Improving Execution: Books Every Forward-Thinking Leader Should Read

Books which healp improving execution for ledars

The best leaders never stop learning. That’s why, despite how busy they are, they take the time to read. They listen to what other influencers have to say, and they recognize sound advice when they see it.

One of these influencers, leader and author Michel Koopman, recently published a list of 10 books he recommends to help leaders keep their skills sharp. Koopman’s work has been featured in top national and international publications, including the Washington Post, Business Insider, Strategy magazine and Chief Learning Officer magazine.

I’m honored he included my book, Closing the Execution Gap: How Great Leaders And Their Companies Get Results, on his list. My intent was to share what I’ve learned in more than 25 years of helping other leaders identify and address the obstacles that make it more difficult to achieve their goals. I wanted it to be a practical resource and a roadmap for getting things done.

That said, I’ve been influenced by many other great leaders over the course of my career. Here are the top three I would also include on Koopman’s list.

Winning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Future, Steven Krupp and Paul J. H. Schoemaker

Many managers and HR professionals lament a lack of strategic leadership at all levels of the company, but they fail to clarify what that should entail.

This book clarifies what strategic thinking and strategic leadership looks like in specific behavioral terms – it outlines what leaders need to do and what skills they need to become strategic thinkers.

The Trusted Advisor Field Book: A comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust, Charles H. Green and Andrea P. Howe

Trust is a critical element for success in many walks of life.  In business, it’s the foundation for productive work relationships with customers, colleagues, direct reports and bosses. This is the follow up to the Trusted Advisor, which outlined a simple yet powerful model of trust.  This book goes further and provides practical tips for building and sustaining trust in a complex and competitive world.

It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques for the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

This was first published in 2002, but its message is timeless. Captain Abrashoff describes how he was able to drive change and turn a dysfunctional and demotivated crew into a team of high performers, and how he had to change his own leadership style along the way.

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