Tag Archives: reading




The Leap Team loves a good book or two or ten. If you peeked at our book purchases, you’ll see the diversity of our interests. We figured our newsletter readers would like to see what we have been reading and using in our work with our clients. Enjoy this year’s Team Leap Summer Book Club selections! Reading a book is a good thing to do and with the ability to read, listen and sometimes even watch a book or story on stage or on a screen, it is time to make your next summer reading selection. Here are some of ours…


Books reviewed in this issue of our newsletter:

  • Think Again
  • The Happiness Lab Podcast
  • The Anxious Achiever
  • Yours Truly
  • Finding Latinx
  • Be an Awesome Boss
  • Surf When You Can
  • The Confidante
  • Necessary Endings



By Adam Grant
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN-10: 1982191007

Reviewed and re-thought by Chuck McPherson ~ The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – In the book by Adam Grant, “Think Again”, he provides his top 30 practical takeaways. I am listing a few here in hopes that you will “Think Again” after reading them.


Developing the Habit of Thinking Again

1. Think like a scientist
When you start forming an opinion, resist the temptation to preach, politick or prosecute. Treat your emerging thoughts as a hunch or hypothesis and test it with data. Here at Leap, we always encourage people to be curious by asking more questions and getting more information.
2. Define your identity in terms of values, not opinions
See yourself as someone who values curiosity, learning, mental flexibility and searching for knowledge. As you form opinions, keep a list of gators that would change your mind.


Calibrate your Confidence

3. Be aware of getting stranded at the summit of Mount Stupid
Don’t confuse confidence with competence. To prevent overconfidence in your knowledge, reflect on how well you can explain a given subject.
4. Harness the benefits of doubt
If you find yourself doubting your confidence, reframe the situation as an opportunity for growth. Knowing what you don’t have is often the first step towards developing expertise.
5. Embrace the joy of being wrong
Mistakes are really a discovery of something new. It can help you focus less on proving yourself and more on improving yourself.


Invite Others to Question your Thinking

6. Learn something new from each person you meet
Everyone knows something more than you about something. Ask people what they have been thinking about lately or start a conversation about times you’ve changed your mind in the past year.
7. Build a challenge network not just a support network
Although it’s helpful to have people encouraging you, you also need critics to help you think deeper and poke holes in your thinking.
8. Don’t shy away from constructive conflict
Disagreements don’t have to be disagreeable. Try framing disagreement as a debate. People will be more likely to approach it intellectually and less likely to take it personally.


These are a few thoughts from Adam’s book and there are plenty more. As with most business books, there are new thoughts and repackaged thoughts that can spur a different approach to thinking and contemplating.


The Happiness Lab
A Podcast by Dr. Laurie Santos 



Happily reviewed by Jen Chelini ~ If you had to guess, what do you think the most popular class at Yale has been in its 300-year history? It may surprise you. Dr. Laurie Santos, a psychology and cognitive science professor teaches a psychology course entitled “Psychology and the Good Life”. Dr. Santos explores the latest scientific research and shares inspiring and often surprising stories that will change the way you think about happiness. Many of us do the exact opposite of what it takes to be happy or make our lives richer.

What is really interesting is how Dr. Santos began teaching this course, which later fueled the natural outgrowth of the podcast, “The Happiness Lab”.  As head of one of Yale’s colleges, Dr. Santos was required to live on campus. What she discovered was that students were less happy than she thought they would be. So, she had the idea to teach a class on happiness, with the idea that if students understood the science behind happiness their lives and happiness would improve.  Thinking 30-40 students would enroll in the class, was she surprised when 1,200 students registered!

Podcast episodes from “The Happiness Lab” dive into exploring the uphill battle we find ourselves in when we are truly trying to find happiness. The Happiness Lab’s goal is to improve the listeners’ lives by helping them seek a better path toward a happier life. The podcast supports this with expert guests, scientific facts, and experimental projects and stories.

The podcast reaches beyond the college hallways and addresses how non-college folks are struggling with the happiness factor too. Dr. Santos addresses technology and how it has led to less interaction and more transactions. For example, using an ATM versus talking to a bank teller. She also points out how simple, positive interactions with strangers can bump our mood way more than expected. Even the idea of simply being social makes us feel the best – more so than eating, shopping, relaxing, or watching television.

The stories are the most fun to listen to. To give you a little taste…. a study out of the University of Chicago gave people $10 Starbucks gift cards to talk to strangers on the train. Most thought this would be awkward or weird, but after their trip, surveys showed that commuters found they experienced a better mood/more happiness when making a connection with someone they did not know.

Hosted by Dr. Santos, the podcast is uplifting, engaging, and very informative. I encourage you to give it a try!



By Morra Aarons-Mele
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
ISBN-10: 164782253X


Reviewed by Tracy Emmerich ~ I chose this book because, like many people in this world, I have struggled with anxiety.  There were times in my career I felt the anxiety I experienced held me back from achieving my true potential. “The Anxious Achiever” looks at struggles faced by high achievers with anxiety.  Morra Aarons-Mele combines personal experiences and in-depth research to shed light on such a prevalent issue.

While reading the book, I found myself analyzing my career and some of the choices I made.  Did I make the right decisions?  Did the anxiety I felt while working at some highly stressful companies lead me to run away instead of work through my anxiety?  While the book made me take a deep look into my own experiences, I do not feel the book offered many practical solutions to my type of anxiety, other than the ones I already practice, like deep breathing.  The book focuses on “high achievers” with anxiety and if I did not fit the narrative, even though I have anxiety, it made me question if I considered myself a high achiever.   I feel very accomplished, content and more importantly balanced in my life.  I realized early on in my career I was never going to be the CEO of a company.  I find so much satisfaction in supporting my clients that I would much rather do this type of work than manage people or a business.  The book made me realize that some of the companies I had worked for where my anxiety was the highest were focused more on making money or “looking good to the public”. This did not align with my core values of providing excellent customer service (internal and external) and with my desire for work-life balance.

Do I still have anxiety?  Yes, but it is very manageable because I understand who I am, the work I am performing, and I work for a company that aligns with my values.  If you work for a high demanding company and find that you have anxiety, this book may be a valuable resource for finding a balance between ambition and well-being.



By James R. Hagerty
Publisher: Citadel
ISBN-10: 0806542071


Intriguingly reviewed by Jonna Dye ~ Like a moth to the flame, I find myself drawn to reading obituaries because I find them interesting, even edifying. I’m fascinated by how a person’s whole life can be crammed into a few inches of print and amazed by the lives of those summarized in brief lines.  One obituary I read years ago, written lovingly by a daughter-in-law, spoke of how she learned much from her mother-in-law, including how to cook.  According to the obituary, these cooking lessons included fried steak… “Throw the steaks in a hot cast iron, push them around the skillet once then flip them over and that’s good enough for the cowboys, but leave ours in there a little longer”.  The mother-in-law also shared recipes with the daughter-in-law including one for biscuits, which began, “fill the yellow bowl to the first ridge with flour…” The author noted she can no longer make the biscuit recipe because she broke the yellow bowl.

Sometimes the obituaries are heart-wrenching, and some are mundane.  All are intriguing.  Some speak of death in different ways. Some say the deceased “passed away.” Others say, “went to be with the Lord” or “was called home by God.” Some don’t even mention that the person has died. It used to be that most of the deceased were older than me. But now, I realize I have lived longer than some of the deceased. I find this fact sobering. But I keep reading obituaries.

I recently stumbled across James Hagerty’s book, Yours Truly, An Obituary Writer’s Guide to Telling Your Story.  James is a Wall Street Journal obituary writer.  Intrigued I click BUY NOW.  And this is what I discovered: Someday, my life story is likely to be boiled down to a few lines. A sobering thought.  The book was not just a “how to” guide to writing an obituary.  It made me ponder my life story, think about what I’m doing with my time on Earth, and whether I’m on the right path. The profound point James left me with is this, it isn’t too late to improve the narrative with a stronger ending.



By Paola Ramos
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN-10‏: ‎1984899090


Reviewed by Rosa Reynoza ~ As a Mexican-American I was not fond of the term Latinx.  I didn’t understand it and felt it was making a diverse group of people even more hidden and in a way, generic. This feeling is what drew me to pick up this book.  After reading the introduction (which I usually skip) I said to myself, “I get it”.  After all, my life goal is to help everyone feel heard and feel included.

The author did an amazing job painting a picture of her experience and her travels.  She provides accounts from many Latinx people she met around the country. She said at one point, “You go where your people go”. This statement can be true for work but we need to improve on having employees also feel respected and appreciated.

“I am queer; I am Latina; I am Cuban, Mexican, and first-generation American,” Ramos writes. “These are words I was not ashamed of saying out loud—but there’s a difference between passive recognition and really owning one’s identity…Yet the truth is that, for years, I had either blindly danced around these identities or felt like I had to choose one over the others.”

The United States has over 60 million Latinx population.  What can we do to uplift and embrace our diversity? Is your business adding DEI language to your mission and values?  What does it mean to have diversity, equity, and inclusion? My thoughts are that if you are not willing to have those uncomfortable discussions or to pick up a new book that might not be something you normally read, DEI will just be a fake badge that is only found on paper, not in action.

If you are looking for some insights into the Latinx community, I would recommend reading this book. “The first step towards change”, writes Ramos, “is for us to recognize who we are.”



By Tim Burningham
Publisher: A TAB Original; Houston, TX
ISBN 10: 1095886118


Reviewed by Tracy Long ~ I selected “Be An Awesome Boss!” because I work with a lot of managers who have been promoted into a leadership position, but may have not received foundational training to be successful in their role. The second reason I selected this book is because it is written as a fable/story, which I find to be more enjoyable than textbook style writing. Although the concepts are not new, and the fable is not that exciting, it drives home the importance of repetition, alignment, discipline (your own), stability, caring, results, recognition, and fun. Yes, fun in the workplace!

The setting of the story is a health clinic; however, it can easily be ascribed to any business or industry. A new CEO (Marty) has replaced the very successful retiring CEO (Dan) and has been given an opportunity to meet with him to hear what he has done to be successful. Dan calls them the Four C’s: Clarity, Consistency, Celebration, and Charity. The first three C’s are illustrated as a pyramid with Clarity at the bottom, Consistency in the middle, and Celebration at the top. The pyramid is then inside a larger circle that is Charity.
Below are a few of Dan’s lessons:

  • Clarity – Establishes a healthy culture, creates alignment, empowers teams to act, and is the foundation of successful leadership. You can never overcommunicate.
  • Consistency – Consistency is your approach to change. Be consistent in your own personal behavior and attitude. Show up the same way, every day. (Consistency reinforces clarity.)
  • Celebration = Fun + Measurement (results) + Performance Recognition. Managers have a responsibility to consistently help their team feel successful.
  • Charity – Holding people accountable with kindness – Taking action from a place of genuine concern for the person.  Ensure your staff feel known, accepted, cared about, and respected as human beings.

Personally, I’ve made a list of observations for each of the 4C’s that I like to refer to often when coaching supervisors. It’s easy to get bogged down by the everyday struggles we all face as managers and this book provides a good reset to remind us about our core responsibilities as leaders and role models. I’ve already recommended this book to multiple managers (new and experienced) and I highly recommend it to the entire leadership team so that you can have a common language and playbook for establishing a foundation of successful leadership.



By Captain Brett Crozier
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN 10: 1982191007


Reviewed by Judy Coffey ~ This book is a heartfelt memoir of Captain Brett Crozier’s inspiring career in the Navy.  Even if you do not have a military background, you will appreciate his leadership lessons on honor, trust, relationships, and community. Captain Crozier was Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the most powerful aircraft carrier in the US Navy until he walked off his ship for the last time to thousands of soldiers cheering and saluting him in admiration. This occurrence was because he believed in his decision to “do the right thing”, sending an unclassified email to his superiors expressing concern for the numerous lives aboard the ship with Covid19.

“Surf When You Can” reflects on the 30-plus career of Captain Crozier, sharing his life at sea and at home.  In the book, you understand the importance of kindness, teamwork, empathy, trust, and true leadership. Captain Crozer shared many stories regarding the beauty of relationships. He often said “Your true impact in this world is not solely defined by your own capabilities, but by the relationships you have with other people”. He had numerous analogies one could relate to in any situation. “Surf When You Can ” emphasizes finding work-life balance.  His love for surfing was a metaphor for finding happiness and fulfillment, which he did every time he was surfing.  The broader meaning of the book was to impart leadership lessons and appreciation for those who serve and will serve. He always heeded the words, “Take care of your Sailors, keep your head on a swivel, your eye on your shipmate, and surf when you can”.



By Christopher Gorham
Citadel Publishers
ISBN 10: 0806542004


Reviewed by Scott Ormerod ~ While on vacation last Spring, I discovered “The Confidant”, an intriguing book about a somewhat hidden-in-history woman who had a huge impact on our world even today. The book tells the story of Anna Marie Rosenberg, an immigrant of Hungarian Jewish descent who became Franklin D. Roosevelt’s closest advisor during World War II.

I was intrigued not only by her innovative problem-solving but also by her leadership as a strong woman who went to extraordinary and inspiring lengths to change the outcome of American society for many generations.  Her life ran parallel to the front lines of history yet her influence on 20th-century America, from the New Deal to the Cold War and beyond, has not been told before. She was a woman of many firsts during her life whose forgotten story is well told by Mr. Gorham.

Her stand-out contributions and leadership roles are impressive and include:

  • With a disarming mix of charm and toughness, she began her career in public relations in 1920s Manhattan.
  • She was dubbed by Governor and President Roosevelt as “my Mrs. Fix-It.”
  • One of the first Allied women to enter a liberated concentration camp, and she stood in the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain retreat, days after its capture.
  • She guided the direction of the G.I. Bill of Rights and the Manhattan Project.
  • She was the real power behind national policies critical to America winning the war and prospering afterward.
  • By 1950, she was tapped to become the assistant secretary of defense—the highest position ever held by a woman in the US military—prompting Senator Joe McCarthy to wage an unsuccessful smear campaign against her.
  • In 1962, she organized John F. Kennedy’s infamous birthday gala, sitting beside him while Marilyn Monroe sang.
  • Throughout her life, Rosenberg fought tirelessly for causes from racial integration to women’s equality to national health care.

I came away inspired by her story as a woman, a leader, an immigrant, and a power broker. She was a solutions-driven powerhouse that when told “NO”, identified the alternative paths to address the problem and then worked tirelessly to resolve it.

I always enjoy a well-written, historical biography and this is a story worthy of your summer reading list.



By Dr. Henry Cloud
Publisher: Harper Business
ISBN 10: 0061777129


Reviewed by Robin VanderWerf ~ Several years ago, I was at a major crossroads in life. I was feeling stuck in life. Circumstances in both my personal life and work life had brought me to a place of a major decision. I needed to move forward but found it difficult to make the decision(s) that would bring about the change that needed to happen. At that exact moment, someone gave me a copy of “Necessary Endings”. It was exactly what I needed.

In this book I began to see that often in life “the good cannot begin until the bad ends” and that there are many different seasons to life for each of us. Endings are a part of life. Each season has endings and beginnings. We need to see the endings as a normal occurrence and part of business and life, instead of seeing it as a problem.

Below are some of the principles and practices shared in the book; when to put them into action:

  • Help you become aware of the absolute necessity for some endings to occur in your business or life
  • Equip you to diagnose when a business or a relationship has hope of getting better and when it should end
  • Equip you to diagnose what kinds of people deserve your trust and those who don’t
  • Bring endings into the common language of your workplace so that pruning and continuous improvement become part of the culture
  • Normalize the idea of endings, so you can expect them instead of being surprised by them, and so you’re able to deal with them as a normal part of what you do
  • Help you to get comfortable with endings
  • Help you to understand why you have not able able to negotiate previous endings successfully
  • Show you how to execute an ending well
  • Create vision and energy for a better future as you become unstuck
  • Help you stop repeating the same issues over and over again

This book empowered me to see and understand the decisions that I needed to make to move forward successfully. Endings are sometimes painful but without them, we may never realize or reach the full potential, satisfaction, or success that is meant for us! “Necessary Endings” will equip you to move forward healthily.



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The Leap Team loves a good book or two or ten. If you peeked at our book purchases, you’ll see the diversity of our interests. We figured our newsletter readers would like to see what we have been reading and using in our work with our clients. Enjoy this year’s Team Leap Book Club selections! Reading a book is a good thing to do and with the ability to read, listen and sometimes even watch a book or story on stage or on a screen, it is time to make your next selection. Here are some of ours…


Books reviewed in this issue of our newsletter:

  • The Imperfect Board Member
  • The Heart Led Leader
  • Personal and Executive Coaching-The Complete Guide for Mental Health Professionals
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
  • No Ego
  • The AAA Way to Fundraising Success

By Jim Brown
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
ISBN-10: 0787986100

By Chuck McPherson ~ This book provided a rather quick and easy read while providing some key insights for Board Members. CEO’s, Executive Directors and Management could also have valuable takeaways. Through his story telling, Jim Brown outlined clear roles and responsibilities using the terminology of a straight line meaning that each has clear reporting relationships and “end arounds” need to be managed. Most board cultures are developed by fault and not by design which is why it is common to have the 80/20 rule whereas 20% of the board does most of the work. The whole board needs to be informed before key strategic decisions are made and the have-to-have time to process the information. He suggests that information go out to the board well in advance of the meeting for time to read and process because board members are very busy with their business life outside of the board they sit on. There were a few key elements, but I want to be careful not to give it all away since I am suggesting this to be a future read of yours.

To Direct and Protect, the board must:

  • Connect- Get to know each other’s strengths, biases, etc.
  • Expect- Have a shared understanding about what directors and the board are expected to do
  • Correct- Deal with breaches of expectations to keep board performance high
  • Boards do not ask for or accept recommendations. A recommendation is a decision in disguise
  • Boards do however ask for options with pros and cons so they can make informed decisions
  • Make time for the whole board to be properly informed
  • Consider a one-page progress at a glance report

There are many more little nuggets in this book that can help support an old, seasoned board member or a person who is new to a board. The best boards work together as a team, capitalizing on the strengths that each director brings to the table and demanding full engagement.


By Tommy Spaulding
Publisher: Currency

By Jen Chelini ~ New York Times Bestselling author Tommy Spaulding, a world-renowned leadership speaker spotlights how leading with your heart and focusing on looking inward can transform your life in his Heart Led Leader: How Living and Leading from the Heart Will Change Your Organization and Your Life.

More remarkable than degrees on a wall or a title behind your name – it’s our values and principles that guide our lives and shape our ability to lead others. Authentic leaders live and lead from the heart.

Drawing on qualities such as humility, vulnerability, transparency, empathy, and love we can effect true transformational change. What do these qualities mean? Spaulding speaks to those – and in addition, opens one’s eyes to the 18-inch journey from your head to your heart rather than from the space between your head and your mouth! Spaulding’s book is full of inspirational stories that illustrate heart-led leadership and how it can bring real change in oneself and touch the lives of others.


By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, PhD.
Publisher: Executive College Press
ISBN-10: 0970683405

By Tracy Emmerich ~ Personal and Executive Coaching – the Complete Guide for Mental health Professionals may be a good book for anyone considering or just beginning a career coaching people.   Although therapy and coaching may use similar skills, coaching is a process of helping people achieve personal or professional goals or helping with performance or developmental goals.

The first part of the book is geared toward licensed therapists transitioning to coaching.  Thereafter the book gives a step-by-step process for coaching clients, including case examples, which are great stories showing the processes and techniques in real-life scenarios.

My favorite chapter in the book was on Emotional Intelligence and Coaching.  How many times have we had an employee who just seems oblivious to the feedback they are given, making us wonder if we are being direct enough?  Dr. Auerbach provides some great coaching suggestions and techniques.  One technique I seem to use a lot when managing conflict is to encourage my client to see the other person’s perspective and to focus on the behavior or the issue, not the person.

I have often been called a therapist by friends, co-workers, and some clients, but after reading the book, I understand and embrace my role as a coach. “Aid your clients in learning to work with people to find win-win solutions, when possible,” a motto I have lived by for much of my HR career.  This book would be beneficial for anyone wanting to get into executive coaching but also has some good tips and reminders for anyone already in the field.


By Malcolm Gladwell
Publisher: Back Bay Books
ISBN-10: 0316010665

By Jonna Dye ~ Blink explains what happens when you listen to your gut feelings, why these snap judgments are often more efficient than conscious deliberation, and how to avoid your intuition leading you into wrong assumptions. Different professions and disciplines often have a term to describe the gift of reading deeply into the narrowest slivers of experience. Author Malcolm Gladwell writes that in the military, brilliant generals are said to possess “coup d’ oeil” meaning “the power of the glance”, which is the ability to immediately see and make sense of a battlefield. Napoleon had coup d’ oeil, so did Patton. In Blink, Gladwell refers to this rapid cognition as “thin-slicing” and explains how it works in everyday life.  Often having a little information about a situation is enough to come to a correct conclusion.

Gladwell presents the “locked door” idea, which suggests while people are good at making snap judgments, they are also bad at explaining why they can make them. The key idea is explained as sometimes what is stated as desirable is not always what we find desirable. Gladwell goes into detail describing speed dating cases where people had listed specific traits they were looking for in potential partners but ended up being attracted to someone who didn’t have those traits. There are subtle environmental triggers that we aren’t aware of which can lead us to these snap judgments.

There are also negative effects of thin-slicing, for example, the Warren Harding error. This is when we make unconscious assumptions about someone and continue to cling to these assumptions even when presented with evidence to the contrary. Millions of Americans voted for the attractive 29th U.S. President based on his good looks; however, he turned out to be one of the worst presidents in history. Gladwell calls the Warren Harding error “the dark side of cognition” and states that it is a major cause of prejudice.  However, he reveals that people can detect the Warren Harding error and make efforts to make unbiased decisions.

Blink illustrates how thin-slicing can be useful for making effective decisions. Such as when rapid cognition is used during auditions in classical music orchestras, which eliminates such factors as age, gender, race, and appearance, from the decision-making process. Gladwell describes blind auditions in the National Symphony Orchestra which resulted an increase of female musicians. Gladwell states that some people look like they perform better, while others look awful when they play despite sounding wonderful. Blind auditions take distracting factors out of the thin-slicing and allow only ears to judge.

Blink is an interesting read and can help us understand when thin-slicing is useful and when analytical thinking should be relied on instead.


By Stephen R. Covey
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN  1982137274

By Rosa Reynoza ~ There is so much you can learn from this book both in your personal and professional life. As a person who is involved with so many organizations, I want to make sure that my time is spent being as productive as possible. Part of my success is connecting with people and I always thought my listening skills were very strong, but this book took me to another level.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

I was very drawn to the way he describes deep listening. Deep listening really is powerful. It is one of the biggest tools we have to really connect to a person and really hear what they are asking for.

Another great topic was on perception. How you see or perceive a situation will make a huge difference in the way you react to that situation and feel about it.


By Cy Wakeman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY
ISBN: 9781250144065

By Tracy Long ~ Cy Wakeman is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and consultant and is well known in the Human Resource world for her Reality-Based Leadership. As a drama researcher, she helps organizations eliminate emotional waste in the form of workplace drama and infuse it with fact-based accountability.

No Ego is about how ego-driven emotions highjack our thought processes and cost organizations billions of dollars annually in lost productivity, reduced motivation, and low morale. These unproductive behaviors take the form of gossip, blame, dealing with hurt feelings, resistance to change, defensiveness, lack of buy-in, lack of ownership / accountability, and projecting made up stories instead of focusing on facts.

I found Cy engaging my ego when she pointed out that HR has been sold a bill of goods when it comes to employee engagement. HR professionals have long touted (from other researchers) that employees leave managers. Cy believes that this thinking makes employees passive and victims of circumstance rather than learning lessons about how to work with people they find challenging. While managers may not be responsible for work-place happiness, I think they can be responsible for workplace unhappiness.

Your circumstances are not the reason you can’t succeed;
they are the reality in which you must succeed.

Regarding her thoughts/research on engagement surveys, I thought she made a sound argument for limiting participation to those employees who were accountable. Why would we not want feedback on how to improve the business from those that contribute to customer satisfaction, improve processes, and solve problems rather than from those who are not meeting expectations, yet demanding more flexible hours and more paid time off?

Additionally, engagement surveys that focus on employee satisfaction rather than accountability might get you highly engaged, low accountable employees who will not sustain your business. Accountability must be a core value and disengagement is not an option.

Engagement without accountability creates entitlement

Rather than focusing on dated Change Management philosophies (which she thinks should die since they are out-of-place for the pace of change we live in now), Cy embraces Business Readiness. Instead of minimizing the disruption of change for workers, she has adopted a mind-set (pyramid) which changes the focus and the goals to awareness, willingness, advocacy, active participation, and driver. Ego by-passing questions such as, “How do you intend to step up and help get this done?”, are designed for self-reflection as opposed to reaction in a shared responsibility between employees and leadership. This is not to say that leaders don’t have responsibilities. By having transparency and clear expectations/deliverables, employees become partners with leaders in change instead of victims.

Change is hard only for the unready

Lastly, the book provides a Reality-Based Leadership Ego Bypass Toolkit in the appendix. One of my favorite self-reflection questions from the toolkit is, “If you didn’t have the story you’re telling yourself right now, who would you be?” Checkmate.


By Kay Sprinkle Grace
Publisher: Whit Press
ISBN-10: 0972020594

By Judy Coffey ~ Being involved in several Non-profit Boards, I see firsthand how many board members desire to be engaged with their non-profit’s programs and progress. However, many find it challenging to fundraise. The AAA book by Kay Sprinkel Grace is a tool to help boards understand how to transform into a “fundraising force”.

In this book, the author explains, if boards feel empowered and engaged in the fundraising program, they will become motivated and confident. The AAA program of fundraising has three vital components; the Ambassador, the Advocate and the Asker. Each role offers the board member an opportunity in fundraising and philanthropy. Most board members are motivated to “serve “and be involved.  The AAA approach offers board members the opportunity to choose which role is best for them.

The Ambassador: This is a role each board member needs to play; it is critical to cultivating prospective donors. The Ambassador should be informed of the non-profit’s mission and vision, make friends, and create and nurture relationships. This role is one of cultivating generous philanthropists. This stewardship helps make it easier for the Askers to do their job.

The Advocates: This is often a more formal role; the information they share is more strategic. They are advocates for the organization; they make the case and share the “why” of the non-profit. These individuals are engaged with the strategic plan, and are confident in the non-profit’s success. As an Advocate, the individual can get quickly to the message and negotiate partnerships. They can increase broader recognition of the organization.

The Asker:  This role is straight forward; they all enjoy asking; they are well informed and often are matched with like-minded individuals. They are good listeners and are very confident that the philanthropy dollars given are used and invested in the non-profit’s overall mission. The Asker will need to be prepared to answer the hard questions.

Some key innovation principles, according to AAA fundraising success:

  • People give because the organization meets needs
  • A gift is really for the community
  • Fundraising is about shared values

Grace’s book is a great management tool which can support stable current and growing boards. It makes a board member’s role a bit easier when it comes to building relationships, understanding financial resources, and building confidence in their outreach.

Organizations cannot go it alone. Communities and the public benefit sector can together identify opportunities, problem solve, and in partnership their board can create a very successful non-profit to enhance the community they serve. The AAA Way to Fundraising Success maps out a way to work together to accomplish this task.





Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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