As a businesswoman and a strategist, people have asked me, “What have you read that resonates with you on both levels?” The truth is, I’ve found great nuggets of really good ways of thinking in many different books regarding strategy and general business. To help prepare your New Year’s reading list and equip you with powerful strategic and business advice, here is a list of some of my favorite books (in no particular order) and why I really like them:
Yes, it is entirely possible to develop a bad strategy – or rather strategy that sounds good but has little substance. Rumelt does a great job providing a myriad of real-world examples of what bad strategy looks like and how you can identify it when it happens, allowing the reader to form a clear picture of what not to do and what you must do to develop a good strategy. One of his defining messages is making sure you have clarity around both strategy and the pursuit of your goals.
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne.
This book has become a classic. In addition to the successful business that has been built around its philosophy, it remains extremely relevant. Kim and Mauborgne’s book should be on your list, if for no other reason than you know what people are talking about when they say, “it’s a blue ocean.” In today’s incredibly crowded and competitive marketplace, this book asks you to look beyond the obvious strategic approach for your good or service and craft a re-defining strategy that will set you apart from the traditional marketplace and allow you to pursue your goals in an uncluttered space.
- Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono and The Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr.
This book forms the basis of the newest craze, OKRs or objectives, and key results. Based on the success that Andy Grove had using this philosophy at Intel, it demonstrates what businesses have intuitively known for years: make your goals clear, make them measurable and choose wisely which things you put your resources behind and you’ll come out a winner. While these concepts are not new, the presentation of them in this straightforward book, along with templates for crafting your own, is why Measure What Matters has become one of the most-read business books of the last few years.
This is an older business book about leadership. Some of the examples by now are dated but that doesn’t take away from the book’s central theme of challenging long-held notions about how to manage and lead people to become the best they can be for themselves and the team. Be ready to confront your popular beliefs about how to treat everyone “the same.” This book compiles a massive amount of data that tells you, good managers, actually operate differently.
For more reading about strategy and business management, visit our resources page for a strategic readiness tool, the executive’s handbook for developing and executing strategy, and the executive director’s board meeting success kit.
From all of us at MPOWR, have a happy New Year!