Sunday, September 8, 2013

Decisive Road to Simple Why: Five books for association reading

Over the summer, I’ve read five outstanding books that should be on every reading list of association executives, association professionals and nonprofit organization staff.

They have many similarities ... at some point I hope to have time to share them.

The Outliers 

by Malcolm Gladwell

Through a series of inspiring stories, Gladwell showcases the worlds of successful people. He reveals what they have in common. He surfaces the “10,000-hour” rule that is behind many highly successful people.

For example, as a former hockey player, I was surprised to learn that most all-star professional hockey players are born in the winter (January or February).


by Dan Heath and Chip Heath

The Heath Brothers – who also wrote Made to Stick and Switch – cite four villains of decision making:
Narrow framing
Confirmation bias
Short-term emotion
And, they propose a four-part solution they call WRAP:
W = Widen your options
R = Reality test
A = Attain distance before deciding 
P = Prepare to be wrong

By Simon Sinek

The title says it all: before people buy from you (as in join your association or make a contribution to your charity), they need to know WHY you do what you do. Sinek introduces what he calls the Golden Circle which starts from the inside and works out: first WHY, then HOW and finally WHAT. By WHY, Sinek means your purpose, cause or belief. Why your association exists. Why you get out of bed in the morning. Why anyone else (members, donors, public) cares.

 by John Spence

Spence – who I understand will be a keynote speaker at ASAE’s Great Ideas 2014 shares Six Principles of Business Success:

  • Vivid vision
  • Best people
  • Robust communication
  • Sense of urgency
  • Disciplined execution
  • Extreme customer focus  

Road 2 Relevance (R4R) 

by Harrison Coerver & May Byers CAE

R2R is the sequel to last year’s popular Race for Relevance (R4R). Starting with the core concepts from R2R, they outline five practical strategies for your organization. They are:
  • Build on strength
  • Concentrate resources
  • Integrate programs and services
  • Align people and processes
  • Abandon services and activities when necessary

Whether you are an association CEO or hope to be an association CEO, you’ll find all five of these books valuable reads and important resources for your work. 


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