Book Summary: A better lens on leadership and group performance.

DAC Book Cover

Direction, Alignment, Commitment: Achieving Better Results Through Leadership, Second Edition

by Cynthia McCauley and Lynn Fick-Cooper, Center for Creative Leadership

This book aims to help us refine our perspective on group performance by deepening our understanding of “leadership” and its impact on collective success. It encourages us to move beyond instinctively blaming individual leaders for poor performance. Instead, it urges us to recognize that leadership is a social process involving factors across the group, extending beyond the person in charge. As a result, a “leadership” problem isn’t always a “leader” problem. Effective leadership yields three outcomes within the group: direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC). We can enhance the overall success of the group by assessing and improving DAC variables in a holistic manner.

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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.

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Book Summary: Turn goals into accomplishments – systematically.

4 Disciplines of Execution book cover

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.

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Book Summary: Be the leader your team loves.

Progress Principal book cover

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

by Teresa Amabile, Ph.D. and Steven Kramer, Ph.D.

This book uncovers the real ingredients of productivity that lead to high-performance teams and organizations. It’s principally based on research involving 238 employees in seven companies who provided daily diary entries (nearly 12,000 of them) that revealed the ups and downs of their “inner work lives” and the impact on their performance.

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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: 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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