in the workplace

Knowledge, Inspiration and Education for Personal Growth

We’ve all heard it before—everyone has the same number of hours in a day, so it’s up to each one of us to decide how best to use the time we’re given. One part of using our time wisely is considering in whose company we spend our time. Do we keep to ourselves, ruminating over our thoughts or attempting to single-handedly address business concerns; seek escape in entertainment; or make a deliberate effort to choose the environments and inputs that will help us to move toward our goals?

Everyday choices, like these, can have much more than everyday influence on your life and progress toward gaining or refining vital skills. Be strategic in your choices; you have the power to nourish your mind and develop targeted learning goals. In a reversal of the old “garbage-in, garbage-out” scenario, wise consumption of information taken in consistently, can move you toward the transformations you seek. Put your time to work helping you reach your business and leadership goals and being a good human.

As business influencer Jim Rohn famously pointed out “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Let that thought help you filter the personal and professional development information you consume.

To help you get the most value out of the time you’re able to set aside for reading, listening, and personal growth, I’ve compiled a short list of some of my favorite resources categorized by topic.

Servant Leadership. Gaining attention in the 1970s, this style of leadership emphasizes relationships, and meeting the needs for growth and success of customers, team members, and others. For exploring the application of servant leadership in your business, some of my favorite books include The Leader of the Future by Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, Richard Blanchard; The Heart-Led Leader by Tommy Spaulding, Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead; and It’s Your Ship, written by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff. Blogs, like Brené Brown’s or Humanergy give another perspective and a shorter read. Podcasts offer the flexibility to feed your mind while doing something else—painting the hallway, walking on the treadmill, or driving. These are some of the best ones I’ve found on servant leadership:

Communication Skills and Individual and Team Dynamics. The heartbeat of an organization is in its ability to communicate effectively. Combined with organizational dynamics, these topics reach into all corners of a business. One of the benefits of business coaching is to have an on-site evaluation and customized training designed for your organization. These are several worthwhile resources that can help you and your team prepare for the next steps toward improving communication dynamics.The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is an oldie but a goodie; I also recommend Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan; The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Ideal Team Player, both by Patrick Lencioni; and It’s Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff also fits well into this category. Marshall Goldsmith’s article “Team Building without Time-Wasting,” is immediately applicable. Once again, expect refreshing insights from the podcast At the Table with Patrick Lencioni.

Strategic Thinking and Vision Casting. If you don’t have a plan for the future, how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goals? Cultivate the vision your organization needs with books that get the ideas moving. Among my favorites: The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni, Powerful by Patty McCord, Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values by Fred Kofman, and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by James C. Collins. Maintain the momentum with the podcast What’s Essential hosted by Greg McKeown.

New information, whether you take it in by reading or listening to it, is most valuable to you if you can remember it and apply it. James Clear shares tips for increased reading comprehension and retention, and John Rampton offers ideas for increasing the number of books you read this year—including the tip to stop reading a book that really doesn’t interest you instead of powering through to the end.

Jeff M. Miller encourages active and engaged listening to get the most out of a podcast; and when it comes to taking notes, Anne-Laure Le Cunff asks if you are note-taking or note-making, then shares her tips to help you retain more of what you hear from a speaker in person or on a podcast.

We have an unending banquet of resources available to consume on our own, yet a business consultation and in-person instruction adds a different level of expertise as well as accountability. Whether your current challenge involves Team Dynamics, Executive Coaching, Leadership Training, advanced Round Table workshops, or other business topics, we can help you make progress toward your goals. Call us for a free consultation to see where we can support your organization and its culture.

Nancy Owsianowski, Founder
RoundTable Consulting, LLC


Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations. Find Nancy on LinkedIn or reach out to her to learn more about authentic leadership and her coaching, facilitation, and training services.

Ready for more?

Are you seeking a peer advisory group to strengthen and support professional and personal growth? We are currently recruiting members to the Senior Manager and Executive Roundtables through IUSB..

Contact me to take advantage of either opportunity.