Category Archives: Organizational Health

My Reading List – Fall 2016 & Winter 2017


After more than six months of not having any 5-star reads, I have several amazing reads to share with you. Below are my ratings for the books I read between October 2016 and March 2017, as well as a brief summary of how each could add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with most of the content and found some fantastic nuggets throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
I tend to not be a risk-taker. I like to play it safe, and feel like I have everything under control. Mark helped me to realize that by living from this posture, I am keeping myself from maximizing my God-given potential. This book left me motivated, in ways that no other book has done before, and excited about taking risks.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
Because of my tendency to be risk averse, my motto over the last 4-5 years has been “live with courage”. When I have done so, my life has been richer, more meaningful, and simply more amazing. “But something invaluable and irreplaceable is lost when we cave in to conformity. We lose our personality. We lose our originality…Instead of becoming the one-of-a-kind original we were destined to be, we settle for a carbon copy of someone else.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to settle. I want to be courageous.

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
I’ve already read this book three times this year, and will probably read it again in the summer months. It is rich, and Jennie’s wisdom fills my soul. She reminded me over and over again to release my grip on life and stop trying to control everything. She reminded me to own my failures and apologize graciously. She reminded me to engage in pain and suffering, and let myself be touched by them rather than trying to run from them or be numb to them. So rich!

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Shauna’s words hit me hard, and were exactly what I needed to get me to face the fact that I had too much going on and needed to cut some things out of my life, and do more practicing of what I preach with my clients of, saying no to the good so you can say yes to the great.

4-Star Reads

Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray
I have difficulty slowing down. Resting is not something I am good at. I realized that part of the reason why was that I didn’t know what rest actually looked like. Bonnie helped me define rest, as well as recognize that rest is different for each of us. She walked me through a process that left me with pages of notes of what rest means to me and how I am most replenished in body, mind, spirit, and soul.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
I don’t really like Joanna’s decorating style (no offense to you, shiplap lovers), but I love watching she and Chip help people achieve their dream of having not just a house, but a home. Their memoir is a deeper glimpse into who they are and what brought them to where they are today, including some good lessons about money management and marital communication.

Becoming a Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
Every business person needs to read this book. Whether you only manage yourself, or you manage a team of people, Daniel presents tangible and practical disciplines that everyone can benefit from. This is the main book that we, at Building Champions, use with our clients, and there is quantitative data that proves that, when applied, success happens.

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
We’ve all been in a meeting where a product or service is being evaluated and one person is talking about how they feel about it, another person is talking about how to prove the benefits of it, another person is talking about how horrible everything is with it, and another person is talking about how it can lead to a future product or service. Edward helps us organize, clarify, and specify each of these different perspectives and reduce confusion in communication in a creative way.

3-Star Reads

Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
I was super amped to read Mark’s latest book, after having loved Wild Goose Chase and In the Pit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good, and had a lot of the same stories as the other two. But, the principles are still relevant, and his wisdom is just as sound.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
Very helpful insights into how the creator of the comic, Dilbert, got to where he is today. He presents some practical advice of how to set yourself up for success based on his own failures and successes. His suggestion of creating systems is a useful method for creating accountability for yourself.

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
Ryan didn’t necessarily invent fake news, but he certainly took the concept to a whole new level. This book is a fascinating look at this current hot topic, as Ryan exposes his own methods and clues the rest of us non-media folks, into how the media world works.

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
I’m not Ryan’s intended audience with this book, but I wanted to learn more about growth hacking since it’s clearly something that, as a consumer, affects my life. He did a good job of defining it and using some examples, from his career, of how he’s done it.

Love Lives Here by Maria Goff
Maria takes experiences, both common and difficult, and finds beauty and meaning in them. Her book is a good reminder to take note of situations and circumstances, and look for the deeper learnings in them.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that are on my current reading list. I will post a blog in July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick
Do Over by Jon Acuff
The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened The West by Lesley Poling-Kempes
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
Learning to Lead by Fred Smith
The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
Business Boutique by Christy Wright
On the Clock by Tim Enochs

What was one of your 5-star books in the Fall and Winter months?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Winter 2016

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Reading is my happy place, and the books I read during the first few months of this year packed a punch; some of my all-time favorite reads.

Below are my ratings for them, as well as a brief summary of how each might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Ann’s poetic way of writing, which is the complete opposite of what I usually read, had me hooked from page one. I am awed and inspired by the way she views life. I actually read this book twice, back to back, and am currently re-reading it again. You cannot read this book without being deeply compelled to become a more grateful person.

Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
You may be tempted to think that I only listed this as a 5-star read because it is written by the owner of the company I work for, but in all reality, I chose to join Building Champions because I am in complete agreement with Daniel’s philosophy: our lives are more full and rich when we live intentionally. Daniel and Michael’s book walks us through how to proactively live life on purpose so that every area of our lives is as meaningful as we desire it to be. Learn a little more through this interview with Forbes magazine, or through this podcast with Dale Partridge.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Wow! Talk about teamwork and perseverance. This is an incredible story that will not only get your adrenaline pumping, but will remind you that teams that work together are able to truly move mountains, and that victories are sweeter when someone else is victorious with you.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Louis Zamperini’s story is truly the epitome of resilience. My own personal courage was bolstered every time Louis encountered a new, and often more horrifying, situation. When you’re tempted to think that you can’t overcome a certain challenge or obstacle, look to Louis’s example to give you confidence to carry on.

4-Star Reads

Scary Close by Donald Miller
This life is a waste if we’re not going to live it as the person who we were created us to be. Donald’s book talks about his journey of becoming real, of pulling off the mask. His story is an encouragement to all of us to become more self-aware, and to not let fear, shame, guilt, or any other feelings keep us from living life as we were intended to.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Of all of the characters in this epic story, it is the life of Tom Smith that intrigues me most. Tom’s ability to help Seabiscuit actualize the potential that only Tom saw in him is a thing of beauty; nothing less than art in motion. It is a reminder that each of us have a gift that we are meant to share.

3-Star Reads

Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Not an easy read, but some good wisdom for those of us who have areas in our lives that we are working on and expecting transformational change. He also has a field guide with introspective exercises that are intended to help facilitate the desired change.

2-Star Reads

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley
“Choosing the wrong path in life will cost you precious years.” Andy’s book identifies why it is important to follow Daniel Harkavy’s outlined method in Living Forward for how to live a life of intention and purpose.

My Next Review

Below are some of the books that I am currently reading. I will post a blog in July that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Do Over by Jon Acuff
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Under New Management by David Burkus
Becoming an Agile Leader by Victoria Swisher

What was one of your 5-star books this Winter?
What are you currently reading?

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Fall 2015

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Below are the books I read in Q4, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

I didn’t have any 5-star reads in my Fall reading, but the best book of 2015 for me was Essentialism by Gary McKeown. Every single one of us would like to have more time in our lives, and Gary does an exceptional job of walking through how to make that happen.

4-Star Reads

For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Life is difficult, and Jen gets real with her readers making sure that we know it’s ok to let our real lives show, and to not get caught in the trap of trying to make our lives appear perfect and easy. She is hilariously funny and her message will resonate with everyone who has ever tried to make their life look like it’s straight off of Pinterest.

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
Akin to Greg McKeown’s book, Lysa’s overall goal and intent is to help us determine where our time is best spent and how to say no without disappointing people. She presents us with practical filters to use for our decision-making. I found much wisdom in her easy-to follow, and implement, approach.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Our economic, and general societal, well-being is still recovering from the effects of people in the finance world sacrificing their convictions for greed. Dale does a great job of showing us what leads to poor decision-making in organizations, and provides us with seven core beliefs that, when acted upon, will bring health, vitality, and sustainability. One of my favorite quotes is, “Fire others the way you would want to be fired.”

3-Star Reads

QBQ! The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller
Through some simple questions and disciplines, John teaches us how to take personal accountability. He reminds us, “We can’t change other people. We often can’t control circumstances and events. The only things we have any real control over are our own thoughts and actions.”

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
“There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do.” If you need some inspiration and reminders that you are strong and capable, this book will definitely provide you with that pick-me-up.

The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart
A fascinating look at life in Iraq during the years following the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Rory, a British diplomat, shares his story about the time he spends in Iraq trying to help the country unite and re-build with its own government and culture. I preferred Rory’s book, The Places In Between, about his year in Afghanistan over this one.

2-Star Reads

Money by Tony Robbins
I had high hopes that a multi-multi-millionaire would bring some great insights in regard to personal finances, but I was pretty let down. The book is nearly 700 pages, but was extremely repetitive; it could have been 200 and retained the few valuable elements. The section about 401k investments was helpful, but overall I’ve learned far better financial wisdom from Dave Ramsey and my uncle.

1-Star Reads

Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary
This is the only book I read in 2015 that I would say is not worth reading. From my research on this topic, there are more helpful articles on the internet. Bummer!

My Next Review Will Include

Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in April that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

Do Over by Jon Acuff
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt
H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
Deep Change by Robert Quinn
Scary Close by Donald Miller
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

What was one of your 5-star books this Fall?
What is on your reading list this Winter?

(Here are the links to my other 2015 reading lists: winter 2015 and spring & summer 2015.)

PS: Rather than doing affiliate links to Amazon and putting cash in my personal pocket if you purchase a book from my reading lists, my Amazon links provide a portion of the sale to be donated to one of my favorite non-profit organizations, The Cupcake Girls. I appreciate you making the purchase through my link to support the incredible work they are doing.

My Reading List – Spring & Summer 2015

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I needed a break from business books, so most of what I read over the last six months was light reading. Below are the ones I read in Q2 and Q3, with my rating and a brief summary of what I learned, as well as how I think it might add value to your life.

My Rating Scale

5 – Simply Amazing: Loved the style and the content; added significant value to me, and will be one I re-read.
4 – Very Good: Engaged with the majority of the content and found some fantastic nuggets all throughout.
3 – Good: Had a great chapter or two; overall was average.
2 – Ok: Had one or two things that I resonated with or found helpful; as a whole was just so-so.
1 – Pass: My time was better spent elsewhere.

5-Star Reads

Love Does by Bob Goff
I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak last month and he is as loving, funny, inspiring, and authentic as I expected him to be. After hearing him speak, I knew I needed to read his book again; it’s that good. I love this quote; “There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
Ryan’s writing is masterful, and his beliefs about our ability to choose how we respond to trials and adversity are spot on. His words buoyed me more than a few times while I was training for a race and had moments of wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. These words of his hit me like a ton of bricks, “We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making due with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.” Ouch! You can watch an interview of Ryan talking about the book and his philosophy with one of the founders of Quest Nutrition here.

4-Star Reads

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
“There is great freedom in how we can meet with and enjoy God. This is by His design and according to His good pleasure.” I’ve wrestled for years with not encountering God in seemingly normal ways. Gary’s Nine Pathways To God showed me that I was created to commune with God in a unique way, as are each of us. Truly very freeing.

Not Fade Away by Rebecca Alexander and Sascha Alper
This beautiful memoir was one that I simply could not put down. Rebecca’s story is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. We could all learn from her resilience and positive attitude.

Big Burn by Timothy Egan
Timothy weaves together two fascinating true stories to create a history lesson that feels like an old western tale. His awe-inspiring research brought facts to light that had been hidden for over 100 years, and caused me to be even more grateful for our national parks.

Chess Not Checkers by Mark Miller
Mark outlines a simple, straightforward methodology for being a strategic thinker in the workplace. He articulates how business really is a sport where winning results from good decision-making, “High performance is not a matter of circumstances, luck, or DNA. High performance is about choices.”

Values, Inc. by Dina Dwyer-Owens
It’s pretty evident that our culture is no longer going to put up with companies that aren’t living by values and ethics. In fact, Dina asserts that lasting success comes from having values that are shared by the entire company, meaning that every employee is not only aware of them but is measured against them in performance reviews.

3-Star Reads

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber
This is the second is Mary’s trilogy. Candidly, these books are meant for teenagers, but since I enjoy a good fantasy book every now and then, I’ve enjoyed escaping to her made-up world with its fanciful characters and elaborate landscapes.

2-Star Reads

The Code by Shaun Tomson
A good book of principles to live by; it’s a must read for every teenage boy.

My Next Review Will Include

It was an enjoyable season of light reading, but I’m ready for some good meaty books this Fall. Below are some of the books that I am reading or re-reading over the next few months. I will post a blog in early January that provides my ratings and reviews for everything that I read between now and then.

People over Profit by Dale Partridge
Do Over by Jon Acuff
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Secrets of Dynamic Communication by Ken Davis
Time Traps by Todd Duncan

What was one of your 5-star books this Summer?
What is on your reading list this Fall?

(Here are the links to my summer 2014, fall 2014, and winter 2015 reading lists.)

5 Reasons Why It Might Be Time To Resign

A friend of mine is struggling with deciding if it’s time for him to resign from his job or not. His situation made me think about the foundational things that everyone should think about if they’re not sure if they should stay with their employer. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider moving on; the first two are really non-negotiable items and the other three are more personal preference.

1. Ethical & Moral Violations – If there are practices consistently being done in the company you work for that are unethical or immoral, and you have either said or done something to try and change them and truly believe that they are not going to change, then you should definitely move on. Too many good employees have been taken down with bad companies out of fear of saying something or out of feeling too loyal to the company and its leaders. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “ Don’t let yourselves be poisoned…Bad company corrupts good character” (MSG and NIV). If your situation could bring you into a situation where you could be fooled, deceived, misled, or poisoned, then it’s time to move on.
2. Toxic Leadership – Several words come to mind when thinking of a leader who can be described as toxic: manipulative, undermining, misleading, belligerent, heartless, deceitful, self-centered, unreasonable, disenfranchising, corrupt, destructive, dysfunctional, harmful, intimidating, demeaning, and demoralizing. Professor, author, and expert in leadership and organizational behavior, Jean Lipman-Blumen says that toxic leaders play to “the basest fears and needs of the followers” and create environments that perpetuate competition and “insatiable ambition”, incompetence, backbiting, hubris, and recklessness. The principles of 1 Corinthians 15:33 hold true for an environment of toxic leadership and allow for an easy decision to be made to move on from the company who has such a person in a position of leadership.
3. Misalignment of Social Issues – Does the company value the same things that you value when it comes to social issues, things pertaining to peoples’ rights, privileges, and responsibilities, things pertaining to our care for the planet and stewardship of what we have been entrusted with, and things pertaining to our value and self-worth, and fulfilling our purposes in this life. If, for example, you are a firm believer that companies should match employee donations to social or religious causes and the company you work for just canceled that program, then you need to decide if that misalignment is enough for you to decide that it’s time to move on to another company that shares your values.
4. Lack Of Growth Opportunities – With it being more commonplace for us to change jobs every three years, it is a requirement that our skills and knowledge keep up with these changes. If you are someone who is looking for growth opportunities, whether it is through formal sponsorship or mentorship programs, or through internal promotions, or through formal education tuition payment programs, you need to be at a company that offers these opportunities. If your company does not offer something to assist in meeting this need, then it might be time to move on.
5. Risk Avoidant – You may be someone who values innovation quite greatly and you believe that the only way for your company to succeed is through being willing to risk failure. If you work for a company that sees change as being bad or likes maintaining the status quo, then you’re going to have to consider how important those are to you and if the degrees of separation are so much so that it is time for you to move on to somewhere that is more adventurous and open to change.

Entertaining the potential decision to leave a company is never an easy one, but these five areas to consider should help you to weigh the decision more thoughtfully and be more resolute about your decision. If you do decide to move on, Michael Hyatt has a great podcast: 7 Actions To Take Before You Quit Your Job.

Is there another foundational consideration that you would add when weighing the decision of whether or not to leave a company?

Are You In Communion With Your Boss?

Author and business consultant, Patrick Lencioni named his consulting firm, The Table Group, because of his belief that “the single most important and effective tool in business” is the table. Sitting down and meeting with members of our organizations is critical. The health of an organization hinges on whether or not conversations are taking place on a consistent basis and in a manner that productively addresses important issues while keeping the focus on what is best for the organization as a whole.

We’ve all been there where we’ve dreaded a meeting because we knew that nothing important would be on the agenda, that no one would speak up about what was really going on in the organization and how to potentially start addressing the issues, and that no action items or next steps would be assigned, thus leaving us floundering until the next meeting.

But, maybe, hopefully, you’ve been in a meeting where important issues were brought to the table, and the participants of the meeting really wrestled with the topics and worked to find the answers that would best serve the organization as a whole, and that everyone left the meeting knowing what part they played and what was expected of them, and feeling empowered to contribute in a meaningful way.

As I’ve thought about this and how to create a culture that operates in this manner, I got to thinking about the importance of our relationships with our bosses and how that symbiosis, or lack thereof, contributes successfully or poorly to the overall health of our organizations. The bottom line is that sitting down and meeting regularly with our bosses is critical.

I am reminded of Jesus’ relationship with His “boss”, God the Father. We have numerous accounts, given to us in scripture, of Jesus, while He was on earth as a man, meeting regularly with the Father. Scripture tells us that he pleaded with the Father on our behalf, that he shared his frustrations and concerns with the Father, that He declared his plans and purposes to the Father, that He sought direction from the Father, that He asked the Father to reconsider a decision, and that he praised and thanked the Father.

While it goes without saying that we should also be in communion and regular conversation with the Father God in this manner, what about using Christ’s example in our relationships with our bosses?

Can you think of instances where you pleaded with your boss on someone else’s behalf, or you shared your concerns and frustrations with your boss, or you made your goals and aspirations known to your boss, or you asked your boss for guidance on a particular issue, or you asked your boss to reconsider a decision he/she had made, or you thanked your boss?

What would others say about your relationship with your boss? What examples are you providing about the importance of meeting together regularly and working together for the good of the organization, and having shared vision even though your approaches and methodologies may be different?