Nearly every nonprofit faces the challenge of hiring a new chief executive at some point. And every board seems to remember the terse line in their bylaws when it comes to managing the transition. The one that reads, “The board is responsible for hiring and supervising the chief executive.” Unfortunately, that directive doesn’t come close to addressing the board’s responsibility for managing executive turnover.
Book Summary: A master class in making better decisions.
Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts
by Annie Duke
Thinking with Bets promises to help us make better decisions in an uncertain and challenging world.
Written by poker champion and decision strategist Annie Duke, the book’s premise is that poker is a good metaphor for life. Decisions in life are bets on hoped-for outcomes. Like poker bets, these decisions can have significant consequences. And they are made under conditions of uncertainty, with incomplete information, and at least some luck is involved.
Book Summary: How trust and purpose unleash performance.
Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies
by Paul J. Zak
Stewarding the organization’s culture and operating environment are among the most important leadership functions. And trust is one of the most crucial factors in that environment. Trust profoundly influences everything from employee retention to the organization’s ability to achieve its most crucial goals.
In the Trust Factor, neuroscientist Paul Zak uses his original research to reveal insights for building high-trust organizations. He explains how brain chemicals affect people’s behavior, how trust is undermined, and how you can stimulate it.
Book Summary: Turn goals into accomplishments – systematically.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling, Scott Thele, and Beverly Walker
The premise of this book is that defining a strategy is easy, but executing it is difficult. And execution is made especially hard by what the authors call the “whirlwind” of daily activities necessary to keep the organization running. As always, urgency trumps importance. We need to elevate the importance of what the book calls “WIGs.” The one or two overarching, “wildly important goals” that would make all the difference in the world to your organization’s future and get your departments and teams to develop and focus on supporting WIGs.
Book Summary: Amazon’s ideas can make your organization smarter.
Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon
by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr
Whatever you think about Amazon, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that it’s had on so many aspects of the business landscape, from retailing to publishing to entertainment and even cloud data services. Working Backwards, written by two early and senior executives, describes some of the notable business practices behind Amazon’s growth and impact. Mostly these are ideas that organizations of any type or size can use or adapt.
Book Summary: Make better decisions.
Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking
by Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin
Conventional wisdom says that trade-offs are inevitable when making hard choices. But settling for the least bad option is a lousy way to make a big decision. This book proposes a “third and better way” to make important choices using proven, repeatable processes to create better answers to problems, sidestep our built-in biases, and avoid trading off one stakeholder group’s needs for another.
Book Summary: Three keys to unlock your influence.
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change
by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
The premise of this book is that leaders are agents of change. Whether they’re heading an organization, leading a social change movement, or parenting, genuine leaders are always trying to create something better and more impactful. And to do that, influence is the most critical tool in the leader’s tool belt.
BHAGs – The missing link between vision and accomplishment
We’ve all seen them, read them, and maybe even written some of them – lofty vision statements that are meant to inspire our teams and spur forward action. But do they? More often than not, there’s a missing link between vision and action: concrete goals and a plan for fulfillment. A plan that reaches beyond the annual or three-year strategic plan and provides a bridge to a future where that vision is realized.
A BHAG can provide that critical link.
Book Summary: Motivation for the 21st century
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink
The premise of this book is that motivation practices in many organizations have yet to catch up with our expanding understanding of human nature. We’re still using industrial-age management techniques while trying to succeed in a knowledge-age world.
Using psychological research and case studies, Dan Pink outlines three levels of motivation, which he names Motivation 1.0 (based on our survival drive), Motivation 2.0 (based on our drive to seek rewards and avoid punishment), and Motivation 3.0 (our drive to seek autonomy, mastery, and purpose).
Book Summary: Proposals for a TL;DR world.
The One-Page Proposal: How To Get Your Business Pitch Onto One Persuasive Page
by Patrick G. Riley
Do you have an idea or initiative that you want to get out into the world? A one-page proposal can be a great way to develop and communicate the concept quickly and effectively to potential allies and supporters.
The One-Page Proposal can help ensure that your one-pager hits the mark. Written by longtime entrepreneur Patrick Riley, the book covers the structure of a successful one-page proposal and its development process. It also includes many examples.