Looking for a Great Book

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When I was growing up, my mom would always give me my next book to read, and all of them were fantastic!

When I went off to college, I would go to the library to pick out a book and they all seemed to be mediocre at best. I was sharing this with my mom one day (while standing at a pay phone and using a calling card) and she said, “Sarah, I only give you the ‘A’ books”.

Confused, I asked her, “What is an ‘A’ book?”

She went on to share that she read loads of books and gave them a letter grade of A – F. She would only pass the books on to her friends and family that received an “A”. You can see a copy of her list in the picture above. My mom is a tough grader – no one got an A on this list.

I recently went to a meeting of 40 business leaders in Hawaii and they were all asked to write down their 3 favorite books – their “A” list. I am sharing this list with you just in case you are in the need of a new good book.

Great Book Recommendations

  • Dances with Wolves
  • Growth Mindset
  • The Tipping Point
  • The 5 People You Meet in Heaven
  • The Secret
  • Lean In
  • Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  • Failing Forward
  • The Talisman
  • The Stand
  • Pillars of the Earth
  • Don Quixote
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Big Magic
  • Tess of the D’urbervilles
  • Girl Boss
  • The Miracle Morning
  • Essentialism
  • Lightless Sky
  • Kite Runner
  • The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Life on the Line
  • Starting Real Estate Conversations
  • The Stand
  • Grand Weaver
  • Not A Fan
  • Destiny
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • The Life Intended
  • Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business
  • Essence of Inspiration
  • A Woman After God’s Heart
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • Last Lecture
  • First Light
  • The Purpose Driven Life
  • 8 Dimensions of Leadership
  • 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
  • Stop Juggling Elephants
  • Death of a Salesmen
  • School of Prophets
  • Fasting by Jentzin Franklin
  • 5 Love Languages

How about you?  Are there any books you think should be added to this list?  Share your “A” books in the comments below!

Giving Feedback Is Tough, or Is it?

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Which is harder? Giving feedback or receiving feedback?

Giving feedback can be tough or feel tricky if you are delivering constructive feedback. You may not want to hurt someone’s feelings, or you fear that your feedback will hurt your relationships, or you may question your right to give the feedback.

Either way, if you feel the feedback will help the person be more effective in their role or re-align their behaviors with their good intentions, then sharing the feedback is important.

The Giving Feedback Model

Today, we will share a model for Giving Feedback to make the process just a little easier.

Let’s start with your own mindset. What do you view feedback as? Is it something positive and helpful or negative and a punishment?

If you feel that it is the latter, then you need to prepare yourself with believing that feedback is a gift; that what you have to share will be very valuable to the receiver. The trick is really in how you deliver the feedback. How is the feedback packaged? HOW you communicate the feedback is its packaging and the content of the message is the true gift inside.

Regardless of the person’s personality or behavioral style, ground the conversation with a neutral tone by

1) Stating the situation or an observation that inspires the feedback.

For example, “I would like to talk to you about the comment you made during this morning’s team meeting about my behavior at the Christmas party.

Notice that this statement contains basic facts about the situation. The statement is free of emotion, judgment, and interpretations, and this is important in order to not activate defensive behavior from the person you are giving feedback to.

2) Next, share the impact of the situation.

For example, “I felt embarrassed in front of the team and it makes we wonder if you were intentionally trying to embarrass me.

This statement contains emotions and feelings which is important for the sender to express. It helps the person connect to the impact of their behavior and gives an opportunity for the receiver to view how their behavior was interpreted. It gives the receiver an opportunity to correct any misperceptions about the intentions of their words or actions.

3) Finally, when giving feedback, make a request that clarifies how you want the situation to be handled next time.

For example, “What I would like to request is that next time you have a concern about something I said or did, I would appreciate if we could talk privately in a one-to-one conversation instead of in front of others. I really value your thoughts and feedback and it is easier for me to talk about it without extra ears listening in.


Giving Feedback Model Infographic - Think Training


We often use this giving feedback model when sharpening communication skills, building trust within teams or in one-on-one relationships.

To learn more about how the Giving Feedback model can help your organization be more cohesive, contact us today and we’ll share these and other methods to help your team be happier and more effective.


Lessons from a Newbie

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Today, was my last day of an online certification training and my assignment was to prepare for an upcoming client and share my approach with two colleagues.

I’ve been in the training business for a while so the exercise itself was a good one. I had to think through my approach and put it in another person’s format.

That assignment made me think differently about my content. I started to see where my experienced self missed some steps and it inspired me to challenge my old process with new ideas.

The Most Powerful Lesson

But, the most powerful lesson came from my colleague who said, “I’ll go first. I am brand new with this content and I really want to get some feedback on my approach. If it is okay with you, I am going to show you all of my prepared documents and handouts so you can give me feedback.”

I thought ‘My goodness! I don’t have that many prepared documents to show‘.

And, as she walked through each one, I realized how much care and attention that client was going to receive. They were her first client and she was going to make sure to be perfect for them.

Then it hit me: we are always best for our firsts and when we are new. Our first day on the job, our first date, our first customer.

The challenge is not being the best for our first, but being best for our 31st, 131st, etc.

Thank you to my newbie who reminded me of what my parents taught me, “Always be your best.”