Recommended Resources


Good To Great by Jim Collins
This book definitely goes on my top ten list! The business lingo and rather technical data in the first chapter almost threw me but I soon got past that and really into the concepts presented by Jim Collins and his team. The fact that the book was based on empirical data and not just some person’s conclusions based on a variety of observations was a real selling point with me. The complex filtering process the author and his team applied and the amount of research they undertook gave this book tremendous credibility. Two key takeaways from this book:

1) Level 5 Leadership. Level 5 leaders are ambitious first and foremost for the cause, the organization, the work-not themselves-and they have the fierce resolve to do whatever it takes to make good on that ambition. A Level 5 leader displays a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.

2) First Who…Then What. Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about ‘who’ and then about what.


The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
I often quote Stephen Covey during my presentations. He has so much to offer in his books on leadership and life. A few highlights from this book include:

1) Which is better: dependence or independence? Actually neither. While we certainly consider ongoing dependency as unhealthy, there’s also a downside to full-blown independence. We live in an interdependent reality. Our most important work, the problems we hope to solve or the opportunities we hope to realize require working and collaborating with other people in a high-trust, synergistic way—whether at home or at work.

2) Maintain your P/PC balance. Based on Aesop’s fable—the Goose and the golden eggs—strive to keep production balanced with your production capability. Don’t burn out.

3) Be Proactive. Choose the right response. As Viktor E. Frankl so aptly stated: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

4) Seek first to understand, then to be understood. In a world of conflict, noise, and multiple voices, win the right to be heard by listening empathically to another human being who is equally made in the image of God.


Full Steam Ahead by Ken Blanchard & Jessie Stoner
For an excellent resource written in narrative form on vision and life purpose, look no further. Blanchard and Stoner have written an excellent book that covers several key elements important to one’s mission statement:

1) Purpose. Everyone desires significance and meaning in life. Figure out why you exist and where you are going. Write your own eulogy, describing what people will say about you someday after fulfilling your life purpose.

2) Clear values. While purpose speaks to the “why” question, values answer the “how” question. Values are deeply held beliefs that certain qualities are desirable. They provide guidelines for our choices and actions.

3) Preferred picture of the future. We need to learn from the past, live in the present, and plan for the future. We cannot have a vision for the future unless we are firmly grounded in the present.

Leaders are responsible to remind their people about what’s really important, help them stay focused on the vision, remove obstacles whenever possible, and encourage people to act.


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is a classic with timeless advice and principles on engaging others. I’ve often quoted Carnegie on this one key point: “You can’t win an argument. If you lose it you lose it; if you win it you ‘lose’ it.” The person who lost feels inferior and he will resent your triumph. You’ve lost any potential impact you may have had on him. Carnegie succinctly states: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”)

Two quick principles on how to make people like you:
-Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
-Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Two more principles on how to win people to your way of thinking:
-Show respect for the other person’s opinions; never say, ‘You’re wrong.”
-Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

On being a leader Carnegie points out numerous ways to change people without giving offense or arising resentment.


The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn
I first heard Mark speak at a Catalyst leadership conference in Atlanta. Using his mailman—Fred—as an example, he taught us four key principles:

1. Everyone makes a difference.
2. Everything is built on relationships.
3. You must continually create value for others and it doesn’t have to cost a penny.
4. You can reinvent yourself regularly.

One of his most entertaining and unforgettable points on adding value to basically everything had to do with “zoop”…you will want to watch this short video (less than two minutes) on YouTube!


Whale Done by Ken Blanchard, Thad Lacinak, Chuck Tompkins, & Jim Ballard 
Ken Blanchard partnered with some killer whale trainers from Sea World to write this delightful book on the power of positive relationships. Regarding the giving of feedback, Ken and his co-authors state that a “Whale Done” response includes these four points:

1) Praise people immediately.
2) Be specific about what they did right or almost right.
3) Share your positive feelings about what they did.
4) Encourage them to keep up the good work.

‘WHALE DONES’ should be given when people are moving in the right direction, not only when they’ve performed a task correctly since progress is always a moving target. Leaders understand that individuals are motivated by different things. Therefore they observe people closely to see what they like or don’t like and customize their “WHALE DONES” for each person under their sphere of influence.