximize the organic growth delivered from customer-employee interactions and are agile when responding to market needs. Simply put, organizations need strong cultures to remain competitive.

    In today's hyper-connected world, your company's employment brand is more important than ever. Millennials seek jobs that fit their lifestyle, bring them opportunities to learn, advance, and develop professionally. The quality of a business' managers and interesting, engaging work is more important to them than pay. What's more, these job seekers can research, review, and gain insights into most organizations before they even apply.

    Hiring experiences are shared far and wide – if they're negative, expect them to be shared far and wide.

    Valid assessment systems, psychometric testing, and enriching the talent pool are all strategies this book identifies for enhancing your employment brand and increasing the success of hires. As an added benefit the book comes with a code to take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment for free!

    Businesses can augment college experiences with meaningful internships, providing mentors, or working with institutions to support semester-long projects. That will enable them to develop future employees for their organization while simultaneously filtering the talent that suits their needs. Students receive an enriched learning experience, and your company is future-proofing its hiring. From hiring to onboarding, through to exiting and succession planning, a company's employment brand and strategies can be adjusted and tweaked to protect the future while also improving the present. Managers are integral to each step of this process – encouraging teams, providing mentoring to students, listening to employees at exit interviews, and managing their path of development and engagement.

    Tweaking the manager's role and adjusting the perspective from boss to coach is a significant key to influencing the retention and engagement of all individuals in their team.

    It is estimated that poor management costs $7 trillion globally. Performance management needs to step aside for performance development. Eliminating weaknesses needs to be replaced with strengths-based coaching. Strength-based cultures consistently out-perform competitors. And who is best placed to implement these changes? It's the manager.

    Continual coaching of employees powerfully impacts performance; when accompanied by progress feedback, teams become more engaged, increase productivity, and are less likely to be lured away by better benefits or higher pay. Engaged employees need to be paid at least 20% more by a competitor to be convinced to switch companies.


    If leaders want to take advantage of these findings and boost their business' bottom line and shareholder's stakes, they need to invest in their managers. They need to equip them with the tools to become coaches. The manager's roles need to be redefined and expectations clarified, the resources required to coach their teams, and the professional development to make this switch of focus need to be delivered. Evaluation practices that accurately measure this performance need to be created.

    This book shows how managers can help organizations adapt to a fast-changing world. All organizations need them. They are the cohort that can mobilize the workforce to meet the challenges the future is thrusting towards us. From remote teams to artificial intelligence, attracting talent, and organizational agility, great managers, is the answer to building your business into the future.

  • 23 May 2020 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rather than being devoid of emotion, workplaces are increasingly becoming reliant on the human heart. To quote Minouche Shafik, the Director of London's School of Economics, "In the past, jobs were about muscle, now they're about brains, in the future they'll be about heart." If you want your business to thrive in the future, 'Dare to Lead' is essential reading.

    Delving into the emotions of great leadership and the temptation we all feel to avoid difficult or emotional conversations in the workplace – and other areas of our lives – this book unpicks the values and skills needed to drive organizations to future profitability. Packed full of information based on more than 20 years of research and insights gleaned from countless interviews, a range of behaviors leaders need to enter the next era of work with confidence and courage are identified. Helpfully, clear strategies, and plans for developing these skills and qualities are also provided.

    Leading with Heart

    While automation and AI may be able to take on some of the workplace's analytical and processing tasks, they will never be able to replace human creativity, passion, or heart. Because of this, these qualities will become increasingly valuable in the future. As the author points out, time and again throughout the book, the only way to leverage these qualities is by becoming proficient at leading with heart, leaning into our values, building trust, and courageously exposing our vulnerability when it matters most. Often, this is when it feels the least easy to do.


    Beginning by explaining the intrinsic link between courage and vulnerability and how our emotional armor gets in the way of bold leadership, the book defines four sets of skills that are needed to lead with heart. Far from being 'soft' skills, these abilities are hard-won and require continual practice to keep sharp. Rumbling with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust, and learning to rise after a fall can be learned, observed, and measured. The book comes with additional resources and a workbook downloadable from the author's website to help readers build these skills and measure them too.

    Sweeping away the myths about vulnerability, the text explains why this quality is needed to forge authentic connections, get to the heart of matters, and build trust within an organization. Vulnerability and trust are two sides of the same coin. To betray or withhold one is to do the same with the other. Organizations that lack trust are doomed to fail. Therefore, daring leaders are the ones who continue to learn and become willing to discard their emotional armor, expose their vulnerability, and lead with feeling and emotion.

    But this is not done carelessly. Safe spaces, clear boundaries, and clarity of direction and expectations are also needed if leading with vulnerability and integrity is to bring results. While this may seem to be a gross waste of time, investing effort to understand the fears and feelings of a team or workforce is far more effective than belatedly managing ineffective and unproductive behavior. Clear boundaries and language enable us to understand each other, expose vulnerabilities, and build stronger relationships. These authentic relationships and workplace comradery give people the confidence and freedom to innovate, experiment, and grow. It also allows individuals and teams to try new things without the fear of failure. Trying, failing, and then trying again is a necessary process for the growth of both individuals and organizations. The quicker and more willing we are to do this, the more likely we are to achieve greatness.

    Integrating thinking, feeling, and behavior enables wholeheartedness. This wholeheartedness allows us to engage in trust, creativity, innovation, and take accountability for our actions. These qualities are critical for organizations wanting to develop and grow with their market, keep their star employees, and build a workplace that is connected and peopled with engaged, enthusiastic, and switched on players.

    Emotional Intelligence helps

    When we are open and connected to our feelings so that we can understand what they are telling us, we can engage in critical thinking and make better decisions. Our emotional intelligence helps us navigate through difficult changes in our businesses effectively. As tempting as it can be to 'put on armor,' revert to limbic responses and protect our vulnerable areas, as soon as we do, we lay the path for leading with fear and other destructive behaviors that stifle creativity and growth. A table of common armored leadership techniques is provided with their antitheses, daring leadership methods. A whole chapter is given to support these daring leadership methods with anecdotes and examples. In doing so, the author leads us through the tactics and qualities daring leaders use to achieve brilliant results within their organizations.


    Instead of driving perfectionism and fostering fear of failure, we are challenged to model and encourage healthy striving, empathy, and self-compassion. Rather than reward exhaustion as a status symbol and attaching productivity to self-worth, we are invited to model and support rest, play, and recovery. These simple-sounding changes can be hard to amend if an organization struggles in a culture of shame that tells people to 'Suck it up' or 'Push through.' But if we are not brave enough to turn the tide of destructive thought patterns and emotionally stifling cultures, we are left with rising absenteeism, tumbling engagement levels, and half-hearted efforts at meeting company goals. Ultimately the business and its leaders will lose out.

    Daring leaders do what needs to be done for the business while always keeping the people in mind. Behaving with kindness and providing clarity, acting with generosity, and respecting others stop a toxic workplace from developing and shame eroding a business from the inside. Empathy, connection, and responsible vulnerability are the solid foundation of daring leadership; the workplaces of tomorrow, and the people within them, will need this foundation to create freely, innovate and work from their hearts. The path is not simple, and daring leaders are aware that it is their personal ability to thrive in the ambiguity of paradoxes and opposites that will drive their companies into the future. Grounded confidence, unwavering curiosity, and clarity of values all need to be in a daring leader's collection of qualities to avoid getting lost and resisting the urge to armor up.

    Build Trust

    Helpfully, the book finishes by tying behaviors to these values and feelings, making it easy to name the talents and skills needed to underpin them. It shows how daring leaders believing that people do the best with what they have, allows them to respect others for who they are and hold them accountable for what they are doing. By taking this perspective, organizations, teams, and individuals can build trust, develop their skills, and grow to be better. It identifies the behaviors of trust – boundaries, reliability, accountability, keeping confidences, integrity, holding back judgment, and generosity. In doing so, it provides the reader with tangible and actionable methods for building self-awareness, creating a climate of trust, and developing organizational resilience one hire at a time.

    All the qualities and behaviors discussed in the book are ones that will be most valuable in the future of work. They cannot be programmed. Machines cannot generate them. They are intrinsically human, challenging to master, and forever tied to our values and who we really are. Daring leadership is about the authenticity of self and enabling authenticity in those around us. It may not be easy, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile.

  • 10 May 2020 4:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is the third book from bestselling authors and futurists Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler which tackles the challenges of the future. The first, Abundance, looked at the really big global issues, such as poverty and hunger. The second, Bold, considered our new emerging technologies and how they may create a raft of powerful new entrepreneurs. This latest volume, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, is a prophecy outlining how our world will change in response to the next ten years of rapid technological transformation.

    Jumping straight in with flying cars, you could be forgiven for wondering what this book has to do with the future of work. Yet the in-depth exploration of how the technologies of today are evolving and permeating every aspect of our lives includes a view on what the new world of work will look like. Not only is how we get to work going to change, the places we earn our living and the new areas of commerce that technology will open up are discussed and dissected in detail, laying out the opportunities and threats that will present themselves in the coming decade. And it’s all coming so much faster than you think.

    The Future Is Faster Than You Think is laid out neatly in sections covering all aspects of our lives – work, rest and play. Neatly packaged in three sections, the book takes you on a ride that gets faster and more fantastic with each section while never losing plausibility of the arguments and discussion posed.

    Part one: converging technologies

    Section one begins with fantastical flying cars that are already a reality. From here, individual technologies such as 3D printing, bespoke medications, applications for blockchain technology and materials science are all explored. All of these and more are advancing, on their own, at a rapid rate. Yet, as the book explains, when these technologies converge, the rate of advancement accelerates exponentially. Innovations explode, feeding off each other and creating a positive feedback loop that gets bigger and bigger, affecting more and more people around the world. What was once far-fetched fantasy could now be within the reach of reality and delivered to your door by the end of the decade. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this will be our new world of work.

    Daily commutes can be replaced with VR connections. Our hyperconscious world, with its constant stream of information, is likely to be managed largely by AI’s designed to makes sense of this barrage of data on our behalf; all with the aim of making our lives easier and happier. This same AI is likely to augment our workforces and deliver more meaningful, engaging and enjoyable jobs for all.

    Part two: welcome to the the experience economy

    Part two looks at how the seven main areas of America’s commerce – retail, advertising, entertainment, education, healthcare, insurance, and food – where more than 80% of Americans find their employment, will change beyond recognition in just a decade. Crowdsourcing ‘on steroids’ will negate the need for insurance. Healthcare will become accessible to more and more people around the world, and what’s more, it’ll be tailored to your own unique DNA. Education will become immersive and entertaining – geared towards putting students in a state of flow enabled by AI that monitors the student as well as providing lessons. Because of this we’ll be able to learn more, remembering and integrate the knowledge being imparted.

    All of this is made possible with the merging of technologies. The lack of teachers can be answered by virtual reality and artificially intelligent programs. Advertising will become so personal,thanks to Geolocation technologies and the understanding of our mountains of data by AI, that advertisers and brands will need to be careful not to overstep the line between helpful and creepy.

    The experience economy, already growing at scale, will come to replace the product and service economies. Retail will change so much it becomes unrecognizable in comparison to today’s experience of shopping. Customer service assistants will be supported by AIs or otherwise replaced by them.

    When taken all together and dissected to see how each of the advances in different technological fields will influence and impact the others, the question becomes not ‘how can this be possible?’, but ‘why aren’t we seeing more of these changes already?’

    The truth is, in some parts of the world, these changes are already afoot. Children in Africa are self-educating with a basic tablet loaded with educational games and tutorials, nothing more. Smart objects in the home are already ensuring we never run out of coffee and switching off the heating when there’s no one around to benefit from it. Blockchain technology is facilitating smart contracts between workers in the gig economy from different corners of the world. Our world is becoming smaller, faster, and smarter, thanks to the many individual technological advances. When these advances converge, technology bounds ahead at an increasing speed. We start to realize a world where every individual is connected and given agency and the ability to engage with any other human on the planet – no matter where they physically stand. This in itself could be the largest innovation in all of history to date.

    The waves of acceleration explored in part one are followed as they spread through all of the sectors investigated in part two. The impact on our daily lives is both far reaching and fantastical. Up until here, the book keeps its view to the coming decade, and if you through it was tracking fast then, in part three, things go into overdrive.

    After detailing the disruption we’ll grow to expect and accept in our daily lives over the coming decade, the authors begin looking at the global effects of these disruptions and how they can, and already are, being used to answer some of the most pressing problems of our times.

    Part three: a new technology-led World

    Part three is where things get really exciting; taking a longer term view that looks at the next century with ease. As well as exploring the solutions that are already in process for the pressing issues of clean water, climate change, biodiversity loss, extreme weather and pollution, the authors look at how various migrations will bring about a world far more akin to William Gibson’s Neuromancer than the one we’re living in now. Technology won’t take work away, it will simply change it to beyond anything we’ve imagined up until now.

    When the Internet took hold of the world, 2.6 new jobs were created for every one job that became extinct, across 13 different countries. The same pattern can be expected for the proliferation of AI, robots and other converging technologies. People will be able to retrain quickly and efficiently thanks to the advances in education and its cross-over with VR and AI. Workforces are likely to be made up of teams including disembodied AI, robots and creative humans. New tech will emerge to answer the new problems that arise with these changes.

    Technology has given us, and is still giving us, the tools to answer the problems facing us today. Unusual collaborations between massive corporations like Coca-Cola and prolific inventors like Dean Kamen are now providing drinking water to small, remote villages in Africa. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines are already surpassing traditional forms of electricity production. As is pointed out, time and again, the biggest hurdle holding us back from solving humanities biggest and most pressing crises today is cooperation on a global scale.

    However, even if we do learn to cooperate on this unprecedented level before it’s all too late, the convergence of technologies and multiple climate crises is likely to create more jobs as well as the biggest population migration the world has ever seen.

    Migration is one area of human movement that promotes innovation. The need to adapt to a new culture encourages immigrants to meld their familiar solutions with the new cultures they are integrating with. A natural byproduct of this adaption has been shown to be innovation – new products, processes, businesses and jobs. As new worlds open up through the coming century, migration to space, other countries, the cloud, virtual and augmented realities will take place.

    Further advances like brain-computer interfaces and nano-bots that enable extreme longevity will create a civilization that is light-years ahead of where we stand today, and all of this in less than 100 years.

    Conclusion

    This book details our journey from now towards greater abundance, meaning and happiness. It’s going to be a wild ride that just keeps getting faster.

    If you’ve been wondering how cleaner air, more efficient agriculture or faster transport options are going to impact the world of work, this book lays it all out in scarily precise and plain detail. Our world is speeding forward on a path to an ever more healthy, wealthy and happy period of humanity.

    The Future Is Faster Than You Think is a terrific summary of how the world may change to the next decade’s wave of technological disruption. Well written and genuinely fascinating , The Future Is Faster Than You Think is a discerning and perceptive look at the future and the new world of work.

  • 5 May 2020 4:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you are looking for a practical guide that not only explains what emotional intelligence is but also how to develop it in yourself, your teams, and your company, this book is it.

    Emotional intelligence is often talked about and even understood, as knowing yourself well enough to respond to your team and surroundings sensitively, as opposed to reacting without empathy and unintentionally causing friction. However, as this book so deftly explains, there is much more to emotional intelligence than simple empathy and self-awareness. Fully faceted emotional intelligence starts with you, extends to those around you, and moves on to provide the ‘why’ of situations. It is this well rounded, holistic emotional intelligence that will be in high demand in the future of work.

    Full Book Review available for Members

  • 4 May 2020 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First published in 1999, this book was an instant success. Updates have helped keep the book current. But it is its underlying premise that seems to make it more relevant than ever for today’s changing world of work.

    No matter what your business is, ‘Intellectual Capital’ – your people – is the most valuable asset it has. Once upon a time, a company’s value was based on its assets, profit, and liabilities. In 1999, when this book was published, just 60% of a company’s value was based on these metrics. That number has been shrinking steadily. More and more, intangibles such as research and development, customer satisfaction, innovation, and employee satisfaction are becoming the measure of value. As we proceed into the coming decades, this will ring true with increasing strength. Healthy, vibrant workplaces are the ones that will adapt and innovate to become part of the future.

    Full Book Review available for Members

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