Building an Innovative Environment
Q: What's the most inspiring book you've read yet on building an innovative, happy environment at your company?
The following answers are provided by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
A: 'The E Myth' by Michael Gerber
It sounds a little odd because this book is all about systems and structure. However, at the core, having a process that's crystal clear on each person's responsibilities, how the business works and what success looks like makes working in such a company a joy. Clear expectations take out a lot of stress, fear and worry and enable you to find the right employees who love their jobs.
Kelly Azevedo (https://twitter.com/#!/krazevedo), She's Got Systems (http://www.kellyazevedo.com)
A: 'The Art of Non-Conformity' by Chris Guillebeau
While more about the virtues of solo-preneurship, it talks about doing what makes you happy in your life and business. Whether you have your own business, work at a startup, or are an employee at a larger company, the same ideals and strategies can still apply.
Sean Ogle (http://www.twitter.com/seanogle), Location 180, LLC (http://www.seanogle.com/)
A: 'Delivering Happiness' by Tony Hsieh
CEO Tony Hsieh has continually emphasized company culture as key to the growth, innovation and lifeblood of Zappos. In his book "Delivering Happiness," Tony lays out specific to-do's for establishing and prioritizing culture, showing that culture translates to company values and eventually breeds ─ in Zappos' case ─ a company's rare edge in outstanding customer service. A must-read for entrepreneurs.
A: 'Let My People Go Surfing' by Yvon Chouinard
Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia to make better mountain climbing equipment, and built a company culture so he could keep climbing them. His philosophy, on building a business with a soul, inspires so much at Greatist. Just sad there's no great surf in NYC.
Derek Flanzraich (https://twitter.com/#!/thederek), Greatist (http://www.greatist.com)
A: 'Tribal Leadership' by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright
This book focuses on the art and science that lies in leveraging the power of a tribe, and how to foster an organizational culture which both inspires individuals AND creates a communal platform for world-changing results.
Josh Allan Dykstra (http://twitter.com/joshallan), Strengths Doctors (http://joshallan.com/)
A: 'The Synergist' by Les McKeown
This book is all about different styles of workers, and how these can sometimes clash. Les talks about the role of the Synergist and how it can totally shift the company environment and morale, not to mention boost productivity.
Nathalie Lussier (http://twitter.com/nathlussier), Nathalie Lussier Media (http://nathalielussier.com)
A: 'Switch' by Chip and Dan Heath
Switch teaches you the concept of the elephant and the rider, which can help you really understand how to motivate your employees. The elephant is the emotional part of your brain that needs to be inspired and compelled, while the rider is the logical part of your brain that needs a path to follow and tries to control the wild elephant. They make a complex concept easy to follow and implement.
Jason Evanish (http://www.twitter.com/Evanish), Greenhorn Connect (http://www.greenhornconnect.com/)
A: 'The Progress Principle' by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
It may be a little on the heavy side, but this book codifies a lengthy study on what makes for happy, effective employees. It's not something I'd recommend for pleasure reading, but it's full of incredibly useful information.
Thursday Bram (http://www.twitter.com/thursdayb), Hyper Modern Consulting (http://www.hypermodernconsulting.com)
A: 'The Carrot Principle' by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
According to a study cited in the book, the No. 1 reason people leave companies is because they don't feel appreciated. “The Carrot Principle” summarizes a strong body of research showing the importance of creating a culture of recognition. The impact that small gestures of appreciation can have on employee morale is significant, and this book will show you how to create a supportive environment that brings out the best in your team.
Emerson Spartz (http://twitter.com/emersonspartz), Spartz Media (http://spartzmedia.com)
A: 'The Business of Happiness' by Ted Leonsis and John Buckley
Ted Leonsis, the author of “The Business of Happiness,” is the former chairman of AOL, owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL's Washington Capitals and the WNBA's Washington Mystics. His insights into creating a happy environment and great company culture are invaluable. Well worth picking up a copy.
Matt Mickiewicz (http://twitter.com/sitepointmatt), Flippa (http://www.flippa.com)
A: 'All In' by Gene Chizik
I am currently reading this book and it's very good. Innovation education can be found anywhere, even in football books ─ just keep your mind open to new ideas.
Jordan Guernsey (https://twitter.com/#!/moldingbox), Molding Box (http://moldingbox.com/)
A: 'Rework' by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
I really like how the authors of this book and co-founders of 37Signals take a super-practical approach to building a business. In doing so they also create the space for a healthy, happy work environment.