Book Summary: Your habits aren’t your destiny.

The Power of Habit Book Cover

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Studying habits is a wise investment if you consider that, on average, 43 percent of our daily actions are because of habits rather than conscious thoughts. Yes, two-fifths of what we do in a day happens while we are on “autopilot”!

That’s usually okay if the outcome of our actions is aligned with our goals or at least furthers our health or safety. But what about those more challenging habits? The ones that make us unhappy with ourselves afterward? The ones that have consequences that we have to rationalize? Or worse, the ones we’ll indulge in regardless of the risks or repercussions?

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Book Summary: Benefits of a checklist culture.

Checklist Manifesto book cover

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

by Atul Gawande

You might think, “everybody knows how to make a list.” But checklists aren’t those kinds of lists, and this book is about more than list-making.

As well as explaining the whys and hows of checklists, the book explores how they help us deal with the complexities professionals face today – managing complex situations that call for complex responses. And face these demands knowing what we know about human fallibility.

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Book Summary: The productivity secret of top chefs.

Everything in Its Place: The Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind

by Dan Charnas

In this book, journalist Dan Charnas explains how we can manage our work more effectively using the principles found in most professional kitchens around the world. A philosophy and approach to work called “mise en place” (pronounced “MEEZ ahn plahs”).

Early in our careers, we often struggle to handle all the work at the office because we haven’t been trained on how to do it. College and professional school don’t prepare us for this major aspect of life–how to manage projects, set priorities, and create order. Work and workplace organizing skills are necessities in the modern world, yet, we are given minimal guidance and support, then expected to navigate the chaos of the world of work.

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Book Summary: Silicon Valley’s success formula.

Measure What Matters:
How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

by John Doerr

In this book, you will learn about OKRs, a management methodology to identify the most pressing issues in your organization, your department, your team, or in your own work, and get your people aligned and in action on them. It’s the management approach, in part, behind Google’s massive success and that of other businesses and nonprofits.

OKRs stands for “Objectives” and “Key Results.” An objective describes what’s to be accomplished. Key results are the measures to achieve the Objective and the benchmarks to monitor results.

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Book Summary: The three-word formula for powerful communication.

The Narrative Gym for Business: Introducing the ABT Framework for Business Communication and Messaging

by Randy Olson and Park Howell

The Narrative Gym for Business provides a practical, effective framework for shaping any form of communication intended to connect with and motivate the recipient. The heart is a simple three-part model for framing messages using narrative structure, which resonates with recipients in ways that science has proven non-narrative messages can’t.

Dr. Randy Olson is a scientist-turned-filmmaker. He was a tenured professor of marine biology (with a Ph.D. from Harvard) when he moved to Hollywood and went to film school. Besides writing and directing films about significant issues in science, he’s on a mission to help scientists (and others) become better communicators.

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Book Summary: Lessons from exceptional boards.

The Source 12: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards

by BoardSource

BoardSource developed these twelve principles to help nonprofit and association boards maximize their collective capacity. The principles are aspirational, outlining how an empowered board is a strategic asset. They point to what is possible and how boards can add lasting value to the organizations they govern. The full report is available for purchase at:

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Book Summary: Get The Most From Your Board

The Board-Savvy CEO:
Building a High-Impact Partnership with Your Board

by Doug Eadie

In The Board-Savvy CEO, longtime nonprofit governance consultant Doug Eadie lays out the why, what, and how of building a high-performing board and a rock-solid relationship between the board and the chief executive. It’s up to you to provide the who and when, but the rewards are a better performing organization, a higher-performing board, and a stronger relationship between the board and CEO.

Eadie dispels the “me-them” stance and static notions many CEOs have about boards. The board-savvy CEO takes an engaged approach toward the goal of board members who are “satisfied owners of the governing work.”

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Book Summary: A Guide to Strategic Governance

Governing for Growth: Using 7 Measures of Success to Strengthen Board Dialogue and Decision Making

by Nancy R. Axelrod

In addition to summarizing the measures, the guide outlines why these measures matter to boards, discusses the gap between theory and practice, proposes that the CEO is the linchpin for strategic thinking (one of the study’s key findings), and it concludes with how to prepare your board to engage the seven measures.

This guide explores how associations can use the 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t to increase their board’s attention to strategic issues and enhance its strategic thinking abilities. The measures resulted from a study conducted by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) that “identified seven key factors found in associations that remain remarkable year after year.”

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Book Summary: A Primer for Association Board Members

The Governing Board: Key Responsibilities for Boards and Board Members

by Nancy R. Axelrod

In The Governing Board, longtime governance expert Nancy Axelrod provides a solid orientation to the responsibilities of association boards and board members. Published by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), this guide covers:

  • The unique challenges of association board governance
  • Three legal duties of the board and board members
  • A board’s four key overlapping roles
  • Three characteristics that distinguish great boards
  • The four “sights” that a great board needs
  • How good boards can be even better
  • Ten tips for board members

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Book Summary: Create Change by Attraction

7 Rules book cover

7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change: Micro Shifts, Macro Results

by Esther Derby

Change is usually difficult and often inevitable. What isn’t inevitable is people’s resistance to change. While it’s human nature to avoid change, resistance is frequently a consequence of how change is introduced and managed rather than the change itself.

7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change offers seven guidelines for “change by attraction.” It’s an approach that draws people into the process so that they embrace rather than resist change. Agile software developer turned organizational change expert Esther Derby offers an adaptive and responsive approach that engages people in learning, evolving, and owning the new way.

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