A compilation of books reviewed by Mariposa Leadership.

January 27, 2016 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbiAAAAJDU0ODhjMzMwLTczYTItNDBmYy1hYTZlLWY3Mzc3NGZmYTI2OQMastering the Challenges of Leading Change
By H. James Dallas

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Change leaders know how to navigate both the change process, as well as manage the people dynamic. They understand their role expands beyond that of a project leader – it involves being an agent of change. The content of this book will show leaders how to do just that.

Drawing on the wisdom gained from years as a leader driving change, including 15 acquisition integrations, 10 enterprise resource planning implementations and 5 quality and customer service improvement programs at companies such as Medtronic and Georgia-Pacific, the author, James Dallas, offers insights into the skills and qualities leaders need to possess to be effective.  The content is broken down into a four-part model, which is based on proven techniques that have worked well for the author as a change leader:

  • Priorities: Understanding how to launch a change initiative properly, including how to identify the priorities of others and company culture
  • Politics: Understanding and navigating politics, creating messages that influence and inspire others and overcoming resistance.
  • People: How to effectively build relationships and build trust
  • Perseverance: Fixing things that break along the way and making change stick

The book also includes “life stories” that the author returns to again and again for their nuggets of wisdom and applicability in change processes.  This information will supplement your favorite traditional project management methodologies so you can successfully affect change in your organization.

Leaders who want to create lasting impact will want to read this book.  Buy it now.


January 1, 2016 / Book Reviews

Article Review | How to Build a Collaborative Hiring Process That Works

How to Build a Collaborative Hiring Process That Works
by Ragini Parmar

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

Hyper growth can cause some companies to move quickly in the recruiting and hiring process to fill open positions, placing the established corporate culture at risk. But Credit Karma has figured out how to prioritize building their culture to scale.

The article, How to Build a Collaborative Hiring Process That Works, by Ragini Parmar, VP of Talent Operations at Credit Karma, explains some of the guiding principles that make their process effective at building company culture while bringing in the right talent. Deviating from traditional hiring methods, a collaborative hiring process means more than driving for consensus; it espouses appropriate involvement from employees as well as human resource and recruiting partners at each step of the way.

From how to structure and involve employees in the interview and debrief process to the treatment of cultural fit as an objective vs. subjective assessment, these guidelines offer insights into an innovative way to hire the right talent and scale company culture, while continuing to drive employee engagement. Read it now.

November 30, 2015 / Book Reviews

eBook Review | How to Hire Contract Tech Talent

tech-talent-group-300x232How to Hire Contract Tech Talent
by Mark Mian, 10x Management

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (2 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

In the war for talent, the complexity in sourcing and hiring top tech talent has risen. Top talent can seem elusive, adding time and financial resources to the hiring process. Instead of hiring permanent employees, many companies are taking advantage of the growing freelance economy to not only expand their tech talent options, but leverage the right experience and skills at the right time for their project. To fully realize the benefits of the freelance economy though, companies have to expertly navigate their various sourcing options while weighing the risks and costs associated with each. This comprehensive e-book can help.

How to Hire Contract Tech Talent, a free e-book offered by 10x Management, builds a business case for using freelance tech talent and outlines a helpful 6-step process to find, vet and hire top tech contract talent:

  • Plan: What do you need?
  • Discover: Find good candidates
  • Screen: Determine their value
  • Contract: Set expectations and negotiate price
  • Manage: Optimize the engagement
  • Evaluate: Assess the outcome

Each section of this e-book contains useful tips and outlines important considerations at each step. This guide will help leaders find the freelance tech talent they need and make the most of them to operate a leaner, smarter business. Download this handy guide now.

October 22, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The Attacker’s Advantage

The Attacker’s Advantage: Turning Uncertainty into Breakthrough Opportunities
By Ram Charan

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Senior leaders are familiar with strategic challenges inherent in executive leadership, including dealing with uncertainty. But in today’s business environment, a new kind of uncertainty has emerged: structural uncertainty, which can destroy the structure of an existing market space and reduce or eliminate it without much warning. Excelling in this new reality requires honing specific strategic leadership skills and abilities which, according to the author, Ram Charan, are different than those they’ve relied on in the past. This may be the last leadership frontier to master and those who can, give their companies an edge.

This book outlines the business case for structural uncertainty vs. other uncertainties, and offers practical tools and insights to help leaders develop the skills required to lead in this new business reality, including:

  • Ability to recognize sources of uncertainty and their implications before your competition
  • Mindset to see the opportunities present in uncertainty
  • Ability to see a new path forward and commit to it
  • Adeptness in managing the transition to the new path
  • Skill in making your organization agile to exploit opportunities and respond to sudden shifts

In a global business environment, companies that create change become market leaders and it can happen faster than we think. Executives who want to develop new leadership skills that can help their companies deal with this uncertainty and thrive in this new reality will want to read this book. Buy it now.

September 28, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan

51F3dWKdgyL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan
By George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, Jorge E. Pedraza

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Studies have shown 40% of newly hired senior executives fail within the first 18 months on the job. Given the costs of hiring and the impact leadership failure can have on revenue, employee productivity and moral, this is an expensive reality for any company.

As consultants who help executives move into complex new leadership roles, the authors of this book understand how to stack the odds in favor of a new executive: implement a comprehensive onboarding plan for the first 100 days. The content of this book is based on their proven onboarding process, which includes:

  • Identifying the seven deadly onboarding landmines that can derail new executives
  • Identifying and managing risk
  • Choosing the right approach for existing company culture
  • Crafting and communicating a central message
  • Creating and imbedding a Burning Imperative
  • Establishing early wins

The tools, checklists, examples and sage advice based on extensive experience will help you take charge of your own onboarding plan, so you can hit the ground running, send the right message, build a high-performing team and deliver results.

This is a practical handbook no aspiring or current executive should be without. Organizations interested in setting their new leaders up for success, and leaders interested in new opportunities or taking charge of their own onboarding plan will want to read this book. Buy it now.

September 28th, 2015|Categories: Book Reviews|
August 21, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It

Stand Out Book CoverStand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
By Dorie Clark

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

Some people go to work each day with an innate desire to be known for their ideas and expertise and to make a difference in the world, but lack the courage to speak up. Instead, they hope their good work will speak for itself and be noticed by others. But the workplace today is filled with noise – from work pressures to social media distractions – and being passive about your professional reputation can actually hurt your career. Setting yourself apart in the workplace today is critical.

To many, developing their own thought leadership feels like a daunting task, and the term “thought leader” sometimes seems like a status reserved for geniuses. But this book, by Dorie Clark, a marketing strategy consultant, recognized “branding expert” and thought leader, offers essential insights to get you started because the truth is anyone can have a big idea.

The content in this book will help you:

  • Understand various methods you can use to identify your own breakthrough idea
  • Learn how to build a following around your idea
  • Understand the logistics of making thought leadership happen
  • Explore ways to make a living while building your reputation

Dorie taps into the wisdom gained from her own experience building her reputation as a thought leader and shares insights from interviews with other recognized experts in a range of industries.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and those looking for more stability in their career will want to read this book. Buy it now.

August 21st, 2015|Categories: Book Reviews|Tags: , |
July 31, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

51JqFWSwmxL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
By Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

Heart: (5 out of 5)
Head: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Human beings naturally form tribes, even within companies. Tribes are how work gets done. The relationship between tribes and their leaders lies at the heart of performance. Leaders who are successful at developing tribal culture are rewarded with recognition of the leader, tribe loyalty and high performance. It’s no surprise then that companies with successful tribal leaders tend to attract and retain top talent.

This book explains the five tribal stages and the culture of each, so that leaders can learn how to identify the stage of their tribes and take action to lead them through to the next level. Leverage points are included to help leaders unstick groups at each stage and coaching tips help them accomplish their goals.

Though backed by research into 24,000 people in 24 organizations, readers will not find a statistical read but a people book, with faces and stories showcasing principles backed by research and practical experience.

At a time in which many companies are engaged in a war for talent, developing the leadership ability to identify and up-level tribal culture for maximum productivity should be a strategic talent imperative. This is a unique business management book that leaders will want in their personal toolkit. Buy it now.

June 30, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work

millennials managementMillennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work
By Lee Caraher

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Most companies today have a multigenerational workforce made up of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. This will be true for some years to come. Instead of retiring, many Baby Boomers need to work longer than previous generations due to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Meanwhile, Millennials will continue to make up a substantial portion of the workforce – an estimated 46% of it by 2020 – thus, squeezing Generation X in the middle. Each of these generations has a unique perspective of work standards and career expectations, which has led to tension and frustration in the workplace, especially for managers of Millennials. The author believes it’s time to close the growing gap between these perspectives or your company may cease to exist.

This book, written by Lee Caraher, communications firm owner and an advisor to clients on how to work with, communicate with and market to Millennials, offers insights based on experience with her clients and associates as well as surveys with hundreds of people to help bridge the gap in understanding these different generations.  In an easy-to-read format peppered with quotes and short stories, she brings to life the perspectives each generation has of the other, dispels myths and offers techniques to create smoother-running and a more positive workplace for all.

Baby Boomer and Generation X leaders, as well as Millennials, will all want to read this book.

Buy it now.

May 29, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

actlikealeaderAct Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
By Herminia Ibarra

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

At the root of many traditional leadership development methods lie self-awareness and the promise of change through reflection and introspection. This inside-out model can be helpful in identifying your leadership style, defining your purpose and authentic self. But according to the author, these methods fall short of changing the deep-seated ways of thinking which keep us from behaving differently. A new approach is needed: the outsight principle.

The outsight principle is fairly easy to understand: Branch out beyond your routine work, your networks, and current ways of defining yourself, and by doing so, these new ways of acting will begin to change how you think about your work and yourself, and expand your leadership horizons. Instead of thinking about how you will behave as a leader, new behaviors will emerge organically by experimenting with the unfamiliar and interacting with different people. This approach allows us to challenge existing notions of our capacity to lead.

This easy-to-read book offers interesting insight on how change really works. The information is backed by research, exercises and case studies to help readers understand and apply the outsight principle and bridge the gap between where they are today and where they could be. Leaders interested in new ways of thinking about developing their talent, and professionals who want extra motivation to step up to lead will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

April 23, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Demystifying Talent Management

demystifyingDemystifying Talent Management: Unleash People’s Potential to Deliver Superior Results
By Kimberly Janson

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

All companies aspire to get the most out of their employees, yet often stumble along the way. The results of annual employee surveys often offer the evidence, such as a lack of development, a lack of feedback and coaching, and a lack of direction. But according to the author, good talent management doesn’t need to be as hard as a lot of companies experience it today. It just needs commitment, as well as the will and skill from managers, to be able to unleash the potential in their employees.

In this easy-to-digest book, the author, Kimberly Janson, lays out a simple framework for understanding what talent management is and how managers can get the most out of their employees.  While there are two major components of talent management – managing performance and developing employees – she defines all key talent management terms, and helps readers understand how they all fit together. In understanding the interconnectivities, organizations can truly get the most from their talent as drivers of business strategy. The section on talent management stakeholders and their perspectives can be useful in this regard.

Leaders, managers and human resource professionals who aspire to be excellent at managing and developing their talent and want to improve the quality of their talent management practices will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

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