Leadership Insights

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The Conversations That Matter Summer Reading List

According to Charlie Jones, “Five years from today, you will be the same person you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

At The Conversations That Matter, we value learning and growing. We find that the best learning we do comes from the recommendations and introductions of others. 

We’ve compiled this list of reading recommendations from our summer reading collections! 


From our Tammy Krings, CEO

Be your Future Self Now, by Dr. Benjamin Hardy

This book has transformed how I think about my life and our work. A simple concept — the work you do now is either an investment in or a detraction from who you want your future self to be — has helped me rethink how I spend my time. We highly recommend this book!


Emotional Agility by Susan David 

This book is a beautiful complimentary book to our Everything DiSC Agile EQ program. It is a guide to gaining emotional agility by learning to be open-minded. It also emphasizes self-acceptance and offers a path forward through complex and challenging situations so that you can live a whole, healthy life.  If you don’t know who Dr Susan David is – you must get to know her!  The research, insights and truth she shares is real-time in the ever changing work of leaders, parents and communities! 


The Fearless Organization — Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth by Amy Edmundson

It’s commonly known that fear is the leading force that holds back innovation. Yet, success in creating an innovative culture relies on the free flow of ideas, information, and crazy, off-the-wall thinking. This book provides a blueprint for bringing psychological safety to life! And, it’s become a topic that we at TCTM are hearing more and more about.  For our remote-only clients, especially, we are designing programs to help them create environments where risk is invited, failure is expected and learning together is just “part of what we do”. 



From Ava Goepfert, Sr Facilitator & Leadership Coach

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Kim Scott outlines in her book her framework for “Radical Candor” which boils down to two characteristics: care personally and challenge directly. Relationships are the core of managing and leading; without them, we as leaders won’t be able to care personally so that we can challenge directly. Establishing a “Radically Candor” organization means we can “get stuff done” more effectively and collaboratively. She even references the feedback tool we coach in our leadership development programs as a way to “challenge directly” while “caring personally”: situation, behavior, and impact. 


The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman

In Tom Kelley’s Ten Faces of Innovation, Kelley says, “Today, companies are valued less for their current offerings than for their ability to change and adapt and dream up something new.” He lays out strategies to embody innovation through ten personas that approach innovation from different angles and with various resources. AT TCTM, we use these ten personas to help companies get out of their “default” mode and explore creative opportunities in their business. Our approach based on this book is to consider “Why not?” instead of “We can’t..” We highly recommend this read, and the wealth of examples that illustrate the personas!


The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

We want to add value as managers and leaders, but to many of us, asking questions doesn’t feel “useful” or “adding value.” However, our “Advice Monsters” often get in the way of developing our people and pulling out their potential. When we think about coaching for development, that means focusing on the person putting out the fires and attending to the problems, not focusing on the issues at hand. Coaching for development goes beyond just solving the problem and shifts the focus to the person trying to solve the problem. The Coaching Habit gives valuable tips and seven essential questions to help guide people to their answers and for leaders and managers to get out of their way. We love this because it allows leaders to work less hard AND have more of an impact on their people and businesses.


The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni

At the core of Lencioni’s book, a core read in many of our leadership development programs and a re-read this summer, is what it takes to be an ideal team player. They are hungry, humble, and smart. They help grow businesses and the people around them. Finding folks driven to succeed and progress, understanding that success is ultimately about the team, not themselves, and knowing how to interact and communicate with different types of people are game changers in any group or business. Pair this with learning about people reading via Everything DiSC, and we love the discussion this book promotes through leadership teams! 


Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Brene Brown brings her insights on the power of vulnerability to leadership development – what does it look like to be a daring leader, and what impact does that have on your organization? We at TCTM relate to the notion that bold leadership takes practice and that we have to “rumble” with our teams in order to have the innovative breakthroughs that stretch people and the business.