As a leadership trainer and coach, I have a real interest in resilience, how we can build and sustain it, both for myself and my coachees. The prasee on the back of this book caught my eye in the airport book shop recently “How do some people bounce back with vigour from daily setbacks, professional crises, or even personal trauma”. Part of the HBR Emotional Intelligence Series, I found this collection of short thought-provoking essays based on proven research fascinating. This text provides great insight into what resilience is and how to evaluate, manage and strengthen resilience. The nugget of gold in the book for me is essay 4 written by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone entitled ‘Finding the Coaching in Criticism’. They outline six steps to becoming better at receiving feedback. How to make sure we can be open and able to maximise the benefits of feedback. “Feedback is crucial, it improves performance, develops talent, aligns expectations, solves problems, guides promotion and pay and boosts the bottom line”. Poorly done it can leave you feeling “angry, anxious, badly treated or profoundly threatened” it seems a no brainer, being able to be in control of how we receive feedback along with the ability to take it, shape it and use it to make positive steps forward is a vital skill for any leader and manager. Worth a read, some great tips throughout the book both to use yourself and with teams. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Avoiding the peril of pig wrestling – a framework and tools for managers and leaders to create a climate for successful change. A thought provoking read with an interesting approach to problem solving and change management with techniques and strategies for both individuals and teams.
This book is easy to pick up and digest when time is precious, an engaging read based on a fable around avoiding the perils of ‘pig wrestling’. If you have a problem (or challenge) you have been wrestling with for some time despite your best efforts to find or secure a great solution, then Pete and Mark’s approach offers some useful tools. Strategies such as cleaning the problem (a clean pig is much easier to wrestle with), avoiding premature evaluation (don’t jump straight to the solution) and re-framing the problem (changing your perspective and your approach). The easy to follow steps, stretched my thinking and helped me see how I could look at problems and challenges differently, I particularly liked the re-framing and cleaning the language related to the problem which has helped shift my thinking.
As I am currently studying for my L7 Coaching Qualification with not a lot of time to commit to reading weighty texts I have found this book great to dip into for ideas and explanations. The author describes the book as a series of “cheat sheets” designed to help you quickly brush up on your questioning skills. Those of you who are also studying for a coaching qualification may find the rich mix of models and work sheets helpful. I liked the ‘Starting Significant Conversations’ work sheet it contains a range of useful Icebreaker questions suitable for meeting new business contacts and colleagues, or when you are attending networking events.
Creating healthy work environments resonates with me as it is about people and the creation of a work environment where individuals can thrive. The page at the beginning of the book infused with a scent, which Simon Sinek suggests, is the smell of optimism is an interesting slant, making the link between familiar smells and emotions, behaviours and motivation via our olfactory bulb in our nose and the limbic system of the brain. For me the smell reflects a clear summer day on the top of a mountain, it reminds of Donald Schon’s work on reflective practice and the need to spend time focused on the ‘high pinnacle of academia’ understanding theories and reflecting in and on leadership practice in order to function effectively in the ‘low swamp land’ of everyday life, where as a leader and manager you are making complex decisions. I never tire of reading this little book, it serves to remind me that it is a privilege to lead others, that putting others first and seeing them develop and succeed is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a successful leader.
One remarkable aspect of this book is that each page works on its own, like a mini fable to stimulate discussion in team development activities or in personal reflection or just simply as a digestible and enjoyable dose of inspiration to focus you and spur you on. One of my favourite quotes is P 80 “The opportunity is not to discover the perfect company for ourselves, the opportunity is to build the perfect company for each other”, like a flock or team of geese all heading in the same direction, in any company we are stronger and more effective together so for me “Together is Better” is a great read.
‘One of the most successful business books ever’Daily Telegraph Whilst I love to read life is busy and so I relish a book that is readable and easily digestible, whilst also providing something to take away and use in my leadership practice, this book hit all of these markers. I read ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ as I prepared for my transition from full time employment into starting my own Company and working freelance, it reminded me of the value of ‘story telling’ both as a flexible research tool but also as a way of establishing common ground and bonding collaborative teams. Most importantly I reflected that change is an intrinsic part of professional life and positively embracing it by being forward thinking provides the best chance of success, whilst not forgetting to consistently find ways to ‘nourish your soul’ and remember the difference between activity and productivity. A great and insightful read.