Reading List

CMI’s recommended list of books and articles will help you produce a high-performance work culture.

Book Reviews

Dina’s Book Review – Winning with Accountability The Secret Language of High-Performance Organizations by Henry J. Evans.  Before I read this book, I thought, like most people do, being accountable was a punishment. An “Uh oh, what did I do wrong, or what did I forget to do?”  Webster defines accountability as “the quality or state of being accountable: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions.” Nothing threatening about that.  Read more of Dina’s book review…

White Fragility:  Why it’s so hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo.  White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism has made an indelible impact on my psyche.  I have been avoiding this book for about a year.  My friend has been encouraging me to read it in order to confront my racism.  My excuse was that I did not want to; racism is an uncomfortable subject and I would rather avoid it. Frankly, I was certain i was not really a racist so why read the book?  The time that we are in, the murder of George Floyd, and what is going on around us forced the issue.  Read more of Bruce’s book review…

Dina’s Book Review – QBQ – The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller. The subtitle of the book really called to me: “What to Really Ask Yourself to Eliminate Blame, Complaining and Procrastination” and so I said to Bruce: “I’m going to read this book and I’d like to do a book review.” So here we are….

So, what is there to love? This book focuses on what questions to ask that will empower employees, managers and self to create Personal Accountability in any given situation. When the authors wrote the book, they did not have a pandemic in mind. Given these times, the book has a particularly powerful message.

There is a simple formula to the question which is: start with “how” or “what”, include “I”, and create an action. For example: “How can I make a difference now?” I am particularly, for myself, looking at what actions, given this crises, that I can take now and in the future to make a difference for my family, my company and anyone I come into contact with. When taking Personal Accountability, there is no blaming others, there is no complaining about others and there is no waiting to be told what to do or procrastination. There is only taking a risk and discovering something new.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. It is a quick read, mostly set in fable form and asks the action question at the end of each short chapter. Use it as a stimulant for teambuilding in your company during these challenging times. Have everyone in your life read it so they will be empowered and take personal accountability for their lives. Let us know what you think of it; we look forward to hearing from you.

Keep asking the Question Behind the Question.

Get a Grip by Gino WIckman and Mike Paton. I am not sure what it means.  A number of beloved clients have come to me and said you could have written Get A Grip.  “You remind me of Allen the facilitator and while reading the book I saw a lot of the work that we have done”.  On one side, I am thinking this is a compliment.  On the other side, I am thinking they are saying that I am too lazy to have written this book and that the author had “more gumption and drive than you do you bozo-head!” In any case the beloved love the book and me too.

So what is there to love?  The book focuses on what it takes to grow a healthy company.  It gives you techniques on which to focus.  Can I say IDS,  Accountability Chart, People Analyzer, and a Rock Board.   Topics like vision, people, data, processes, and issues are all covered in the context of how you deal with these topics in a way that gives your organization traction.  Traction by the way is the author’s first book and I like Get A Grip better.  While the books essentially cover the same material, Get A Grip presents a story and the tools and techniques are easier to understand and apply.

I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend this book.  I have recommended it to clients for our 2020 read during Strategic Planning.  They are finding it quite useful and stimulating.  The subject of the book is Swan Services,  a $7M dollar firm.  I have a company that is much larger at $150M raving about this book and loving it.  So the subject matter is timely and adaptable to any organization that wants to get a grip on itself and get traction.  Use it as a stimulant for your planning process.   Let us know what you think of it; we look forward to hearing from you.

Traction by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton.  Traction is a must read for anyone building a company.  Whether you are a start up,  a growing $20 million business, or anything in between this book has something for you.  As you know, I am not a guy in the diner about growing companies . I have been successful in being a resource to companies so that they successfully grow.  Another way of putting this is that I am great compost for growing companies.  When I read Traction and I have probably wandered around its pages at least 10 times since I read it six years ago, my reaction is always the same…”oh wow that is a great idea, oh there is a powerful process, and hey I could have written this book”.  Only I did not.  Read more of Bruce’s book review.

Extreme Ownership:  How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. One of the most provocative leadership books that I have recently read is Extreme Ownership:  How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.  While the message of the book is not foreign to me, how the authors delivered the message and explained it was.  Read more of Bruce’s book review.

Discovering Execution by Miles Kierson and Gary Tomlinson. Execution and generating results are topics that we all deal with in business. In Discovering Execution these topics have been served up in a refreshing way. Check out more on Bruce’s recent book review on Discovering Execution.

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, takes another insightful view into the world of how you perform with others and how others perform. The book answers the question of why do some employees fit in and make it and why others do not.  Read more on Bruce’s book review.