Dee Ann Turner, Chick-Fil-A VP of Corporate Talent, details her organization’s service and wow-culture in It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture. Named for a saying that’s the norm in the food chain that now permeates businesses everywhere, It’s My Pleasure shares lovely stories of the people making Chick-Fil-A a powerhouse business continuing to innovate and wow customers.
Because Chick-Fil-A knows the people doing the work matter, they take great measures to steward their people – hiring the right people and then growing those people into their leaders at every level of the business. It’s refreshing to see often word-only business concepts like “loyalty” in a different way through Turner’s examples of how the company creates raving fans not only in their customer base but within their ranks, as well. And while most of us rarely consider dining in a fast food chain as a great “experience,” Chick-Fil-A works for just that purpose, delivering “second-mile service” rooted in deep faith principles.
Easily read in an afternoon, if you’re curious about culture change and how great organizations practically implement unparalleled service, It’s My Pleasure is the book for you.
Life to the Max is a digital sampler of several of author Max Lucado’s books. With six chapters from six different books, you’ll get a flavor of Lucado’s inspirational yet challenging writing. From doubt and fear to servanthood and excellence, it’s pretty amazing how much information these six seemingly-small chapters contain.
You can easily finish Life to the Max in under an hour as the select chapters are brief (but powerful), and if you’ve never read Max Lucado, this easy read will likely lead you to just the right starter-book of his, no doubt aligned to a Life to the Max sample chapter.
via nghiem vo, Flickr.com
The Olympics captivate me. I watch the screen in utter amazement as a pole vaulter launches 18+ feet in the air, people run 400 meters (once around the track) in under 50 seconds, seemingly-stationary rowers slice through the water at lightening speed, gymnasts tumble in dizzying patterns of flexibility and speed and power.
These athletes remind me a lot of healthcare professionals. Because they both make their work/care look easy. My specialty is leadership and clinical background is oncology, but I entered into the world of cardiovascular services administration this year. While I may not be a critical care expert, I am still a nurse and can understand some of what’s happening all around me as I keep budgets and processes and teams together. I never grow tired of watching these team members, though, because I am constantly thinking, “They make this look so easy.” It’s true. Watching a STEMI case from the control panel looks like a smooth, well-orchestrated, planned event. That’s because there are rock-star clinicians in the room who have worked their careers for the adrenaline-filled, life-saving moment. Similarly in the clinical area I am most familiar with, seeing nurses hang high-risk cytotoxic drugs all day long while providing unparalleled emotional support is astounding. It’s incredible to watch. Just like the Olympics.
How amazing that we get to call this our profession! We don’t wait four years to see this amazing work. We see it constantly each and every day, and it happens all throughout our nation and world. What heroes we have among us!
Few things determine success like emotional intelligence (EQ) – being able to recognize personal emotions as well as the emotions of others and manage those emotions within the environment or to attain the goal-at-hand.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is Travis Bradberry’s and Jean Greaves’s first update in several years to their sentinel book. It’s a compact book with many brief chapters (2-4 pages each) separated into the four EQ skill sections of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The book – when purchased new – includes a link to a free EQ test to assess strengths and opportunities for improvement, which can be especially helpful when reading the various sections.
As a leader I’ve seen great people with strong work skills crumble under the inability to recognize their emotions and get lost within them in critical moments or their inability to manage the emotions of others in tense moments, losing the leadership reigns. I have pointed many people to this book, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t helpful personally. Recognizing and managing emotions in self or others is a key skill any leader should possess, and this book can absolutely assist with that in those struggling as well as those looking for reminders and perhaps new, practical skills to continue in successful work.
Brilliant Mistakes is authored by Paul J.H. Schoemaker and narrated by Dave Courvoisier. With nearly five hours of audio, this book will keep your attention with great stories like finding the Beatles to the development of immunology and discovery of penicillin to Steve Jobs’s happenstance interest in calligraphy that revolutionized computer fonts.
Schoemaker does a lovely job discussing the types of mistakes – tragic, serious, trivial, and brilliant, and there are plenty of quotes that will spur you on when you’ve failed 573,298 times. He purports that companies must speed up deliberate and purposeful mistake-making to accelerate success, and that mistake-making risk must be diversified – just like finances. The more risk averse you are, the more you must diversify and, thus, make more mistakes. It’s counterintuitive because mistakes made together often have a synergistic hedging effect than a single mistake. Organizations that leverage frontline associates to generate and try ideas in work or those with robust R&D departments are the ones that most benefit from this concept as literally hundreds or thousands of ideas spread the risk of “mistakes” across a broad “area.” To be successful in failing frequently, organizations must deliberately hardware mistake-making and learning from them to accelerate the business or mission.
Brilliant Mistakes is chock full of great information. Pick it up or download the audio version for practical ideas and inspiration for “successful failing.”
Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, by Jon Gordon, is a simple, easy-to-read (or listen to) book. It provides basic organizational culture strategies through the “stirring” story of a young female CEO struggling to revitalize her company only to realize the key ingredients after talking with the Grandma-in-Chief at Grandma’s Soup House, a nearby restaurant always with a bustling crowd.
The foundational leadership concepts are simple enough for novice leaders and powerful, quick reminders for expert leaders. It resounds that the person stirring the soup matters and that relationships (e.g. people) are the root key to everything we do in business and service. While the table of contents is long, each chapter lasts only a few minutes; you can finish the book in about 2.5 hours, and since the chapters are short, it is an easy book to read while commuting.
While it wasn’t a part of my business school curriculum, I am sure it is a part of someone’s, and this would be a great book for any new leader or a new leader development book club. All-in-all, Soup is an imaginative read with practical implications.
I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the last few months, so it’s time to catch up with some book review posts! If you’re looking for a “new” book to read (or not), get cozy because there are several reviews heading your way via Nursetopia. So let’s get started!
Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong is edited by Jessica Bacal; I opted for the audiobook version (narrated by Karen Saltus), which I was able to finish over about 2.5 hours while traveling. “Finish” is the correct word because I, unfortunately, have a hard time stopping any book I start; I wish I had the mental fortitude to have stopped this one, though. I kept thinking, “It will get better…one more chapter.” [sigh] It never got better. Each chapter focuses on a different businesswoman and a key mistake she indicates shifted her career in some way. I found the stories of the mistakes to be rather shallow in description at times and a bit choppy to listen to.
I was really looking forward to reading the book as I have an interest in “mistakes” and “failures” that propel entrepreneurs and innovative ideas forward. I was hoping to get encouragement from successful women’s stories of mistakes and missed opportunities, but I was only left hoping for an end to the book. I do believe the book would have been much better if the chapters were actually read by the different women, sharing their stories in their own voices.
From the Amazon reviews of this book, my opinion – to pass on Mistakes I Made at Work – is the minority voice. Still, I think there are several other books about springboard failures that would be much better investments of your time and focus.
What a difference the leader makes. There are leaders I deeply desire to work alongside, and then there are leaders I would do just about anything to avoid having to work with – because I imagine it would be more like working “for” in a never-ending nightmare of egomaniacal power trips. Similarly, there are businesses that have me as a raving fan because of their culture – no doubt set and continuously influenced by a leader or many leaders; and, there are businesses I choose never to use again simply because of their lack of service or misaligned culture – again, no doubt continuously influenced by a leader or many leaders, whether they know it or not.
I’ve always been intrigued by signs to the public that include the word “management.” I laugh – or roll my eyes – every time I see a posted sign saying something along the lines of “Please close the door. Thanks, Management,” or “Please have your ID ready. -Management.” Really? Who writes that…Management?
The other “management” sign that frequently catches my eye is one that always makes me wonder…Under New Management. It conveys the principle that – no matter what we may say out loud – we all know the leader matters. Still, when I see these signs, I cannot help but think of the previous leader and the current leader and which one is the better one – the one who has left or the one who is being touted by the sign. Because “new management” isn’t always “better management,” but it does remind me that the leader matters…even when it sometimes feels like that’s not the case.