Popular media might have you thinking that print books are dead. But you wouldn't believe that if you walked in my office. My shelves are filled with the latest business books from the greatest thought leaders in all business fields. Each year, I make a point to read at least two business books a month to keep on top of the latest and greatest ideas.
Of course, I don't read just to be aware. I take the best ideas and apply them to my personal and business life. So I wanted to share with you the five business books that changed the way I did business in 2017.
Non-Obvious 2017--Rohit Bhargava
Rohit Bhargava also writes a blog that highlights the latest curated trends in lifestyle and business. Each year, he collects his curated trends and publishes them in his book: Non-Obvious. While there are a great many trends in each volume, the one that I found most useful for 2017 was 'passive loyalty'. Most companies are focused on getting actively loyal people, but the reality is that most customers are passively loyal. They will stay with you as long as it is convenient.
So in my business, we try to make things as easy as possible for our clients to keep their passive loyalty going. We push useful content out to them on email lists, check in on them if we haven't heard from them in a while, and reward them with gifts for doing business with us. If we're lucky, these efforts might change some of them to 'actively loyal' customers.
This book came out in late 2016, but I didn't get to read it until 2017. Like his first book, Influence, Cialdini's book Pre-Suasion is full of great ideas on how to persuade people even before you ask for something.
The two best ideas I took from Pre-Suasion were asking for advice instead of an opinion to get people invested in your success. And for those people on the job hunt, the one question you should ask is "Why did you invite me here today?" The interview question uses the principle of consistency to get the interviewer to say nice things about you and then, later, feel a need to justify the good opinion by recommending you to be hired.
I ask for advice all the time now to get buy-in from my colleagues and I give the job hunt idea to my friends on the market.
The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance --Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
These two authors were already bestsellers before I read an advance copy of their new book The Best Team Wins. While understanding millennials has been a hot topic for years, Gostick and Elton go a step further to talk about "understanding generations" not just millennials. All the literature would have us believe that millennials are some new kind of creature who has totally different work needs, when in fact millennials want the same things as all of us: to make an impact and to grow their careers. The main difference is that millennials are more vocal about what they want.
So this has helped me in understanding the different generations in my workplace. I make sure the new employees are aware of ways they can make an impact and encourage them to use the company's learning fund for educational development.
That's BS--Risha Grant
You may not have heard of Risha Grant, but she's an award-winning diversity and inclusion expert from Oklahoma. Her book That's BS on bias was an eye-opener for me. After hearing her speak and reading her book, the one message that stuck with me was being intentional about inclusivity to overcome biases in the workplace
Inclusivity has become more important as my business has expanded internationally and we look for ways to appeal to our Spanish speaking audience in South America. We now actively recruit more diverse candidates, who can bring new ideas and appeal to new markets.
We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter--Celeste Headlee
Celeste Headlee is an NPR host who has years of experience as an interviewer. Having mastered the art of the interview, her book We Need to Talk and her popular Ted Talk teach us ways we can listen better and be more empathetic in our communication.
Two things I picked up from her book that I use in real life are one, remaining present in conversations by turning off my technology and focusing on the speaker, and two, going with the flow of the talk.
Now I hold back from directing conversations, just waiting to get my point in. Instead, I let the conversations flow more naturally. I've found from using both techniques that I retain more information from colleagues because I'm present, and I learn new information because I allow conversations to go in different directions.