Leadership Thoughts | Issue #124
Although it is August and the leisure associated with summer will soon be a memory, there is still time to read the books you promised to get to over the summer.
If you feel that you don't have time to read, then subscribe to audiobooks. Listening to a book doesn't produce the same results as reading a book with a highlighter in hand and my Evernote open on my computer. However, since I am a member of Amazon Prime and get audible books with the membership, I generally listen to a new book before purchasing a hard copy. My purchases of hard copies account for approximately 25% of the books in my Audible library. If you are wondering what to read, I highly recommend the following.
Objectives and Key Results
Measure What Matters, by John Doerr, explains and provides examples of (OKRs) Objectives and Key Results. Although the book was published in 2017, I only became aware of OKRs when studying leading change and indicators of success. The book's central theme concerns the concept of OKRs and how they can be a goal-setting system to align individuals and organizations with measurable results. OKRs consist of Objectives, which define aspirational goals, and Key Results used to measure specific outcomes and progress toward the objectives.
Positioning for Change
I completed listening to and reading Build for Tomorrow by Jason Feifer earlier this summer. I don't remember who recommended the book, but I found it to reinforce some of my beliefs about change and provide a different perception of the change process. The two big ideas are:
The greatest change is the greatest opportunity.
Position yourself to thrive regardless of what the future brings.
The author defines four stages of change and how to position yourself. I believe that the same four states can be applied to organizations.
Phase 1: Panic
Pause when others panic, and ask:
What am I doing differently?
What new skills will I learn?
How can I use them elsewhere?
Phase 2: Adapt
Be the first to change, or even better, before you have to. By being more adaptable, you'll prosper no matter what.
Phase 3: New Normal
Always view the world as an ever-changing place full of variety and lead the charge to the New Normal. Move fast.
Phase 4: Won't go back
Be proactive about seizing the new opportunities change brings. They will be there every time. Change comes through doing.
I think the most significant concept within this book can be summed up with the following quote.
"We live in a time of great change. We may not be able to predict what's coming, but there is work we can do now. We can begin to build trust inside ourselves, to feel confident that we can make the most of the future. Change will always be part of the bargain. We only do ourselves harm by clinging to the past and by believing that yesterday contained all the answers. It doesn't. We must build, and there is only one direction to build in. It is toward tomorrow." — Jason Feifer
Last summer, my online course developer coach from Saint Francis University, Megan Hall, gave me a copy of the book Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes by Flower Darby and James Lang. I put off starting it until I could listen to the audio version. When I finally began, I wished I had done so earlier as there is much applicable information for anyone doing instruction over an online platform. The authors explain successful approaches in designing digital learning experiences, creating remote relationships between students and teachers, giving helpful feedback, cultivating autonomous learners, and making learning connections. Although the text focuses on higher education courses, I believe it can also be used to create better online secondary school classrooms.
Just for Fun
This summer, I read the book Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff by Matt Paxton and Jordan Smith for fun. I've been attempting to declutter my life for more than two decades, with only moderate success. While I'm not a hoarder, the old adage, 'I might need that someday!' has come out of my mouth before. My wife's minimalist views have positively affected me over time; I now firmly believe that less is more, and quality trumps quantity. As I've already embraced this mantra of living in the present and focusing on memories, the authors' humorous anecdotes and heartfelt stories gave me an even greater appreciation for releasing physical items from our lives.
Reading books will enrich our lives and expand our thinking. Reading helps us blend what we know, value, and believe in our personal and intellectual growth. The average reader reads 250 words per minute, about one page of most books. Can you find 10 minutes a day to read ten pages? It will make a difference in your life!
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