Reading Lists Explore Antiracism, Imperfection, Leadership Tools, Free Thinking, ReMembership

What book would you recommend your chamber colleagues read this year and why do you recommend it?

Lisa Weitzel, IOM, CAE
Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

If you read only one business book this year, I highly recommend Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.

Crucial Conversations presents a number of tools for navigating the rough seas of emotional volatility that often derails important discussions or prevents them from taking place at all. But Crucial Conversations goes way beyond sharing tools and their strategies. The strategies discussed are strengthened with stories that could come from anyone’s life and demonstrate why people react the way they do.

Tom Pierson, ACE
Tacoma-Pierce County (WA) Chamber

I highly recommend the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The author covers three major steps to becoming antiracist: Learn what racism is and how it evolved, become aware of subtle racist ideas you might have been unknowingly supporting and weaken them, and start supporting antiracist versus racist policies.

This book has really helped me frame my perspective and helped me change my thoughts and actions. I would encourage you to have your internal team, board, volunteers walk through the book in a book study format to have discussion on how this applies to your chamber.

Bret Schanzenbach
Carlsbad (CA) Chamber

The book I would recommend everyone read is Nine Lies About Work – A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall.

This is a great book that looks beyond corporate jargon and fads and digs deeper into factors that truly make companies thrive. Great stories and examples are woven throughout.

This book tackles corporate sacred cows such as “performance reviews,” “annual goal setting” and “well-rounded employees.” It is so refreshing, and in some cases, surprising, to get this take on corporate culture.

Christian Oliva del Rio, IOM
Cottonwood (AZ) Chamber

When I read Jennifer’s email asking for a book recommendation, it really got me thinking. I looked at my bookshelf, grabbed the first book and opened to the Preface: “Your membership development strategy is out of date.” After a year like 2020, doesn’t that hit the mark?

If you’re reading this, you know Kyle Sexton. If you do not, you should! A good place to start is ReMemberShip: New Thinking for Tomorrow’s Membership Organization. It is time to rethink how we do things. I have experienced some big changes over the past year, as I’m sure you all have. Rethink, Recenter and ReMemberShip, my friends!

Kelly Hall, CCE, IOM, MSL
Longview (TX) Chamber

I’d recommend What the Heck is EOS? by Gino Wickman and Tom Bouwer.

In 2019, a team member asked me to consider exploring EOS and then integrate it into our organization as the formal Entrepreneurial Operating System. As a result, I read three of Wickman’s books and my favorite was What the Heck is EOS?

I believe there are no coincidences, but opportunities we either take or leave. Fortunately for our team, we went all-in January 2020 to solve problems, plan, prioritize, follow processes, communicate, measure, structure, clarify roles, lead and manage.

Hmm, this may sound a little like U.S. Chamber’s accreditation. YES! and EOS is an excellent tool to formalize the organizational systems many of us have in place. It is an exceptional instrument that strengthen teams, so we remain open-minded with a growth mindset.

This past year was challenging! Yet, by working through the EOS implementation process, our spirit remained upbeat and we knew together we would not be crushed. Fast forward 14 months. I can affirm, EOS works! Plus, we are better prepared for the accreditation renewal process.

Amy Sherman
Northwest Douglas County (CO) Chamber and Economic Development Corporation

I am currently reading (again) The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. In the chamber of commerce and economic development industry, we often try to be everything to everyone. We work for the local jurisdiction, the business community, and the nonprofit community while raising families and trying to be good neighbors. It is draining and often we feel like we are not doing anything well.

The Gifts of Imperfection is about finding the courage to let go of who we think we are supposed to be so that we can fully embrace our authentic selves — the imperfect, the creative, the vulnerable, the powerful, the broken, and the beautiful.