Searching for a new way to engage your employees? Try asking them to read the same business or management book in the next 30 days. Turning your company into a reading group gives you a chance to understand employees better and allows them to freely share their passions and ideas. Everyone is guaranteed to have something in common to discuss. Book clubs offer employees a way to take a break from their chaotic work lives, increase their creativity and develop shared goals with their colleagues.
How to begin
Work with your executive team to decide on your top four to six titles. Then read one book as a company every two to three months.
If you are a small company, host an all-employee conversation every two weeks around one chapter or theme. Ask someone to facilitate the discussion as each person gives their opinions and ideas.
If you are a large company, ask each VP to lead their division’s discussion. If the divisions are too large, the VPs can organize conversations for groups of 20. This approach works for both in-person and virtual discussions. Again, assign a facilitator and a chapter or theme for each discussion.
Below are some possible choices to begin:
1. The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
2. Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan and John King
3. Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company by Tom Searcy and Barbara Weaver Smith
4. Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
5.Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competition by Ann Rhoades
6.Snap Selling: Speed up Sales and Win more Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers by Jill Konrath
How to make a company book club successful
Don’t lecture to your employees during discussions. Listen carefully to what they say during and after each session.
At the end of each discussion, ask the group which practices in the book would be helpful for your company to adopt. Create team agreements and actions that will turn those suggestions into reality.
What else you might notice
Employees who love their company, appreciate their job and care about their career will dive right in. Almost immediately you will see their ideas, their work, and their enthusiasm grow (along with the company’s revenue).
Employees who make excuses, complain, or refuse to read the books typically show similar attitudes and behaviors on the job. You may glean a fresh perspective as to who should (and should not) remain “on the bus” after two to three book assignments.
Talk back: I’d love to hear if your company has a book club and the impact on productivity and innovation when an entire organization reads the same book at the same time. Or let me know if you plan to start a club in your organization.