Category Archives: Book Worth Reading

Book Review: Career Distinction (with supporting 360 assessment tool)

This book is a fantastic resource and not only helps the person on the career search but any person seeking definition of their professional brand and to understand their leadership impact (how they are currently understood or impact others). I use this book and assessment for all three of these areas: career search leadership development…
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Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations (Book Review)

Another fantastic book by Carey. He has done such a great job of studying the church, culture and leadership today. This book is BEYOND packed with material, but all very on point - like any of Carey's writing (articles, podcast, other books). We got this on audio and bought the book as well so we…
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Seven Practices of Effective Ministry (Book Review)

I LOVE THIS BOOK! Very very good for ministry -- and for a business owner. Clearly written for business, but there are so many great points and perspectives, I am referring to my business leaders as well. For Ministry, highly recommend pastors and lay leaders to read this book. Stanley does not mess around with…
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Emotional Habits: 7 Things Resilient People Do

Fantastic Book! Got the book on audio and then purchased the print book. Too many things I wanted to reference! I have been in personal growth for years and this book was still very helpful and packed with great info. The author is insightful and offers support material on his website so you can dig…
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Finding Success in Balance

This book is a quick and light read.  It is a great reminder of ways to have balance and focus in your life. The author, Apryl Schlueter, presents the information in a personal, unfiltered approach about how she has been able to design this in her life. Using her own journey as a prime example, she is authentic…
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Traction by Gino Wickman

SUMMARY: HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5 star.

This book is a MUST HAVE for business leaders. As a business coach and trainer, I often recommend it to most of my business owners and leaders. Those who are starting a business to those in larger organizations find it helpful. While it can take a while to “get into it” for the non-reading leader… an audiobook is a great option. I do recommend having the paper book as well, however. Even if you are not a reader, you want to study and learn about Traction. This is MUCH MORE than a book – it is a business process and system. Also, this concept has much more supporting it than just “one” book. There are many resources to support implementing “traction” in your organization and even “traction” coaches…. Start with the book and see if you like the concept. I think you will.

This book is one of the few business books that talk about HOW to run the nuts and bolts of your business. It covers some of the areas where many businesses blow off a critical part of business operating (i.e. team meetings and planning). The difference is, this is not meeting for the sake of meeting or planning for the sake of a dusty business plan, these are practical and highly implementable steps that will truly support your business to get TRACTION (as the title says). Just the one-page business plan is a priceless improvement for many businesses to stay on track and move forward vs. in a circle. Also, I should note some business are not going in circles, but many get distracted watching what everyone else is doing and forget what their core focus was. The traction system will help you stay centered on who you are, your vision, mission, market and target.  It organizes the process in six key components (referenced as EOS = Entrepreneurial Operating System) for any but especially small business:

  • Vision. Where are you going?
  • People. Your team is critical and developing and retaining a great team is critical for your success.
  • Data. Scorecards, dashboards, measurable – how do you tell if you are making progress or not?
  • Issues. Most people do not like conflict but issues unaddressed derail business.
  • Process. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Consistency rules and ensures solid performance.
  • Traction®. Discipline and accountability to execute well.

Even if you only apply some of the principles, businesses and leaders who have read and implemented this book or any part of it have been better off for it. Those who have their entire leadership team read it and work to study, discuss and design their business around it do even better. This book will give you the framework for HOW. Coaching helps as you are working to brainstorm YOUR vision, process, etc. but the nuts and bolts and structure are well outlined in this book.

Beyond this, Gino has a blog and group to connect with others using the traction model. And another great book is Rocket Fuel:  The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Tour Business.  This is the next book by Gino for leaders to read. He also has assessments for you to determine if you are the visionary or integrator at http://blastoff.rocketfuelnow.com/quiz/

Other resources: http://www.eosworldwide.com/  or   http://www.rocketfuelnow.com/

There are many videos to help learn more and dig deeper. Again, MANY of my business leaders find this concept supportive and central to their new way of operating. Start with reading the book…

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams

SUMMARY: HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Love this book. It is very digestible for any person. Copyright 2004… so might seem dated, but in 2016 I still find it filled with ongoing relevant tips.  Plus, it highlights rules people are still breaking from the 80’s and 90’s (like the use of Times New Roman font).

I would highly recommend this book for Jr High, High School and College blooming professionals to get a baseline for how to create a current look for documents and materials (i.e. letterhead, business card, etc.)  I would HIGHLY recommend for those who have worked in education and the nonprofit world for years ( an inexpensive way to make sure you are updated), as well as ALL administrative professionals. General business leaders and independent business owners should also read it. Why? Those creating documents often default to very old “word publishing” rules which are outdated. Leaders sometimes correct or do not appreciate strong graphics because they too are used to the traditional.

When you have a basic understanding of graphics and design you will make better choices, be able to proof and approve documents faster, know what you want and know what to ask for. Another reason, most professional need to put graphics on a page at some point, in a Powerpoint, document, etc. I have seen so many graphics stretched or miss-sized on professional documents… when it could look clean and sharp if the person creating the document had just a few of these basic guiding principles. This is a very practical book and very easy to read, even for the non-book reader.  It is more of a resource book that you spend some time learning from. Even if the average professional spent 10 minutes a day reviewing some of these tips and suggestions, you would be taking yourself through a self-guided basic design class.  Again, this is helpful not only for those creating the document but those asking and approving it.

What I love about this book is not only does it tell you what NOT to do and WHAT to do… but it gives examples of both so you can see the before and after. It is filled with don’t do and try this, examples.  It even has little quizzes to test your learning.  This is extremely helpful because most people just do not understand what to change. I have seen this in resumes, flyers, business cards, postcards, ads, etc. There are so many communication pieces the average professional is likely to make over the course of their career. Do yourself a favor and just review this book and give yourself some knowledge of the design trade and improve your results.  Usually, people do not realize when their pieces are not communicating. They blame it on the busy and distracted reader, when really in design – good design, communication and marketing is read by the reader.

The book even has a helpful index to reference things easily. It has a font guide. It covers many topics from form, layout to different types of media (websites, print, etc.). Again, it covers so many things very simply. It is not complex or deep designer speak. It is a fantastic resource for anyone who uses the computer for more than social media.

I will note, my book is falling apart – half of the first chunk of pages came unglued from the spine… so the publishing quality could be better; however, drill some holes and stick it in a binder for reference for your team. It is one everyone in the office should digest. Plus, it will save the one to two people in the office who have design sense the burden of constantly arguing about why look, feel and layout is important. This could be a great book for designers to give their business clients, for leaders to give to their team, for the marketing or communication department to read and share.

Thank you, Robin, for taking the time to break Design into simple keys for the rest of us to understand some basics!

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

Rhinoceros Success

Rhinoceros SuccessRhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander(1) is a funny, short and easy-to-read book that will inspire any action-oriented person to get moving! Scott Alexander has a creative approach to get you ready to charge forward into action! This is perfect in the NEW YEAR when you are setting and planning for goal success! The author makes the premise that there are two kinds of people in the world, “Cows” and “Rhinos.” You get to choose which one you’d like to be.

The fact that you are reading this article suggests that you are already rhino material! Rhinos are the people who charge ahead and don’t let things get them down. They get things done and see the possibilities even in adverse circumstances. Obstacles are merely hurdles to break through, not road blocks that immobilize. Now realistically, every rhino is going to have some “cow” days; the trick is to be a cow as little as possible, because rhinos simply get more done and are more successful. Cows have a different purpose altogether and are OK with mediocre, “good enough” and settling for living in fenced-in pastures, chewing their cud. I am not going to focus on cows, because the rhino is the one who is making things happen and moving forward through the jungle of life! If you want to get things done and not let negative people, life, or other obstacles stop you – this is a must read.

Strategies for living your purpose and expanding your awareness for life, people and the opportunities of each day

Rhino Mind-set:

  • Positive Self-Talk. Scott Alexander talks about reading a focus statement daily. He suggests: “I am a rhinoceros. I have a damn-the-torpedoes spirit! I am full of energy and I can’t wait to get up in the morning to start charging!” Now, write your big picture goal and get moving!
  • Expect Torpedoes. These are the obstacles and negative things that inevitably discourage, distract or serve to get you off track. Expect them and commit to not letting them knock you over. Develop a tough, thick skin so you can keep charging. These are traits like confidence, endurance, discipline, focus, and determination.

Rhino Behavior:

  • Action is essential. Pick the most important thing you need to get done each day and do it first, before the smaller and more seductive things (e.g., checking e-mail, cleaning, personal calls, coffee breaks). Also, write the four other key things you need to get done each day, and focus on doing those. Make it your goal to accomplish these five key items every day.
  • CHARGE! Rhinos are in the business of “charging” forward. They have a target in mind (the goal) and are focused and going for it. Since you have already developed your plan, you can be confident in your charge. Go for the next step and get it done. Success happens one step at a time, whether the goal is large or small. Whatever you do, do something, stay in action and keep moving forward.

1 (Laguna Hills, CA: Rhino Press, 1980)

Christy Geiger, Executive Business Coach & Trainer, Minneapolis, MN

Eat that Frog!

Eat That Frog!With the new year just around the corner, there are all kinds of intentions floating around. But, be it the cold weather or the less than pleasant tasks involved, procrastination quickly sets in and our resolutions are tucked away, never to become a reality.

If you're ready to take on your resolutions with intention this year, Brian Tracy's "Eat the Frog!" is the book for you. In his powerful book on overcoming procrastination, Tracy shares 21 ways to organize, prioritize, and move ahead with any project! If this is the year that you're serious about your resolutions, I highly recommend that you "eat your frog!"

To order this book, click here.

Christy Geiger, Executive Business Coach & Trainer,  Minneapolis, MN

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

InfluencerThe content of this book, Influencer:  The Power to Change Anything  by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler, makes it an important read. I will say I did not find this book the easiest to read; for me it feels pretty "academic". However, it is a good book because it is packed with examples of how to understand human behavior and how to act differently to get better results. It talks about emotional intelligence and how our brain works, building social capitol (support and people around you), motivators of people (positive motivation last longer than negative), designing environments to influence the way you want to be, habits for effectiveness, etc. It gives a high level on many areas that are important for being a positive, successful, productive person who is able to impact others and make a difference. To me it pushes the higher level of leadership that is only achieved with intention, focus and discipline. It challenges even the natural leader to consider how they operate and ways to take their leadership / influence to the next level.

For you own copy of this book, click here.

Christy Geiger, Executive Business Coach & Trainer,  Minneapolis, MN