Books play an important role in the lives of the Level5 team.
Our founder, David Kincaid is a bestselling author of The Brand Driven CEO. Our Toronto team has a regular office book club and during the pandemic, shared reads were how many of us stayed connected. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing regular roundups of what the Level5 team is reading and recommending this summer.
This week, we have:
I am starting my summer reading with Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant. It was picked for me by a colleague who selected this book for our monthly Book Club at Level5!
This fantastic read unpacks how and why we develop engrained but often erroneous beliefs and provides a framework for rethinking and re-learning. As consultants, we tend to be naturally curious individuals. To be effective consultants, we must remain open to questioning old models and constant evolution and growth throughout our careers.
As a consultant with a background in the sciences, I loved the practical takeaway to think like a scientist by treating an opinion as a hypothesis and testing it with data. This is a critical skill in our business as we cannot pre-determine outcomes for our clients.
We must form hypotheses and then seek to disprove those hypotheses through insight-driven investigation. This is how we drive excellent outcomes with our clients, and personally, constant rethinking and learning is what motivates my passion for the industry.
My pick is Four Seasons: The Story Of A Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp. It’s a quick read about the rise of a Canadian-based, globally iconic brand and industry leader in providing a truly unique and memorable customer experience – during the best and worst of times.
What struck me is that even in dire financial circumstances, the Four Seasons stuck with its employees, avoided lay-offs, and was rewarded when business rebounded. It was one of the very first brands to effectively operationalize personalized customer experience with both emotional and rational drivers and overcome category pain points.
My pick is Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. Frances is an unlikely, diverse, and welcome voice on the topic of leadership. She is a widely respected, highly educated (HBS) thought leader sought out by business leaders worldwide – including pulling UBER out of their troubles.
I became an unabashed groupie of Frances Frei after I watched her 2018 TED Talk, and I was hooked by how she spoke about trust and authenticity. It came to me at a time when the ground underneath me had shifted from a personal and political standpoint – when I found myself faced with leaders who lacked personal integrity and professional respect.From my experience in business over the last 30 years, working in a male-dominated environment compromises how women can express themselves because we are expected to conform to male expectations and norms.
So, when Frances announced she was writing a book with her life partner, Ann Morris, I put my name on the waiting list to buy it. It was published in 2020, and I devoured it.
What resonated with me was her foundational framework around trust which she calls “The Trust Triangle.” My big takeaway is that a real trusting relationship can only be attained with a balance across three areas of leadership:
When trust is lost, it can typically be traced to the breakdown of one of these three drivers. This simple but effective framework and the detail with which Frances brings it to life with practical explanations and clear examples resonated with me. So much so, that I have adopted this framework in my leadership style, which has informed how I coach and mentor others.
See the picture of my dog-eared, marked-up book!