Bookworm Friday: 5 Books Recommendations from Luiza Lipień

 

Luiza is a coach and train business professionals how to adopt Lean and Agile best practices which makes them more productive and customer-oriented. She leads the team of Agile Coaches in UK&Online to support organisational changes at William Hill. Check out Luiza's recommendations for this weekend!

 

1. Eric Ries: The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

I read that book a few years ago and I still think it is an absolute must-read for every Product Owner, Delivery Lead and any entrepreneur because it changes the way you think about your customers and business. Based on success stories from Zappos, Groupon, Facebook and others, Eric Ries proofs that “success is not delivering a feature, success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem”. After reading that book you will know why asking your customers about their needs might be a trap sometimes, what actionable and vanity metrics are about and how to use them for “validated learning”. Moreover, you will be able to validate your ideas quickly and without (almost) any costs using experiments through Build - Measure - Learn loop.

 

2. Marilee Adams: Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life

“Lean Startup” was about asking the right questions and finding the answers for them through experiments. Marilee Adams’ book touches questions topic from the other side. She presents that asking the right questions to yourself will help you to grow, understand more and choose better. Adams says that right questions change the way we think about ourselves and the world. She presents how to change our questions so that they will not limit us anymore but allow us to see more options and chances. It is about being the “Judger” or a “Learner” with your questions. Being a “Judger” is always harmful and blocking for yourself and for others. Instead of asking “what is wrong with me/ them”, “whose fault is that”, you may just ask “what happened”, “what can I learn from that”, “what are the facts”. This leads to win-win situations, no blaming and solidifying your potential and options you have.

 

3. Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright: Tribal Leadership: How Successful Groups Form Organically: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

This book is about building a company culture. In “Tribal Leadership”, the company is described from the perspective of people who work together and create “tribes”. The tribe is bigger than a team – it consists of groups of people from 20-150. „From the ice age on, forming a tribe was a way to improve our odds for survival” and nowadays organizations are also the sum of the tribes. However, what separates average tribes from those, that excel is culture. Authors simplify the dynamics of that culture into 5 stages: “life sucks”, “my life sucks”, “I’m great (and you’re not)”, “we’re great” and “life is great”. Stage five outperforms four, which outperforms three, etc. As authors say: we often find groups at stage four reporting a three thousand percent increase in profitability over groups at stage three. In that book, you will find descriptions which will help you to identify the stage which your tribe is at and hints to understand how to move your tribe into the next level.

 

4. John Kotter: Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

I really love this book. I did recommend it and lent it thousands of times. And not only because of its length (150 pages), however, in fact, it is far leaner than “Lean Startup”. This short book describes the process of transformation and leading through change. Based on a trivial story taken from the life of penguins (whose iceberg is melting!) it shows how to organize transformation step by step, what you

may expect in terms of people behaviours, how to overcome obstacles and how to make every transformation successful. What I found the most useful was that there is always somebody as Penguin “NoNo” – who is not ready to accept the change - sometimes you need to acknowledge that fact, however in the book “Our Iceberg Is Melting” you will find helpful strategies to handle such and other challenging cases.

 

5. Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

This book was a huge revelation to me. In “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman, explains that there are two systems that drive the way we think as human beings. The first system is fast, intuitive, and emotional. The second one is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. We tend to use the first system more often which may lead to overconfidence and false judgement. Kahneman covers several experiments which prove the differences. One of them is the “framing effect” where people decide on options based on whether the options are presented with positive or negative connotations. Kahneman’s experiment was to ask subjects whether they would opt for surgery if the "survival" rate is 90 percent, while others were told that the mortality rate is 10 percent. The first framing increased acceptance, even though the situation was no different. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” provides very useful knowledge about cognitive biases which may cause some limitations in our perception. Knowing them is highly beneficial in both - private and professional life.