by Justin Standfield
Today is World Book Day and it’s the perfect opportunity to make some time in your life to read. Whether you’re a sci-fi fanatic, a lover of the classics, or a non-fiction buff, there’s a book out there just for you.
Here at Incendo HQ, we totally love good quality, non-fiction books about people development – so, to mark World Book Day 2021, we’re recommending 10 well-thumbed titles from the office bookshelf and we’ve grouped them into 10 different themes as follows:
- Organisational Development
- Coaching Skills
- Team Development
- Learning & Development Practice
- Change Management
- Employee Engagement
- Workplace Wellbeing
One of our favourite Organisational Development books is…
‘Organization Development – A Practitioner’s Guide for OD & HR’ by Dr Mee-Yan Cheung Judge & Linda Holbeche
Ideal for: People working as internal and external OD consultants who would benefit from a thorough overview of the field, with links to related topics such as change management, culture and organisation design.
Main takeaway: There’s plenty of practical advice on everything from identifying needs, data gathering and analysis, and presenting findings. The importance of effective contracting was a key takeaway for us.
On this list because: The authors have made a complex area very accessible, with practical guidance and approaches. PLUS… Incendo’s gorgeous office dog, Lucy, used to belong to Mee-Yan!
We also like: ‘Organization Development: A Jossey-Bass Reader’ by Joan V Gallos
One of our favourite Mindfulness books is…
‘Full Catastrophe Living’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Ideal for: Great for current and aspiring mindfulness teachers.
Main takeaway: We have just moments to live! This one…and the next one.
On this list because: It’s structured around all elements of the classic 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme; Jon Kabat-Zinn’s genuine passion about improving mental and physical health shines through every chapter.
We also like: ‘Mindfulness in Plain English’ by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
One of our favourite Motivation books is…
‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ by Daniel Pink
Ideal for: Anyone who wants to understand what motivates themselves and others.
Main takeaway: All humans seek autonomy, mastery and purpose – these are natural drivers that we can understand and capitalise on.
On this list because: It offers plenty of cross-cultural examples of research into motivation, and it goes beyond the traditional models (Maslow, McGregor, Herzberg et al) in making sense of what seems complex and mysterious.
We also like: ‘Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential’ by Carol Dweck
One of our favourite Coaching Skills books is…
’50 Top Tools for Coaching’ by Gillian Jones & Ro Gorell
Ideal for: A relatively experienced coach who is adding to their toolkit.
Main takeaway: So many practical tools, it’s hard to name one! Instead, we’d say that the clarity of introduction for each tool lets the reader select an intervention appropriately for their clients’ needs.
On this list because: The value from this one book pays dividends with coaching clients – the copy at Incendo HQ is stuffed with PostIts and folded corners due to regular use.
We also like: ‘The Tao of Coaching’ by Max Landsberg
One of our favourite Team Development books is…
‘Turning Team Performance Inside Out’ by Susan Nash
Ideal for: Facilitators who are qualified in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool and want to add depth to their team development events.
Main takeaway: Opposite types don’t automatically create tension, they can be an incredible source of collaboration, learning and complimentarity.
On this list because: No other publication on MBTI and teams offers this much versatility and depth.
We also like: ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni
One of our favourite Leadership books is…
‘The Leadership Challenge’ by James Kouzes & Barry Posner
Ideal for: Anyone who is in a leadership role (or is aspiring to be).
Main takeaway: It has to be the Five Fundamental Practices of Exemplary Leaders – Model The Way, Challenge The Process, Encourage The Heart, Enable Others To Act, and Inspire A Shared Vision.
On this list because: The approach is backed up by research and yet translates into everyday actions that can be introduced to any working environment.
We also like: ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown
One of our favourite Learning & Development Practice books is…
‘Beyond Traditional Training’ by Ken Marshall
Ideal for: L&D professionals who know there’s more they could be doing in the training room and beyond.
Main takeaway: There are traditional trainers, nightmare trainers and smart trainers – aim to become the latter by adopting the approaches outlined in this book.
On this list because: The book shakes up some commonly-held assumptions about adult learning and training, then provides an alternative approach.
We also like: ‘Brain Rules’ by John Medina
One of our favourite Change Management books is…
‘Switch’ by Chip & Dan Heath
Ideal for: People who are responsible for proposing, leading or implementing change of any size.
Main takeaway: The metaphor of the elephant, the rider and the path. This is adapted from psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s work and talks about directing the ‘rider’ (our rational brain: responsible for planning and direction, but can get paralysed by overthinking things) and motivating the ‘elephant’ (our emotional brain: prefers quick gratification over long term, but gets things done). The ‘path’ is the environment in which change happens.
On this list because: There’s a variety of examples, stories and case studies that stimulate thinking and ideas.
We also like: ‘Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes’ by William Bridges
One of our favourite Employee Engagement books is…
‘The Three Signs of a Miserable Job’ by Patrick Lencioni
Ideal for: Everyone who leads others, from frontline supervision to CEO.
Main takeaway: We need to help people to overcome immeasurement, anonymity and irrelevance – and the assorted ways to do this are simple, straightforward and require zero budget.
On this list because: The first 80% of the book is a leadership ‘fable’ that everyone can relate to, while the remaining 20% provides the theory.
We also like: ‘Carrots & Sticks Don’t Work’ by Paul Marciano
One of our favourite Workplace Wellbeing books is…
’50 Top Tools for Employee Wellbeing’ by Debbie Mitchell
Ideal for: HR professionals, anyone who manages others or who wants to improve people’s lives at work.
Main takeaway: Interventions that support employee wellness don’t need to be expensive or especially time-consuming. As with the book ’50 Top Tools for Coaching’ mentioned earlier, there are too many fantastic tools to highlight just one key takeaway.
On this list because: The book provides a range of approaches to a growing challenge for employers, whilst acknowledging that organisational culture varies and so one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to effective wellbeing. PLUS…There’s a great case study featuring Incendo’s work with an insurance sector client in the chapter on mindfulness!
We also like: ‘Wellbeing at Work’ by Professor Sir Cary Cooper & Ian Hesketh