There’s a reason professors assigned required reading in classes. When you encourage pupils to think independently and interpret the week’s lesson via reading outside the classroom, you create an environment of learning. Students become teachers, teachers become students, and learning transcends predetermined roles. Ask any student in college today and I’m confident they’ll prefer seminar environments over lectures.
Why stop this in college?
Employees who shape an office culture the most are usually the ones who promote learning. They seek being both the student and the teacher bringing value and new skills to their colleagues on a consistent basis.
When I started out in business I didn’t have access to the entrepreneurs I considered “successful” in person, but I did have access to articles written on them, biographies and news programs. I would eat up as much content on my “dream team” of leaders as possible and from there look for the traits that spanned multiple entrepreneurs, companies and decades. This helped me form the basis of my “entrepreneurial education” and it was free, reading up on people you admire is still my number one piece of advice to up and coming business owners.
To foster a culture of learning at Zirtual we created a (growing) list of books and articles that all employees and assistants are asked to read. You can find a partial list below & why I think all businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and self-learners will benefit from giving them a gander.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
When it comes to company culture few are as uniquely unified as Zappos. This book captures Tony’s pre-Zappos days from him as a 9 year-old button-making entrepreneur to selling Zappos to Amazon for over $1 billion. What I love aboutDelivering Happiness is its focused message, breaking the elements of Tony’s business philosophy down into manageable chunks. I also saw it as an opportunity to shape Zirtual’s culture as one that fosters individuality and leadership at every level, something Tony & his team instilled in Zappos from its inception.
This Is How You Get People To Trust Your Product by Lynn Perkins
No matter what industry you’re in if people don’t or can’t trust your product it’s destined for failure. Written by UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkings this article delves into how her company created a business around matching parents with strangers to watch their kids. While there are few situations that require more trust than leaving your children with caretakers I found relevance in how Zirtual needed to make trust our number 1 goal in customer relationships.
Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright
Few business books take an approach this scientific. The authors used data from a 10-year, 24,000 participant study to not only identify 5 distinct stages of employee tribal development but also how to manage each stage. I found this book helpful in hiring both ZAs and our core team, identifying key traits of people I wanted to lead our team. It also helped me identify the signs of when an employee begins to slip to a lower level and how to lift them out of it.
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
I’ve always found it amazing how the 80/20 principle applies to so many areas of business. Revenue, user generated content, product usage, and more can all, and often do, follow the 80/20 principle. This book by Richard Koch applies the principle to productivity guiding readers to achieving 80% of their results from 20% of their effort. I’m in the business of making people more productive through delegation so it’s only natural that my employees are productivity evangelists.
The 1 Thing Super Successful People Never Do In The Early Morning by Alexis Kleinman
This might be the oddball of the list but it’s one of the most important practices I’ve implemented into my daily schedule. I’m a firm believer in establishing a grounding set of practices that help keep productivity up. Without spoiling what the “one-thing” is, this quick read can (and hopefully will) have a lasting impact on your daily productivity.
Published in collaboration with LinkedIn
Author: Maren Kate Donovan is CEO at Zirtual.com
Ref: Forum Blog