Leadership resources

I’ve gathered some of my favorite books/articles here that I regularly send out to my coaching clients. Each of these is included because it contained a perspective that directly helped me in one way or another during my career. You’ll notice the list is pretty HBR-heavy. HBR tends to have supporting research behind its content. I find this approach refreshing in a world where a lot of business content is littered with survivorship bias and arguments made on anecdotal evidence.

  • General management
  • Starting a new executive role
  • Articulating strategy
    • What is strategy? (Michael Porter, HBR, 1996). A surprising number of “strategy” discussions in companies start without understanding what “strategy” is. This article defines it clearly.
    • From Vision to Values: The Importance of Defining Your Core (Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO). A practical guide to succinctly articulating company vision down to specific objectives and priorities from a very successful CEO. I had the privilege of working with Jeff at Yahoo! and saw how this works up close.
  • Core operational skills
  • Core management skills
    • Meeting agendas
    • Hiring
    • Am I micromanaging? This lecture “How to Operate” from Keith Rabois covers a challenge common to founders: am I too “in the weeds”? Search for “task relevant maturity” in the transcript. tldr; it’s ok to “micromanage” in a very particularly way, even though your team will push back on it. This tells you how to explain why you’re doing it.
  • Culture
    • Drucker on cultural change (my blog). I explore a very heavily-quoted Drucker bit on changing culture that is actually a blatantly wrong misquote. Understanding what he was saying about how to successfully change culture is something that will save you a lot of pain. I took over from a CEO/founder at Etsy and realized much later that I had followed much of Drucker’s advice here.
    • Andy Grove’s writing on centralization vs. decentralization in High Output Management is the best writing I’ve ever read on the subject. In Kindle, look at locations 1922-2088: “In the real world, of course, we look for a compromise between the two extremes. In fact, the search for the appropriate compromise has preoccupied managers for a long, long time. Alfred Sloan summed up decades of experience at General Motors by saying, ‘Good management rests on a reconciliation of centralization and decentralization.’ Or, we might say, on a balancing act to get the best combination of responsiveness and leverage.”
    • Collaboration without burnout (HBR, July-August 2018). Discusses concept of “collaborative overload” and how to manage it in your life and organization.
    • Organizational Blueprints for Success in High-Tech Start-Ups (2002). This one is really fascinating and answers the question: how do founders’ initial blueprints on an organization impact long-term culture and company success, even after they have left?