How Do I Get My Team to Read This Book?

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QBQ, book, book study, accountability

Do you buy books for others?

When Who Moved My Cheese? was the hot title, a Barnes & Noble employee told me, “I’ve never seen anything like it—customers are backing up the truck to load this title up!”

Of course, I would rather have heard that about the QBQ! book, but it wasn’t quite our time. ?

I do recall wondering, though, how many people actually read the Cheese book after their boss plopped it onto their desk.

There’s nothing new about managers buying books for staff; it’s a fine way to teach and train. Yet, there are ways to do it and ways not to do it …

Giving Books to Others, Inviting People Along

Do not do it this way:

Hey, Team, I bought you each a book because, well, YOU NEED IT!

I told a group of pharmaceutical sales managers to not do it like that and a woman came up after my session and sheepishly shared, “Oh, gee—that’s exactly how I gave QBQ! to my team. It didn’t go over very well.”

At least she was humble and strong enough to admit it. ??????

Do do it this way:

Here’s how we recommend a book be given to others:

“So, I’ve been reading this book titled QBQ! and it’s challenged me. I’ve read it three times, underlining and highlighting key sections. I’d like you to read it and let me know how I am doing using the QBQ! material. I really want to grow — will you help me?”

To all managers, parents, spouses, friends, and colleagues, I say this: Trust me, your staff will grab that book from you so fast it’ll leave you dizzy!

Then, as they read with an open mind — thinking the content is for you — they’ll discover it will also benefit … them.

Use This Idea to Ensure They Read the Book

A story from Bob of UPS, who provided our photo above:

John, I recently joined a department that is suffering from “silos and butt-covering,” to quote QBQ!

As you can see in the photo, I bought a bunch of QBQ! books. I will give one to each team member. I can’t make them read the book, but a note with a question will be hidden in every book.

If I don’t hear from someone, I’ll know who didn’t bother to read the book.

I learned this trick in college when I had a professor who would only write a letter grade on my papers with no comments. I wondered if she was actually reading them — and I also wanted more feedback. So, in one instance, I typed halfway through my paper, “If you are reading this I will buy you a soda from the vending machine.”

When she returned my paper, at the top of the cover page in red ink she’d written: “A+. Mountain Dew.”

Ask Others To Lead the Discussion

A more conventional method of ensuring a team reads a book would be to plan/hold 30-45 minute “book conversation” events and rotate the ownership for leading the sessions amongst team members. People who must organize and lead a discussion will read the material ahead of time. Trust me!

In closing, we’re curious …

What titles have you brought to your team and how did you cause people to read/get involved?

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9 Responses

  1. Our agency does “Read to Lead” sessions at least quarterly. I have lead groups on discussion of QBQ and Flipping the Switch, in 2019. I hope to do QBQ again in 2020 and possibly The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon or Care Like a Mouse by Lenn Millbower.
    thanks for the great discussion points shared.

  2. My story is kind of super related….

    Our Executives introduced ‘A journey into the Heroic Environment’ as a catalyst to develop a more empowered culture in our organization. (This was after ‘who moved my cheese’) Many of the more risk averse team members struggled with this idea, because if we lavish trust, how can we maintain accountability?

    So, I began reading books on accountability. And I came across this one. I was so taken with the idea of personal accountability and it fit in with the empowering aspect of the ideal culture we were pursuing, I gave the book to my CEO. After a couple months it made it to the top of his reading pile, and he had all his executives read it. Shortly there after every team member got one, and now every new team member is required to read it as part of their orientation (Or listen to it; we have the CDs as well)

    To your point, presenting it to my CEO was a good example of how we present it to our team, I was very excited to share it. I was able to express how it helped me be better at my job, (and frankly, in my personal life) and that it helped me embrace a heroic environment as a cultural shift. I didn’t have any motivation that he needed any of the advice therein; in fact, it was because he was so able to be accountable to his team members (even a freshman manager as I was at that time) that he was open to my suggestion to even read it.

  3. In my experience, Who Moved My Cheese has played a part in helping people stuck in bad habits get unstuck. The key achievement is getting people back on track.

    Then the QBQ is the next logical step, getting the unstuck people to embrace personal accountability.

    Personally, I have shared the QBQ many more times than Who Moved My Cheese, even though I have both books on my desk. It is usually the QBQ which is being recommended.

  4. Another great tip, advice, and easy way to get people to read…hahaha – I mean help me grow in my journey. You inspire me frequently, thank you again for helping me grow in my journey of being better.

  5. I had to laugh when I read about your WHO MOVED MY CHEESE comment. That is how I ended up with my copy. My son’s boss gave it to him to read. I am fairly sure that he did not read it. I did however. I think giving QBQ would have been a better gift though for the business.

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