Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not Your Typical Assigned “Summer Reading”

Occasionally as part of our review process at work, we are asked to read a book, relevant to the basics of a working environment.  One of my ‘development task’ area objectives (which may consist of taking a training course to freshen up my skills, to book reading, to explaining to the department the new project we’re working on, was suggested I read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.  For the record these suggestions come from my boss who in turn hears the suggestions (and sometimes receives the books in the interoffice mail) from his boss as a ‘great read’ or in general conversation from other group members in conference calls.  I do recommend “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” even if it was a short book, read over a few lunch hours.  It made me want to keep reading, it had scenarios I could relate to, and characters I could put real people to that I have known, have worked for or with.  It made sense and yes I have a brief snapshot of part of that book on my desk.  In theory most of us have worked in, dealt with, played on a team.  The underlying goal is as a team to work together to achieve the goal.  No matter what type of team you find yourself on, if you don’t work together, trust each other, be accountable, lack commitment you will fail.  We all need to have a paddle in our hands and work at the same time to get the boat to its destination (not my favorite example, but you know what I mean).

Next, I began reading Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” prior to picking up “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey (also part of the assigned reading).  I skimmed most of “7 Habits” due to the details of the book, I’m not a big fan of the ‘self help’ typeface, I want to read a story, hear dialogue, keep my attention and make me want more for 300 pages or so.  It was in a pile of ‘work related’ books my stepdad was tossing, so why not I thought give it a try.  I gave it a try, the only thing that kept my attention was the quotes at the beginning of each chapter.  Now I’m giving it my full attention, with the fear that I might be quizzed or have to give a brief book report on it later on.  It is difficult to get through, and at this point of the blog I was only on the 2nd chapter!  Once I finished it wasn’t as painful as reading “The Speed of Trust” on my Kindle.  This one was fully detailed about relationships and characteristics, from a more psychological perspective.  I wanted and hoped this was more about building trust in a working relationship, more or less a how to or steps to achieve it.  Not personal experience from an analytical point of view.  That was painful to say the least.  At least the quotes at the beginning of every chapter (commonality between the father/son authors) held my attention if only for a few seconds before I had to turn the page to continue my not typical summer reading assignment (again have I mentioned how I really enjoyed those quotes?).

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