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What Leaders in Transportation and Logistics Are Reading

Jun 3, 2020 | Logistics

During this unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic, reading a good book can be an escape for many; whether it’s to provide entertainment or to further professional development. Various leaders at Werner recently shared what they are reading. Take a look at these recommended books so you can add them to your summer reading list.

“The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups” by Daniel Coyle

“I highly recommend ‘The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.’ I’ve read it twice and I’ve gotten a lot out of it each time that I read it. This book is how connectivity among teams drives success. It shares stories of how cultural chemistry can transform a team to accomplish more than they ever imagined. There are numerous sports references throughout the book and as a sports fan, I resonate with that. The book references the San Antonio Spurs and how the leadership of Coach Gregg Popovich impacted the culture and success of the team. Popovich elaborated on ‘belonging cues’ with the team to form a comradery and ultimately deliver results:  ‘you are part of this group,’ ‘this group is special; we have high standards,’ and ‘I believe you can reach those standards.’ With this mentality, the Spurs didn’t just succeed because they were good at basketball, they were good at team building and establishing strong relationships. Another example was how Joe Maddon, the coach of the Chicago Cubs, handles negative performance. Maddon keeps a glass bowl filled with slips of paper inscribed with brands of expensive wine. If a player violates a team rule, then they draw the slip of paper, purchase that wine and uncork it with their manager. Therefore, an act of correction becomes an act of reconnection. In this book, there are many valuable lessons on how to drive a successful culture among a team. Definitely read this book, you won’t regret it. I also recommend checking out ‘The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.’ It was written by the same author and equips readers with tools they can use to maximize their potential as well as others.” – Andy, AVP of Logistics Strategy

“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink

“When I first came to the United States as a young boy, I didn’t know much about good authors. Over time, I found some helpful books that I really like. Here are a few: ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek, ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ by Daniel Pink and ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. When I read these books, I learned a lot about myself and leadership, which can be applied in many different ways including in the profession that we’re in. I’ve been a leader/trainer at Werner for the past 14 years and I learned a lot in particular from ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,’ which is about the research behind human motivation and how the aspects can be divided into autonomy, mastery and purpose.” – Izet, Werner Road Team captain and one million miles accident-free professional driver

“Rebel Talent – Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life” by Francesca Gino

“I have recently enjoyed the company of two authors. Francesca Gino is a Harvard business professor and I accidentally came across her book ‘Rebel Talent – Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life’ at a business conference. We all agree that big ideas and creativity help move our company, industry and economy forward. Most of us also agree that big ideas and creativity do not come from ensuring our teams blindly follow the rules. How do you encourage, foster and nurture rebellious behavior in your organization? That’s the hard part as it takes special individual self-awareness, very diverse corporate culture and tolerance to behaviors that may be unfamiliar, yet positive. How to adapt to this mentality and become or nurture rebels is where Gino’s book really brings it home. A must-read for anyone starting out in their career to CEOs.

The other author I’ve been spending time with is Dr. Mathew Walker and his book ‘Why We Sleep.’ While this may not sound like the most relevant business book, rest assured, it is! Walker starts his book by warning those who use the common phrase “I’ll sleep when I am dead” that such prophecies are very accurate. Not getting your standard seven or eight hours of sleep (whether one admits it or not) can significantly decrease work performance, increase negative attitude, lower ability to build positive relationships, and yes, you guessed it, earlier death. This a very easy and extremely interesting read that will help you see that getting enough rest is not just a commodity, it’s complying with our human nature.” – Marina, Senior Manager of ITS

“The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company” by Robert Iger

“One of the recent books I jumped into is by Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney. This autobiography follows Iger’s journey from starting at the lowest level at ABC to taking over as CEO of Disney. One of the main themes throughout the book is that Iger always attempted to handle every work and career decision with honesty and integrity. He used his ability to collaborate with others to build trust and gain more responsibility as a leader. It also elaborates on his major accomplishments including acquiring Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. Iger made those deals with the mindset that Disney had to change and evolve if it was going to be competitive in the marketplace. He strives to adapt to change and be open-minded which I think drove a majority of his success.

At the end of his book, he highlights several key takeaways from his time at Disney. This one was my favorite:

‘Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.’” – Katy, Operations Supervisor

“The Code. the Evaluation. the Protocols: Striving to Become an Eminently Qualified Human” by Jocko Willink

“I’m reading this book right now and it’s about raising your own standards. It elaborates on setting goals and high standards so you can strive to achieve your best life and it breaks down strategies and tactics to apply to your personal and professional life that can put you on a path for great personal development. Essentially, it is an evaluation and handbook for grading performance across all of life’s responsibilities, including health, physical fitness, personal conduct, professional conduct, character, leadership, relationships, finance and emergency preparedness.

So far, I gained the most value from learning the disciplines around setting daily goals. Having big, lofty goals is great, but the challenge has always been having the daily discipline to do the little things that move me in the direction I want to go. The book breaks down life into different buckets and allows me to evaluate each bucket independently to make it easier to put small attainable goals against them, which leads to better discipline long-term in my personal and professional approach.”  – Jay, Director of Logistics

“The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity” by Erik Wahl

“A book I read not too long ago that I love is called ‘The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity’ by Erik Wahl. This book focuses on the thought of taking ideas and making them real. When you have an idea, if you believe in it, get your hands dirty and make it a reality. The spark is the idea, the grind is how hard you have to work to move it forward. The author believes that everyone has creativity within them, you just need to find it. This helps motivate me when the team, or myself, comes up with ideas. It is a reminder to continue exploring and work to make them successful.” – Nate, AVP of Intermodal

Thank you to these leaders for providing their insight and sharing the books they enjoy. For more information on our company culture, be sure to follow the Werner Enterprises and Werner Logistics social media accounts.

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