No Hero

No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy Seal (New York: New American Library , November, 2015)

No Hero

No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy Seal

Just finished reading this book, and saw lot of similarities between ‘Agile culture’ that we seek to cultivate in an organization and what SEALs go through. The author mentions, Trust is the bedrock of any relation! For a team to function at its peak, they have to trust each other completely. It’s all about the TEAM and making the most of what has been dealt.

The author talks about AAR; the After Action Review, and it reminded me of the Retrospectives we do at the end of each sprint. He suggests:

Conduct AAR with an eye towards improving (the procedures, the team,..) and being honest and open at the AAR

Three Quotes from the book:

  • Only focus on your three-foot world,” he said. “Focus on what you can affect
  • When we make mistakes, we try again and again and again until we get it right. We’re not superheroes. We just commit doing what is right.
  • Rangers think and plan from the top down. The SEALs think and plan from the bottom up

Three Tips from the book:

  • Take what’s there, assess the situation, prioritize, and break it down into small tasks you know you can accomplish or eliminate or fix immediately.
  • Everyone has the right to bitch about a mission or job for five minutes. After those five minutes, you shut the f*** up and get to work.
  • You always want someone in your professional life who is going to be honest, who’s going to call you on your bullshit. [Who is your Swim buddy?]

Are you a SEAL or a Ranger? Are you an asset to your Team?

When we make mistakes, we try again and again and again until we get it right. We’re not superheroes.… Click To Tweet

The Wright Brothers (New York: Simon & Schuster, May, 2016)

the-wright-brothers-by-david-mccullough

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Remember Wright Brothers if you ever catch yourself complaining that you cannot get there, you cannot achieve that big thing because ..

  • you don’t have the resources
  • you don’t have the money
  • don’t have the connections
  • you don’t have the experience
  • etc.. etc..

Pick up this book and know why you cannot complain for lack of those resources. What you need is the resolve,  what you need is the attitude! Pick up this book, read it, and I can ascertain that it will lift your spirits. You will soar through the world if you keep the Wright Brothers on your side!

If you ever feel down, if you ever feel that you are not going anywhere, just remember Wilbur and Orville, and how they achieved such big feats with such modest, humble beginnings in their life.

The Wright Brothers” – very well written book. I felt like I was walking with them (the Wright Brothers) as they were inventing their flier that would change the world.  And, I felt that I was walking with them as they demonstrated their flying machine on two sides of the Atlantic. I was really sad at the end of the book when each member of the Wright family exited this world as their lives came to an end, as they left this stage, what we call this world.

The two brothers supported by the silent partner, their younger sister Katherine, are an inspiration. An awe inspiring story of family love, the tenacity, perseverance and above all following one’s passion.

The Wright Brothers” – a must read. It will definitely be a pick me up!

Talent Code

The Talent Code (Canada: Bantam Books, May, 2009)

Talent Code

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The talent code author @DanielCoyle makes a case that practice can groomed a talent. And, with a deep practice that process can be accelerated. It is a simple process of learning on the edge of discomfort, making and identifying mistakes, fixing and learning from them to get better. And then, repeat this whole cycle again and again.

Ignition + Master Coaching + Deep Practice = Talent

Anything, from learning on how to play football to learning the social skills of interacting with individuals. Or navigating a group of people can be learned. And accelerated with this formula (need I remind you learning the skills of networking!). Deep practice helps build and increase mylein – the cellular wrapper and insulation that can turn your brain nerves into a T1 line, into a Broadband!

Skills is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals – Daniel Coyle

As an Agilist, as a change agent, you are in the business of change. You are constantly pushing the boundary of what is comfortable to the individual or teams that you are training, coaching and mentoring. As Enterprise Transformation Coach and a Trainer, I often tell my class to the step of their comfort zone. You have to be comfortable with the notion of being uncomfortable.That’s the only way to learn new stuff. As coach wooden’s quote perfectly sums it up seek the small improvement, one day at a time; that’s the only way it happens and when it happens it lasts.

A must ready for you as a Change Agent!

Three Quotes from the book:

  • Experience where you are forced to slow down. Make errors and correct them = Deep Learning
  • Talent Whisperer use the formula {Examination + Diagnostics + Prescription}
  • Ignition + Master Coaching + Deep Practice = Talent

Three tips from the book:

  • Want to build Talent? Accelerate Deep Practice! Get your game of ‘Foosal’
  • “It’s not how fast you can do it. It’s how slow you can do it correctly.” Chunk it and slow it down.
  • Get a Mentor! Great Teachers are Key! They look for and offer small, targeted, highly specific adjustments.

 

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (New York: Penguin Group, December 29, 2009 )

In this book, author Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) makes a strong case for us to upgrade to Motivation 3.0 !
It’s time to #makeTheShift from Profit-driven (Motivation 2.0) to Purpose-driven (Motivation 3.0). He also talks about different types of personalities such as Type X, Type Y, and Type I. He goes onto providing us a toolkit if we want to #transform into Type I personality, along with the list of books that can help us on that journey.

A must-read!

Animate with purpose, don’t motivate with rewards

Three Quotes from the book:

  • Warning: Goals are Toxic! Goals may cause systemic problems to organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation. Use care when applying Goals in your organization.
  • Sawyer Effect: practices that can either turn play into work or work into play
  • Motivation 3.0 doesn’t reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization. Employees are not Resources, Employees are Partners

Three tips from the book:

  • Replace IF…Then motivation with NOW…That.. motivation
  • Management is a Technology, and we need to update it to new operating system Motivation 3.0
  • Turn company-wide meetings to FedEx days

Tools/techniques mentioned in the book:

  • FedEx days
  • Goldilock Tasks
  • Now..That rewards
  • Autonomy Audit
  • ROWE
  • Sawyer Effect
  • 20% Time
  • Flow
  • Sagmeister / Take [365-day] Sabbatical
  • Brain Bombs
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Make it ‘no competition’ zone
Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive… Click To Tweet

TED Video

Type I toolkit

  • Flow Test
  • Ask BIG question
  • Ask Small Questions: Small Improvements, Was I better today than yesterday?
  • Sagmeister – Take [365 day] sabbatical
  • Performance review: Set smaller goals as well as larger goals
  • Unstuck by going oblique
  • Take a Page from Webber and a card from your pocket
  • Promote Goldilocks for Groups
  • Convert Offsite to FedEx days

Books for Type I

In summary, Type I personality draws on resources that are easily replenished, inflict little damage, inexpensive, and clean.

Question: Are you Type I, Type X, or Type Y?
You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Creativity Inc – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


If you want to emulate anybody’s success, especially if you in the business of creating things, Pixar has to be on the top list. I admired all the movies made by Pixar; I admired the creativity and the storytelling chops they showcase through these movies. But, after reading this book my admiration for this company have grown many folds.

Being an Agilist, I saw many parallels between the creative world of Pixar and my world of Agile. I was surprised and inspired to see that they have been practicing a lot of the Agile principle that we talk about. For example, they use ‘real day’ which is essentially what we call (Sprint) Review or the Demo.

This is one company worth emulating! This could be the ‘bible’ that you are looking for to build and sustain a creative company! This book definitely would be in the front of all the books on my bookshelf.

If Pixar is the hospitals, and movies are the patients, Brain Trust is all the trusted doctors.

Three Quotes from the book:

  • To be truly creative company, you must start things that will fail
  • Our people’s intentions are good and they want to solve the problems. Give them the responsibilities, let the mistakes happen, and let the people fix them
  • Mistakes are inevitable consequences of doing something new, without having them there is no originality

Three tips from the book:

  • Managers should loosen the control, accept risks, and trust their people
  • Pull up a chair (and start having conversations, ask open-ended questions).
  • Ask yourself, what happens when a mistake is found? Whose fault is this? [If this happens, your company is vilifying the failure]

Tools/techniques mentioned in the book:

  • Daily
  • Research Trips
  • Limits
  • Notes Day
  • Person week
  • Bonus check, that is hand written and hand delivered
  • Pull up a chair (and start having conversations)
  • Brain Trust
  • Good Note
  • Poet’s Loft
  • 5-year social compact
  • Strategy Pyramid
Find, develop, and support good people and they will find, develop, and support good ideas! Click To Tweet
Switch, Transformation,GetHyper, Agile, Get hyper

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Involved in any kind of transformation effort? Be it Personal or Profession, trying to influence behavior of any person is hard. You have to work with both sides of the brain: Emotional as well as Analytical side, of the person as well as the herds/he belongs to.

This book is a MUST read if you are involved in any kind of transformation effort.

Three Quotes from the book
  • Change = People behaving in new way
  • Resistance = (often happens due to ) lack of clarity
  • Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, Shape the path
Three Tips on the book Switch
  • Three steps to any Transformation: Change the Situation (provide them new environment) + Address their Hearts + Address their Minds (emotional and Rational side)
  • Find the Bright Spot = successful efforts worth emulating, identify successes and figure out how to clone them / What is working and how can we replicate it
  • Script Critical move
Put the first two stamps (highlight on what progress has already been made to instill sense of… Click To Tweet
Essentialism, Agile, transformation, getHyper

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Book-Essentialism

Essentialism by Greg McKeown @GregoryMcKeown

If you want to de-clutter your everyday life, if you want to be able to focus on things that are important to YOU, if you want to get more done with less effort THIS is the book. Read it, digest it, implement it and YOU will find more joy and happiness in the journey where you are headed. It will give you more clarity as to where you want to go.

Three Quotes from the book

  • The Wisdom of Life Consists in the Elimination of Non-Essentials
  • STOP Majoring in minor activities
  • If you don’t prioritize your life, some one else will

Three tips from the book

  • Less but better = Essentialism
  • Constantly asking: Am I investing in the RIGHT activities? Is this the most important or valuable thing I could be doing right now?
  • If you don’t prioritize your life, some one else will

Practice 'load the Tape', 'Think Week' and 'Monk Mode' - inspired by Essentialism by @GregoryMcKeown… Click To Tweet

agile, gethyper, transformation

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

If you are in any kind of transformation work, you can not afford to ignore this book. Book is filled with nuggets of genius and his passion for enriching his customers lives. It showcases how focusing too much on growth and taking eyes off the core customers can spell trouble for the business. He also shows us how the business can transformation can be achieved even in the worst economic times.

MUST read for anyone involved in transformation work. Period.

Three Quotes from the book

  • How could it be wrong to invest in your own people?
  • Starbucks is in the business of exceeding the expectations
  • We could not and should not underestimate the ability of our competitors to steal our customer

Three tips from the book

  • Do not embrace status quo and constantly push to reinvent yourself
  • Work should be personal, infused with meaning and purpose
  • Experimenting with new ideas with the risk of ridicule
Do not embrace status quo and constantly push to reinvent yourself - Howard Schultz in Onward… Click To Tweet
Rich Employee

The Rich Employee

 

Rich Employee

The Rich Employee

Getting reach starts with a mental shift, and continuously striving to make those small, incremental improvements, as the author calls ‘1% increments in the daily routine’.

Feel free to reach out to me. If you want to discuss this book, any part of it, or transformation in general.