Walking the Talk Blog

5 great books for inspiring the pursuit of excellence

[fa icon="calendar"] 10-May-2019 10:16:00 / by Walking the Talk

Thinking about the future? Looking for a new mindset? Want to adopt a new approach? Want to solve problems better? 

Here are 5 of Walking the Talk's recommended future thinking reads. 

81cOrVseOYLFrom Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't |  Jim Collins

"The Challenge:

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study: 
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards:
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons: 
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings:
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept: (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?"

Get the book. . .

 

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In Search of Excellence | Tom Peters

"The "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Based on a study of forty-three of America's best-run companies from a diverse array of business sectors, In Search of Excellence describes eight basic principles of management -- action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices -- that made these organizations successful.

Joining the Harper Business Essentials series, this phenomenal bestseller features a new Authors' Note, and reintroduces these vital principles in an accessible and practical way for today's management reader." 

Get the book. . . 

 

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Good to Great and the Social Sectors (for public sector organisations) | Jim Collins

"Jim Collins Answers the Social Sector with a Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. 30-50% of those who bought Good to Great work in the Social Sector.

 This monograph is a response to questions raised by readers in the social sector. It is not a new book.

  • Jim Collins wants to avoid any confusion about the monograph being a book by limiting its distribution to online retailers.
  • Based on interviews and workshops with over 100 social sector leaders.
  • The difference between successful organizations is not between the business and the social sector, the difference is between good organizations and great ones."

Get the book. . .

 

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Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time | Brian Tracy

"The legendary Eat That Frog! (more than 1.5 million copies sold worldwide and translated into 42 languages) will change your life. There just isn't enough time for everything on our "To Do" list—and there never will be. Successful people don't try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.

There's an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using “eat that frog” as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day—the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life—
Eat That Frog!shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day. You'll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done.

Bestselling author Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. In this fully revised and updated second edition, he provides brand new information on how to keep technology from dominating your time. He details twenty-one practical and doable steps that will help you stop procrastinating and get more of the important tasks done—today!
"

Get the book. . .

  

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Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage | Colin Price & Scott Keller

"When faced with complex challenges or uncertain outcomes, many leaders believe that if they are smart enough, work hard enough, or turn to the best management tools, they will be able to find the right answer, predict and plan for the future, and break down tasks to produce controllable results. But what are leaders to do when this isn't the case?

Rather than offering one-size-fits-all tips and tricks drawn from the realm of business as usual, Simple Habits for Complex Times provides three integral practices that enable leaders to navigate the unknown. By taking multiple perspectives, asking different questions, and seeing more of their system, leaders can better understand themselves, their roles, and the world around them. They can become more nimble, respond with agility, and guide their organizations to thrive in an ever-shifting business landscape. The more leaders use these simple habits, the more they enhance their performance and solve increasingly common, sticky business issues with greater acumen.

Whether in large or small organizations, in government or the private sector, in the U.S. or overseas, leaders will turn to this book as a companion that helps them grow into the best version of themselves."

Get the book. . . 

  

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Topics: Leadership, Business books, Innovation

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