Capture Higher Ed is a company of voracious readers, and we love to recommend the kinds of books that challenge and nourish our knowledge and curiosity. In the latest volume of Capture Book Club, our own Ken Sigler, a senior enrollment advisor, offers four professional development books he thinks should be on your “To-Read” list.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (2014)
Essentialism challenges how we prioritize the mundane and critical tasks we face everyday. McKeown takes a deep dive into how and why we make daily decisions about work and life. When we uncover the why, we have all we need to know in order to make the best choice for our families and ourselves. We face really good options every day with things that draw our attention and manipulate our time. We try to do it all and rationalize it by believing it is all critical. This is paralyzing and eliminates the freedom we have in selecting the best choice for where we are at this moment in our lives and say no to the things that are not essential. The principles in Essentialism are applicable to every individual regardless of one’s stage in life.
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff (2017)
Finish is an entertaining and comical journey through Acuff’s life of unfinished projects. Along the way, he highlights all the barriers we encounter that impede us from finishing. Whether it’s finishing a dissertation, finishing a home improvement project, or finishing that 2,000-piece puzzle, Acuff lays out strategies to complete your goals and not add to your unfinished list. We frequently give ourselves goals that are unattainable or just too big, so he suggests cutting the goal in half and celebrating after each portion is complete. He also highly encourages his readers to make the goals or projects fun because completion percentage is much higher. Finally, he assists the reader in self-reflection and proposed strategies to identify and then eliminate the barriers or “ghosts” that infringe upon our abilities to finish.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (2002)
As a manager, this can be a painful read; however, it is a must read. Lencioni’s writing is extremely practical and very relatable. He begins with a fable to illustrate the principles of both a healthy and unhealthy team. Once the foundation is laid, Lencioni provides the model, which depicts the five essential elements of a team and the order in which they need to be established. Without these building blocks established, any team will be dysfunctional and will not reach its full potential. From shared accountability to trust, each one is critical. A team assessment tool is provided near the end that adds to Lencioni’s pragmatic approach and gives the reader a valuable resource. In addition, the last chapter contains information on how to better understand and address the dysfunctions.
A Leader’s Legacy by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (2006)
Kouzes and Posner, leadership gurus and best-selling authors, provide the reader with four distinct areas leaders must develop: significance, relationships, aspirations and courage. The chapters break down each of these areas of emphasis as Kouzes and Posner relate the reality of leadership to the reader. This is a quick read, but it is full of excellent guiding principles for leading any team. It also provides the reader methods for identifying their own strengths and prioritizing the lasting legacy they will inevitably leave. Part Four is not to be overlooked as it contains a reservoir of motivation for everyone to find the courage to lead. This book is a great resource both for current leaders and those aspiring to lead.
By Ken Sigler, Senior Enrollment Advisor, Capture Higher Ed