October 26

What you could learn from ‘The Age of Agile’ by Steve Denning (2018, 264 pages)

How have companies like Google, Spotify, Netflix and Facebook managed to continue to innovate despite their global scale? Steve Denning in his book ‘The Age of Agile’ argues that the competitive advantage of these companies is the ability to get teams focusing on bringing value to the customer and the priority of flow through the system […]

October 25

What you could learn from ‘Powerful’ by Patty McCord (2018, 148 pages)

Netflix is now the global superpower of streaming.  How did they get there, and how did they out-compete Google and Amazon? Patty McCord in her book ‘Powerful’ suggests that the Netflix culture and a strong HR team, under her guidance, played an enormous part in that success. In the book, Patty divides advice into nine […]

October 18

What you could learn from ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink (2011, 256 pages)

Why do people leave one company for another?  Why do people dedicate their lives to work or the pursuit of a life-long goal?  Motivation theory has evolved a long way since Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see here).  In his book ‘Drive’ Daniel Pink argues that there are three drivers of motivation: Autonomy Mastery Purpose   Autonomy […]

October 05

What you could learn from Barbra Minto’s The Pyramid Principle (2009, 172 pages)

Few books are required reading at McKinsey, the Pyramid Principle is one of the books that most people read during their time. Consulting and leadership are about convincing others to change.  While a leader often has positional authority, consultants do not.  McKinsey consultants found that Barbar’s framework helped them influence clients by building a well structured […]

September 28

What you could learn from ‘Thinking fast and slow’ by Daniel Kahneman (2012, 300 pages)

What is intuition?  How do humans think?  Are humans rational or irrational and can we predict them? In the past economist built models that assumed that human beings are perfectly rational (what behavioural scientists joking refer to as ‘Homo Economicus’).  Daniel Kahneman, a Noble Prize-winning author, showed that Homo Economicus does not exist and that […]

September 13

What leaders can learn from Google’s Project Oxygen

Google ran an experiment to prove that managers are unhelpful.  The found something different – the right managers can be very helpful. Google established the 10 Oxygen behaviours of Google’s best managers (behaviours 3 and 6 have been updated and behaviours 9 and 10 are new): Is a good coach Empowers team and does not […]

September 07

Leadership hack 026 – the three steps to mastery

“Learn to ski on piste before you ski off-piste” Army Ski Instructor   One of the biggest problems I face when teaching and coaching is that people often try to do too much too soon.  Without a mastery of the basics I find some of the following problems occur: Paralysis of decision-making.  When someone is […]

September 06

My top business of 2017

I try to read a book a week.  In 2017 I only managed to read 21, well short of my goal.  To be fair in 2017 I left McKinsey to put myself through a Coding Boot Camp and built a bank. Of the 21 books I did read, these are my top five: How Google […]

August 24

What you could learn from ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown (2009, 242 pages)

Customers are changing.  Brands and companies have repeatedly experienced shifts from consumption to participation.   Many products are now co-created with customers, be it choosing the fabric and colours on your next pair of trainers, or curating and sharing playlists on Spotify. Tim Brown in his book ‘Change by Design’ suggest that companies need to adapt by focusing […]

August 16

Leadership hack 025 – quantative data tells you what, qualitative tells you why

We now have access to too much information rather than too little.  Making great decisions requires an understanding of the limitations of data and the importance of analysis and dialogue. Modern digital products have no little limits on data you can collect.  Here are a few examples: How quickly a user moves a slider when selecting a loan size […]

August 09

Leadership hack 024 – is getting better more important than getting work done?

“Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work” Gene Kim You never have enough time and resources, so you throw everything at the task at hand – getting the product shipped or the problem fixed. We have all been there.  It is very, very easy to focus relentlessly on getting your work […]

August 03

What you could learn from Scrum 101 by Lowe, Wyllie and Vara (2017, 126 pages)

Scrum 101 is a refreshingly clear, helpful guide to Scrum.  The book starts by explaining the Agile manifesto and principles directly and thankfully will little interpretation.  The book then situates Scrum within Agile by describing it as a framework for achieving the values and goal of Agile (a great description).  The book also outlines the […]

%d bloggers like this: