Getting things done in today’s world means getting things done virtually.
You may be part of a not-for-profit that needs to manage volunteers with their own day jobs. You might work in a traditional co-located office but partner with companies in other locations. Perhaps, like me, you’re part of an international team working across distance and timezones. Many of us, in different ways, now need to be able to get people to work together to achieve outcomes, but can’t just pull them into a conference room whenever we need them to hash out a problem or plan.
I have a bit of a working theory that there are often three tensions at play when we do this, and that being deliberate about our priorities and expectations as we manage those tensions can help us choose the best approach for a given situation.
How many voices have you let into your head in the last 24 hours? Most of us couldn’t even begin to count. The ‘voices’ driving the various pieces of stimulus we encounter in any given day are legion – think of every post; every headline; every caption, photo and podcast.
‘Solitude Deprivation’ is the brilliant phrase from Cal Newport to describe “A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.”
When I read that, I asked myself – If I am constantly receiving stimulus, what chance am I giving my mind and heart to reflect meaningfully?
The idea that I may sacrifice my best thoughts on the altar of shallow stimuli is genuinely frightening.
Today I’m turning the spotlight on one of the books I most often find myself recommending or gifting. I first read it back in 2014, when it appeared on my first ’Top 10 Reads’ list, and it remains one of my favourite reads of all time.
Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality
by Dr. Henry Cloud
I can’t remember the first time I led a team, but I know I was leading volunteers.
It’s one of the extraordinary things about volunteering in community organisations and churches – you get all kinds of opportunities you might not otherwise get to learn skills, including leadership skills. I led volunteers, followed volunteers and worked as a volunteer, for years, before I ever led in a professional setting.
But I would argue that even when everyone is getting paid, there’s a degree to which we’re all working with volunteers, whatever our roles.
You may have seen my latest ‘annual top reads’ post, but I decided I wanted to do an extra Top 10 post that was a bit special – the books that have been most compelling for me over the last 10 years.
Each of these books has become one that I often refer to or recommend; has fundamentally shifted the way I think about something; or has introduced a critical new concept to the ‘furniture of my mind’.
I will say it was very difficult to narrow down the list, but each of these books has made a significant impact on me during the 2010s, and I would highly recommend all of them.
So without further ado, and in no particular order…