Books

Suggested Reading
Every Good Endeavor

Every Good Endeavor

Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf

In this classic work, authors Keller and Alsdorf dig into the "meaing of work." As people of faith, we sometimes wrestle with how we should be spending our "working careers." This book does a superb job of breaking down this topic and inspiring readers to see their work as both a gift from God and something to be done "well" as a "praise offering".

Our aspirational goal is that teams that leverage encouragework would be more effective in their work and consequently grow closer to God in their personal journey of work and faith.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change is a classic for both business and personal impact.

While there are many takeaways from this book, the one most relevant element for our efforts with encouragework is undoubtedly the concept of "Quadrant 2."

Covey divides the different kinds of work that we do into four Quadrants, governed by Important/Not Important and Urgent/Not Urgent. The encouragework platform helps teams focus on Quadrant 2 (Important but Not Urgent) activities, which bring the most value when exercised faithfully.

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Traction

Traction

Gino Wickman

Traction is a popular business "how to" book by Gino Wickman.

Traction introduces the "Entrpreneur's Operating System", or "EOS," which is a toolbox for changing the way teams work and, when executed well, helps them gain "traction" on their path forward.

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Get a Grip

Get a Grip

Gino Wickman and Bill Paton

Get a Grip is a companion book to Traction. Our recommendation is to purchase Get a Grip in audio format so you can listen to the dynamics between members of the executive team of a technology services firm going through the growing pains of implementing EOS.

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Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

Verne Harnish

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm by Verne Harnish is an easy-to-read and accessible book on bringing process to the management of your firm. This is book has been updated as Scaling Up, but is still worth reading as it is better suited to teams just getting started whereas Scaling Up lends itself to more mature teams.

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Scaling Up

Scaling Up

Verne Harnish

Scaling Up is considered "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0" and is appropriate for more mature teams that already have a regular meeting pulse and are looking to move beyond the basics of running your organization. encouragework recommends that teams evaluate some of the Scaling Up tools to augment other planning acitivies your team employs.

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Good To Great

Good To Great

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Good to Great introduced a generation of business leaders to the concept of the BHAG, translated as "Big Hairy Audacious Goal." The BHAG is what you would accomplish if you could have anything you wanted in your business. Many of the business systems referenced and incorporated into the encouragework.com platform reference the BHAG. Anytime you see BHAG on a document, you should think of Good to Great.

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Scrum

Scrum

Jeff Southerland

The "agile" project management methodology has revolutionized the software development world. In this excellent work, Jeff Sutherland (one of the original signers of the Agile Manifesto) introduces the key elements of the methodology. We particularly like his content on "estimating;" thus, encouragework's Issue priority mechanism is based on the non-linear scale of using Fibonacci numbers in our scoring system. This is a great book to listen to in additon to the print/ebook editions.

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The Goal

The Goal

Eli Goldratt

While the Theory of Constraints (ToC) made its first big splash in the manufacturing world, it has application in every business. This classic business parable introduces a cast of characters learning the hard way how to apply ToC. There are two excellent follow-on titles as well: It's Not Luck which applies ToC to marketing, and Critical Chain which introduces the application of ToC to project management.

If you're more into IT and DevOps, have a look at The Phoenix Project which is essentially a "parallel" work to The Goal, but centered around Information Technology.

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It’s Not Luck

It’s Not Luck

Eli Goldratt

In this business parable, Eli Goldratt applies his Theory of Constraints (ToC) to marketing and product segmentation. This is the sequel to The Goal by Goldratt where ToC is introduced in a manufacturing setting.

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Critical Chain

Critical Chain

Eli Goldratt

Critical Chain is a business parable hilighting the application of the Theory of Constraints to project management. Before reading this, you may want to read The Goal and It's Not Luck, also by Goldratt.

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The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and Gene Spafford

The Phoenix Project is a parable-format novel about a team learning how to implement Dev Ops for their fictional auto parts manufacturing company. Modeled after the Theory of Constraints as introduced by Eli Goldratt in The Goal, this book applies ToC to a technology services team. A key take-away from this book is the idea of the "types" of work. In particular, beware of "unplanned work" and its impact on your organization.

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Mathematics: Is God Silent?

Mathematics: Is God Silent?

James Nickel

Math is all around us. Where did it come from? Did man invent or discover it?

Author James Nickel surveys many of the seminal discoveries in mathematics and discusses the role of faith in the lives of many of history's greatest mathematicians.

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Men of Mathematics

Men of Mathematics

E.T. Bell

No discussion of numbers (KPI, Fibonacci, or otherwise) would be complete without this work by E.T. Bell.

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God and Money

God and Money

John Cortines and Gregory Baumer

Virtually every business's set of Key Performance Indicators includes one or more financial measure. As humans, we are often fixated on money. Here's a tough question: "How much is enough?"

Authors Cortines and Baumer take a couragous look at this topic and help us to identify with motivations that may or may not be healthy in our relation to finances. This is not a "rich people are bad" book by any stretch. 

Our aim with encouragework is to help our clients propel their teams forward in all directions, including financially. As was recently shared at C12, "No Margin, No Mission."

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Profit First

Profit First

Mike Michalowicz

In Profit First, author Mike Michalowicz advocates for looking at our accounting in an odd, but useful manner.

Typically, profit comes last -- after everyone else is paid. The Profit First way is a methodology to make sure that the Entrepreneur's kids have shoes!

Now, this does not mean buy stuff and not pay for it!

But what it does mean is that we need to plan for profitability and make sure that we don't let our expenses out-pace our ability to generate income.

We are fans of Profit First, with one twist -- be sure to not only pay yourself first, but also set aside a "tithe" -- be it 10% or any other percentage that you feel called to set aside for important ministry investments. God should not get what is "left over".

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Ambition: Leading with Gratitude

Ambition: Leading with Gratitude

Seth Buechley

Seth's life story is not one that you hear every day. From living in a commune to building and selling multiple companies in the competitive telecom space, Seth's journey is sure to inspire in this quick to read book.

Seth does a great job of unpacking the forces of ambition and gratitude at work in every leader's journey.

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Updraft

Updraft

Jackie Freedman

The author captures the dynamics of leadership this so vividly (and cleverly) in the theme of the book -- flocks of migratory birds making unbelievable journeys by working together to accomplish something that they could not do on their own. These birds operate in what is a self-organizing system. For the leader who cares more about the success of the team, regardless of "who" gets the credit, this is a captivating concept.

If you're looking for "your next big thing", I would suggest that you stop looking around, take some time to consume the material in this book, and figure out how you can get the team you have to fly further, together.

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View From The Top

View From The Top

Aaron "Big A" Walker

Aaron shares his journey from success to significance with some impactful and at times (painfully) honest anecdotes from his journey. Hint: if you ever go hunting with him, be sure to wear lots of orange. You'll have to read the book to find out why.

Refreshing and challenging.

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Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters

John Doerr

There is nothing new under the sun, but from time to time, some people do more than their part in carrying the water for the rest of us. John Doerr might be that water-carrier for those of us waking up to the ways to measure our organizations. 

Measure what matters is an enjoyable read that both teaches and provides a glimpse into some contemporary leading companies.

A healthy balance to this book would be Daniel Pink's Drive.

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Drive

Drive

Daniel Pink

Drive challenges everything we have learned in modern management about carrots and sticks, pay for performance and what really motivates people.

A good balance to this is John Doerr's Measure What Matters.

Read them both.

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Turn the Ship Around

Turn the Ship Around

David Marquet

David Marquet shares his experience as the leader of the Santa Fe submarine. More importantly, he shares the concept of Leader-Leader, a simply yet profound practice of every day leadership development. 

Get rid of "top down" leadership and instead foster an environment where individuals are empowered to make their own decisions with the guardrails of "I Intend To"  and the practice of "Thinking out loud".

Worth the listen

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Crunch Time

Crunch Time

Rick Peterson and Judd Hoekstra

Crunch Time delivers value in a fun to read manner.

#1 Reframe the situation to diffuse the stress. Look for the Opportunity inside of the Threat.

#2 Seek to beat your personal average, not your personal best.

#3 The key to performance is preparation, not nerves of steel or trying too hard in the moment. Think of a baseball player swinging a bat with extra weight before stepping to the plate.

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Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog

Phil Knight

For much of my life, I identified myself as an athlete.

And I wore Nike's.

I still remember being crestfallen when my college coach mailed me a pair of Converse shoes the team wore -- they were awful.

This is the story of of both Nike's journey and in a way, our nation's cultural journey as sports has risen to the level of religion.

Key take-aways:

Never Quit.

Believe in your product or get a new product to sell.

People that care matter about the mission are priceless and essential to scalable success.

It's easy to criticize from the outside (think overseas labor), but the truth is usually a bit more complicated.

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Zero to One

Zero to One

Peter Thiel

New ideas are out there -- and every day someone is working  on the next big thing.

If your ambition is to have an outsized return, work on something that no one else is working on. However, recognize that this is the Venture Capital (VC) model. If successful, you can really hit it big, however the odds are certainly stacked against you. Know this going in.

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The Bezos Letters

The Bezos Letters

Steve Anderson

Analysis of Jeff Bezos' annual shareholder letters. Lots of insights -- arguably too many to keep track of casually. Here are my key take-aways:

First, have an intense focus on Customer Experience. Make it easy for them get what they want.

Understand Type 1 and Type 2 decisions. Type 1 are hard to reverse - make those slowly. Most decisions are Type 2 -- the kind that you can get a "do over". Don't spin your wheels making Type 2 decisions -- make them quickly.

Where you can, support things that you might not agree with.

Velocity matters. Be it something you don't fully agree with or making Type 2 decisions, make them and then execute.

Lastly, have an intense focus on Customer Experience. Make it easy for them get what they want.

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Call us today at 973.448.0070 or email us at support@encouragework.com

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