Last summer, whilst I was on vacation, my staff plotted against me. It was a sneaky, devious plot intended to subterfuge my authority. They started a BOOK CLUB.
Now, as I absorbed the horror of this colossal waste of company time, I was relieved to hear that we would not be reading the latest masterpiece from Nicholas Sparks, but rather books somewhat related to our work as a web design and development firm
We would get together weekly for an hour to discuss. Attendance would be optional, but greatly prefered to get a wide range of perspectives from different parts of the organization. We would also have a designated facilitator to help guide and also make sure some of our remote employees could get a word in edgewise.
Our first book, Design for Real Life, served as a great kickoff - underscoring the need to ensure empathy in all of your design. The book sparked conversation that extended past just traditional web design and elicited discussions ranging from customer service to understanding your co-workers.
Since that time, we have consistently met weekly and to-date have read:
Atomic Design - Brad Frost
User Story Mapping - Jeff Patton
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win - Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford (currently reading)
I will say, although on the surface these titles tend to be pretty tech-heavy, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, although we covered the content of the books, they really served as a framework to have discussions about our own organization as whole. In essence, instead of just having a weekly meeting about “Change” and being forced to construct some kind of agenda for each, the books served AS that agenda and helped us to think about things we haven’t considered. The content and discussions also helped foster a shared understanding of how we could put some of the lessons learned into practice.
Obviously, it is important to get everyone involved and make sure all feel that they can speak and share thoughts. Feel free to check out the books we have already read. All were very well received and you don’t need to be a development or design agency to appreciate them. Happy reading!