Looking for a book to help get your IT shop better aligned with the business? Or maybe you want to brush up on your management skills? Here's a list of books that can help.
The Leadership Pill: The Missing Ingredient in Motivating People Today
By Ken Blanchard and Marc Muchnick
Free Press, September 2003
128 pages, $19.95
Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, is back with another parable, this time assisted by Muchnick, a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology. Here, a leadership pill is invented that can turn the most incompetent manager into someone who can get results. The problem, as we discover at the end of the book, which you'll be able to finish in the time it takes to get airborne after your plane pushes back from the gate, is that the pill is only a short fix, one that creates leaders who are obsessed with short-term results and who exhaust their people in an effort to achieve those results. The moral, as exemplified by a manager referred to throughout as "Effective Leader," is to inspire and support your team.
Generating Buy-In: Mastering the Language of Leadership
By Mark S. Walton
Amacom, September 2003
128 pages. $19.95
If you want to get anything done with the help of the people you manage, they need to "buy in" to your agenda—not only agree to do what you want them to but actually want to. How do you make that happen? Walton, the former CNN chief White House correspondent who now teaches in the U.S. Navy's Advanced Management program, argues that the most compelling way is to tell "strategic stories" that "project a positive future." Then you have to ask your people to commit to taking action, based on what they have heard. He lays out several examples you can follow in step-by-step fashion.
Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value
By Bill George
Jossey-Bass, July 2003
240 pages, $27.95
In light of the scandals du jour on Wall Street and elsewhere, the timing of this book, by the former head of Medtronic Inc., the medical technology company, could not be better. The solution to all the scandals is not new laws, George contends, but new leaders—people who feel their true corporate mission is to solve a problem or provide a service. This, he contends, is the primary reason his company has been so successful. (During George's dozen years at the top, Medtronic's market cap climbed from $1.1 billion to more than $60 billion.) When asked for career advice, senior managers invariably reply, "Do what you love; the money will follow." Somewhere along the way, too many of them have forgotten that.
Put the Moose on the Table: Lessons in Leadership from a CEO's Journey through Business and Life
By Randall Tobias with Todd Tobias
Indiana University Press May 2003
288 pages, $24.95
The title's metaphor is as direct as the rest of this book, from the former chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Co., Randall Tobias, who was vice chairman of AT&T before taking the job at the pharmaceutical giant in 1993. Like a moose in the living room, some problems are hard to ignore. Managers who don't openly and honestly confront the moose are destined to fail. Implicit in that metaphor is the idea that dealing with the moose will cause change. Instead of worrying about that, welcome it, says Tobias, because embracing change is the only path to corporate and personal growth.