10 must-read books for better collaboration

Whether your team is suddenly working from home or working through the challenges of digital transformation, collaboration is more critical than ever to get right. These books can help.
479 readers like this.
collaboration books

We ask a lot of teams today. Move faster. Think more creatively. Have more empathy – not just for the customer but for peers across the business. Communicate and collaborate better – with colleagues in your office, working from home, and across time zones, because the future of work is remote.

Teams need great leadership to guide them though these challenges and more in the decade ahead. We’ve put together a list of book recommendations to help leaders build, nurture, and grow resilient and successful teams. Whether you are undergoing digital transformation, experimenting with agile, or learning to collaborate in new, unexpected ways, there is a book here that can help.

Fast Times: How Digital Winners Set Direction, Learn, and Adapt

By: Arun Arora, Peter Dahlstrom, Klemens Hjartar, and Florian Wunderlich

Book description (via Amazon): “For executives frustrated with their pace of change, Fast Times digs into the root questions that shine a light on the issues that keep companies like yours from setting direction, learning, and adapting: Do you really know how your company is performing? How do you make it safe for people to experiment so you can build a proactive culture? How do you balance fast execution with deliberate decision-making? Are your training programs up to the challenge of reskilling the talent you need tomorrow? Do your IT people have the skills needed to build the tech that’s needed and incorporate cybersecurity? The experts at McKinsey & Company draw from decades of experience and detailed analysis to highlight what matters most in order to become a digital winner.”

Why you should read it: Digital transformation is a people issue. Beyond the change management and technology challenges that arise, digital transformation initiatives inevitably change people’s jobs – how they work with customers, how they collaborate on cross-functional teams, how they learn, etc. You’ll find strategies for many of the people issues you’ll face on your digital transformation journey in this book. You can also read more from the authors in our recent article: Digital transformation: 3 ways to lure the technical talent you need.

[ Are you leading toward a more collaborative and innovative team? Get the free eBook, Organize for Innovation, by Jim Whitehurst. ]

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

By: Safi Bahcall

Book description (via Amazon): “In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.”

Why you should read it: What’s the difference between a crazy idea, and an idea that’s so crazy it might actually work? This book is for any team that opts to play it safe over taking a chance. Leaders will learn how to overcome the groupthink that often kills disruptive ideas.

10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds that Make a Business Great

By: Joel Peterson

Book description (via Amazon): "In The 10 Laws of Trust, JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson explores how a culture of trust gives companies an edge. How does it feel to work for a firm where leaders and colleagues trust one another? Freed from micromanagement and rivalry, every employee contributes his or her best. Risk-taking and innovation become the norm. With this book in hand, you’ll be able to plant the seeds of trust – and reap the rewards of reputation, profits, and success.”

Why you should read it: Teams need high levels of trust more than ever. At this moment, teams across the United States are adopting a remote-first policy. Without a solid foundation of trust, effective communication and collaboration is hard to achieve. Read this book to learn practical tips for empowering everyone, prioritizing accountability, and keeping everyone informed.

Revolutionize Teamwork: How to Create and Lead Accountable Teams

By: Eric Coryell

Book description (via Amazon): "Taking a page from Facebook, Eric Coryell has developed a teamwork model that creates trust, success, and true accountability. How? By redefining your team’s model to be customer facing as opposed to reporting up! Revolutionize Teamwork is a quick read packed with valuable information that shows you how to create and lead accountable teams built on shared trust. Using the principles Eric outlines in this book leads to teams that are better able to make decisions and are motivated by group success.”

Why you should read it: Short on time and in need of actionable strategies to improve your team? Many reviewers praise the author’s ability to pack clear lessons into a quick and easy-to-digest read. If your team is asking for clarity around what it means to be accountable, use this book to provide the guidance they seek.

The Power of Experiments

By: Michael Luca and Max H. Bazerman

Book description (via MIT): “Luca and Bazerman describe the central role experiments play in the tech sector, drawing lessons and best practices from the experiences of such companies as StubHub, Alibaba, and Uber. Successful experiments can save companies money – eBay, for example, discovered how to cut $50 million from its yearly advertising budget – or bring to light something previously ignored, as when Airbnb was forced to confront rampant discrimination by its hosts. Moving beyond tech, Luca and Bazerman consider experimenting for the social good – different ways that governments are using experiments to influence or ‘nudge’ behavior ranging from voter apathy to school absenteeism. Experiments, they argue, are part of any leader’s toolkit. With this book, readers can become part of ‘the experimental revolution.’”

Why you should read it: Experiments play an important role in decision making for the data-driven world. The authors of this book share case studies in experimentation that highlight common issues leaders face, including bias, ethics, and unintended consequences. Read this book to get better at turning data from experiments into useful, actionable insights for your business.

Continue for more book recommendations on Page 2:

Carla Rudder is a community manager and program manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.