What follows is a reading list that covers several of the fundamentals of organizations, people and business. I have compiled the list over the years, so some have a bit of age on them, but I find that those are typically written when the research is fresh and not recycled. Enjoy!
Anything your leadership team is reading…be familiar with the business books floating around your organization so that you can talk the language and understand what is important to your leaders….
“The Fifth Discipline,” Peter Senge…an organization is a complex system, and must continuously learn in order to survive. Excellent perspective of group problem solving….
“Flawless Consulting,” Peter Block…Everyone is a consultant at some point. Block’s chapter on dealing with resistance is powerful.
“Organizational Culture and Leadership,” Edgar Schein…MIT professor Schein is the father of organizational culture. Culture is a hot topic today, and this provides outstanding insight
“Organization Change,” Warner Burke….one of the most comprehensive and common sense models of organizational change
“Overcoming Organizational Defenses,” Chris Argyris…a small book, and very readable detailing how organizations learn (or not) by Harvard professor Argyris
“Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage,” Ed Lawler…Lawler brings a unique perspective of compensation and organization development together to talk about getting the best from people
“The Cycle of Leadership,” Noel Tichy….former Director of GE’s Crotonville, espouses the concept of leaders as teachers (and learners)
“The Human Contribution,” James Reason…the mitigation of people error and systems error to create repeatable process and improve quality
“The Discipline of Market Leaders,” Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema…postulates that you cannot be everything to everyone; you have to choose your model or you will confuse both customer and employee
“Leadership and the New Science,” Meg Wheatley…Wheatley describes how complex systems like organization must be allowed to develop, rather than be controlled
“Beyond Race and Gender,” Roosevelt Thomas…seminal work on diversity as a business advantage
“7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership,” by my friend Linda Fisher Thornton. A wonderfully straightforward framework for thinking about ethical leadership.
“Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy,” Amy Edmundson, Professor Harvard Business School. I started following her at the point I was studying the concept of psychological safety – why smart people don’t speak up even in a crisis.
“The Silo Effect: The peril of expertise and the promise of breaking down barriers,” Gillian Tett. Anthropologist turned business journalist who uses her study of culture to help organizations bust silos and improve performance.
“Leading an HR Transformation: A Practical Road Map for Aligning People Strategies to Business Results.” Carol Anderson – for HR teams that want to break down barriers, think collectively and add great value to their organizations.
“Leadership BS: Fixing Leadership and Careers One Truth at a Time.” Jeffrey Pfeffer. What we have taught and been taught about leadership doesn’t work. Dr. Pfeffer makes a case and give alternatives.
“Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.” Christine Porath. Rudeness exists, but it doesn’t have to. Dr. Porath presents a compelling case for change.
“A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.” Edwin H. Friedman. Anyone in HR has encountered the “quick fix” idea that came from a conference or workshop. It will solve all the problems….Not. We are addicted to the quick fix. Dr. Friedman offers a glimpse into going beyond the quick fix.
“Mindset: How we can learn to fulfill our potential.” Carol S. Dweck. This has become a classic and should be required reading for anyone in HR. Without a growth mindset, we are stymied.