Five recommendations for your (or your employees’) summer reading

Tis the season for lazy days at the cabin, blender drinks with umbrellas and long hours of doing nothing on the beach. Although, if you’re a small business owner, this is probably not your reality (who has time to take a vacation?) – but it’s likely you have an employee or two who’s looking forward to exactly this kind of downtime.

Chances are, summer reading is on their vacation agenda, so why not take this opportunity to suggest a good read that benefits both of you? It doesn’t have to feel like homework – the bookshelves (and online bookstores) are brimming with plenty of great books on leadership and business that are engaging and well-written.

Here are some titles you could assign/suggest:

Unstoppable Teams: The Four Essential Actions of High Performance Leadership by Aiden Mills.

Nothing motivates a team to work well together like a life and death situation. The author is a former SEAL platoon commander who uses his experiences in the military and in the private sector to develop structures and principles for success for teams in any situation. Lesson number one: you must care.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

This one is on one of Bill Gates’ list of must-read books. Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, shares a rare glimpse into his life and his company’s early days. Knight tells how he went from borrowing $50 dollars from his dad to start a shoe import business to running a company that today boasts annual sales of $30 billion.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Stop being a big fish in a small pond and go out and get your own pond. The premise behind this strategy is that competing with other companies just keeps you swimming upstream. The real key to success, says the book, is to create your own ocean – that thing that differentiates you from everyone else and lets you offer value that no one else can.

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

According to the authors of this bestseller, leaders need to change their old way of thinking if they’re going to succeed in today’s world. And that means learning the truth about time-honoured beliefs like “people care about which company they work for” and “strategic planning is essential” and “people need feedback”. The book may challenge what you’ve been taught to believe about effective leadership and company culture. And that’s a good thing.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Author of the global bestseller Start With Why, Simon Sinek uses true stories to show how the most successful organizations are run by leaders who establish such trust and confidence in their team members that their employees are willing to do pretty much anything to achieve their leader’s vision. Loyalty happens when employees know their leaders are just as loyal to them.

Give it a shot and slip a new book into their beach bag before they leave for vacation. You might not steer them away from the usual junk food reading – and let’s face it, we all need a little Fifty Shades of Grey mind mush every now and then. But maybe you can sneak in a book that will motivate a supervisor to try a new way of thinking or inspire an employee to cop a new attitude about their career.

Who knows, the right read might just spark a fire in someone who has the potential to bring something great to your business!

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