Recommended Reading (4Q 2019)

Callahan’s associates offer their take on the best books for credit union leaders.

How To Be An Inclusive Leader

by Jennifer Brown

Summary: Research shows that employees who feel as though they belong in the workplace are more engaged and perform better. For leaders, this sets up a challenge: How to create that culture of belonging while fostering a diverse and inclusiveworkplace? In this book, diversity and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown presents her Inclusion Continuum, an actionable model that leaders at any level can adapt to advance their organizations. The author shows how the four stages of the continuumunaware, aware, active, and advocate can help leaders gain perspective, think differently, and take action to foster tangible change.

Review: When I picked up this book, I didn’t know what questions I was trying to answer I just knew I was looking for direction. In the past year, I’ve heard leaders in the industry talk about the importance of diversityand inclusion in the workplace, but I wasn’t sure what steps I personally could take to create change. We all want to be better leaders, but how and where to start?

In How To Be An Inclusive Leader, Brown shares the questions she’s most commonly asked: Where do I start? and How do I improve? For this reader, it was reassuring to discover I wasn’t alone. Throughoutthis quick read, Brown outlines concepts and asks questions that push readers to think differently. And although this book doesn’t have all the answers, it helped light a spark in me one that’s pushing me to do better. There’sno quick fix to make the workplace a more diverse and inclusive space, but change won’t come until we start to take action.

Alexandra Gekas, Vice President of Marketing & Media, Callahan & Associates

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual

by Warren Berger

Summary: Jocko Willink is a Navy Seal turned executive leadership coach, which explains the name for his fourth book, Leadership Strategy and Tactics. The field manual is full of tactile lessons and words of wisdom for thosewho aspire to become better leaders. To Willink, the best leaders care about their teams and put in the effort to be transparent and clear, set positive examples, and model humility. Additionally, Willink encourages leaders to look beyond the minutiaof small tasks and instead focus on the overall project.

Review: I have been a fan of Willink for several years, and I found this insight into his leadership methodology indispensable. I open it every morning at random for a word of wisdom.

While reading Leadership Strategy and Tactics, I couldn’t help but apply Willink’s framework to the credit union industry. Credit unions already positively impact their members and communities every day, but imagine what the industrycould achieve if it applied its natural collaborative spirit toward partnering with others and expanding its reach. That starts with leadership. Consistent, trustworthy leaders inspire teams to adopt the values and focus that puts team success aboveall else. Making this a universal attitude will foster more cross-departmental, cross-organizational collaboration within the movement.

I was fortunate to attend a signing for this book, and Willink’s inscription says it all: It’s on you.

Jen Davis, Vice President of Information Systems & Technology, Callahan & Associates

This article appeared originally in Credit Union Strategy & Performance.

April 16, 2020

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