Summer reading list for the (to be) reformed manager

Posted on

You often think there must be a better way of getting stuff done,
while at work you spend your time working around obstacles created by the very same processes put there to help you. Meanwhile, you build meaningful relationships, based on professional respect and trust, that span well over the boundaries of the formal hierarchy.
These books are for you.

The first book is:
Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems
by Jeff Conklin, Ph.D.

In the first chapter of the book, the one I recommend, you find a description of wicked or complex problems that we typically face nowadays at work.
You can download that chapter from here: http://www.cognexus.org/wpf/wickedproblems.pdf

The second book is:

Obliquity: Why our goals are best achieved indirectly
by John Kay.

Here you find suggestions on decision-making and suitable approaches to wicked and complex problems.
You also find historical notes on traditional management, from the rise of traditional management techniques in complicated domains during WWII and in Ford during ’45, to their fall in complex domains during the Vietnam war and in Ford during ’68.
You can find it here: https://www.johnkay.com/product/obliquity/

The third book is:

Coaching For Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose
by Sir John Whitmore.

When dealing with wicked and complex problems, in a socio-technical system, people are at the centre. Directive approaches with people are not fit for purpose here. This book provides alternative ideas and approaches, that are fundamental in today’s prevailing servant-leadership style.
You can find it here: https://www.performanceconsultants.com/coaching-for-performance-book (I prefer the 2nd and 3rd editions.)

The fourth book is:

The Solutions Focus: The SIMPLE Way To Positive Change
by Paul Z. Jackson, Mark McKergow

This book focuses on the alternative to directive approaches, especially for domains facing uncertainty, unknowns, novelty and change. The parallels with Agile are overwhelming. 
You can find it here: https://www.johnmurraypress.co.uk/titles/paul-z-jackson/the-solutions-focus/9781904838067/


Elevate your Agility.

See how we can help.
You, your team, your organisation.