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Chris LoCurto

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December 13, 2011

EntreLeadership Podcast Question About Required Reading

December 13, 2011 | By | 58 Comments">58 Comments

Here is a great question from an EntreLeadership Podcast listener about required reading:

Hi Chris,
A few years ago, I began giving everyone in my business resources to help them outside of their responsibilities at work. I believe that I may have started after learning about the required reading Dave has for everyone at his business. I just finished listening to the podcast with the John Miller interview and you mentioned, a few times, QBQ being one of the required books.

My question is this: How does that process work in your business? Is there any follow up after the books are given out? Do they confirm with anyone that they read them? Or more importantly, they got anything from them? I want to bump up the reading at my company even more.  Is there more I can do to maximize the experience? Thanks. Keep the great info coming! — Jim Paulson

It’s funny. You can require your team to read books all day long. If there’s no culture inside your business that supports the information, though, it’s not going to matter. The reason we have required reading in our business is the books back up the culture that we already have in place. For example, QBQ—Question Behind the Question—is all about personal accountability and responsibility.

As leaders, we are constantly reminding our team it is their job to take care of our customers and our own team. There is no such thing as “that’s not my job.” If something needs to be done, they do it!

We just had an amazing day of ministry at GraceWorks, where we worked at warehouses loading and unloading trucks that were taking food, clothing, toys, etc. to families in need. When all was said and done, some folks grabbed the working end of a broom because they saw that we made a mess in the process. Now, most people would say the ministry could clean up the mess, since we came and did all of the heavy lifting. Not us. When you have a culture that is constantly discussed and reported on, people step up and follow.

In essence, don’t require reading just because it’s a fun idea. Make sure that you are choosing books that support your core values, and make sure you’re promoting those core values like crazy with the team.

As for follow up, we do confirm that they’ve read them, and some leaders take it a step further and discuss the books with their teams.

Question: What are your thoughts on required reading in your organization?

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  • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

    I have 3 books I buy my team members, give them to read and pay them a certain number of hours to read them because I want to motivate them to do so. I am interested in others ideas on how to achieve this when you are told: “I am not a reader.”

    • Anonymous

      Suggest audio books – they take the pain out of reading because an ADD type can be busy while listening.

    • http://www.ginasmom.com ginasmom

      Misty, what are the 3 books?

      • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

        How To Be the Employee Your Company Can’t Live Without by Glenn Shepard; 48Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller; and one of these depending on what I feel they need or might be interested in – Walking in Your Own Shoes by Robert Schuller; The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson; The Go -Getter by Peter Kyne. It has been hard to just stick to 3!

  • http://www.ginasmom.com ginasmom

    I read a ton, and i’m always trying to get those around to read more, wish it was a requirement in my organization. I can’t think of a better long term team building event, than shared reading. Its an easy way of explaining where the organization is coming from and where its heading to. Confirms that the organization is interested in personal growth, and a whole host of other posittive things.

    Speaking of books, loved the concept of the blue vase in the go-getter, and the fact that when it’s mentioned in your organization, everyone knows what’s it’s about. Any stories to share around that? Maybe a go-getter of blue vase story?

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      We had a guy send in a vase once to try and get hired, but it wasn’t really blue, so it was just kinda weird. Finally someone made the connection. :-)

      • http://www.ginasmom.com ginasmom

        Funny, i take it he didn’t get hired, or did he?

        • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

          Haha…no. :-)

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Gina, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

    I love the idea of required reading (of course I’m a reader)….as long as the leader makes it obvious why a specific book is required. If the reader knows why it’s important for them to read a book, they will most likely get more out of it. And it’s a great way to open the doors of communication about what the organization is all about.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Absolutely! Done right, it causes growth.

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Laura, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    What are your thoughts on required reading in your organization?

    In our function of internal audit, we have developed the habit of reading some management/spiritual books and making one/two presentation every month. In this way, we enhance our communication and report writing skills; also, we share our knowledge gained during reading with everyone in our team. We have been deriving immense benefits out of this practice over the years.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Nice! I love it!

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Uma, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Misty! There are several good books; Picking up one would be a tough proposition. However, some of my picks for a business owner would be —
        (1) “The Art of the Start” – by Guy Kawasaki
        (2) “The Barefoot Executive” -by Carrie Wilkerson
        (3) “EntreLeadership” – by Dave Ramsey
        (4) “Bootstrapping 101” – by Bob Reiss
        (5) “Street Smarts” – by Norm Brodsky
        (6) “Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: Tools & Techniques to Launch & Grow Your New Business” – by Harvard Business School Press (7) “The E-Myth Revisited” – by Michael E. Gerber
        (8) “Developing the Leader Within You” – by John C Maxwell

        Hope I am able to do some justice to your request. You can goover this books one by one. I believe you will find them insightful.

        Subject: [closblog] Re: EntreLeadership Podcast Question About Required Reading

        • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

          Thanks!

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            you are welcome Misty!

            Subject: [closblog] Re: EntreLeadership Podcast Question About Required Reading

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I have put certain books on the recommended list – but for the “non-readers” have not had much luck. So…..many times I have taken the book – and given summaries of the chapters at team meetings. They hear the book through me.

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Louise, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

      • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

        Misty – that is a hard question! A few classics from the past – I loved “The Power of Focus” and read it 6 or 7 times. But mainly because FOCUS is something I struggle with. Also “The E-Myth” is a good book on working ON your business instead of IN your business. Tim Sanders new book “Today You Are Rich” talks about giving back.

        • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

          Another book is “Six Thinking Hats” – which shows a leader how to THINK differently. I shared this book with my team – and we worked through the chapters – excellent on building communication with team.

          • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

            Thanks!

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I am passionate about serving our military and their families – and sharing with others how they also can give back to our heroes.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Love it, love it, love it!!

  • http://twitter.com/joelfortner03 Joel Fortner

    The idea of required reading is just superb, especially for new team members. It sets the tone up front about what the organization is like and reinforces expectations of team members. But as someone else pointed out, it can’t be a hollow requirement with leadership modeling or supporting contrary behavior.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      It definitely has to be a blend. And I love Mike’s idea as well.

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Joel, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    You might also require that teammates write up a short summary, using the “Net Out” format I discuss here. I use this with my Mentoring Group and it works great. I require the guys to bring a copy for every other guy in the group. It provides great accountability and forces everyone to distill their “take-aways.”

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I love it! Great idea Mike!

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      I loved that idea Michael! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

      Hurray! I’ve been hunting for this post and comment for months! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.cashion Lance Cashion

    I’m giving the team TMMO this year. My managers have all read QBQ. I’m going to give $25 to each person who gives me a book report. Books are the best gifts imo.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Nice! Can I get in on that action? :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/lance.cashion Lance Cashion

        Chris… Maybe… You’d have to join our team first ;)

        • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

          Hey…for $25!

          • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

            I LOVE this idea! To reward the team’s reading TMMO! Wow – I’m going to use this! Thanks for the tip! I actually had one of Dave’s top Financial counselors, Kelly Brantley, come in and speak to my team at our Christmas gathering – and then I gave them all a $200.00 gift certificate toward her personal one-on-one financial counseling if they chose to do that. BUT giving them TMMO would go right along with that.

            • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

              That’s awesome. You effectively give them a raise when they get their finances in order. Great job!

  • Anonymous

    Had a intense seasonal job once for a difficult woman with a handful of us employees living and working together. She declared at the beginning of the season that we would all read “Please Understand Me” (by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates), take the personality test and then we’d all get along and it would be roses and lollipops. I bought it and read it. No one else did. She never brought it up again. The employees liked and supported each other, she continued to be her difficult self. We all knew we would never return.

    So, absolutely, the reading must be followed up, discussed, and acted upon. Otherwise, you might end up having to train new employees every season and wonder why your turnover rate is so dang high!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      HAHAHA!!!! Yep…so true!

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      cabinart, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

      • Jana Botkin

        Currently it is Entreleadership. Before that, it was a book about allowing employees to offer the best customer service possible. I’m so sorry that I have forgotten both the title and author. (Thanks a lot, hunh?) If I find it again, I’ll try to remember to post it to you.

  • Jim

    What do you think about co-wokers recamend reading or giving a book? I think I will go check out Go-Getter and see if I like it.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      It’s a great idea!!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    That’s such a simple but powerful point. Required reading is information about the management, not action on the part of management. Simply handing someone a book is worthless if your culture doesn’t back it up and implement it. But many view handing someone a book as their only responsibility in establishing that culture.
    You can’t simply hand someone a book and then watch the change. As a leader, you have to be part and parcel of living out that change.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Preach it!

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Loren, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    I like the idea of required reading as well. I just finished reading the book the Go-Getter that you sent me and I will have to read it again. It’s a good reminder of what I already know!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen!

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      Eric, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • Anonymous

    Just finished reading Go-Getter. I’m going to pass it along to all the people here. Short read, great story and lessons. Anyone who is a leader should read it.

    I know some of my employees are not readers. I’m not sure how one would institute a reading program after the fact, it seems it would be easier to do with new employees. Any thoughts Chris?

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      It is slightly more difficult. But with any change, the most important aspect is vision. They need to see WHY is a good thing. You can do it.

    • Jim

      “after the fact”?, easy, “Hey everyone, new requirement”.

    • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com Misty Gilbert

      tbric, what is your #1 book that you would recommend a business owner read?

  • BatCruRon5

    …make sure you give them enough time, not all educated adults can read/understand at the same speed *couch* *couch*. But otherwise, it is a grate idea, I think.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks!