Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back at 2011

I had one of those great, intellectually charged conversations the other day with a colleague and friend, one of those discussions that leaves your mind abuzz. One nugget that came out of it was what books I had read this last year that have had the biggest impact on me as an agile coach and trainer. Here's the list I shared with him:

Must Read
Switch - How to Change When Change is Hard - A great read with lots of science and stories behind how and why people and groups change. Provides a structure to follow in leading change. A must-read for coaches and those leading change efforts.

The Lean Start-up - Eric's book provides the framework, reasoning and experience on how to swiftly determine the product to build. More than that, Eric provides pragmatic understanding of why traditional businesses and management behave the way they do, and how to deliver measurable, actionable way to change that. A must-read for anyone in IT, product development, management or executive leadership (so, everyone). 

Getting Naked - Shedding the Three Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty - Patrick Lencioni shares what makes real consultants (and consulting) awesome, versus those traditional consulting companies that we all love to hate. A must-read for anyone in consulting or in other ways provides professional services.

I would add The Goal by Goldratt because I loved the use of a fictional story to learn about lean and the theory of constraints, but it hasn't had the practical impact that the other books above did.



I'll add to this list several of "Must Watch" videos:
Joe Justice at TEDx - Agile used to create a 100 mpg road-ready car in 3 months. More lessons for all businesses in this 10 minute video than any other I know of.

Simon Sinek - Leaders, Start with "Why" - One of the Top 20 most watched TED videos. All companies know What they do, some know How they do it, very few know Why. Great for product managers, management and leadership.

Animated Daniel Pink Talk on What Motivates Workers - A very engaging video, using graphical notetaking, that I show in many of my classes that shares the three things that motivates workers (and none are money). Based on Pink's best-selling book Drive. 

Marcus Buckingham on Learning Your Strengths - A well-polished 10 minute introduction to strengths. It is part of one of several DVD's that I play for teams as part of team-building or learning self-organization in agile. 

And ONE "Must Attend" conference:
"But, wait," you're surely saying, "didn't you attend four other agile conferences (and two one-day events) in 2011?" Yes. 

And I have referenced, quoted, shared, lended more by the speakers from The Leadership Summit (Lencioni, Godin, Booker, Schlesinger, Hybels, Furtick) than all the other conferences combined and doubled. And it was only two days. And 1/10th the price. And available (almost) everywhere in the world via simulcast. 
"But, wait - again," you might be saying, "isn't that a Christian event?" Hosted by a church - yes. Goal to make attendees Christians? Definitely not. Goal to change the world? Yes. I think it's good to be around a bunch of people who really want to, and honestly believe they can, change the world. Even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone. It may just radically change your Why (just as we hope to do in the companies we serve).


Derek Neighbors said...

Thanks for sharing great list of books and answering a question I have had about the leadership summit for a few years (is it worth it?)


I'm so down for leadership conference. We should go, together!