Suggestions from Ed Scotcher
“Invisible Women” – Caroline Criado Cortez
A book all about the gender data gap. The default human has become male – and many things are designed around men, by men for men. This book illuminates some of the issues women have in the world we live, from drugs being tested mainly on men, tech being designed for men and offices designed for men. In a world where we must prioritise talent over gender to succeed, we need to understand how the world is viewed through male eyes in order to change it for the better – and this book gives that data. A must read for all genders.
“The Power of Moments” – Chip and Dan Heath
A book about how to make moments in time special, meaningful and memorable. How to have impact is a huge issue for those explaining progress (or not) and good ideas (or not!) in any business environment. This book offered some great suggestions on how we can create moments of Elevation, Insight, Pride and Connection ourselves, so we can create memorable experiences instead of waiting for them to happen to us.
“Factfulness” – Hans Rosling
Been on my list a long time this one – Hans Rosling was made famous by TED and this book gets to grips with his core gripe – people not understanding data. It’s very readable and human and of huge benefit to help us understand the world around us and also how we can deal with data. It’s made me reconsider how I use data to back up an argument or support a hypothesis in an agile environment in a new way – certainly with the understanding that interpretation of data can skew the truth.
Suggestion from John Harrison
“Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” – Robert Cialdini
The book aims to explain the psychology behind why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings in your everyday life or watch out for them and guard against them. The author has identified and researched six areas that he believes guide human behaviour when trying to persuade another person(s), they are:
Understanding these areas and then using them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be persuaded by your request. It is also good to be able to recognise them when they are being used unethically (e.g. marketing scams) so that you can be ready to counter them.
In the workplace, regardless of whether or not you are using Agile practices, this book will give you pointers to increase your chances of success when persuading someone else to see your point of view, or perhaps getting them to change their current behaviour or approach to work. From listening to the book, I have found it particularly useful to add the word ‘because’ when implementing change to a resistant team. Simply explaining what I want them to do, then adding the word ‘because of this reason, this benefit etc.’ has instantly improved my success rate.
Suggestions from Paul Grew
“9 lies about work” – Marcus Buckingham
Most organisations have certain beliefs that they practice on a regular basis without ever stopping to consider if they are a good idea. Often ideas spread from one organisation to the next regardless of whether they are a good fit or not. This book explores 9 beliefs that most organisations hold true which are in fact incorrect. The 9 lies are:
- People care which company they work for
- The best plan wins
- The best companies cascade goals
- The best people are well rounded
- People need feedback
- People can reliably rate other people
- People have potential
- Work life balance matters most
- Leadership is a thing
If you’re a leader about to do appraisals or set goals for your team. STOP! Read this first.
“The Barcelona Way: How to Create a High-Performance Culture” – Damian Hughes
Apparently, Lionel Messi’s net worth is over $400Million. So, you’d expect with that kind of capital and brilliance along comes a massive ego. Maybe so but at Barcelona FC egos are kept in check by a carefully designed culture based on commitment. Everyone turns up in the company car and it’s not a Ferrari and when you score your always acknowledge your team mates that made it possible.
The Scrum founders talk about scrum requiring high levels of accountability and commitment and how autocratic leadership styles are inappropriate. This book can help leaders to be more intentional about the kind culture your team or organisation manifests. Afterall, culture easts strategy for breakfast!
“Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes“ – Ben Bergeron
What started in a small garage gym in Santa Cruz has now become the most influential fitness craze and one of the fasted growing franchises ever. The sport of fitness has become a thing and, in that sport, Crossfit is king. Ben Bergeron has the claim to coaching several of the fittest people on earth. In this book Bergeron discusses the mental aspects of becoming a world champion. The daily dedication to excellence and how just having goals is nowhere near enough. If you enjoyed Mindset by Carol Dweck then this is “Applied mindset”. This book is for anyone wanting to bring their A game every day.
Suggestion from Brian Carman
“Black Box Thinking” – Matthew Syed
Syed discusses the need and value of learning from failures, with real world example of where this has been done and where it has not.
Inspection and adaption are key activities in agile approaches and this book gives multiple examples of how honest, objective assessment can lead to long term improvements.