As we approach our tenth anniversary, we are excited to give you an inside look at our company culture, including inviting you into our long-standing office book club tradition. Our book club discussions have fueled cultural and organizational changes to our business, and we anticipate our latest selection, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, will be no exception. Learn why we make the effort to read and discuss books together, and join us in reading our current selection.
Why We Do It: The Value of a Company Book Club
We’ve built our business around inspiring people to create, transform and grow – and that mission is at the core of our internal culture as well. When we discover a book that has the potential to help each of us grow personally and professionally, we seize that opportunity.
It’s not uncommon for organizations to get stuck in a certain way of thinking. Employees may be jaded by their past experiences working with other organizations, and it can be all too easy to pass over an opportunity while busily following a process.
We’ve found that reading books together helps develop a common language that makes it easier to discuss new ideas or think more strategically about our work. Our previous book club discussions have helped company leadership embrace new ways of supporting our team, while simultaneously reinforcing our company values of having grit, seeking inspiration and remaining intellectually curious.
How We Pick Our Books & Past Book Club Selections
We choose our book club selections organically, usually when a member of the leadership team feels deeply inspired by a particular book. Looking back, the books have been representative of where our company was at the time or where we were headed.
When we read The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, BrandExtract was working hard at growing its business and finding our fit as a team. Drive by Daniel H. Pink encouraged us to think critically about how we work, including our company structure or environment. It led us to rethink certain policies and create more flexibility for programs such as working at home. Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen fueled the impetus for us to move the company to the next level and remains a constant reference point in internal meetings, client pitches and ongoing operational dialogues. The book inspired conversations about healthy business practices and served as a starting point to talk about discipline and grit.
Our Current Selection: Mindset
We selected Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck for our current book club read. This well-researched book delves into the idea that success depends more heavily on learning and resilience than an individual’s fixed traits.
I chose the book after realizing the enormous value and potential of fostering a growth mindset when it comes to delivering on our company’s mission. The heart of our business centers on solving problems and challenges for various companies in different industries all over the world. A lot of companies struggle to move past a mindset of “this is the way we’ve always done it,” and they approach us to make growth-oriented changes to their brand, marketing and marketplace position.
Our clients depend on us to find new opportunities, have grit, and persevere in the face of a challenge. To be a true leadership brand, we believe we have to keep learning, working and evolving. This book represents the potential to develop a more open minded and experimental atmosphere conducive to pioneering exciting new solutions.
How We Structure Our Book Club: Mindset Discussion Plan
Because we value the ideas presented in this book as part of our team’s ongoing training and development, we provided a copy of Mindset to every employee. We offered the book in several formats, including paperback, Kindle and audiobook, to allow the team some flexibility in how they read or listen.
To set a pace that encourages the entire team to read and participate in the book club, we will be staggering our discussions to focus on one chapter every other week. We find this strikes the right balance between giving people enough time to read and keeping the information fresh and current at the time of the discussion.
We will be holding our discussions during the last fifteen minutes of our Monday morning all-staff meetings. These meetings serve as a weekly “family meeting” where we come together as a team to celebrate recent work, discuss company updates and recalibrate for the week.
To encourage a productive dialogue, we will be drawing on the discussion questions created by the author. Sample discussion questions include:
- “When do you feel smart? When you’re doing something flawlessly or when you’re learning something new?”
- “How can you make striving, stretching, and struggling into something that makes you feel smart?”
- “Is there something in your business or career you’ve been wanting to try for? What’s stopping you? Can you analyze it from a growth mindset and plan a first step?”
After we reach the end of the book, our team will gather for a Lunch n’ Learn discussion to more fully discuss our thoughts on Mindset.
We want to be intentional about facilitating an intellectual discourse around the book, but the guided discussions are just the beginning. The real value stems from the informal conversations that happen around the office. That’s when we know the book has started to impact the way we think about our work and interact with our team.
Take Part in the BE Book Club
We believe intellectual curiosity sparks great things, and we encourage you to join us in reading Mindset. We will be making our way through the book until mid-May 2015. After we wrap up our internal discussion, we’ll be back with another post to follow up and share our biggest takeaways.
Update: Learn how Mindset impacted our work and company culture. See takeaways from our office’s discussion.