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Some of my favorite work-related books are business fables, also known as management fiction – quick, easy motivational reads that share lessons to be applied in the business world with the aim to improve organizational culture. Here are ten that I think every business owner or manager should read (or listen to if you prefer audio books):
- The New One-Minute Manager® – Ken Blanchard shared management techniques that get results – one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands – in the original version of this book, first published in 1982. In the 2015 version, “reprimands” have been updated to become “redirections,” a technique that is more in tune with today’s business environment. Best quote: “The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.”
- Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson explains techniques for dealing with change so that you can enjoy less stress and more success. Best quote: “What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”3.
- Juggling Elephants – An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done—Now! by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig explains how to manage your time and priorities. Best quote: “A ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once.”4.
- Our Iceberg is Melting – Changing and Succeeding Under Any Circumstances by Seth Godin is another great book about change management, a reality in today’s business world. Best quote: “Handle the challenge of change well, and you can prosper greatly. Handle it poorly, and you put yourself and others at risk.”5.
- The Five Disfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure and explains how to get your team back on track to accomplish goals. Best quote: “It’s as simple as this. When people don’t unload their opinions and feel like they’ve been listened to, they won’t really get on board.”6.
- Death by Meeting, also by Lencioni, provides practical advice on how to improve your meeting structure, participation, and results. Best quote: “The hard truth is, bad meetings almost always lead to bad decisions, which is the best recipe for mediocrity.”7.
- Who Killed Change? by Blanchard and John Britt solves the mystery of leading people through change. Best quote: “Every day organizations around the world launch change initiatives—often big, expensive ones—designed to improve the status quo. Yet 50 to 70 percent of these change efforts fail. A few perish suddenly, but many die painful, protracted deaths that drain the organization’s resources, energy, and morale.”8.
- You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Mark Sanborn explains how anyone, anywhere, can make a positive difference. Best quote: “All leadership begins with self-mastery. You can’t lead others until you can first lead yourself.”9.
- Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell shares eight leadership strategies that will help you become a better manager, employee, and person. Best quote: “The most important thing you do as a leader is to hire the right people.”10.
- The Go Giver- A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann shares five simple principles that are the secret to achieving realistic success in life and becoming a better person. Best quote: “People, remember this: no matter what your training, no matter what your skills, no matter what area you’re in, you are your most important commodity. The most valuable gift you have to offer is you.”
An HR professional can help business owners navigate workplace challenges.
From hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, and so much more, Next Level Solutions can work with you to provide the services that you need to run your business.
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