As we move forward in this world filled of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), it is important to continue to find sources of guidance and inspiration. VUCA is a term explained for example in this recent Harvard Business Review article – VUCA. Similar challenges are outlined in the recent Economist article – Workers on tap.
Leadership inspiration handling VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity
There are seven books worthwhile reading that can guide us for the coming year and will ensure both the appropriate focus and inspiring stories. They are written by some truly unique leaders & experts, and also dear friends and business colleagues.
First out is the book Who Stole My Customer??: Winning Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Customer Loyalty (2nd Edition) by Harvey Thompson. Harvey is an experienced thought leader and was responsible for the competence area Customer Value Management at IBM. I was greatful to be coached by Harvey and used the unique insigths in many customer engagements. Over the years I have repeatedly successfully reused many of the techniques including the powerful question “Why?”. A second edition of this book was released in December 2014.
Secondly is the book Engage!: Your Step By Step Guide to Creating a Workplace That You, Your Co-Workers and Your Customers LOVE! by Karin Volo. Karin is an insightful business colleague, she is a co-founder with Sergio Volo of the company Evolotion. Karin coaches us to focus on the corporate purpose and to ensure that the employees are engaged. She has interviewed companies like TOMS, Zappos, Virgin, PUMA, Southwest, Wholefoods and HCL and drawn on insights from the companies that is currently pioneering some of these new management practices. The book was released in August 2014.
Third out is The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer. Erin is Affiliate Professor at Insead and she shares how many of the world’s most successful leaders navigate the complexities of cultural differences in a global environment. As I attended the International Board Directors Program at Insead this last fall she was one of the most inspiring lecturers of this highly important topic. The book was released in May 2014.
Fourth is The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work by Cheryl & Mark Burgess. Mark is the President and Cheryl the CEO of Blue Focus Marketing. Through interviews and stories from Cisco, Southwest Air, IBM and Dell these inspiring leaders share how the companies are changing the way to market and collaborate while empowering their employees as social ambassadors. As I had myself implemented a digital positioning program using social media with the leaders and employees in my business area at HCL I got in contact with Cheryl and Mark and we exchanged pioneering experiences on this important topic. The book was released in August 2013.
Fifth is The Value Adding Board – its Focus and Work by Torben Ballegard. Torben is a seasoned CEO and Board Member who shares his experiences from improved interactivity and governance between board and management to generate significantly more value for all stakeholders. Torben is an appreciated key note speaker and we met in a board network in Norway where one of the companies resides where I work as an independent board member. The second edition of the book was released in June 2013.
Sixth is Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down by Vineet Nayar, the extraordinary former CEO of my earlier employer, indian HCL Technologies. He shares with examples the successful transformation we made at HCL by putting our employees first and increasing transparency. Vineet is an engaging leader and passionate about the topic employees first, and as early as one month into my employment we had a meeting where we discussed the topic and he wanted to understand how I thought I could implement the practice in my business area. The book was released in June 2010.
As number seven we find Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Louis Gerstner, former CEO of my earlier employer IBM. He led the transformation of the company from close to bankcruptcy to a profitable and successful globally integrated corporation. Although some years since introduced, working at IBM through the transformation, I can still see the relevance for many other large corporations to get inspiration from one of the largest turn arounds ever made. The book was released in October 2009.
If you are, as I am, inspired by learning also from other leaders experiences and research you can find these books and others that I have read lately on Liselottes Bookshelf.
If you have other books that you feel can be inspirational for 2015 please share them with us in the comments.
Find more inspiration at Liselottes Bookshelf
Wish You an exciting and successful 2015!