Our favorite leadership books for CEOs and their teams

When you find a good book, it can stick with you for years to come. I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 that I encourage every leader to read. Having worked with software CEOs and their teams across a variety of industries, the opportunities and challenges being faced are often similar in nature: building a strong leadership team, creating a healthy culture, and getting everyone focused and aligned on where you need to go. 

These books have provided me and my team with practical insight and frameworks that have impacted how and what we do across our businesses – I’m excited to share them with you. 

#1 The Advantage – by Patrick Lencioni

This is the book that I’ve gifted most to our leaders. The subtitle “Why organizational health trumps everything else in business” says it all. Lencioni describes a healthy organization as one where its management, operations, and culture are unified. I found it to be a really practical guide to how to build a cohesive team, create a clear vision, communicate that vision, and reinforce it. A must-read and #1 on my list for a reason.

#2 Who – by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

Hiring the wrong people is one of the costliest mistakes a leader can make. For me, this book  is the easiest, clearest guide for how to get hiring right. Based on extensive research, the authors outline their step-by-step ‘A’ method for hiring which has a 90% success rate compared to the typical 50% in other instances. Stop winging your interviews and start getting better results.

#3 First, Break All the Rules – from Gallup

The product of an in-depth study of more than 80,000 managers over 25 years, this book reveals what the world’s greatest managers do differently. It goes deep on how the best managers find, focus, and keep talented employees in order to ultimately get the best performance out of their teams. A great read for people managers at every level.

#4 The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle

This one’s similar to The Advantage in that it focuses on what it takes to have a high performance team. It’s a bit more anecdotal – sharing great stories from some of the most successful organizations, across a wide range of industries. It narrows in on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to creating a great culture. A quick and enjoyable read.

#5 Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business – by Gino Wickman

If you feel like your business is running you vs you running it, or often wish you had a better structure for how to run your management team, you’re certainly not alone. Traction is a practical guide on how to successfully run a small business, complete with exercises and templates that you can easily apply to your own organization.

As you can imagine, it was hard to keep this list to 5! If you get the opportunity to read these or others, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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