In our day to day activities, we have the privilege to help companies search for their next C-suite member and talk to people that are on their way to the top. Based on their feedback and our own reading, we have curated the following list of 10 must read books that we hope will help you on your way to the C- Suite.
By Jose Ruiz and Carlos Solorzano @ Alder Koten
By: Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan
Book Summary: The book that shows how to get the job done and deliver results. Whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job. Larry Bossidy is one of the world’s most acclaimed CEOs, a man with few peers who has a track record of delivering results. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful, and others are not.
Together they’ve pooled their knowledge and experience into the one book on how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered that people in business need today.
Why you should read it: A must read on how to get things done. The book details strategies and tactics to drive the results that matter to business performance.
By: Ram Charan
Book Summary: A book that brings the vision of good governance down to earth. Ram Charan, an expert in corporate governance and best-selling author, packs this book with useful tools and techniques to take boards and their companies to a higher level of performance. Charan puts his finger on a growing problem for boards: the disconnect between directors’ efforts and their results. The added time and attention boards invest are not translating into better governance, that is, governance that adds value to the business.
Boards That Deliver gets beyond the rhetoric of corporate governance reform. It captures the tried-and-true practices used by high-performance boards. In contrast to experts who base prescriptions on number-crunching exercises, Charan identifies the real problems that drain directors’ time and suppress their best judgment and explains clearly and succinctly how boards can solve those problems.
These battle-tested solutions help boards achieve what rules and regulations alone can not get succession right, refine a winning strategy, and design a rational CEO compensation package.
Why you should read it: It will provide critical insight on how the board of directors operates. The insight will help you as an executive to understand how to work with the board of directors and be effective responding to their requests and requirements. Understanding corporate governance and the board’s role is an important skill of a C-suite executive.
By: Andrew Smart & James Creelman
Book Summary: Pulling together into a single framework the two separate disciplines of strategy management and risk management, this book provides a practical guide for organizations to shape and execute sustainable strategies with the full understanding of how much risk they are willing to accept in pursuit of strategic goals.
Why you should read it: Risk management in one of the least understood and most critical components to sustained organizational performance. Integrating strategy and risk management will propel the effectiveness of your business proposals.
By: Simon Sinek
Book Summary: Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people wouldn’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
Why you should read it: It will help you set up a clear vision for your company and will help you to transform a business into something that inspires customers, has satisfied employees, helps you feel fulfilled and change the world in the process.
Book Summary: Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples’ potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how–by saying less and asking more you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.
Why you should read it: It will help you to become a better mentor/coach is recommended for anyone who leads a team and employees looking to help others grow and improve their performance.
By: Peter Thiel
Book Summary: The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things. Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
Why you should read it: The book describes the challenges of startups. As an executive, it will help you understand the dynamics of new initiatives and what it takes to get them off the ground.
By: Robert K. Greenleaf
Book Summary: A classic work on leadership for business men and women, government leaders and all persons in positions of authority. The term “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Why you should read it: The more loved you are as a leader and a follower, the better chance you have to move up the ladder. This book will help you refocus your leadership to pay close attention to what people need, instead of what you want.
By: James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
Book Summary: As the world falls deeper into economic downturns and warfare, the question of credibility (how leaders gain and lose it) is more important than ever. Building on their research from The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner explore in Credibility why leadership is above all a relationship, with credibility as the cornerstone, and why leaders must “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Why you should read it: You will learn the qualities that people look for and admire in leaders, the foundation of leadership and of all working relationships, principles and discipline that strengthen leadership credibility. You will learn how credibility is the foundation of leadership.
By: Jim Collins
Book Summary: “This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial. This is a book about visionary companies.”
Why you should read it: This book is a must read for every level of every organization. From CEO’s to individual contributors. From Fortune’s 500 to start-ups. The book will help discover the importance of having a core ideology while stimulating progress and will help anyone who wants to make their company more purposeful.
By: Daniel Pink
Book Summary: Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. It’s wrong. As Daniel H. Pink explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Why you should read it: This is a must read if you want to learn about the components of human motivation and how to effectively motivate yourself and others.
Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom.
We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. The executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise.
We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.
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At Alder Koten, we help shape organizations through a combination of talent market analytics, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services.