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16 FROM 16
THE BEST BOOKS OF 2016
WHAT IS ?
 A library of over 300 books
 A blog
 A series of printed books
 iphone and ipad apps
 One-page summaries
...
STRATEGY
#NOW
Max McKeown
You can’t change the past, but
you can change the future, and
now is where everything can
be changed.
#NOW
Max McKeown
• For anyone who has ever been told to slow down, there is a
surprising truth about the power of now. Tho...
THE STUPIDITY PARADOX
Alvesson & Spicer
Many organisations are caught
up in a stupidity paradox: they
employ smart people ...
THE STUPIDITY PARADOX
Alvesson & Spicer
• Functional stupidity can be catastrophic for companies, or
just manifest itself ...
LEADERSHIP
LEADERSHIP BS
Jeffrey Pfeffer
There is no evidence that the
advice peddled by the
leadership industry actually
works – doi...
LEADERSHIP BS
Jeffrey Pfeffer
• Most leadership development efforts fail because most
leadership wisdom is based more on h...
Patrick Lencioni
THE 5 DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM
Successful teams need to trust
each other, engage in
constructive conflict, ...
Patrick Lencioni
THE 5 DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM
• Absence of trust. This stems from an unwillingness to be
vulnerable within...
THE IDEAL TEAM PLAYER
Patrick Lencioni
There are three essential
virtues that make someone the
ideal team player: being
hu...
THE IDEAL TEAM PLAYER
Patrick Lencioni
• Humble: humility is the single greatest and most
indispensable attribute.
• Hungr...
PRODUCTIVITY
SCRUM
Jeff Sutherland
Small multi-disciplinary teams
get things done faster and
more effectively than
conventional larger ...
SCRUM
Jeff Sutherland
• Gantt or process charts always look pretty but they are
always wrong. Don’t waste time designing t...
SMARTER FASTER BETTER
Charles Duhigg
It is possible to work smarter,
faster and better by improving
motivation, goals, tea...
SMARTER FASTER BETTER
Charles Duhigg
• This is all about the secrets of being productive. There are eight
main reasons why...
TALKABILITY
James Borg
There are some secrets of
effective conversation that you
can perfect.
TALKABILITY
James Borg
• This is all about what to say and how to say it, so you can get
more from every conversation.
• T...
CULTURE
THE CULTURE MAP
Erin Meyer
Global business is a great deal
easier if you pay attention to
how other cultures work.
THE CULTURE MAP
Erin Meyer
• Decoding how cultural differences affect international
business involves:
• Communicating (lo...
WHY SHOULD ANYONE WORK HERE?
Goffee & Jones
Successful company cultures
need honesty and meaning,
allowing people to be
th...
WHY SHOULD ANYONE WORK HERE?
Goffee & Jones
• In the past, businesses made people conform to the
organization’s needs. Tha...
NEGOTIATION
THE NEGOTIATION BOOK
Steve Gates
You can be a better negotiator
by preparing properly, holding
your nerve, staying calm, a...
THE NEGOTIATION BOOK
Steve Gates
The 10 important traits of successful negotiators are:
1. Nerve. Believe in your position...
THE YES BOOK
Clive Rich
Negotiation now requires a
more sophisticated,
collaborative approach.
THE YES BOOK
Clive Rich
Attitude: manage their own and others’ negotiation attitudes
~ Fusers: work in partnership; join a...
BEHAVIOUR
THE NO ASSHOLE RULE
Robert Sutton
Assholes should not be tolerated –
at work or anywhere else.
THE NO ASSHOLE RULE
Robert Sutton
• A temporary asshole: anyone having a bad day or bad
moment. We can all be like this.
•...
IDEAS
THE WORKSHOP BOOK
Pamela Hamilton
Workshops can be a success if
you design them properly and
use the right techniques.
THE WORKSHOP BOOK
Pamela Hamilton
Rule breaker: write the rules of the product or category, then
write the extreme opposit...
PREDICTION
SUPERFORECASTING
Tetlock & Gardner
It is possible to increase the
accuracy of forecasts by acting
as superforecasters do.
SUPERFORECASTING
Tetlock & Gardner
So-called experts are only slightly better at prediction than
random guesswork, or “a d...
HOW TO USE
• Be inquisitive
• Make the time
• Understand the lines of argument
• Have a point of view
• Inform your work
•...
KEVIN DUNCAN
More detail at:
www.greatesthitsblog.com
Ask Kevin to speak or train:
07979 808770
kevinduncanexpertadvice@gm...
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16 from 16: THE BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SUMMARISED

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My traditional annual round-up of book summaries posted this year on my blog greatesthitsblog.com

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16 from 16: THE BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SUMMARISED

  1. 1. 16 FROM 16 THE BEST BOOKS OF 2016
  2. 2. WHAT IS ?  A library of over 300 books  A blog  A series of printed books  iphone and ipad apps  One-page summaries  One-sentence summaries  Training programmes  Motivational speeches  A fertile source of new ideas
  3. 3. STRATEGY
  4. 4. #NOW Max McKeown You can’t change the past, but you can change the future, and now is where everything can be changed.
  5. 5. #NOW Max McKeown • For anyone who has ever been told to slow down, there is a surprising truth about the power of now. Those living in the past are called Thenist – they suffer from loss, regret and worry. Nowists are more likely to achieve growth, joy and reward. • Thenists: tasks are a means to an end; they often forget to enjoy life; they agonise over decisions, which slows them down, so they often procrastinate, or suddenly lurch into a decision that makes no sense; they are easy to interrupt or slow down; they tend to be self-doubting, and often waste energy on worry. • Nowists: love moving and seek joy in doing things; they don’t waste their lives seeking happiness, so they seek it now; they make rapid, effortless decisions; they see sequences, and have a sense of where they are going; they are hard to stop and a force of nature; self-trusting, and confident in their abilities.
  6. 6. THE STUPIDITY PARADOX Alvesson & Spicer Many organisations are caught up in a stupidity paradox: they employ smart people who end up doing stupid things.
  7. 7. THE STUPIDITY PARADOX Alvesson & Spicer • Functional stupidity can be catastrophic for companies, or just manifest itself in absurd everyday examples of idiotic, management fads and daft working practices. • Yet a dose of stupidity can be useful and produce good, short- term results, nurturing harmony, and encouraging people to get on with things without questioning everything. • It has three main facets: Not thinking about your assumptions (absence of reflexivity); Not asking why you are doing something (justification); Not considering the consequences or wider meaning of your actions (substantive reasoning) • There are five main types: Leadership-induced, Structure- induced, Imitation-induced, Branding-induced, and Culture- induced. • It can be solved by introducing reflective routines, devil’s advocates, post-mortems, pre-mortems, the views of newcomers, outsiders, and anti-stupidity task forces
  8. 8. LEADERSHIP
  9. 9. LEADERSHIP BS Jeffrey Pfeffer There is no evidence that the advice peddled by the leadership industry actually works – doing the opposite might even work better.
  10. 10. LEADERSHIP BS Jeffrey Pfeffer • Most leadership development efforts fail because most leadership wisdom is based more on hope than reality, on wishes rather than data, on beliefs instead of science. • There is no evidence that the characteristics often asserted to be useful to successful leadership are actually true. • Modesty: leaders aren’t, and immodesty actually leads to greater success (for the individual). • Authenticity is misunderstood, overrated, and may actually be impossible. Most leaders need to be inauthentic – subsuming their personal feelings and adjusting their behaviour to suit a variety of situations. • Truthfulness is often unhelpful. Leaders lie all the time, but misrepresentation and breached agreements are a part of business and not as harmful as you think. In fact everyone lies (40% of people have lied in the last day), and there are few sanctions for lying, so everyone carries on. • Trust: it doesn’t get leaders anywhere, and when they violate it, nothing much happens - people even expect contract violations from companies.
  11. 11. Patrick Lencioni THE 5 DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM Successful teams need to trust each other, engage in constructive conflict, commit, hold each other accountable, and remove ego to concentrate on results.
  12. 12. Patrick Lencioni THE 5 DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM • Absence of trust. This stems from an unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Those who are not open about mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build trust. • Fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered debate. Instead they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments. • Lack of commitment. Without having aired their opinions in open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in or commit to decisions, though they may feign it in meetings. • Avoidance of accountability. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused people fail to call their peers on counterproductive actions and behaviours. • Inattention to results. Failure to hold one another accountable: team members put their individual or department needs above those of the team. • Trust: overcome invulnerability and admit to weaknesses. • Constructive conflict: needs to replace artificial harmony. • Creating commitment: means removing ambiguity. • Accountability: raise low standards; remove status and ego.
  13. 13. THE IDEAL TEAM PLAYER Patrick Lencioni There are three essential virtues that make someone the ideal team player: being humble, hungry and smart.
  14. 14. THE IDEAL TEAM PLAYER Patrick Lencioni • Humble: humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute. • Hungry: these people are self-motivated and diligent. • Smart: these people demonstrate common sense when dealing with others (not the same as intellectual smartness). • Things start getting interesting when you look at people with only one or two of the attributes. Those with just one are fairly easy to spot: • Humble only = the pawn, who often gets left out • Hungry only = the bulldozer, who often annoys everyone else • Smart only = the charmer; great social skills, low contribution • Those with 2 out of 3 are much harder to spot: • Humble and hungry = the accidental mess-maker, unaware of their effect on people • Humble and smart = the lovable slacker, only does as much as asked • Hungry and smart = the skilful politician, out for own benefit
  15. 15. PRODUCTIVITY
  16. 16. SCRUM Jeff Sutherland Small multi-disciplinary teams get things done faster and more effectively than conventional larger structures.
  17. 17. SCRUM Jeff Sutherland • Gantt or process charts always look pretty but they are always wrong. Don’t waste time designing them. • The Scrum approach reduces team sizes, breaks down projects into short-term goals, allows constant assessment of progress and an agile, adaptive approach to problems. • The main ingredients of Scrum are: • Pick a Product Owner: decides what needs to be done. • Pick a team: 3 - 9 people, wide range of skills. 7 is ideal. • Pick a scrum master: to coach everyone through the process and remove obstacles. • Product backlog: list of everything that needs to be done. • Plan sprints: fixed amounts of time less than a month. • Make work visible on a scrum board - To Do, Doing, Done. • Daily stand up meeting or scrum – each day, same time, 15 minutes maximum. • Sprint Demo: team must demonstrate a working version of what has been done: no work in progress/anyone can come • Sprint retrospective: what went well/could be done better
  18. 18. SMARTER FASTER BETTER Charles Duhigg It is possible to work smarter, faster and better by improving motivation, goals, team dynamics, decision-making, and the assimilation of data.
  19. 19. SMARTER FASTER BETTER Charles Duhigg • This is all about the secrets of being productive. There are eight main reasons why good companies and people get things done: • Motivation: make choices that put you in control • Teams: manage the how, not the who • Focus: envision what will happen and plan for that • Goal setting: stretching ambitions broken down into sub goals • Managing others: push decision making to whoever is closest to problems • Decision-making: envision multiple futures to plan ahead • Innovation: recombine old and new ideas (90% of the most creative ideas include ideas previously mentioned somewhere else – from a database of 17.9m manuscripts. Innovators are actually intellectual middlemen.) • Absorbing data: when encountering new information, force yourself to do something with it. This is best achieved by disfluency – engaging thoroughly with it, which is harder at first. Inability to do so is called information blindness.
  20. 20. TALKABILITY James Borg There are some secrets of effective conversation that you can perfect.
  21. 21. TALKABILITY James Borg • This is all about what to say and how to say it, so you can get more from every conversation. • The words you use determine your success in life, relationships, your job and in business. • iContact or eye contact: proper conversations are always better than using technology, or being distracted when talking. • Everything can be misunderstood: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure that what you think you heard is what I meant.” • Paralinguistics looks at the melody and tone of what is said, not just the words. Paralanguage is vital to empathetic conversation. • Prosody is the rhythm, stress and intonation of speech. • Listen and silent are spelled with same letters: the rhythm of talking and listening is vital to effective communication. • The primacy-recency effect: we remember best the first item of information presented to us. We remember second best the information that comes last. Beginnings and endings are crucial.
  22. 22. CULTURE
  23. 23. THE CULTURE MAP Erin Meyer Global business is a great deal easier if you pay attention to how other cultures work.
  24. 24. THE CULTURE MAP Erin Meyer • Decoding how cultural differences affect international business involves: • Communicating (low to high context) • Evaluating (direct to indirect negative feedback) • Persuading (principles-first to applications-first) • Leading (egalitarian to hierarchical) • Deciding (consensual to top-down) • Trusting (task-based to relationship-based) • Disagreeing (confrontational to avoids confrontation) • Scheduling (linear-time to flexible-time) • Views of meeting success are fascinating. In a good meeting: A. A decision is made (USA) B. Various viewpoints are discussed and debated (France) C. A formal stamp is put on a decision that has been made before the meeting (Japan, China)
  25. 25. WHY SHOULD ANYONE WORK HERE? Goffee & Jones Successful company cultures need honesty and meaning, allowing people to be themselves and do work that makes sense.
  26. 26. WHY SHOULD ANYONE WORK HERE? Goffee & Jones • In the past, businesses made people conform to the organization’s needs. That doesn’t work any more. • Leaders need to attract the right people, keep them and inspire them to do their best work. • There are six attributes of a healthy company culture: • Difference: Let people be themselves • Radical honesty: Let people know what’s really going on • Extra value: Magnify people’s strengths • Authenticity: Stand for something more than shareholder value • Meaning: Make the work make sense • Simple rules: Make rules clear and apply equally to everyone • What makes work meaningless? • Scale: companies are too big • Division of labour: silos and lack of connection between people and tasks • Time lags: big gaps between doing things and eventual outcome
  27. 27. NEGOTIATION
  28. 28. THE NEGOTIATION BOOK Steve Gates You can be a better negotiator by preparing properly, holding your nerve, staying calm, and making your offer first.
  29. 29. THE NEGOTIATION BOOK Steve Gates The 10 important traits of successful negotiators are: 1. Nerve. Believe in your position, never offend, and always remain calm. 2. Self-Discipline. Understand what to do, do that which is appropriate. 3. Tenacity. The equivalent of stamina in sportspeople. 4. Assertiveness. Tell them what you will do, not what you won’t do. 5. Instinct. Trust it – you will be right more often than not. 6. Caution. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 7. Curiosity. Ask why because you want and need to know. 8. Numerical reasoning. Know what it’s really worth, what it really costs. 9. Creativity. Explore and build on possibilities. 10.Humility. People make agreements, and humility breeds respect.
  30. 30. THE YES BOOK Clive Rich Negotiation now requires a more sophisticated, collaborative approach.
  31. 31. THE YES BOOK Clive Rich Attitude: manage their own and others’ negotiation attitudes ~ Fusers: work in partnership; join agenda of both parties. ~ Confusers: distort first impressions and lead attitudes astray. ~ Users: are old-fashioned and it doesn’t work. ~ Losers: who wants to be one? Process: manage the stages of the negotiation, which are: ~ Preparation: put in the spadework before starting. ~ Climate setting: create the right atmosphere. ~ Wants & Needs: why do people want what they say they want? ~ Coinage: value things that may be of value to the other party. ~ Bidding: ask for what you want, mean it, have good reason ~ Bargaining: keep reframing the issue or expanding the pie. ~ Closing: move to closure briskly when the opportunity arises. Behaviour: they understand and manage their own and others’ ~ ‘I’ behaviour: expectations; reasons; probe; incentives ~ ‘You’ behaviour: disclose; explore; common ground; listen ~ ‘We’ behaviour: visualise; check consensus; share solutions ~ Parting behaviour: pit stop; break; silence; terminate
  32. 32. BEHAVIOUR
  33. 33. THE NO ASSHOLE RULE Robert Sutton Assholes should not be tolerated – at work or anywhere else.
  34. 34. THE NO ASSHOLE RULE Robert Sutton • A temporary asshole: anyone having a bad day or bad moment. We can all be like this. • A certified asshole: a persistently nasty and destructive jerk. • After talking to the alleged asshole, does the target feel oppressed, humiliated, or belittled? • Does the alleged asshole aim his or her venom at people who are less powerful than them? • Common everyday actions that assholes use include: personal insults, invading one’s personal territory, uninvited physical contact, threats and intimidation (verbal and non- verbal), sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems, withering email flames, status slaps to humiliate, public shaming, status degradation rituals, rude interruptions, two-faced attacks, dirty looks, treating people as invisible. • The Total Cost of Assholes to an organization comes via retention and recruitment costs, lost clients, and wasted time. • A few demeaning creeps can overwhelm the warm feelings generated by hoards of civilized people.
  35. 35. IDEAS
  36. 36. THE WORKSHOP BOOK Pamela Hamilton Workshops can be a success if you design them properly and use the right techniques.
  37. 37. THE WORKSHOP BOOK Pamela Hamilton Rule breaker: write the rules of the product or category, then write the extreme opposites and explore the space between. Newspaper/postcard/ storyboard: write headlines or articles from the future, forcing participants to envision their goals. Advice to myself 10 years ago: passing on experience. Future trends: brief description of trend; opportunities this offers the business; risks if we ignore it. Calibration: draw a vertical line down chart. Put a tick on the left and a cross on the right. Work through issues: yes/no Identifying initiatives: name it, describe it, and then vote on it. Accountability template: project description, elements, opportunities, challenges, action next week, month, with names. Old way, new way: what’s the usual way of doing this, and how are we going to change it? Ideal job: what is it? Good for defining peoples’ motivations. Outputs not updates: get it done, don’t just keep telling everybody what you are doing. Be a problem owner, not a problem moaner.
  38. 38. PREDICTION
  39. 39. SUPERFORECASTING Tetlock & Gardner It is possible to increase the accuracy of forecasts by acting as superforecasters do.
  40. 40. SUPERFORECASTING Tetlock & Gardner So-called experts are only slightly better at prediction than random guesswork, or “a dart throwing chimp”. But a group of 3,000 ordinary people in the US can predict the future with a degree of accuracy 60% greater than average. This is how: • Triage. Concentrate on clear questions that can be answered, albeit with hard work. • Break intractable problems into tractable sub-problems. • Strike the right balance between inside and outside views. • And between under/overreacting to evidence. • And between under- and overconfidence. • Look for the clashing causal forces at work in each problem. • Distinguish as many degrees of doubt as the problem permits, but no more. • Look for the errors behind your mistakes but beware of rear- view mirror hindsight biases. • Bring out the best in others/let others bring out best in you. • Master error-balancing cycle: try, fail, analyse, adjust, repeat. • Don’t treat commandments as commandments.
  41. 41. HOW TO USE • Be inquisitive • Make the time • Understand the lines of argument • Have a point of view • Inform your work • Enjoy the debate • Ask Kevin to speak or train
  42. 42. KEVIN DUNCAN More detail at: www.greatesthitsblog.com Ask Kevin to speak or train: 07979 808770 kevinduncanexpertadvice@gmail.com Twitter: @kevinduncan

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