What the Change Gurus are Reading

September 22, 2021

Change seems to be happening at a faster pace than ever, especially in healthcare. My favorite change management book is Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. So when they recently published a list of their favorite book recommendations, I thought you my intelligent, knowledge seeking readers would want to see it. Here is an abbreviated version of their message."We rarely make book recommendations. Below are some books we believe in.We gave ourselves three constraints in making recommendations:(1) The book must offer great *practical* advice.(2) The book must be a 'hidden gem.'(3) We must avoid a 'conflict of interest'.These are not really "general-interest" books-they're specialized tools that will be absolutely perfect for 6% of you and irrelevant for the other 94%. Here goes:1. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Confession: Scarcity has many practical implications, but it is not a "nuts & bolts" book like the others. This is a book that we find ourselves thinking about frequently. The concept of "tunneling" was a huge eye-opener for us.2. Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. There is no shortage of creativity books in the world. Almost all of them include quick exercises that are fun to do in the moment. The strength of this book is its more robust and research-informed system for inspiring creativity.3. Sleeping with Your Smart Phone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work by Leslie Perlow. We are puzzled by the title and cover of this book. Do NOT buy this book because you work late and obsessively check your iPhone at night. Rather, buy this book because you want to read a brilliantcase study of how to improve the performance and sustainability of a team in a high-pressure environment. Our #1 takeaway: To have outstanding team performance, the team must build self-awareness-that is, a team must be good at what it does AND be able to have a dialogue about how to get better at what it does.4. Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know that Everyone Else Does Not by Andy Crowe. If you want a book that keeps you reading until the wee hours of the night, read Presumed Innocent. If you want a book that draws distinctions between great project managers and mediocre ones-distinctions that may surprise you-read this one. One huge "a-ha!" for us: The alpha project managers are rated much more highly by their peers on communication, even though they don't spend any more time communicating.5. Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems by J. Richard Hackman. It's all too rare to find a book that does a good job blending academic research, practical experience, and concrete examples/stories. For teamwork, this is that book. If your job requires you to assemble high-performing teams and to equip them with the right tools for success, then drop everything and spend a half day reading Hackman's book."Words of Wisdom"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho MarxSpeaking, Events and TravelJune 12, Culture, Employee Engagement and Retention, Healthcare Leaders, Phoenix, AZJune 30-July 11, Boston/Plymouth, MAAug 20, Presentation & 360 Assessment Debrief with Healthcare Leaders, Tucson, AZSept. 1, Collaborating for Outstanding Outcomes, CA HR Conference, Anaheim, CA

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