that we recommend for leaders and aspiring leaders
The Art of Management, a podcast hosted by Jack Skeels, educates and guides managers in how to be a better manager, empower teams, increase inclusion, and be prepared for the future of knowledge work organizations.
This selection of curated books compliment the philosophies shared in The Art of Management and we encourage you to read some of our favorites as you listen along.
Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright
Every organization is composed of tribes, naturally occurring groups of between 20 and 150 people. Until now, only a few leaders could identify and develop their tribes, and those rare individuals were rewarded with loyalty, productivity, and industry-changing innovation. Tribal Leadership shows leaders how to assess, identify, and upgrade their tribes' cultures, one stage at a time. The result is an organization that can thrive in any economy.
Edgar H. Schein
Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry.
Ed Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.
Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.
In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?
Scaling Lean & Agile Development
Craig Larman and Bas Vodde
Great handbook of tips, techniques, frameworks, etc.
Increasingly, large product-development organizations are turning to lean thinking, agile principles and practices, and large-scale Scrum to sustainably and quickly deliver value and innovation. However, many groups have floundered in their practice-oriented adoptions. Why? Because without a deeper understanding of the thinking tools and profound organizational redesign needed, it is as though casting seeds on to an infertile field. Now, drawing on their long experience leading and guiding large-scale lean and agile adoptions for large, multisite, and offshore product development, and drawing on the best research for great team-based agile organizations, internationally recognized consultant and best-selling author Craig Larman and former leader of the agile transformation at Nokia Networks Bas Vodde share the key thinking and organizational tools needed to plant the seeds of product development success in a fertile lean and agile enterprise.
In a competitive environment that demands ever-faster cycle times and greater innovation, applied lean thinking and agile principles are becoming an urgent priority. Scaling Lean & Agile Development will help leaders create the foundation for their lean enterprise–and deliver on the significant benefits of agility.
Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Presenting 12 breakthrough practices for bringing creativity into all human endeavors, The Art of Possibility is the dynamic product of an extraordinary partnership. The Art of Possibility combines Benjamin Zander's experience as conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and his talent as a teacher and communicator with psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander's genius for designing innovative paradigms for personal and professional fulfillment.
The authors' harmoniously interwoven perspectives provide a deep sense of the powerful role that the notion of possibility can play in every aspect of life. Through uplifting stories, parables, and personal anecdotes, the Zanders invite us to become passionate communicators, leaders, and performers whose lives radiate possibility into the world.
Based upon 17 years of ongoing research involving more than 40,000 people from over 25 cultures, extensively field-tested, and adopted internationally by Fortune 500 companies, Human Dynamics? is a developmental system that demystifies the complexities of how people function and interact with one another. Human Dynamics presents a powerful framework for understanding the distinct ways in which we process information, learn, communicate, relate with one another, manifest stress, maintain well-being, and develop as human beings. At the heart of Human Dynamics are the three universal principles we all share in different capacities--mental, emotional, and physical--fundamental threads that cross culture, age, race, and gender to unify us all. As we learn to appreciate our commonalities and differences, we can use our unique gifts and apply new understanding to enrich our relationships, heighten "collective intelligence", communicate more effectively, work together more productively, enhance creativity, optimize team learning, and strengthen organizational performance. Actual accounts from major companies including Intel Corporation, Intermountain Healthcare System, and London Life Insurance Company document how Human Dynamics can optimize business relationships, organizational learning, teamwork, and communication.
Understanding teams, safety and effectiveness
In his breakout best seller, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger created "a wild ride that brilliantly captures the awesome power of the raging sea and the often futile attempts of humans to withstand it" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, Junger turns his brilliant and empathetic eye to the reality of combat - the fear, the honor, and the trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another.
His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15-month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Through the experiences of these young men at war, he shows what it means to fight, to serve, and to face down mortal danger on a daily basis.
A great book on contrarian management thinking
From the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals, here is a different kind of business book one that explores a new reality. Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few bucks or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple.That means anyone can start a business. And you can do it without working miserable 80-hour weeks or depleting your life savings. You can start it on the side while your day job provides all the cash flow you need. Forget about business plans, meetings, office space - you don't need them.
With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who's ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs who want to get out, and artists who don't want to starve anymore will all find valuable inspiration and guidance in these pages. It's time to rework work.
A primer on evolutionary adaptation of humanity as well as the evolution of our cognitive faculties.
In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits - a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century - denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.
Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Yuval Noah Harari
How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?
Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
From the first paragraph, you'll start absorbing the irreverent, contrarian thinking style of Ricardo Semler, the CEO of Semco. This is a must read for all aspiring Art of Management listeners becaue Semler is a master of both asking "why?" and "why not?"
The underlying themes echo key learnings in our podcast, especially around the popular notions of work, schedule, power, transparency, and a whole host of other dimensions of organization and management. The title refers to Semler's amazing deconstruction (why must we do it this way?") of the idea of the work week, whose origins (drum roll, please) lie in the early days of industrial management, and his subsequent experimentation with alternate ways of people working together ("why not try it this way?")
While Semler offers little in terms of direct instruction (nor should he, IMO) to the novice contrarian manager, he sets a shining example of how to lead an organization by seeking out what is best to do, not what everyone supposes should be done. He focuses not on being the wisest, but on harnessing the "wisdom of the workforce" to both create amazing solutions but also to deepen ownership, inclusion and participation.