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5 Great Books Every Leader Should Read By This Fall

5 Great Books Every Leader Should Read By This Fall

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 August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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