Recommended Reading

The following is a list of books that I’ve found helpful over the course of our journey into Continuous Improvement. Given the length of the list (which was read over the course of numerous years), you might begin with the essentials that are consistently mentioned in this blog, or with any book on a subject of unique urgency to you. Of course, eventually, this blog will produce a book which would belong at the top. (At least, I think it’ll belong at the top.)

Change the Culture, Change the Game
Two-time New York Times bestselling authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith show how leaders can achieve record-breaking results by quickly and effectively shaping their organizational culture to capitalize on their greatest asset-their people.

Change the Culture, Change the Game joins their classic book, The Oz Principle, and their recent bestseller, How Did That Happen?, to complete the most comprehensive series ever written on workplace accountability. Based on an earlier book, Journey to the Emerald City, this fully revised installment captures what the authors have learned while working with the hundreds of thousands of people on using organizational culture as a strategic advantage.


Change the Culture, Change the Game
The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today’s uncertain business seas. When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within months he created a crew of confident and inspired problem-solvers eager to take the initiative and take responsibility for their actions. The slogan on board became “It’s your ship,” and Benfold was soon recognized far and wide as a model of naval efficiency. How did Abrashoff do it? Against the backdrop of today’s United States Navy–Benfold was a key player in our Persian Gulf fleet–Abrashoff shares his secrets of successful management including:


Change the Culture, Change the Game
The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. And so one day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman.

Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers:” a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real estate broker, and the “Connector,” who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends share with Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and teach him how to open himself up to the power of giving.


Who Moved My Cheese? showed readers how to adapt to change. Fish! helped raise flagging morale. Execution guided readers to overcome the inability to get things done.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, already a phenomenon in its self-published edition, addresses the most important issue in business and society today: personal accountability.

The lack of personal accountability has resulted in an epidemic of blame, complaining, and procrastination. No organization-or individual-can achieve goals, compete in the marketplace, fulfill a vision, or develop people and teams without personal accountability.


Change the Culture, Change the Game
With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change–an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.

Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.

When the Y2K panic gripped the corporate realm before the new millennium, most work environments finally recognized the urgent need to get their computers and other business systems up to speed and able to deal with unprecedented change. And businesses realized that this was not enough: they needed to help people get ready, too.


Change the Culture, Change the Game
The philosophy presented in Coach to the Goal is not new. But as a reader, you’ll be asked to view familiar situations in a new and different way. And if you’re a leader, my goal is to challenge you to ask yourself, “Why am I here? What is my preeminent responsibility as a leader, manager or supervisor?” My hope is that you’ll learn your role is to make a positive impact on people who are under your influence. The lens of a coach may help you see this more clearly.

And when you go home each day and ask yourself was today well-spent and did I do good, you will answer yes only when you have looked into the eyes of your people and with words that are strong, clear and compassionate somehow make them better than they were that morning. The growth may be barely noticeable to the naked eye.

But as their coach, you will notice and they will know that you know. The players on your team long for a leader who will teach; challenge; and love them right where they are.


Honorable Mentions

Creating a Lean Culture
David Mann

Mary Kay Way
Mary Kay Ash

Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Patrick Lencioni

Any “Leadership” book by
John Maxwell

Speed of Trust
Stephen Covey

It Isn’t Just Business, It’s Personal
Arunas Chesonis

Mojo, How to Get it……
Marshall Goldsmith

How to Become a Great Boss
Jeffrey J. Fox

The Shack (for spiritual motivation)
William Paul Young

The Leadership Pipeline
Ram Charan

 The 4 Disciplines of Execution
Chris McChesney

The Oz Principle
Roger Connors

Lean for Dummies
Natalie J. Sayer

The Race
Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Team Barriers
Ann & Bob Harper

First, Break All the Rules
Marcus Buckingham

Toyota Production System
Taiichi Ohno

The One Minute Manager
Ken Blanchard

The Soul of Leadership
Deepak Chopra

Servant Leadership
Robert K. Greenleaf

Help the Helper
Kevin Pritchard

The Charge
Brendon Burchard

Why Success Always Starts with Failure
Tim Harford

The Modern Theory of the Toyota Production System
Phillip Marksberry, PhD, PE