The Truth About Employee Engagement

The Truth About Employee Engagement

Do you have a miserable job?

It’s a question I have been considering because I read The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni in November. It was a great book – I read in less than 24 hours! Earlier in the fall, I worked on an employee engagement committee at a large company. Through this study and experience, I have started to appreciate the importance of employee engagement at a deeper level.

Why Employee Engagement Matters

There is a growing body of research and surveys showing the high cost of employee engagement. Before we go any further, let’s define engagement. According to Gallup, highly engaged employees are valuable because of”the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their roles.” That additional effort makes a major difference over time. Discretionary effort makes a huge impact in creative and professional roles.

  • $500 Billion Lost. The estimated annual cost to the U.S. economy from employee disengagement. That lost value amounts to about 2.7% of US GDP. Capturing even a fraction of that value would make a huge difference! (Source: Officevibe)
  • High Engagement Is Associated With Higher Profits. A 2012 meta-analysis conducted by Gallup found that, ” companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS), and they seem to have recovered from the recession at a faster rate.”
  • Only 50% of Employees Are Satisfied With Managers. TinyPulse’s survey of several hundred organizations found that about 50% of employees are not satisfied with their direct supervisor. (Source: TINYpulse)
  • Employee Engagement Is An Executive Priority. Employee engagement was rated as the #3 most important success factor in a survey of executives. The top two factors were customer service and effective communication. (Source: Harvard Business Review)

These findings suggest a significant opportunity to the bottom line by improving engagement. Unlike creating new products or raising capital, improving engagement is a high leverage improvement. If you want to make an impact and you have limited resources, delivering improved engagement is an excellent strategy to pursue.

What I Learned From “The Truth About Employee Engagement”

Over the past few years, I have read quite a few business books. Lencioni’s books stand out for two reasons. First, he uses a fable to present his ideas. Second, his books are highly readable and easy to remember. Unlike some books and courses, I did not feel overwhelmed with recommendations and data. In the book, Lencioni presents an executive who expands a company significantly by encouraging a positive culture. After the company is sold, he retires for a short period. He starts to feel bored and wonders if his success was a fluke. That decision leads him to invest and manage a small restaurant. It’s an experiment to determine if his employee engagement approach works.

The Three Point Model For Employee Engagement

In Lencioni’s book, there are three factors one can use to predict engagement. Lencioni makes a compelling case for these principles applying to all industries and a variety of job roles. Let’s dive into the model’s factors.

1. Anonymity

Addressing this cause of disengagement requires taking an interest in people you work with. While this model would apply to a variety of work situations, Lencioni had the manager – direct report relationship in mind. This practice doesn’t require extensive knowledge. It could be asking after a relative’s health or donating to a colleague’s fundraising program. The fundamental principle is to understand people in their own right, rather than seeing them as “resources.”

2. Irrrelrevance

Finding a connection between one’s daily work and other people in the organization. Those in sales, marketing and customer service usually have no difficulty in seeing how their work impacts other people. What about other people? Those in IT, for example, rarely interact with the customer on the street. The solution to that challenge is to look at “internal customers.” After all, sales staff are usually not equipped to manage shipping, engineering, finance and other activities required to manage a modern business.

3. Immeasurement

Now that you know the model, you can lead by example. Use the examples below for different roles to learn how to use Lencioni’s model to improve your engagement and effectiveness. At first glance, lack of measurement may not seem significant. After all, annual performance reviews are a common practice at most organizations.

The major insight for measurement from this book cover a few points. An effective and motivating measurement system will provide a daily success reading. In addition, the measure will relate to an activity within the person’s control. Developing effective measures that meet these criteria will likely be a challenge. Yet, it is a challenge that is well worth the effort.

Project Manager Employee Engagement Example

Let’s examine how this model could apply to a project manager. In this example, we will look at a project manager at a large bank who is based in a project management office. Your situation may be different, yet this example can be adjusted to fit your circumstances.

  • Anonymity. Under the best conditions, the project manager will have a supportive and engaged supervisor such as the PMO director. In that case, I recommend that the project manager sustain the relationship by paying attention to what is happening in the director’s life. If the project manager is mainly working with an executive sponsor, developing a relationship with that person would also be helpful.
  • Irrrelrevance. A well designed project will only be started to serve a valuable business purpose. In that case, the project manager can draw relevance from the project vision. In addition, many project managers see their role as “clearing the way” for their analysts and subject matter to complete the project’s technical work.
  • Immeasurement. PMP Project managers understand the importance of monitoring and controlling to running a successful project. That same process also applies to an individual’s work. Given that 80% or more of a project manager’s work involves communication, measuring communication effectiveness is a promising measure. Specifics could include successfully resolving conflicts, using the project communication plan and building a good relationship with the project team members.

Question For The Comments:

What measures could you develop and use to improve your engagement and professional results?

 

 

Why You Need To Start A Summer Project

Image Credit: Camera by markusspiske (Pixabay.com)
Image Credit: Camera by markusspiske (Pixabay.com)

For many of us, the summer is a slow period at the office. As many people leave the office for vacations and holidays, the pace of work slows down. It is easy to slow down and defer work to the fall. Don’t fall into that trap of “writing off” the summer as a lossed cause.

What’s the solution? Work on a summer project! It’s a great way to get ahead and stay excited during the summer. In addition to the immediate benefits, completing a summer project will get you ready for the fall. Without a good summer project, you may fall into the habit of browsing Facebook all day instead of accomplishing something you will be proud of at the end of the year.

What Makes A Good Summer Project?

In July, I’m going to be exploring the concept of a summer project in depth. Today’s post will introduce the concept to get you started. I have a summer project of my own – working on an ebook. As you consider what to work on, here are a few points to consider

  • Learning. A good summer project gives you the chance to learn new skills such as improving your technical skills (e.g. finishing that Microsoft Excel course you started a while ago). For example, entrepreneur Neville Medhora set himself the challenge to learn Ruby on Rails in April 2015 – that could work as a summer project.
  • Challenge. A good summer project represents a challenge and a break from the status quo – working through uncertainty is part of the experience.
  • Fun/Satisfaction. Imagine yourself at the end of the experience – will you be happy for having completed it? This factor is closely related to the challenge factor.
  • Social Connection. The summer project is a great time to connect with other people so look for a way to connect with other people (e.g. join an association or club related to your project: Meetup.com is one resource to explore)
  • Duration. Design the project to be completed in approximately four to six weeks. The whole point of this exercise is to take advantage of the “slow summer months.”
  • Bucket List Progress. Have you ever written a bucket list (i.e. a list of goals, activities, experiences etc that you want to have before you die)? If so, a summer project may be the perfect time to go for one of those ideas. Successfully completing a bucket list goal will give you greater confidence and happiness, which translates into better work results. (For inspiration – go watch the 2007 movie “The Bucket List“)

Armed with the above factors, you are ready to start designing a successful and satisfying summer project. Project managers – you finally have the chance to apply your professional skills to get ahead and get more out of life.

Brainstorm 10 Ideas For A Summer Project

Unless you already have a clear idea, I suggest coming up with 10 ideas. Coming up with 10 ideas, as a minimum, is an excellent mental ability to develop and refine. For inspiration and further instruction in becoming an idea machine, I refer you to The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine by James Altucher. I suggest considering several types of summer projects including learning skills, personal growth and business improvement. Over the rest of the month, I will cover a variety of summer projects to give you further inspiration and ideas. For now, let’s go over a high level series of steps to develop, execute and celebrate your summer project.

Planning Your Summer Project

Planning is a core ability that project managers bring to their work. Launching a successful summer project for yourself draws on this skill. As summer projects tend to be small in scope and budget, there’s no need to purchase Microsoft Project or other high power project management software. Instead, you can draft a few ideas in a notebook or on your computer. Here are a few guidelines to make an effective plan:

  • Success. Picture yourself looking back on this project – what would bring a smile to your face? If your goal involves learning, you may want to receive a certificate of completion
  • Resources. What are 3-5 resources (books, websites, courses etc) that you could use for your summer project? For example, if you are seeking to learn digital photography, you could sign up for a digital photography course from Lynda or Creative Live. For example, when Michael Hyatt set out to learn digital photography by buying the top 3 digital photography books on Amazon,
  • Write the first few steps. If you are working on a 30 day project, a small amount of planning is all you need to get started. For example, write down the first three steps you will need to follow to get started (e.g. to learn a programming skill 1. Buy a book on the topic. 2. Read the book 3. Complete two programming exercises)

The above steps are intentionally written in a minimalist fashion. Excessive planning takes time away from execution, which we will cover next.

Execute Your Summer Project

Getting down to work and actual activity is where the fun and benefits of your summer project really start. Use the following tips to keep your summer project on track. Please share additional execution ideas in the comments section of this post.

  • Experiment and make mistakes. The learning experience of a good summer project is bound to make you uncomfortable. The possibility of failure makes success taste that much sweeter.
  • Seek feedback from an expert. Feedback is a powerful tool to improve your performance. In this context, an expert is somebody who possess the knowledge or skills you are working to develop (e.g. I learned the basics of dragon boat racing from a coach who had competed at the national level in June 2015).
  • Reflect on progress at the halfway point. Stopping to reflect on your progress is a key part of execution. Take a few minutes to review your definition of success from above (e.g. if you are learning Excel programming, have you actually completed a working prototype?)

As you work through your summer project, take note of your feelings and experiences. For example, you may decide to use The 5 Minute Journal to make a few brief notes each day about your progress. Self-understanding is essential to becoming a better leader and reaching your goals at work. Reflecting on a summer project is a safe and easy way to improve your self understanding.

Celebrate Your Summer Project

Congratulations! You have come to the end of your summer project. That’s a great feeling! Before you immediately start working on your next idea, take some time to celebrate what you have achieved.

  • Celebrate with friends and family. The summer is a great time to relax in a restaurant or host a dinner party – why not celebrate completing a summer project at the same time? Earlier in the year, I celebrated when I earned the Project Management Professional certification (see: 5 Lessons Learned From Becoming A PMP).
  • Consider buying a reward for yourself. Nothing says “well done” like receiving a reward. If you have completed in a race or some other athletic activity, you may have a t-shirt or medal. Otherwise, I suggest treating yourself to a book (comment on this post if you want suggestions!), a good bottle of wine or something else that you enjoy.

Celebrating your success has practical benefits. For example, research from Catalyst found that, “publicly celebrating and acknowledging successes has more impact on women’s compensation, career advancement, and satisfaction than directly negotiating for higher compensation,” according to BC Business.

Coming Up on July 14th:

Designing a summer project at your office. There are plenty of ways to improve your organization and your department. Learn how you can set yourself apart from everyone else in your organization by running a summer project.

The 8 Threats To Effective Decision Making

Decisions Help Us Navigate Through Work (Image Credit:  schaeffler, Pixabay.com)
Decisions Help Us Navigate Through Work (Image Credit: schaeffler, Pixabay.com)

Decisions are the core of what we do in the professional world. You decide whether or not to fund a project. Next week, you decide to skip exercise to work longer hours. Later, a team member makes a technology decision and you have to clean up the mess. The quality of our decisions are a major factor in shaping our professional success.

Unfortunately, very few people have reflected on the art of making decisions and decision making. That’s going to change with today’s article. You will learn nine common threats to effective decision making and what you can do to overcome them. Let’s first set the stage by looking at decision making challenges we face every day and studies on decision making.

What The Research Says About Decision Making

Researchers in economics, psychology, health and many other fields are producing a growing field of research into decision making. It is humnbling to learn just easily our decision making ability can be disrupted. Let’s consider a few of the findings below and ask ourselves how these ideas apply to the working world.

  • The Stress of Poverty Tends To Lead to Poor Financial Decisions. Have you ever wondered why people take very high interest loans from “payday lenders”? One answer to this question is that the stress of living with limited resources acts as a “tax” on one’s decision making ability (The Guardian).
  • Memory Strongly Influences Decision Making. Researchers at the University of Basel found that “people are biased toward remembered options and reject them only if they are very unattractive.” When looking at several options, keep in mind the influence of familiarity.
  • Lack of Sleep Slows Decision Making. Effective leadership includes the ability to make decisions as needed. A lack of sleep slows down your decision making in crisis situations according to research from Washington State University. As the stress and importance of your decisions increase, your need for sleep also increases. Cutting sleep also cuts away at your ability to make good decisions.
  • Consistent decision making leads to success. A 2015 study from Statistics Canada reports that “Early demonstration of consistency in career decision was associated with earlier entry into postsecondary studies and higher levels of educational attainment at age 25.” This research reminds me of a comment by John C. Maxwell who write, “successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily” in his book Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrows Success.

Combatting The Eight Threats To Effective Decisions

The research studies cited above clearly demonstrate the high cost of poor decisions. Specifically, let’s look at eight problems that hurt your decision making ability. Developing the ability to combat these challenges will set you apart from others. Spending time on developing decision making skills is especially important as your responsibilities grow.

1. The Impulsive Threat

The impulsive threat means you are acting too quickly. You are ignoring the data and the impact on other people. This threat can be a weakness for people with a strong desire to move ahead. This threat can be overcome using systems and a process.

2. The Risk Avoidance Threat

In some organizations, risk is a “four letter word”, a concept to be avoided at all costs. However, risk and uncertainty are all around us. In the investment context, one faces the risk of inflation which may overwhelm the modest gains available in low risk investment vehicles. As a leader, it is important to develop and practice the skill of making decisions about risk and the potential rewards.

3. The Ignorance Threat

Making decisions without information presents two significant problems. First, you are likely to miss important considerations such as costs you may need to pay. Second, deciding without good information may harm your decision making reputation. After all, if people see you deciding in an information vacuum, they may consider you biased and irrational.

4. The Halo Effect Threat

When you are facing large decisions, it is natural and reasonable to involve other people. However, the halo effect needs to be taken into consideration. This effect states that an overall perception of a person may be impacted by their ability in one area (e.g. a skilled engineer is perceived as universally effective even if he has no knowledge of the market you are considering entering).

5. The Loner Threat

While most important decisions are ultimately made by a single person, being a loner is a threat to effective decisions. What is the threat of being a loner in the world of decisions? Being a loner means it will be difficult for you to implement a different decision and obtain all the benefits you foresee.

6. The “One Solution” Threat

Decisions often concern developing a solution to a problem. For example, your company may face a challenge from a competitor who brings new products and technology to the market. The decision you face becomes: how will we compete and win? One response is to simply copy the competitor’s methods. That’s just one option. The more important a decision you face, the more options need to be considered.

7. The No Follow Up Threat

One of the insights I learned from reading Peter Drucker’s classic book “The Effective Executive” concerns the importance of follow up and implementation in the area of decisions. Making a decision without follow up is like sitting in a car with directions and never going a step further. If a decision is made in a meeting, then make sure at least one follow up step is made. For example, you may assign a team member to gather research on your company’s data analytics talent before starting a substantial Big Data project.

8. The No Delegation Threat

Keeping all decisions to yourself in a project (and in other situations) is a threat to long term success. Thoughtful delegation is an effective way to help people grow. As Dan Rockwell points out on the Leadership Freak, it is also important to help people think through risk tolerance issues. Dan also makes a great point in setting deadlines when asking others to make decisions. Sure, collecting “just a bit more data” might make the decision better. However, there is also a high cost to delay.

Question For The Comments:

What are the greatest threats and challenges you face when you make important decisions?

How To Build A Checklist In 6 Steps

Checklist ManifestoChecklists are powerful tools that we all need to use. Earlier this year, I shared my Weekly Review checklist. In today’s article, I will explain how to build a checklist to improve your performance at work. Adding a checklist to your professional toolbox is one of the best ways to reliably improve the quality of your work.

My approach to the checklist is influenced by Atul Gawande‘s excellent 2009 book “The Checklist Manifesto.” Gawande comes to the checklist from the world of surgery where mistakes cause lawsuits, injuries and death. In reading his book and applying the ideas to my work, I became convinced of the value of checklists. As you read this post, you may be new to checklists. Given that reality, let’s cover why checklists are valuable.

Two Reasons We Fail: Ignorance and Ineptitude

In Gawande’s view, there are two categories of problems we face in getting work done. For the sake of practicality, let’s set aside matters outside of our control. The first reason for failure is ignorance – we simply do not know what to do. The second reason is ineptitude – “making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly” (pg 10). In medicine, engineering and many other professions, humanity has made great advances in solving ignorance. Unfortunately, ineptitude remains a serious problem. Despite the best training, certification programs, and specialization, highly capable professionals continue to make costly mistakes.

  • Mistakes in medicine. “This is the reality of intensive care: at any point, we are as apt to harm as we are to heal. Line infections are so common that they are considered a routine complication.” (pg 27-28) Medical errors are a significant cause of patient injury and death, even in the best hospitals in the world filled with specialized staff.
  • Aviation and commercial flight. In 2010, the Denver Post reported that human error was the primary cause of dozens of commercial aviation safety incidents since 2005. Like medical professionals, commercial pilots are well trained and supported by companies.
  • Human error mistakes in space exploration. In 1999, NASA lost the unmanned spacecraft Mars Climate Orbiter which had been launched to explore Mars. While space exploration is full of unknowns, one critical mistake was later identified. One part of the software involved used metric units while another part used “American units” (e.g. pounds). As a result, the Orbiter made an error and disintegrated in the Mars atmosphere. In addition to slowing scientific progress, the error represented a significant loss of valuable equipment.

Fortunately, the checklist is one way to address the challenge of making sure we are using existing knowledge correctly. Whether you are seeking to improve the quality of software or improve safety, the checklist is a high leverage tool. In his book, Gawande reports on a surgery checklist program he launched at several hospitals around the world. I was most impressed by the fact that the checklist significantly improved performance globally, despite major differences in equipment, training and tradition. While I wouldn’t call it a magic bullet, it is one of the easiest to implement improvement mechanisms I have ever seen.

The 6 Step Process To Create A Checklist

Boeing, NASA and other large organizations have entire teams dedicated to creating checklists. Fortunately, you can capture significant improvements using checklists even if you are working on your own. The following six step process is designed to help you create and use your first checklist. Once you become confident with the process, you can develop checklists for other important activities in your life and work (e.g. preparing for an international trip or launching a product).

One note of caution before we proceed. Resist the urge to create a complex checklist with dozens of steps. After all, a checklist only produces value if it is used. As with any other skill, it makes sense to walk before you run.

Step 1: Identify “Stupid Mistakes” That Cause Failure

Understanding the most significantly causes of failure is the first step in creating a helpful checklist. For this blog post, I will use the example of creating a corporate financial report. Two of the common causes of failure are data source problems and model performance errors. Addressing these mistakes will form the focus of the checklist.

Step 2: Seek Additional Input From Others

With most types of work, there are other people in your organization who either do similar work or who use the results of your work. Ask these people for their ideas on the common causes of failure or what they would suggest checking. I have found that many people are willing to offer some thoughts and observations, especially if they are impacted by your work.

Step 3: Create Simple “Do” Steps

Do steps are exactly what they sound like – reminders to do a specific action. In the case of a corporate financial report, you could check the structure and size of the data source files for validity, using previous reports as a baseline. Likewise, you can check data connections in the model to ensure that data is flowing through the model correctly.

Step 4: Create Simple “Talk” Steps

This step comes from Gawande’s example of a checklist in the operating room. In his example, he created a step on the checklist where everyone introduces them by name and role. In the project management context, “Talk” steps are even more important. The talk steps selected for the checklist are designed to prevent the major causes of failure. In the case of a financial report, one could schedule a short meeting with the stakeholders to review the draft report before it is approved for release.

Step 5: Test The Checklist

Following the above steps, you finally have the chance to put your checklist into action. Expect that your first checklist will have some gaps. Simply take note of those gaps and continue working through the process. In the example of producing a financial report, a gap might be to validate the currency and foreign exchange factors of the source files.

Step 6: Refine the Checklist

Based on your experience in Step 5, it is time to refine and improve the checklist. Continuous improvement is the name of the game in checklist development. As you improve the quality of your work with checklists, consider sharing your findings with other professionals.

Question for the Comments Section:

How have you used checklists at work or elsewhere to improve the quality and consistency of your results?

Why You Need A Weekly Review To Become More Productive

Image by Sophieja23 (Pixabay.com)
Image by Sophieja23 (Pixabay.com)

The Weekly Review is one of the most powerful self-management tools that I have learned. In this post, I will explain why the Weekly Review is a powerful productivity tool. In addition, you will also learn what goes into my Weekly Review. I often find it helpful to learn how an individual uses an ideas, so I hope this post will inspire you to start a Weekly Review (or improve your existing practice).

A few years ago, I discovered the principle from reading David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done.” In brief, the Weekly Review is a recurring activity that reviews the past, reminders and more. In the new 2015 edition of Getting Things Done, Allen summarizes the concept as follows:

From a practical standpoint, here is the three-part drill that [makes up the Weekly Review]: get clear, get current, and get creative. Getting clear will ensure all your collected stuff is processed. Getting current will ensure that all your orienting “maps” or lists are reviewed and up-to-date. The creative part happens to some degree automatically, as you get clear and current.” (pg 195)

The above comment reminds me of one of the most surprising aspects of the Getting Things Done approach: the bottom up approach. If you find mental clarity valuable, the Getting Things Done approach makes a big difference. I have not achieved 100% success with the methodology yet. I do find that each time I implement these ideas and practices, there are clear benefits to increased creativity.

The Benefits of The Weekly Review

Before adding another standing appointment to your calendar, you may have some questions about the value of this practice. That’s understandable. I will share a few ways that this practice has helped me. I hope that my experience and results inspires me to try the Weekly Review.

  • Review The Past: how often do you look at your calendar from last week? This step of the Weekly Review prompts me to review recent meetings and activities. For example, I will sometimes be reminded to send a follow up email or review meeting notes for action items.
  • Review Plans For The Future: remember that appointment or meeting you agreed to attend weeks ago? Reviewing my upcoming week is a great way to prevent negative surprises. Often, reviewing the upcoming calendar reminds me to prepare documents. In addition, this step prompts me to through logistics (e.g. how long will it take to get from A to B on Thursday evening?)
  • Good Mindset To Start the Week: I prefer to conduct my Weekly Review on Monday mornings (though I also see the merits of Fridays). I like Monday mornings because the week is not yet reached full speed. Regarding mindset, the practice also prompts me to “be proactive” as Stephen Covey recommended.

Above and beyond the benefits explained above, there is much to be gained from implementing the Weekly Review. Once it becomes a habit, I look forward to it. It gives a sense of increased satisfaction and control. The Weekly Review also provides risk management benefits: the risk of missing deadlines or needed follow up efforts will decline.

Inside My Weekly Review Template: An Evolving Productivity Tool

When I work through my Weekly Review, I use a blank template Microsoft Excel file. I first created the file in 2013 and have refined it (adding and deleting various parts) since then. Generally speaking, my plan is to complete the Weekly Review on Monday mornings before lunch. I find that the process generally takes 30-60 minutes (more time is needed when there is more input).

Note: The Weekly Review Is An Evolving Practice

The components of my Weekly Review have evolved over time. I have experimented in adding new activities at certain times and not every idea works out. Based on that experience, don’t be concerned if you struggle to “get it right.”

GET CURRENT: Collection

This phase focuses on the information gathering activities defined by Getting Things Done. In particular, I aim to move items from the email inbox into tasks. This is not simply a matter of copy and paste. Rather, it involves defining the next action.

  • Collect loose papers and materials (Wallet, Briefcase, Office Desk, Home Office Desk)
  • Achieve Personal  Inbox to zero
  • Achieve Corporate Email to zero
  • Write out any tasks in Task Manager (currently using Remember The Milk; I may switch to Nozbe in the future)
  • Write out any appointments in Google Calendar (also use Outlook Calendar at the Office)

GET CURRENT: Calendar & Relationships

This phases looks at calendars and a few key relationships. My practice is to combine personal and professional review in this phase, as I do above. You may also notice that I have a line item for spouse and family. As I like to work through processes, these items simply serve to remind me. Those steps, like the rest of my Weekly Review practice, is a work in progress.

    • Review Manager Emails – are there any tasks or activities that are needed? If so, schedule them or use 2 minute rule
    • Review today’s tasks in Task Manager (any 2 minute actions?)
    • Review past personal calendar data: previous 7 days
    • Review upcoming personal calendar: next 7 days
    • Review past corporate calendar data: previous 7 days
    • Review upcoming corporate calendar: next 7 days
    • Review Spouse Status: any outstanding tasks, emails or calls from her?
    • Review Family Communication Status: Has it been more than 5 days since last call? If so, create task to do a call later today

REWARD

This phase is the fun part of my Weekly Review. In fact, I added this section to the Weekly Review a few weeks ago. I thought it would be an enjoyable gift to myself. I have a passion for reading books and I like to give myself some time for this activity. Michael Hyatt’s recent article 5 Ways Reading Makes You a Better Leader has only enhanced my resolve to keep on reading.

Read current book for 5 minutes
Title of today’s book: The Martian by Andy Weir (the majority of my reading is non-fiction. However, my decades long interest in science fiction and numerous recommendations for Weir’s novel led me to pick up this title. So far, it is an excellent read. Last week, I read The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande).