BizBook Nuggets Archive

Vol. 2, No. 7:

For some reason, I’ve been attracted lately to books about the future of work and innovation. Maybe because I reached my 70’s this year, I’m more curious about what the world will be like in 20-25 years, I’m not sure.

I’ve always had a curiosity about gadgets and technology, and especially ever since my husband founded Razer, the computer gaming company, 18 years ago. We often discuss how fantastic some of the coming innovations are, and strive to harness the power of computers to enhance and preserve our mental capacities!

This month’s article is about the future of work, and what skills leaders will need to develop in order to stay ahead of the Robot Curve. Hope you enjoy sharing it with your readers.

Here’s a list of the really interesting books I read in preparation for this topic:

  1. Metaskills: 5 Talents for the Robotic Age, by Marty Neumeier
  2. Future Smart: Managing the Game Changing Trends that Will Transform Your World, by James Canton
  3. Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas, by Jeremy Gutsche
  4. Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future, by Rohit Bhargava
  5. Anticipating 2025: A Guide to the Radical Changes that May Lie Ahead Whether or Not We’re Ready, by David Wood,
    Mark Stevenson, Rohit Talwar, Calum Chace, David Pearce, Sonia Contera, Natasha Vita-More, Anders Sandberg, Ben McLeish, Amon Twyman

All the best,

Patsi 

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Vol. 2, No. 5: 

When it comes to understanding how we make decisions, you need to read these books:

  1. Chip and Dan Heath’s book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Random House Digital, Inc., 2013)
  2. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).

If you want to learn how to make better leadership decisions, then read Harvard Professor Max Bazerman’s The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See (Simon & Schuster, 2014). The author reveals some surprising facts, supported by real business stories of what happens when smart people fail to notice key information.

It will leave you scratching your head and saying, “How could they not see that?!”

Here’s a fascinating book I’ll be summarizing next: Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, by Marty Neumeier. This is a must-read book all about how we’ll need to hone our brain skills to avoid being replaced by a robot! Seriously.

All the best,

Patsi 

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Vol. 2, No. 3: 

From time to time, I share with you some of the really worthwhile books I’m reading. I know it can be hard for you all as leadership development coaches to stay on top of all your professional reading.

So here’s my list of some good ones:

  1. The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See, Max Bazerman
  2. The Hero’s Journey: Toward a More Authentic Leadership, Greg Gilliano
  3. American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane, Walter Isaacson
  4. Commit to Sit, Joan Duncan Oliver
  5. Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?: What It Takes To Be An Authentic Leader, Robert Goffee, Gareth Jones
  6. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, Steven Johnson
  7. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson
  8. Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership, Janice Marturano
  9. Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound, Scott Rigby, Richard Ryan
  10. Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (With New Preface), Stewart D. Friedman

Oh, and just for fun, I’m reading two novels, Plus One by Christopher Noxon, and Funny Girl; a Novel by Nick Hornsby.

I’d love to know what you’re reading, shoot me an email!

All the best,

Patsi 

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Vol. 2, No. 2: 

While much has been written about the value of authenticity, it still remains elusive and few executives understand how to develop it as a leadership skill. Three books that delve deeply into the art of developing as an authentic leader are:

  1. Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, Bill George, 2003
  2. Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, Bill George, Peter Sims, 2009
  3. Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?: What It Takes To Be An Authentic Leader, Robert Goffee, Gareth Jones, 2006

As I was researching this article, I discovered some key elements I’d never thought about before from the chapters of the Goffee book, the title of which is the same as his bestselling article from Harvard Business Review in September 2000.

I highly recommend you read the 2006 book to learn more about how to become a more authentic leader and make a valuable impact in the work
you do. You’ll find answers to his provocative question:

“Why should anyone be led by you?”

All the best,

Patsi 

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BizBook Nuggets, Vol. I, No. 4

I’ve been reading two great books on toxic leaders:

  1. The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians–and How We Can Survive Them, by Jean Lipman-Blumen
  2. Transforming Toxic Leaders by Alan Goldman

While both are fascinating, when it came time to pick a focus for this next leadership article, I chose to focus on Goldman’s book about solutions rather than problems. His book offers an inside look at several case studies of toxic leadership coaching, both a case of failure and cases of success.

Which is not to say there isn’t tremendous value in reading Lipman-Blumen’s exploration of why followers are willingly led astray by charismatic dysfunctional bosses.

I’m offering you a few of my notes from her book The Allure of Toxic Leaders and highly recommend you read both books.

All the best,

Patsi

Book quotes:

These intriguing leaders first charm but then manipulate mistreat undermine, and ultimately leave their followers worse off than they found them.

Followers of toxic leaders often do much more than simply tolerate them. They commonly adulate, abet, and actually prefer toxic leaders to their
nontoxic counterparts.

Numerous corporate leaders whose missteps were visible only to those in the inner circle have led their businesses to great financial success.

Sometimes we ignore toxic leaders’ obvious faults because their charisma blinds us, at least until the leaders is publicly unmasked.

What goes on between leaders and their supporters is perhaps far more significant for the course of history than simply what leaders do to
followers.

We rarely investigate what influences followers to tolerate – sometimes for decades – leaders who deceive, denigrate, and even destroy them.

Corruption, hypocrisy, sabotage, and manipulation as well as other assorted unethical, illegal and criminal acts, are part of the poisonous repertoire of toxic leaders.

The intent to harm others or to enhance the self at the expense of others distinguishes seriously toxic leaders from the careless or unintentional toxic leaders, who also cause negative effects.

This book’s focus is specifically on the dynamics that entrance the toxic leader’s followers or at least help keep them in line. I want to explore what prompts us to accept and promote bad leaders and what often renders us lethargic, intimidated, reluctant, and inept at overturning them.

[What follows is a long list of dysfunctional behaviors that define the toxic leader, which merits reading in the book itself.]

What are the forces that propel followers, again and again, to accept, often favor, and sometimes create toxic leaders?

Let me be very clear: Blaming the victim is not my intent; rather, my hope is to liberate entrapped followers by laying bare the web of forces that tempts us to accept leaders who play havoc with our businesses, our governments, our schools, our communities, our societies, and possibly our lives.

Book Outline:

  • Part 1 lays out the central problem, why we tolerate, even prefer and sometimes create toxic leaders
  • Part II explores the powerful forces within ourselves and society that prompt our continuing search for leaders despite their propensity to disappoint us.
  • Part III moves beyond the forces that drive us toward toxic leaders and inquiries into how we might liberate ourselves by confronting, reforming, or unseating them.
  • Part IV asks if any benefits come from tolerating toxic leaders and considers pragmatic strategies for resisting reforming, and if need be, removing toxic leaders. What are the warning signs and how can we diminish our need for leaders stronger than ourselves?

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BizBook Nuggets, Vol. I, No. 2: 

Have you ever been confused about what drives people to do what they do?

There are so many theories about motivation it’s overwhelming. How can we reach people and appeal to their most fundamental needs and desires?

I think it’s time we stop fragmenting our understanding of human behavior according to which academic branch of science is doing the research.

Social sciences, economics, anthropology and the neurosciences all have theories of what drives us. Perhaps we should look further into the insights of Charles Darwin. In 1871 he published The Descent of Man and observed that the most important distinction between humans and the lower species is our innate moral sense: our conscience.

As we evolved, our brains tripled in size from our nearest ancestor, providing us with enhanced neurons capable of empathy, the ability to foresee consequences, and to weigh complex informati on to come up with decisions about what to say and do.

No other animals are as well equipped to survive and thrive as we are.

I highly recommend these two books to understand more about our basic human drives, what distinguishes us from other primates, and how to apply this knowledge in leading organizations to make better decisions for sustaining success.

  1. Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria: Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Jossey-Bass, 2002).
  2. Paul R. Lawrence: Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

This is essential reading for anyone who works in leadership and is responsible for influencing behaviors.

Unfortunately, Harvard Business School Professor Paul R. Lawrence has now passed away. He leaves an important legacy in his contributions through these two books.

Our understanding of leadership can be no better than our understanding of what makes humans, all humans, tick — what are the ultimate motivators
of
 our behavior.” ~ Warren Bennis

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BizBook Nuggets, Vol. I, No. 1:

This past month I’ve been reviewing best-selling leadership books from the past two decades from some of the most prominent leadership xperts: Warren G. BennisNoel M. TichyBill George, and Paul R. Lawrence.

I’m only presenting here a few notes from Bennis’ Learning to Lead, since this is already a long newsletter and I respect your time.

Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader, by Warren G. Bennis and Joan Goldsmith

The current worldwide leadership crisis is as great a threat to humanity as any pandemic, famine, terrorist act, or nuclear disaster – because if we fail to have courageous leadership and bold and ethical leaders, even simple solutions become impossible. (Loc. 238)

We can assure you that, in all our years of advocating for bold, unabashed leadership, we have found that leaders who truly make a difference are able to throw off despair, self-doubt, cynicism, and irresponsibility. They embrace unembarrassed optimism and unashamed enthusiasm. They are willing to speak truth to power. (Loc. 242)

As we redefine leadership to meet the upheavals in our society, we must learn to lead with characteristics of powerful and effective leaders. These leaders have: (Loc. 303)

    1.  A focus on Purpose, Direction and Values
    2. A Commitment to Building Trust with Followers
    3. A Skill in Conveying Optimism
    4. A Talent for Inspiring Action to Produce Results

What successful leaders share are six clear and powerful competencies: (Loc. 323)

    1. Mastering the context
    2. Knowing yourself
    3. Creating a vision
    4. Communicating with meaning
    5. Building trust through integrity
    6. Realizing intention through actions

That’s it for this first BizBook Nuggets. I have a lot more to say about this important book from Bennis and Goldsmith. I’d also like to compare it to other leadership messages but we’ve all got other tasks to attend to.