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Annette Franz

Customer Care

What’s in Your Library?

Five leadership books you must read in 2019

Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - 13:01

I still love to hold and read physical books (as opposed to audible or Kindle). I don’t know how many books I added to my library this year, but it was a lot. I thought I’d share some good ones that I’d recommend you add to your reading list for 2019.

These books are not customer experience books per se, but the outcomes of implementing what you learn in them will certainly lead to better experiences for employees and for customers. Let’s dive in.

I read the first two books on cross-country travel last week, with time to spare for chatting with my seat mates. (In other words, quick reads but packed full of good stuff.)

The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, 2015)

Similar to Patrick Lencioni’s other books, this one is also a fable. In this book, Lencioni writes about the three root causes of job misery, which can be summed up as immeasurement, irrelevance, and anonymity. In a nutshell, measure what matters, understand who your work affects and how you affect them, and take a real interest in co-workers. The story takes you through several examples of how one CEO, who loves to lead and to manage, uncovered these three root causes, and how he put them into practice at a couple different companies in different industries.

A Journey Into the Heroic Environment by Rob Lebow (Select Books, 2004)

I read the original edition of this book, which was written in 1997. Here's a great quote from Lebow: “Imagine a place where everyone puts the interests of others before their own. Where everyone tells the truth and where trust and mentoring abound. That place is called a Heroic Environment.”

This book is also written as an engaging fable that leaves you not wanting to put the book down until you understand the difference between business values and people values, learn what a Heroic Environment is, read about the four corporate personality traits, and more. Lebow created a shared values process/operating system, which is a training and culture change tool. This book outlines the foundation for his “people operating system.”

Crave: You Can Enhance Employee Motivation in 10 Minutes by Friday by Gregg Lederman (Brand at Work, 2018)

This is Gregg Lederman’s third book. In 2012, I wrote about his first book, Brand Integrity, and in 2013, I wrote about his second, Engaged! His latest book, Crave, delves into the three things that humans crave at work that, when attained, make them happier and more productive: respect, purpose, and relationships. Interestingly enough, this book is based on 80 years’ worth of research Lederman dug up that overwhelmingly supports these three motivators. Lederman writes about how you can motivate employees in “10 minutes by Friday” and provides clear guidelines, plus supplemental worksheets, on how to develop this weekly habit.

Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman (Portfolio, 2015)

If you've been a follower of my blog for a while, you know that I first started writing about Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, and his leadership approach, i.e., Truly Human Leadership, back in 2012, and have written about him several times since. This book chronicles Chapman’s history with Barry-Wehmiller and, more important, his own epiphany about leadership, i.e., that leaders have an awesome responsibility over their employees and must treat people like people. In his own words: “Everybody Matters is about what happens when ordinary people throw away long-accepted management practices and start operating from their deepest sense of right, with a sense of profound responsibility for the lives entrusted to them.” In a truly human organization, the worth of every individual is validated, people are allowed to be who they were meant to be, and there’s a common purpose that creates value. As a result, employees go home to their families every night feeling good about themselves and have a more meaningful life.

The Transformational Power of Executive Team Alignment by Miles Kierson (Advantage Media Group, 2009)

There are a lot of factors that contribute to a leadership team’s success, but none as important as team alignment. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “Calling most executive groups ‘teams’ would be a stretch of imagination since by definition a team is a group of people who are working on some common end together.” Ouch. As you probably already know, executive team alignment is critical to the success of any transformation or strategic implementation. Miles defines alignment as “a relationship to decisions whereby you own them completely. It is also a commitment to have a decision work.” And it’s a choice. Each individual on the executive team must choose to be aligned. It’s a fascinating read, and you’ll learn how to become an aligned team and how to sustain that alignment.

Share some of your must-reads for 2019 in the comments below.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

—Mortimer J. Adler

First published Dec. 11, 2018, on the CX Journey blog.

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About The Author

Annette Franz’s picture

Annette Franz

Annette Franz, CCXP is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. She's an author (she wrote the book on customer understanding!), a speaker, and a customer experience thought leader and influencer. She serves as Vice Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), is an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and is an Advisory Board member for CX@Rutgers.