Leaders are Readers: Summer 2017 Reading List (Part I)

Posted by Bill Hunter on Jun 2nd, 2017 in Marketing & Design

Summer has officially begun, and that probably means you're going to need something to read at the beach or in your backyard as you’re kicking back and enjoying beautiful Wilmington. Whether reading is already a way of life for you or you’re looking to be motivated this summer, here is a list of some books on business and leadership development that have helped us bring the magic and innovation into our business at Wilmington Design Co.

Culture, Customers, and Growing your Business

Over the years we have developed a collection of books to provide inspiration and motivation to move our business forward. As we looked through our library to prepare for this article, we discovered that our reading list breaks down into 3 categories:

  1. Culture and improving organizational health
  2. Taking care of customers
  3. Growing a business

Culture & Organizational Health

The Advantage 

Author: Patrick Lencioni (241 Pages)

WDC Cliff Notes

This book is great if you are interested in: learning more about developing a cohesive team. There is no better way to achieve improvement in an organization than by attacking the root causes of dysfunction, office politics, and confusion.

The Advantage focuses on:

  • Defining your leadership team
  • Creating a clear message about what your company stands for
  • How to over-communicate the message to your organization 

There are also videos from Patrick Lencioni on YouTube that outline key chapters within the book.


We also recommend:

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google’s Human Resources Department

Author: Laszlo Bock (382 Pages)

WDC Cliff Notes:

This book is great if you are interested in: the hiring process. Bock helped shape Google's internal hiring practices and he shares his insights in this book. He provides details and teaching examples on how Google has been able to successfully and consistently grow their global business and be rated as one of the best places to work in the world. Bock’s book is a compelling read for business owners or HR Directors in any-size company.

Customer Related

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service

Author: The Disney Institute, Theodore B. Kinni (224 Pages)

WDC Cliff Notes:

This book is great if you are interested in: offering excellent customer service. Walt Disney perfected the art of exceeding customers’ expectations. Walt’s fundamentals for success still ring true today: build the best product you can, give employees effective training to support the delivery of exceptional service, learn from experiences, and celebrate success.

Quality standards serve two purposes: they set expectations for for the service your staff will provide as well as allow companies to measure the quality of service provided. You’re guaranteed to be inspired to step up your customer service game after reading this book!

We also recommend:

The Thank You Economy

Author: Gary Vaynerchuk (256 Pages)

WDC Cliff Notes:

This book is great if you are interested in: a forward-leaning approach on customers. The Thank You Economy is much more than saying "thank you.” The book speaks to a much larger movement in this new digital business era. The internet has given consumers their voice back, allowing them to share opinions of brands widely using social media. Customer's demands for authenticity, originality, creativity, honesty, and good intent have made it necessary for companies and brands to revert to a level of customer service rarely seen since our great-grandparents’ day, when business owners often knew their customers personally, and gave them individual attention.

Vaynerchuk reveals how companies (big or small) can scale that kind of personal, one-on-one attention to their entire consumer base using social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. The companies who are able to harness the word-of-mouth power of social media and who shift their culture to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly, will pull away from the competition.

(Gary Vaynerchuk has written several other best selling books including “Crush It” and “Jab, Jab, Jab - right hook” that are also worth reading).

Business Growth

Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less

Author: Cameron Herold (245 Pages)

WDC Cliff Notes:

This book is great if you are interested in: developing strategies for growth. I first read Double Double back in 2012. The book is divided into three sections and will provide inspiration for planning for fast growth, building a company for fast growth, and leading for fast growth.

Cameron Herold is the former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, and increased the company's revenue from $2 million to $105 million in six years. In Double Double, he offers a wealth of practical tips, including: How to design meetings for maximum efficiency; How to hire top-quality talent; How to grow in particularly tough markets; and much more. Herold also provides specific tactical advice, explains business strategies for profitable growth, and offers clear precepts you can follow. This book is for all the ambitious executives and entrepreneurs out there.

We also recommend:

Ziglar on Selling: The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional

Author: Zig Ziglar (368 Pages) 

WDC Cliff Notes:

(This is a classic!) This book is great if you are interested in: sales and sales motivation. The late Zig Ziglar was one of the most respected authors and motivational speakers of his time. A quote that stuck with me for years, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want” really resonates within the Wilmington Design Co. culture.

Ziglar on Selling, shows you how sharing information, direction, inspiration, laughter, and tears will help guide you for a better balanced life, personal and professional. You'll discover that the kind of person you are is the most essential facet in building a successful professional sales career.

(Your summer reading library isn’t complete without at least one Ziglar book. Zig also has numerous videos and content online, well worth Googling if you don’t have time to read the book!).