It’s summertime, so why not read a book to build your sales team?

By Cheryl Kane. Getting everyone in an organization pulling in the same direction can seem like an insurmountable task. A leader works from department to department encouraging, instructing, and keeping the strategy alive.  Within a department a manager interacts person by person to create a collaborative team working contiguously on a multi-part plan to achieve their goals.

Because business units by their nature of specialized purposes also work autonomously, over time it can be tough keeping everyone on one path, working tasks with excellence as a standard, solving problems in tandem, and finding ways to work together between business units free of internal dissention.

One way to help revitalize a unified vision or refresh the level of teamwork in an organization is to clarify everyone’s focus with a common read activity.

You can draw upon a current best seller list or draw upon writings that have continued over many years to offer propelling motivation to highly successful people. These sources may offer you and your sales team fresh clarity in your strategy, motivation, and approach to everyday processes.  Groups across the nation are about to start their summer common read programs so why not your sales or leadership team, too?

Start by defining your goal: do you want to showcase the value of excellence as the standard for performance, perfect your navigational accuracy (vision), strengthen the tenacity of your team in a highly competitive market, enhance your team’s ability to communicate with different kinds of people, or assist individuals in seeing their capacity as greater than they do today?

No matter your purpose there are excellent books available on whatever device one wants to access them through. When you roll out the reading plan be sure to explain how and when you will bring everyone together in conversation, so the common read becomes a commonplace topic of conversation in the workplace.

As a start, here are a few examples.

Motivation & Self Control

Charles’s Duhigg’s books, The Power of Habit, or, Smarter, Faster, Better, and Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister, and John Tierney, might offer fresh insight and understanding of our behavior. Those seeking self-improvement or who wish to have new ideas on how to manage a team may find these helpful.

Interpreting, Understanding Other People

Better awareness of how others perceive the world and communicate with us can help us decipher those we deal with every day; we might find them less antagonistic, locate ways to interact with them more successfully, and help us understand why some people react to us when it may have previously perplexed us. Deborah Tannen’s books, Talking 9 to 5, or, You Just don’t Understand, may help your teams learn to communicate more effectively with each other and with customers.

Seeing One’s Capacity

Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck was mentioned by Bill Gates in an interview I read. He said it had been recommended to him by his wife years ago and was truly influential in his thinking. I have read it twice and know I’ll read it often. I’ve marked passages throughout, so I can find them quickly; it helps me show someone how the way they see barriers to problem solving, challenges, or possibilities might be stalled only by their viewpoint.

Excellence Through Error Free Processes

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is one of my perennial favorites. It reminds me the simplest way to an excellent product is not always about memorization and perfect recall but rather freeing one’s mind up to concentrate on the context around a situation by using a checklist of critical details. His other books are enjoyable reading as well.

Bringing your team together to increase sales, perfect work processes, see a single vision more clearly, or strengthen their personal potential, can find momentum through common reading of a good book. Through everyone perceiving the book’s interpretation a bit differently, discussions can be insightful and invigorating; everyone and the organization can benefit.


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