“Book Club For Landscapers?” How studying a business book with your team creates a great company culture.


By Grant Harrison

One of the most effective ways to get your staff to “buy in” to the growth and culture of your company is to work through a book together. There are so many great business books that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few, but here are my favorite business books that would be great for group study:

Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
This book describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. "Greatness" is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period. Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. Collins finds that the main reason certain companies become great is that they narrowly focus the company’s resources on their field of key competence.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
Written by Stephen R. Covey's eldest son, this book guides business leaders and their organizations toward unprecedented productivity and satisfaction. Covey shows you how to inspire immediate trust in everyone you encounter--colleagues, constituents, the marketplace-- allowing you to forego the time-killing and energy-draining check and balance bureaucracies that are so often relied upon in lieu of actual trust.

Traction - Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
Traction is a business strategy book that guides leaders of entrepreneurial organizations on how to gain control of their business through the Entrepreneurial Operating System.

The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack
The Great Game of Business teaches employees to think and act like owners, using open-book management techniques developed by Jack Stack.

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan & Al Switzler
Crucial Conversations draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time” (from the forward by Steven R. Covey).
Crucial Conversations gives you the tools to prepare for high-stakes situations; transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue; make it safe to talk about almost anything; and be persuasive, not abrasive.

So how does a company book club work? First, meet regularly--weekly or bi-weekly is recommended. That way, the content stays fresh in everyone’s minds. Assign a chapter or section for each meeting. We recommend attendees come to the meeting having already read the chapter/section for that meeting.

Ask each person to talk about 2-3 points that impacted them from the chapter. Then look for consensus for one idea that can be implemented to improve the business. Keep a running list of company improvements and review these on a regular basis as a reminder of changes you want to make.  

Some will say that they have no time for a book study. I would like to argue that doing a book study will bring the team together and make them much more cohesive and, consequently, much more effective. You will also realize who, in your leadership team, is an “A” player, looking to improve the company.

I would love to know if you already make a practice of reading through a book with your team. If so, what have been the most helpful books?

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

--Harry S Truman

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