I love reading. Books teach me valuable lessons while saving me some of the heartache caused by learning things the hard way: through experience. We need both types of lessons, but books will help you identify and develop new ways of thinking, innovative concepts, and important business-related philosophies. Books help you find ideas you may never think of when you are mired in the day to day of your profession.
You Don’t Have to Be the Expert
The bonus is that everyone can read books. They can be, and should be, shared. You don’t have to teach something yourself, you don’t have to bring in the expert, just share the book and segment the lessons into applicable teaching moments in manageable time commitments as part of your culture. That’s what we do.
I introduced a book to a group of coworkers, thinking they’d find it interesting while tackling some challenges. The book and ensuing conversations benefitted us all. It spilled over from conference room discussions to dinner-table musings and back into the office. People started introducing books they thought might be interesting, and it grew from there: The Payday HCM Book Club. I think you should start one at work, too.
Reading to Solve Problems and Build Teams
It’s important to note that a book club shouldn’t be initiated to fix things. Instead, it should enable everyone to share responsibility and expose multiple perspectives around problem solving. It should be structured around engagement and ways to incorporate new approaches into daily challenges. In our meetings, if situations, ideas, or opportunities come up everyone can relate to what they learned, and everyone walks away feeling like they are part of a solution.
One of the first books our club chose to read was The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill. The discussion was open to the whole company. Eighteen people (out of around 40 employees) chose to participate. Then every other Thursday, we had brown bag lunch and a roundtable discussion about Napoleon Hill and his ideas. Everyone was excited to talk about it both inside and outside the “book club.”
The club is a good team builder. It also helps employees get to know each other better. It builds tolerance, understanding, and creates a more commonalities within the company; conversations go back and forth, and thoughts build on each other. It also opens up dialog between co-workers who might not otherwise interact.
I believe in lifelong learning, and I want to share that love with others in my community. The book club helps me do that. It’s not a requirement for employment, but those who participate create a great opportunity for creativity, bonding, and personal growth.