Week #36[Book of the Week] Tribes: We need *You* to lead us

Tribes_BookCover_Ah! Seth Godin. That guy who writes about things like Purple Cows. (Think screeching brakes on the road when you do a double take).

So here we are with the book of the week – Tribes!

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.


This is not a “how-to” book on leadership. Let me repeat that – this is not a “how-to” book. But then Seth doesn’t write how-to’s with pyramids and circles and lists. His style is to make short statements that force you to think and this book is no exception.

The book talks about tribes (groups of people who come together around an idea or something they are passionate about) and the need for a leader – someone who can ignite that spark and keep people motivated. If this is starting to sound a lot like Social Networks, Employee Engagement, Enterprise Collaboration, ERGs then that’s because those concepts are not very different.

So if you are looking for a quick read (albeit a bit repetitive) and a solid dose of motivation to get off the chair and start something you are passionate about – this book is for you. If you are looking for a workbook with plans on how to create excitement and spread ideas, you want to give it a skip. There are books that claim to do those things, this one doesn’t (claim or do it too).

Here’s Seth himself talking at TED about ‘The tribes we lead’.


Related posts:

Social Intranets: Your key to a “Knowledge-Creating Company”

Rise of ERGs as an Employee Engagement Initiative.


Week #35[Book of the Week] Jumping the S-Curve: How to beat the growth cycle, get on top, and stay there

JumpingTheSCurve_Jumping the S-Curve, reveals how the to companies get to where they are and more importantly, how they stay there. Authors, Paul Nunes and Tim Breene build on extensive research they carried out over several years, to show how successful companies successfully navigate the S-curve(s) of business success. In the book they point out the folly of several leaders who focus only on the ‘visible’ part of the S-curve while planning the strategy for their companies. (The visible S-curve is where companies start off small with a few early adopter clients/users, grows rapidly as the demand for the product/service swells and finally peaks and flattens off as the market matures/saturates)

The authors make a distinction between high performing leaders and others as,

The ability to both climb and jump S-curves is what separates high performers from those that never manage to translate a brief period of accomplishment with a single winning offering into a string of business successes.

In the book the authors point out how in most companies, the management (and leadership) is focused on managing the growth curve and rarely take the effort to understand and address the hidden S-curves.

The hidden S-curves the authors talk about in the book are:

  • The hidden competition curve: The impact of this curve is that because of innovation and other market condition changes, before the business hits its revenue peak, the basis of competition on which it was founded expires.
  • The hidden capabilities curve: In creating capabilities to ride the revenue S-curve, companies create capabilities that they might not be aware till its too late. By the time they are aware of those unknown capabilities in the organization the market would have changed and the company would need to develop new capabilities to compete.
  • The hidden talent curve: While putting substantial efforts in scouting for new talent, companies often are unable to retain the talent they already have. The authors refer to the inability of companies to retain what they call ‘serious talent’: people with both the capability and the will to drive business growth.

The book is a call to management to focus on what the authors call is the ‘real agenda’ – to understand how high performers create an organization that manages to all four curves simultaneously.

The quick answer?

They do so by engaging in three distinct management practices:

  • Creating strategy in a way that is “edge-centric;”
  • Changing the top team well before it appears necessary; and
  • Ensuring that they have more talent than seems required by becoming hothouses of talent.

Our Ratings:

JumpingScurvesRatingFurther Reading:

Jumping the S-curve: How to sustain long term performance, Outlook Journal, Accenture, February 2011

And here are the authors talking about the book:

Week #34 [Book of the Week] Fully Charged

41FNXUmAYRL Fully Charged is a book that explores the concept of Organizational Energy (OE) and its significance in keeping employees engaged, alert and focused on organizational objectives.

So here is the Long Story Short:

The authors provide a guide on how to accurately measure your company’s energy state using the “Organizational Energy Matrix” along two axes (Intensity: High, Low; Quality: Positive, Negative). Then the authors go on to provide answers to questions like how does one identify the components of organizational energy, how does one measure the level of OE, how does one increase the level of OE, how does one decrease the negative energy in the organization.

Illustrated with examples of organizations like Airbus, Novartis, SAP, and Tata Steel that learned how to unleash the collective potential of their workforce, the book deep dives into the role of a leader in moving the company out of “dangerous states characterized by complacency, cynicism, aggression, withdrawal, and other perils” to “a state of high, positive energy–in which everyone is emotionally engaged, mentally alert, and working swiftly and productively toward critical goals.”

A must read for all leaders and managers.

Our Ratings:






Here’s a video of the interview of the authors.

Week#6: [Book of the Week] Happiness at Work


The Art of Happiness at Work’ written by HH the Dalai Lama and David Cutler, released in 1998 explored questions like “Where does work fit in to our overall quest for happiness?” and “To what degree does work satisfaction affect our overall life satisfaction and happiness?” The book was deeply rooted in Buddhist principles, especially that of “right livelihood”.

The goodreads description of the book captures the layers and depth of this book very well.

The discussion appears simple, if not obvious, at first, but upon closer scrutiny, the Dalai Lama’s profound wisdom and sensitivity emerges. For the Dalai Lama, basic human values such as kindness, tolerance, compassion, honesty, and forgiveness are the source of human happiness.

Throughout the book, he illustrates with clear examples how bringing those qualities to bear on work-related challenges can help us tolerate or overcome the most thorny situations. Recognizing that not all problems can be solved, the Dalai Lama provides very sound advice. The authors urge balance and self-awareness and wisely state, “No matter how satisfying our work is, it is a mistake to rely on work as our only source of satisfaction.”

And now Srikumar Rao has come out with his book ‘Happiness at work’ along the same line of thought, and tries to help shift your perspective and “learn the vital wisdom necessary to achieving a joyful, successful life as you define it through greater resilience and a strong inner core.”

35 short succinct chapters with titles like ‘Don’t stick a label on it’ and ‘Let it go – babies do!!’ make this book very readable.

And here is an excerpt from the book

We rate it a 3.5/5 on content and 4/5 on readability.

Get it now [‘kwench Members only]