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5 Great Books Every Leader Should Read By This Fall

5 Great Books Every Leader Should Read By This Fall
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There are loads of books that a leader can read so where on earth do you start? Most of them have a bunch of reviews telling you how awesome they are, but many of them are just a general overview of repeated ideas. These 5 books stand out as key reads for leaders that want to improve 10x in everything from hiring to providing great customer service.

Entreleadership to learn that you’re the cap on your organization

The limiting factor in your business is not the people you have or the money you have it’s you. The leader is the cap on the organization.

…there is a lid on my organization and on my future, and that lid is me. I am the problem with my company and you are the problem with your company. Your education, capacity, ability, and vision are limiting the company. You want to know what is holding back your dreams from becoming a reality? Go look in the mirror. – Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey

Entreleadership is going to teach you how to take the cap off your organization by bringing in the right people and learning to give them the responsibility they need to support you as the leader.

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Work Rules! to stop being scared during hiring

Reading through this book you’ll get a great look at how Google does it’s hiring, and it’s not just on the whim of one person. It’s not done by the manager who feels the pain of the person missing. A group of interviewers and potential colleagues get to decide who’s hired.

As Eric Schmidt once told me, “The reality is, that there are some employees you should get rid of, but the goal of recruitment should be to have no such employees!” – Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock

Growing a Business to learn money doesn’t magically solve problems

Way to often in our tech-bubble world we hear about wild valuations of companies that aren’t turning a profit. In the mind of the author Paul Hawken, most of the time money is seen as some magic pill that will allow the company to one day turn a profit maybe. Growing a Business talks much about the fact that taking money continually means your business doesn’t have a crucial leg to stand on, the leg of people wanting to give you money for your product/service.

…businesses, at least entrepreneurial ones, are formed in order to address problems that money alone cannot solve – Paul Hawken, Growing a Business (emphasis his)

Switch to learn how to bring change to your business

Change in an organization is hard and Switch is going to tell you why.

Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion – Switch, Chip and Dan Heath

This book will walk you through lots of strategies to keep changes moving through your organization. Stop just slamming change through just because you’re the leader. Stop being frustrated when it doesn’t stick, learn to make it stick by reading Switch.

Minding the Store to learn why turning down sales is good

How likely are you to sell a high priced item to someone that it’s clearly a poor choice for? I know many of you would just make the sale but not if you listen to the advice of Stanley Marcus.

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no sale is good for Neiman-Marcus, unless it’s a good buy for the customer. Minding the Store, Stanley Marcus

The most poignant story of great service is turning down the sale of a fur coat to a young girl and her father. They were both angry and left, but at home her aunt said that Stanley Marcus was absolutely right and she needed to go back say sorry and get whatever he said was the right purchase for the girl.

Then years later as this girl was getting married she bought the coat she originally wanted along with many other things and was a regular customer because she was assured that she’d get proper advice without thought to how much money the store would make.

Saying no to business is a skill a leader needs to learn and when you do you’ll really be serving your customers well and they won’t help but tell others about how awesome you are.

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Of course maybe you’re feeling a bit lost and before you can really dig back in to becoming a better leader you need some good reading to help you through life’s ups and downs.

Featured photo credit: mrhayata via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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