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In our research, a listing is provided here {Nick’s Picks} of what the thought leaders and high performing organizations are reading and bringing back to their respective institutions for implementation.

The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle, Hunter

Leadership defined:

- The skills of influencing people to enthusiastically work toward goals identified as being for the common good, with character that inspires confidence.
- Developing the skills of servant leadership is difficult work and comes with a price.
- Becoming a servant leader requires a great deal of motivation, feedback, and extended practices, as does any worthwhile discipline.
- Becoming a better leader is not something that is grasped intellectually, like learning algebra or how to read a balance sheet. We become leaders by applying our learning, knowledge, feedback, and experience to our everyday lives.
- To become a better leader, one must be willing and motivated to change and grow.
- Leadership requires: patience, kindness, humility, respect, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, commitment and passion for personal and organizational continuous improvement.

The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande

Checklists are used:

- In the airplane cockpit to ensure the plane takeoff and landing is safe and without incident.
- In the surgery room to ensure all of the surgery instruments are accounted for before and after the procedure.
- At the beginning of an audit to ensure the minimum number of audit elements are completed between auditors or across locations.

Good to Great, Collins

As companies made the transition from good to great companies they experienced the following:

Disciplined People
- Level 5 Leadership - the executive builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. All good-to-great companies had Level 5 leadership at the time of transition.
- First who ... then what - great leaders got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats - and then they figured out where to drive it. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.

Disciplined Thought
- Confront the brutal facts - Every company embraced the Stockdale paradox: you must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

- Hedgehog concept - is a simple, crystalline concept that flows from a deep understanding of the following three aspects of your business: What

- - you can be the best at in the world, and equally important, what you cannot be the best at in the world.
- - drives your economic engine
- - you are deeply passionate about. The idea here is not to stimulate passion but to discover what makes you passionate.

Disciplined Action
- Culture of discipline - When you

- - Have disciplined people, you don't need hierarchy
- - Have disciplined thought, you don't need bureaucracy
- - Have disciplined action, you don't need excessive controls
- - Combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance

- Technology accelerators - never use technology as the primary means of igniting a transformation. Yet paradoxically, they are pioneers in the application of carefully selected technologies.

How, Seidman

- Really talented people are inspired by working:

- - In a place that gives them ample opportunity and resources with which to grow and develop as a person and make meaningful contributions.
- - For and with people who share their belief system, their professional aspirations, and their objectives for what the enterprise can accomplish.
- - In an enterprise that is somehow making the world a better place in some dimension that is important to them.

- We as change agents, facilitators, leaders need to create such a place, to have a distinct culture, a distinct character, and a distinct set of values and objectives that resonate against that spectrum of motivations.
- When individuals take the time for people to understand the whys and hows to get things done - and more importantly, to get them to believe in them - they are much more effective.
- If everyone has some strong guiding principles, it allows them to be creative, to be innovative, to be flexible, and to get out there and really do some things differently.

The World Is Flat, Freidman

The ten forces that flattened the world.

  1. 11/9/89 - fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the Windows-enabled PC

  2. 8/9/95 - Netscape went public. The Netscape browser made the internet accessible to everyone

  3. Work flow software - the combination of the PC and e-mail

  4. Uploading - blogging and Wikipedia

  5. Outsourcing - any service, call center, business support operation, or knowledge work that could be digitized could be sourced globally to the cheapest, smartest, most efficient provider

  6. Offshoring - is when a company takes one of its U.S. factories and moves the whole factory offshore to another country

  7. Supply-chaining - building a process that "delivers stuff" across the globe

  8. Insourcing - if you own a laptop computer that is under warranty and it breaks and you call the company to have it repaired, the company will tell you to drop it off at a UPS store. UPS picks up your computer, actually repairs it, and sends it back to you

  9. In-forming - Google, Yahoo!, MSN Web Search

  10. The steroids - Digital, Mobile, Personal, and Virtual

The Art of the Longview, Schwartz

When people play with mental models of the world, they are actually creating a new language among themselves that expresses the knowledge they have acquired. The institutional learning, whether it be achieved through teaching or through play as we have defined it: How much and how fast this model changes will depend on the culture and structure of the organization.

Cowboy Ethics, Owen

The book identifies ten attributes of cowboys that an organization should adopt and they are: Live each day with courage, Always finish what you start, Do what has to be done, When you make a promise, keep it; Remember that some things aren't for sale; Take pride in your work; Be tough, but fair; Talk less, say more; Ride for the brand; and, Know where to draw the line.

The Heart of Change, Kotter

To effectuate organizational change, the following eight step process has been observed in successful organizations:

  1. Increase urgency

  2. Build the guiding team

  3. Get the vision right

  4. Communicate for buy-in

  5. Empower action

  6. Create short-term wins

  7. Don't let up

  8. Make change stick

The Wisdom of Crowds, Surowiecki

Under the right circumstances, the crowd is just as wise or wiser than a professionally trained individual. The book provides us with numerous anecdotes and case studies from restaurants to taxes. In organizational development, the flow of information up the hierarchy may not be as efficient or accurate as it can be. Chris Argyris has identified the existence of "inauthentic behavior" is actually the norm in most organizations. This behavior can prove detrimental to an organization in their pursuit of strategic opportunities and intelligent risks.

The Innovators Dilemma, Christensen

- Two (2) principles of good management:

1. always listen to and respond to the needs of your best customers, and
2. focus investments on those innovations that promise the highest returns.

- One of the bittersweet rewards of success is, in fact, that as companies become large, they literally lose the capability to enter small emerging markets. This disability is not because of a change in the resources within the companies - their resources typically are vast. Rather, it is because their values change. {Ex. HP, Westinghouse Nuclear split into 2 companies}


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