Why Your Company Needs a Business Library

on February 8 | in Community Awareness, Individual Improvement | by | with Comments Off on Why Your Company Needs a Business Library

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One of the reasons I’ve lasted so much longer at the company I work for now compared to my previous employers is the emphasis on continuous learning. There’s a good number of other reasons, of course, but I find it incredible that so many small businesses do not have a business library to help their employees and company grow. Or that they do not allow telecommuting. Or that they expect employees to naturally care about the business beyond job security. There’s clearly a damaging self-centered world view among many business leaders.

Before I get too deep here, let me reassure you that I’m not saying the company I work for is ideal. We’ve got our problems and we’re working them out. That’s the way it is for all businesses and all people, always. Ideal is a direction, not a place.

Investing in Employees

When you have books on business and self-improvement available for all employees and encourage the folks on staff to read them, you’re fostering an atmosphere of learning. It’s a way of connecting about the business as a whole rather than just day-to-day operations and making profit. In the old world of business, employees weren’t encouraged to think about the business as a whole and were to supposed to be inspired by pithy mission statements and sporadic memos. As if big-wigs behind closed doors were somehow capable of greater thought than the cubicle-bound.

The truth is not so self-centered: until employees are empowered, they will never really give a damn. The people on the ground are the ones who win battles; no matter how masterfully a general might arrange and deploy troops, without battles won there can be no victory in the war. For some employees, the problem is just that their personal interests aren’t aligned with the business’ interests because of a lack of autonomy and reward beyond the paycheck. There’s an undercurrent of fear among business leaders that encouraging people on staff to grow will ultimately mean that the best employees will set out on their own. Would you rather have a business full of apathetic, untalented employees who stay for life or motivated, talented employees who give you a limited period of excellence? The answer should be easy to see.

What a Business Library Is

The thought of a “library” evokes visions of dusty shelves and the sounds of muffled coughing. Not at all the sense of excitement you want to surround your business. That’s not at all what I’m talking about. Books don’t have to be physical, of course; they could be audio CDs or electronic for tablets. The library can go beyond books, even be videos or a central location for people to share interesting articles they read online. A business library is ultimately any collection of materials that help people who work in a business grow. All of the other characteristics are up to the people who use it.

Books don’t have to be “checked out.” Find a book you really love? Buy a copy for everyone in your company who wants one (ask first, you don’t want to buy really expensive firewood). It’s a trivial investment compared to the context people will get out of reading it – if it’s their book, it has to do with them, but if it’s the company’s book, it has to do with their job. This has nothing to do with generosity or pinching pennies; this has everything to do with the higher perspective that our best work is lifting others, making them self-sufficient. In fact, just growing as a collection of people is a damn fine reason to be in business. It doesn’t have to be just about material wealth.

Books To Start Your Business Library

Note that I earn a tiny affiliate fee if you purchase books through the links below.

I read, and recommend each of these books given to me by the company I work for. They’ve improved my abilities as a team leader and a manager, but they’ve also improved my productivity and efficiency in my life at large. They are exactly the sort of positive, clear-thinking material all entrepreneurs and leaders should read – which means they are exactly the sort of thing you need to get embodied in your business. So, at your next business meeting, pass out one of these to everyone on board and follow up later with measures that will empower everyone to put these into action for the business and for themselves.

The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

I was inspired to write this post because of this book, and I haven’t even read it. The owner of the business I work for drove to my house and gave it to me yesterday – and that’s not the first time.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

Want to be an effective, moral leader who incorporates some of the wisdom from spirituality into the company? This book is packed full of good stuff specifically about leadership from the popular Dave Ramsey.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

Want to get broader and figure out how the business needs to change in overall approach for success? This book can help you reassess what you should be doing and who you should be doing it for.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

With this book, we start to get into the area that fear-based leadership shows its face. This excellent book by the always-excellent Seth Godin helps people change the power relationship with others, including specifically business leaders. It talks to business leaders about why they should want this, but I suspect this is the type of book most management likes to read but prefers general employees didn’t.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

This book inspired my my post about dreamlining and continues to make a big impact on my life. I put it last because it’s a direct confrontation of business leader fear. There’s an emphasis and strategies toward starting your own business and freedom from your current employer. If you’re a leader or in management, that should only scare you if you’ve made your company something people desire to be free of.


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