Recommended Reading

by Brad Smart

Great companies, large and small, rise or fall because of their talent; the more high performers on your team, the more successful your organization will be. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Research shows that only about 25% of all new hires turn out to be high performers.

Three huge problems account for the typical poor results in hiring: dishonesty (via deceptive résumés), incomplete information (via shallow interviews), and lack of verifiability (via biased references). Topgrading shows how to solve all three problems. Instead of hir­ing by your gut reactions to résumés and interviews, you can start using a scientifically honed process that compels candidates to be totally honest.


by Geoff Smart

Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls “the single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you consider that the typical hiring success rate of managers is only 50 percent. Learn how to
• avoid common “voodoo hiring” methods
• define the outcomes you seek
• generate a flow of A Players to your team–by implementing the #1 tactic used by successful businesspeople
• ask the right interview questions to dramatically improve your ability to quickly distinguish an A Player from a B or C candidate
• attract the person you want to hire, by emphasizing the points the candidate cares about most


The Ideal Team Player
by Patrick Lencioni

Lencioni presents a practical and compelling framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring and developing ideal team players.  These are helpful insights for leaders trying to create a culture around teamwork, staffing professionals looking to hire team players or team players who want to improve themselves.




The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
by Michael Bungay Stanier

Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock employee’s potential by using seven essential kinds of coaching questions that help you say less and ask more—and get great results. Those include

  • The Kickstart Question
  • The Awe Question
  • The Lazy Question
  • The Strategic Question
  • The Focus Question
  • The Foundation Question
  • THe Learning Question


Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
by Chip and Dan Heath

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? Chip and Dan Heath suggest that the primary obstacle to making lasting changes in companies is a conflict that’s built into our brains. The rational mind and the emotional mind compete for control. In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you.




Delivering Happiness
by Tony Hsieh

The CEO of Zappos shows how a different kind of corporate culture can make a huge difference in achieving remarkable results — by actually creating a company culture that values happiness –and then delivers on it. Some of what Zappos does includes:

  • Paying brand-new employees $2,000 to quit
  • Making customer service the responsibility of the entire company
  • Focusing on company culture as the #1 priority
  • Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business
  • Help employees grow-both personally and professionally
  • Seek to change the world
  • Oh, and make money too . . .

Sound crazy? It’s all standard operating procedure at Zappos, the online retailer that’s doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. Delivering Happiness shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success.


The Carrot Principle
by Dan Gostick and Chester Elton

Revealing the groundbreaking results of one of the most in-depth management studies ever undertaken, The Carrot Principle shows definitively that the central characteristic of the most successful managers is that they provide their employees with frequent and effective recognition. With independent results from HealthStream Research, and analysis by bestselling leadership experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, this breakthrough study of 200,000 people over ten years found dramatically greater business results when managers offered constructive praise and meaningful rewards in ways that powerfully motivated employees to excel.

The Culture Engine
by Chris Edmonds

The Culture Engine shows leaders how to create a high performing, values aligned culture through the creation of an organizational constitution. With practical step-by-step guidance, readers learn how to define their organization’s culture, delineate the behaviors that contribute to greater performance and greater engagement, and draft a document that codifies those behaviors into a constitution that guides behavior towards an ideal: a safe, inspiring workplace. Culture drives everything that happens in an organization day to day, including focus, priorities, and the treatment of employees and customers. A great culture drives great performance, and can help attract and retain great talent. But a great culture isn’t something that evolves naturally. The Culture Engine is a guide to strategically planning a culture by compiling the company’s guiding principles and behaviors into an organizational constitution.

Leaders Eat Last
by Simon Sinek

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. Today’s successful leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. What’s the key to making that happen? The answer became clear to Simon Sinek when, in a conversation with a Marine Corps general, he heard the general say, “Officers eat last,” and saw that premise acted out in a Marine mess hall. What was symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort for the good of those in their care. Sinek illustrates his point with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.



The Culture Secret
by Dr David Vik

Why is a great company culture so rare and how can you make sure your organization has one? According to Dr. David ”Doc” Vik , a remarkable culture begins with visionary leaders who help their teams take a holistic approach to creating engagement inside their companies and sharing it with customers. Discover how to take culture beyond casual Friday and into more meaningful pursuits such as:

  • Driving Vision
  • Defining Purpose
  • Clear business model
  • Unique/WOW factors
  • Meaningful Values
  • Inspired Leadership
  • Great customers and customer service
  • Brand enhancement
  • Experience and the emotional connection


by Kip Tindell

Kip Tindell is the Chairman & CEO of The Container Store—a company with stores nationwide and more than 5,000 loyal employees The Container Store grew dramatically based on its commitment to its employees and its focus on its original concept and inventory mix as the formula for its success. The company follows values-based business philosophies, which center on an employee-first culture, superior customer service and strict merchandising. It’s no surprise that The Container Store has been named to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list for 15 consecutive years. In Uncontainable, Tindell reveals his approach for building a business where everyone associated with it thrives through embodying the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. His Seven Foundation Principles are the roadmap that drives everyone at The Container Store to achieve the goals of the company.

The Culture Blueprint
by Robert Richman

The Culture Blueprint is a systematic guide to building company culture. It’s about fostering committed, and enthusiastic employees. Robert Richman knows it because he’s done is with companies such as Google, P&G and Amazon. Learn how to immediately upgrade your company culture. Discover how to make sure your culture attracts the right employees (and keeps the wrong ones out). Find out how you can use the 99% Rule to stop annoying your employees, and how unbreakable rituals may the most underrated tool in your culture arsenal. In order to thrive, companies must do more than satisfy their employees; they must create passionate ones. The Culture Blueprint will teach you how to develop a culture that does just that.




The Truth About Employee Engagement
by Patrick Lencioni

In his sixth fable, bestselling author Patrick Lencioni takes on a topic that almost everyone can relate to: job misery. Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable. Through the story of a CEO turned pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three elements that make work miserable—irrelevance, immeasurability, and anonymity — and gives managers and their employees the keys to make any job more engaging.



Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work
by Paul Marciano

Not only are reward and recognition programs costly—they’re inefficient. Plus they tend to reward employees who are already highly engaged and productive performers. What’s worse is that this approach can actually decrease employee motivation because the emphasis is on individual recognition, rather than the overall success of the team. When it comes to changing your organizational culture, carrots and sticks don’t work. There is, however a better alternative. It’s what Dr. Paul Marciano refers to as the RESPECT model, which gives leaders specific, low-cost, turnkey solutions and action plans—based on seven proven key drivers of employee engagement that empower these leaders to assess, troubleshoot, and resolve engagement issues in the workplace.




How to Hire A Players
by Eric Herronkohl

Want to find great employees, make great hires, and take your business to the next level? It is easy to find people who want a job, but it’s not to find and hire A-players. Eric Herrenkohl shows owners, executives, and managers of small to medium-size businesses where and how to find A-player employees who will help keep quality high and growth and profits strong. He provides current examples of companies that consistently hire A-players without big recruiting departments, and offers step-by-step explanations for making these strategies work in your own company.




Hiring for Attitude
by Mark Murphy

Hiring the right people is critical for the success of your business, but a recent groundbreaking study, the training firm Leadership IQ found that 46 percent of all new hires fail within their first 18 months. But 89 percent fail for attitudinal reasons rather than skills. Conventional hiring practices are missing something. Of course skills are important, but skills are easy to test in an interview. According to Mark Murphy, attitude should be your number-one focus during the hiring process. Attitude is what makes employees give 100 percent effort and turns customers into raving fans. In Hiring for Attitude, top leadership strategist Mark Murphy highlights


  • The five biggest reasons new hires fail
  • Two quick and easy tests to discover key attitudinal characteristics e
  • The five-part interview question that gets candidates to reveal the truth about themselves
  • Where great companies find their best candidates
  • Six words most interviewers add to the end of behavioral interview questions that destroy their effectiveness


The Stay Interview
by Richard Finnegan

It’s the worst sort of surprise: A valued and seemingly happy employee gives his notice. Can you do anything at this point? Probably not. Could you have anticipated the departure and tried to prevent it? Absolutely. This practical guide introduces managers to a powerful new engagement and retention tool: the stay interview. Smart companies use these periodic reviews to discover why their important talent might leave and to solve problems before they actually quit. Written by the retention expert who pioneered the process, The Stay Interview shows managers how to: *Prepare for the meeting Anticipate an employee’s top issues * Set realistic expectations from the start * Respond to difficult questions * Listen effectively and dig deeper * Craft a detailed and effective stay plan complete with timeline * Assess each employee’s level of engagement, predict potential exits, and communicate results to upper management.





Hiring the Best
by Martin Yates

You’ve heard it said that employees are your company’s number one asset. Hiring the Best offers managers and HR personnel a proven and practical approach to recruiting and selecting the right people for the job. It includes more than 400 questions you can use to interview candidates and obtain the most pertinent information. Hiring the Best allows you to determine not only if candidates can do the job, but also if they can be managed effectively and thrive in their new positions. This book arms you with the tools you need to ensure that you are indeed Hiring the Best.


The Fifth Discipline
by Peter Senge

This revised edition of Peter Senge’s bestselling classic, The Fifth Discipline, is based on fifteen years of experience in putting the book’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. Senge describes how companies can rid themselves of the learning “disabilities” that threaten their productivity and success by adopting the strategies of learning organizations—ones in which new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to create results they truly desire.



First, Break All the Rules
by Marcus Buckingham

You can never expect stellar performance from your employees unless you first satisfy their basic needs. Those needs include knowing what is expected at work, providing the equipment and support to perform well, and answering basic questions of self-worth and self-esteem by giving praise for good work—while car and caring about her development as a person. Those were the findings from a massive Gallup Organization study that involved 80,000 managers across different industries. This book explores the challenge of many companies – attaining, keeping and measuring employee satisfaction. Discover how great managers attract, hire, focus, and keep their most talented employees!


Fierce Conversations
by Susan Scott

Susan Scott is a master teacher of positive change through powerful communication.  She claims that to succeed in business you must transform everyday conversations at work and at home with effective ways to get your message across—and get what you want. In this book, Scott teaches you how to:
• Overcome barriers to meaningful communication
• Expand and enrich relationships with colleagues, friends, and family
• Increase clarity and improve understanding
• Handle strong emotions—on both sides of the table
• Connect with colleagues, customers, and family at a deep level

Radical Candor
by Kim Scott

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When you become a manager, however, It’s your job—and your obligation—to tell the truth. Kim Scott was an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she developed a class on how to be a good boss and developed a vital new approach to effective management, Radical Candor.

The simple concept behind Radical Candor is that in order to be a good boss, you have to care personally at the same time that you challenge directly. Challenging without caring is obnoxious aggression.  Caring without challenging its ruinous empathy. Doing neither is manipulative insincerity. Her simple framework can help you build better relationships at work and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.


Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
by Nancy McCord

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, McCord says most companies have it all wrong. She learned that first-hand, having helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. 

McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR―annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment, and engagement programs―often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability. 


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
by Marshall Goldsmith

The corporate world is filled with executives who have worked hard for years to reach the upper levels of management. They’re intelligent, skilled, and even charismatic. But only a handful of them will ever reach the pinnacle—and as executive coach Marshall Goldsmith shows in this book, subtle nuances make all the difference. These are small “transactional flaws” performed by one person against another (some as simple as not saying thank you enough), which leads to negative perceptions that can hold any executive back. Using Goldsmith’s straightforward, jargon-free advice, it’s an amazingly easy behavior to change.




The Work of Leaders: How Vision, Alignment, and Execution Will Change the Way You Lead
by Julie Straw, Barry Davis, Mark Scullard, and Susie Kukkonen

In a crystal clear and to-the-point style, the authors make leadership instantly accessible with a memorable model, rock-solid fundamentals, original research, compelling stories, and highly practical tips for putting the principles to immediate use. The Work of Leaders shows you how to create a thriving organization by setting a vision and then collaborating with your people to guide your company to success. It is the strategic tool you need to move your business forward and employs a practical approach you can use right away.



Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Rod McMillan, Al Switzler

Crucial Conversations has revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high. It provides business leaders with the tools to:

  • Prepare for high-stakes situations
  • Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive

Stephen Covey writes, “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.”


The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
by    Daniel Coyle

Where does great culture come from and how do you build and sustain it in your team or business? In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation. Then he explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.