One of the great things about the holiday season is that it (hopefully) gives you some extra time to relax and enjoy a bit more downtime. Whether you spend this time watching football (go Dolphins!), drinking a bit of seasonal cheer, or getting into the ultimate holiday spirit with a rousing “World of Warcraft” marathon, it’s good to take a break and do something for yourself for a change. One of my favorite ways to take advantage of the more relaxed holiday schedule is to catch up on my reading – I don’t know about you but I’ve got a stack of books next to my bed that I keep trying to get around to, but by the time I get there at the end of the day I’m too tired to reach over and grab one, let alone read it. So bring on the holidays! As my holiday gift to you, I’ve put together a list of reading recommendations (with the help of my fellow HCI blogger elves) in case the stack next to your bed needs a bit of holiday cheer.
Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!
Pam Arlotto: Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
Based on a 30 year Gallup research project, the book identifies three keys to becoming a more effective leader: know your strengths, invest in others strengths and get the right people with the right strengths on your team. I have had my entire consulting team take the quiz and we have learned how to work better together and with our clients.
Richard Bankowitz: The Emotional Intelligence Quickbook by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
The higher one goes on the corporate ladder, the more one gets work done through and by others, and the more one needs to have effective mastery of self, and effective understanding of relationships. This book discusses these two facets of Emotional Intelligence and includes a code allowing the reader to take on on-line test of emotional intelligence which can be very illuminating. (I understand the Kindle edition lacks this feature – caveat). Emotional Intelligence is something every effective manager / executive needs to understand and attempt to master.
Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century by Committee on Quality of Health Care in America and Institute of Medicine
This is the work by the Institute of Medicine which provided a badly needed framework for healthcare quality to include: safe care, effective care, efficient care, patient centered care, accessible care, and equitable care. It provides a broad blueprint for healthcare quality and everyone in healthcare and healthcare IT should be familiar with this work.
Joe Bormel: Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success by Art Kleiner.
[From Publishers Weekly review:] The old saw "the customer comes first" is a flat-out lie, argues Kleiner, a contributing editor at strategy+business magazine and the author of several business books, in this fresh look at the structure and politics of business. He contends that "a depressing number of business corporations have evolved into organizations with one primary purpose: To extract wealth from all constitutions (not just the shareholders, but the employees, customers, and neighbors as well) and give it essentially to the children and grandchildren of some of its senior executives." Such corporate selfishness works because the key decisions in are being made by the "Core Group"-executives or employees whose needs and desires determine company behavior."
The book is actually very practical and up-beat in multiple ways. Like a few other classics addressing organizational power, this book acknowledges a deep human reality - in-group behavior is something that humans are genetically wired to value. The book creates clarity around "guesswork", which is all that's left when you're stuck with poor communication, as we often are. It describes useful behavior and positive exemplars, like Southwest airlines and others who have fashioned their core group based on the realities of their markets. Just dont buy this book and give it to your boss, at least without reading it first!
Vince Ciotti: Minding the Store (New Press, 2008).