During the workshops that we facilitate, a common question that we get from business and HR leaders is to give recommendations on business books that they can gift to their team members either during a team offsite or post an intervention. Here is a list of ten books that we recommend – needless to add, this is by no means exhaustive – you of course know your team best and hence would be the best judge of what fits well in their context.
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh –
Written by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, Delivering Happiness is a sure shot winner if you are looking to reinforce the importance of core values with your team. It chronicles the journey of Zappos from being a fledgling start-up to a multibillion dollar sale to Amazon while being rooted in their core values as an organization.
Source: AmazonWe use many of the inspiring stories from the book in our Values workshops to showcase the importance of culture and values.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins–
An all-time classic, this is one of our favourite recommendations to leaders who want to motivate their teams to take a leap forward in performance. Based on painstaking research done across many industries, the book identifies common elements that are an integral part of successful organization in making the transition to greatness.Source: jimcollins
Concepts of Level 5 Leadership and hedgehog behaviour from the book are now part of management folklore.
- Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter –
Is your team/organization going through a phase of change? Looking to energize teams to react positively to changes at the personal and organizational level? – If you answered in the affirmative to any of the questions, this book is definitely for you.Source: kotterinternational
Written in a simple fable format, the book uses the story of a colony of penguins struggling with a shift in their home (iceberg) to simplify difficult organizational change concepts. Kotter’s famous 8 Step Change model is also illustrated beautifully in a powerful story format.
- The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley–
If your objective is to give an exposure to your team about the different hats that innovators have to wear in the organization, this book is definitely one of the best options.Source: Amazon
Ten Faces of Innovation is an inspiring collection of examples and stories from within Ideo (the pioneers of design thinking and continuous innovation) and outside that can inspire a team to innovate relentlessly. This blog has more details on the core concepts used in the book.
- Lead with a Story by Paul Smith –
Once a skill that used to be the domain of so called “creative types”, storytelling has emerged as one of the skills for leaders across the globe.Source: books.google.com
Paul Smith’s “Lead with a Story” is an excellent to gift for senior management teams who have to craft their own stories on a daily basis. Our blog on storytelling for leaders has some of the examples and concepts from the book in a bit more detail.
- Five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni –
For a team struggling with trust issues and artificial harmony, Patrick Lencioni’s seminal classic offers excellent guidance.Source: books.google.com
We have used the 5-D framework during the debrief of many a team workshop for articulating the importance of trust and accountability in teams. Our blog has a book review in case you would like to get more details on the book.
- Drive by Dan Pink –
If you are looking to gift your team a book on motivation and inner purpose, Drive is one of the front runners. In his inimitable provocative style, Dan Pink debunks many myths on employee motivation through stories from research and social experiments.Source: books.google.com
Dividing the reasons for motivation into three distinct elements (autonomy, mastery and purpose), the book is a refreshing relook at the science behind what drives each one of us to greater productivity.
- Influence by Robert Cialdini –
In recent times, organizational structures have become global and more complex. Senior leaders, especially need to influence a multitude of stakeholders who are separated by geography, culture and seniority and many more such factors.Source: Amazon
Robert Cialdini’s pioneering work, lists 6 principles of influence which still remain as valid today as the day they were initially published. We have this found this book one of the best options to gift to senior and middle management teams, whose business leaders want to showcase the importance of the skill of influence.
- The first 90 days by Michael Watkins –
It is often said that the first 90 days are the most crucial for anyone stepping into a new role. If your team is going through a restructuring with responsibilities being realigned or new members being added, this book is a great option to gift to them.Source: books.google.com
Filled with examples and useful tips on how to transition to a new role, the author touches upon topics of relevance for executives in those first few days, including accelerating learning and negotiating early wins.
- Shackleton’s Way by Morrel & Capparell –
Shackleton’s phenomenal story is one of a leader who saves the lives of 27 of his men against seemingly insurmountable odds in an Antarctic exploration when their ship is stranded on an ice floe. Arguably one of the best stories on inspirational leadership, it is a good gifting option if the team is going through a difficult period and the leader is looking to reenergize them with positive spirit.Source: books.google.com
What are some favourite books that you have come across in your journey? Do join the conversation…