An HR expert tells how her company has started voluntary reading groups to explore new team-building techniques.
Three years ago employees at Wilton, a $65-million industrial-products manufacturer based in Palatine, Ill., hit a snag in their team-building efforts. Did they give up? Nope. They read a book. "It was an economical way of getting topics onto the discussion table," says human-resources-development facilitator Rachel Pankow. The book, The One Minute Manager Builds High-Performing Work Teams, by Ken Blanchard, Donald Carew, and Eunice Parisi-Carew, helped guide employees through some rough spots and started a tradition at Wilton: the company now holds voluntary reading groups. "We like to try to make changes related to what we're reading," says Pankow. For example, Tom Peters's Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations led to some lasting improvements in customer service. "For the money we invest, we really get a lot out of the discussion groups," says Pankow.