Like many of you, I create a reading list for the upcoming year.
What many people might not know is that my reading list is divided into themes. The reason for this is (1) I want variety in the books I read; (2) I want to focus my reading around a few key topics and/or skills; and (3) I always want to incorporate fiction in my reading.
Before sharing my themes and the books within those themes, I do want to make one note. Don’t get too caught up into the amount of books on my list. My goal is to read 38 books this year. (If I accomplish this, it’s the most I will have read in a year.) Now, I know successful people who read less than me and others who read more. The key when it comes to reading, like most other things, is quality over quantity. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading.”
Read to gain knowledge and insight. Read to learn a new skill or refine an existing strength. Read for pleasure and inspiration.Just make sure that whatever you read, you allow those books to benefit both your personal development and also add value to the lives of the people around you.
Here is my reading list for 2021 categorized by their themes (all links are affiliate links):
I know all of us are ready to leave 2020 behind and focus on 2021. But like many of you, I spent some time reflecting on the last year, and there were certainly lessons I learned. Here are my top 10 posts from 2020, a sample of lessons I learned and shared over the last year.
We are inundated with information. And when it comes to learning, the opportunities are endless. However, for all this intake of information, is it producing growth and development? Here’s why this is an important question. Information, in and of itself, doesn’t produce transformation. Transformation is in the application. Simply knowing a fact or point of view cognitively doesn’t help us develop. So, how do we create a type of learning that actually transforms instead of one that simply informs?
We have all heard stories of highly talented leaders (and celebrities) who never reached their potential because poor choices ended up derailing their career. Our leadership journey is a marathon, not a sprint. And if you are going to be a leader that finishes well you must stay away from these common temptations.
Leadership, (or the lack thereof), is revealed through adversity and uncertainty. The measure of leadership is not found in how one leads in security and success; it’s how one leads in uncertainty and chaos. Here are five tools to help you lead both yourself and your team effectively through uncertainty.
Significance is more important (and impactful) than success. If leaders want to lead with significance, there are 10 qualities or skills they must develop. In this video session, I share the first skill of leading with significance (vision), why it’s vital to leadership, and how to develop vision.
The President and a janitor walk into NASA…that sounds like the start of a joke. But it’s actually a powerful story about the importance of vision, how to increase employee engagement, and how to be self-motivated at work. In this Sixty(ish) Seconds with Shawn video, I share a great leadership lesson that I learned from a janitor.
Most of us want to stand out, whether at a job interview, at our current place of work, or even among our family and friends. But let’s be honest: few of us do.In this Sixty(ish) Seconds with Shawn video, I share the eight traits that will guarantee you stand out and make you a more effective leader.
Why do so many organizations struggle to hire quality managers?That’s a big question. But let me offer two reasons. There are two myths that we still buy into when it comes to leaders. Check out this video to find out what they are.
If you are an experienced or seasoned leader, what other skills do you need to develop so that you don’t rely only on that experience?
If you are a young or inexperienced leader, how can you gain experience quickly and accelerate the learning curve?
A leader also needs to have vision for their organization, department, and/or team.
Where many leadership books fail is when they don’t take the next step to tell you how to cast vision. It’s not enough to merely know your vision. You must be able to communicate both your personal vision and organizational vision. A vision not shared becomes a powerless dream.
So how do we communicate our vision in such a way that inspires the people around us?
Author and leadership guru, Andy Stanley, outlines two key steps to casting vision effectively.
The first step a leader must take after discovering her vision is to embrace it personally. What does this mean? It means that she embodies the vision and starts putting it into practice. She lives it out.
Many leaders make the mistake of communicating a vision that doesn’t match up with their lifestyle. There can be no duplicity between the vision and the leader’s personal life. They must be unified. If there is a difference, that’s called hypocrisy.
If your vision isn’t resonating with your team, the first question you must ask is “Is my life a living representation and ambassador of this vision?”
After embracing our vision personally, the next step is that we must proclaim it publicly. We have now earned the right to share our vision because our words will match our actions.
When it comes to communicating our vision publicly, there are three stages of communication.
Individual Buy-in: If we are casting a new vision that could face some opposition, we must begin by getting individual buy-in through private conversations. You can do this in 1:1 or small group meetings. This is your opportunity to share your vision and answer any questions people may have. It also gives you an opportunity to practice sharing your vision so that you can articulate it as clearly as possible.
Inspire First: After getting individual buy in, it’s time to share corporately. The mistake many leaders make is that they bury the lead. They focus most of their speech on the “how.” How are we going to accomplish this vision? Don’t get caught in the weeds. Your primary goal is to inspire your team. You need to explain the “why” of your vision. Why is this vision important? What impact will accomplishing this vision have on the company or team? People don’t care what you do until they know why you do it. As the title of Simon Sinek’s best selling book says, “Start with Why.”
Repeat and Reward: Another mistake leaders make when proclaiming their vision publicly is that they communicate it once and then stop. The problem with this is that vision leaks. People get busy and forget. The day to day responsibilities of their job choke out vision. In order to make your vision stick, you must repeat it. There are two ways to do this:
Share the vision regularly. This should be done weekly. The famous Ritz Carlton has gold standards of customer service. Each employee gets a small card with the standards printed on it and they are required to carry the card with them at all times. At the beginning of each department’s shift, they regularly go over the gold standards.
Reward people whose behavior emulates the vision. Remember – “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” Reward those team members publicly and not only will they continue to put the vision into practice but it will spread to the rest of the team.
Think about the last time you had to cast vision. Maybe you were sharing a new initiative that your department or team was focusing on. Or maybe you were simply communicating your family values to your kids.
How did this vision casting session turn out? What could’ve been done differently?
This vision is basically your personal definition of success.
The reason discovering your personal vision is so important is because:
It gives you direction. It shows you the destination for your personal life. And it also serves as a scoreboard. It shows us whether we are winning or losing in our personal life.
It gives you the blueprint on how to live a fulfilled life. If you are not experiencing fulfillment, there is a good chance that you are not consistently living out this vision.
Once we have taken time to discover our personal vision, the next step is that we have to give it feet. Put another way, we have to make it practical and create steps that lead us to our destination.
What is your “Rule of 5”? What 5 activities will have the most significant impact on helping you accomplish and live out your personal vision? Write them out — then, share them on social media with us (tag @shawnwelchco so we can see!)