Archive for September, 2020

Why not use this time at home to grow professionally? Our senior leadership team at GSI would like to share with you their favorite professional development books. Whether you choose to read them on your own or with friends and coworkers as a part of a virtual book club, each of these books is a great way to help make connections to your professional development goals.

Check out the list below – one of them may become your next favorite!

DENNIS R. MAPLE, President and CEO

Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch

Book cover for Jack straight from the gut by Jack Welch

Straight from the Gut provides leaders with a roadmap for building great teams by ensuring their people are the central focus. While the book is about 20 years old, the lessons around holding people accountable to perform as agreed to and constantly looking to upgrade the team through development and recruitment of talent remains true today. It’s a good read and much of the data and insights on people leadership are still relevant today.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Book cover for The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

According to Dennis, if you haven’t read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team yet you may want to! This book is about teams identifying and confronting unproductive leadership behaviors that impede the execution of company goals and long-term sustainable, predictable success. The book is a quick read and it provides examples of very common dysfunctional behaviors that must be addressed before a team can become a high-performing and consistently deliver expected results and outcomes.

Execution The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

Book cover for Execution The Discipline of Getting Things Done

In this book, Bossidy and Charan explain that great companies that achieve their goals focus on three pillars: strategy, people and operational plans. They delve into the importance of these three pillars, how they’re linked and how companies can succeed when all three are balanced. The book also offers insight on how organizational leaders can benefit from being linked to performers throughout the organization and how accountability is tied into performance, rewards and compensation.

CHRISTINA ESTRADA, SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer

First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Book cover for First, Break all the Rules

As an HR professional, Christina says this book shattered several paradigms that she had learned about how to best manage people. Four key elements emerged from the research on what great managers do:

  • Select for talent beyond just experience, intelligence or determination;
  • Define the right outcomes, not the right steps;
  • Focus on strengths, not weaknesses when motivating people;
  • Help find the right fit, not simply the next rung on a ladder when developing people.

The best managers “manage by exception” and don’t treat people how managers want to be treated, rather how their people want to be treated.

BOB SCOPINICH, SVP, Chief Financial Officer 

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Book cover for Little Bets by Peter Sims

 This book explains the importance of gradual improvement and constant innovation through lots of little failures and small wins.

Like most books about business, there are great stories and examples from big organizations, but Little Bets goes beyond solely focusing on companies. There are examples of Chris Rock working on new material, General McMaster developing counter-insurgency tactics and Frank Gehry designing buildings. Bob felt that the variety of examples made for a more interesting read than the average business book.

 CHRIS MALONE, EVP, Chief Growth and Strategy Officer

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Book cover for Start with Why by Simon Sinek 



In this book, the author argues that customers don’t buy or become loyal to WHAT companies make or sell but rather to WHY they do it. Successful companies attract loyal customers because their missions, purpose and intentions show customers that they are honorable and trustworthy. Sinek’s message encourages brands to focus on defining their mission and purpose (the why) before focusing on the products or services they will sell (the what).

 Give and Take by Adam Grant

Book cover for How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Written by world famous psychologist and tenured Wharton School professor Adam Grant, Give and Take draws on extensive research to determine the success levels of three types of people: givers, takers and matchers. He ultimately determines that givers are generally the most successful and influential people because they freely provide more assistance and support than they receive while generally expecting nothing in return. Be sure to check this book out if you’re looking for fascinating insight into the how workplace personalities and relationships influence personal and professional success.

 MELISSA MILLER, VP, Digital Marketing

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Book cover for Mendela's Way by Richard Stengel

Melissa says this classic book is her all-time career favorite due to its focus on interactions with people not only in the workplace but also in everyday life. It was one of the first books she read in her career to help her understand the importance of how to treat colleagues and others in her sphere. Although the book has been around for a while, Melissa believes the practices readers can learn from it are still relevant today.

Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Working with Emotional Intelligence

Developing a strong emotional intelligence, or EQ, is key for effective leaders. This book talks about the techniques and skills that draw EQ into the workforce. Melissa says she believes leaders must be sure to look at the total person and what is happening in the person’s everyday life to understand what makes him or her work best. This book reveals that by focusing on EQ, leaders can use empathy to help others and defuse conflict.

JULIE TREON, VP, Strategic Planning and Communications

Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel

JULIE TREON, VP, Strategic Planning and Communications

This compact book offers a deeply inspiring look at an extraordinary statesman, leader and human being – Nelson Mandela. In Mandela’s Way, Stengel does an amazing job of exploring the experiences and complexities of this leader and then sharing the wisdom learned through 15 lessons that range from leading from the front – and back – and the importance of finding ways to instill joy and peace within our lives to the importance of recognizing that the answers to life’s most important questions are rarely yes or no. I turn to this book often for inspiration and insight.

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey

Book cover for The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

This is a compelling read not just for business leaders but for everyone as individuals. The principles shared in this book, if applied, can yield wonderful benefits for both our personal and professional relationships. Covey’s book is comprehensive but practical in the advice it conveys. In particular, this engaging book compels its readers to go deeply into the agendas of our hearts and to honestly recognize the impact this has on our behavior. This is a memorable read that will change the way you engage with others.