My note to a rising star I recently promoted

I recently had the opportunity to promote an exceptional member of our team that I have no doubt is going places. I followed up his promotion with some recommendations based on my own experiences over the years. With that in mind, I'm sharing with you as well. 

Congrats again and thank you for your hard work.

So, here are some recommendations for you this year. These aren’t assignments. They aren’t things I’ll come back and quiz you on. They are things that I have found useful in the last handful of years and I’m simply sharing them. I’m a massive proponent of continued development and continued, voluntary learning and think every person that wishes to attain their maximum potential should be, too. Feel free to pick and choose; even I can’t get to all of these all the time. But I try.

Here you go:

  • Seth Godin’s blog – This is just a damn good blog. It’s packed with tips on everything from marketing to personal development. Sometimes both. I read it regularly and I’d recommend signing up for the newsletter or putting it in an RSS feed. While you’re at it, I’d recommend Seth’s books, of which there are many. I like them all; I love Tribes and Linchpin.

  • Tim Ferriss’ podcast – I’m as big a fanboy of Tim Ferriss as I am Seth Godin. I absolutely love his podcast. If getting into the minds and habits and personalities of the world’s best at just about anything (fitness, science, entrepreneurship, acting, writing, venture capital, and on and on) are of interest, this is a must listen. You’ll find that the world’s elite are very unique, but incredibly deliberate.

  • Andy Grove’s book, High Output Management – You’ve heard me quote the man time and time again. “Success leads to complacency. Complacency leads to failure. Only the paranoid survive.” This is a terrific book on management that every person that seeks to be in management in their career should read.

  • Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great – Simply a business classic. Should be in your queue at some point.

  • Marcus Buckingham’s book, First, Break All the Rules – This book had a tremendous impact on how I view leadership and management. After reading it you may recognize some themes in my management, particularly not trying to fix too many weaknesses and the Strengths Finder test that we’ve all taken. This and his follow ups were influential on me.

  • Jeff Sutherland’s book, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time – This is a book about changing the way that most teams work together. I think you’ll get a lot out of this, and I expect that after reading it, you may be able to think of ways that it is applicable to our team. You’ll also recognize the daily stand up and have context for it.

  • Jack Welch’s book, Jack: Straight From the Gut – I read this many years ago and a quote from it still resonates. The quote was from a factory worker that told the newly promoted Jack Welch, “You’ve been paying me for my hands for 20 years. You could have had my brain for free.” There were other great lessons in there, but that single quote had a lasting impact.

  • Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness – You know I love this one. I’ve probably purchased 100 copies and distributed them. I know I’ve asked everyone in the office to read this, but it is one of those books that is worth a refresher from time to time. I think particularly so in our office since we adopted so much of our culture from Zappos.

  • Ashlee Vance’s book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – So, not related to our business much at all. But if you want some inspiration about overcoming obstacles, accomplishing the impossible, and a great story to boot, this is it. This is a book you can listen to running and forget what you were doing.

I genuinely don’t want this to be a list of things that you feel pressure to get to. They are just recommendations and suggestions for good places to learn and explore. If you would like a copy of any of them and we don’t have them in the library already, just let us know and we’ll grab a copy.

And if you have any that are must-reads, let me know.