#ConsultantsRead is a Twitter Book Club chat I facilitate on the last Tuesday of every month at 10 AM CT. Books and articles selected for #ConsultantsRead are in the areas of business development, personal development and leadership. The goal of #ConsultantsRead is to foster relationships between consultants, freelancers and other small business owners while building skills. Join us!
The Stress Management Workbook by Ruth C. White, PhD, MPH, MSW
Is anyone else reaching new levels of stress in 2020?! Join @AES_Consult on Twitter on July 28 at 10 AM CT to discuss the following questions based on this month's book:
1. What are current stressors in your life?
2. In what ways is work stressful for you?
3. Have you ever tracked your stress? What are your thoughts about this process?
4. What do you currently do for stress management?
5. What exercises from the workbook have you tried? Thoughts?
6. What "Aha!" moments did you experience while working through this book?
7. What long-term strategy for stress reduction is most important to you right now?
My Role in a Social Change Ecosystem: A Mid-Year Check-In by Deepa Iyer. Available at https://medium.com/@dviyer/my-role-in-a-social-change-ecosystem-a-mid-year-check-in-1d852589cdb1 What is your role in a social change ecosystem? Join #consultantsread on Tuesday June 30 at 11 AM ET on Twitter to discuss. Follow @AES_Consult for more details.
Deepa Iyer includes many thought provoking questions as part of the article. We will highlight some of them in our chat:
1. What role(s) outlined in Deepa Iyer’s Social Change Ecosystem model do you feel most natural in playing? Why?
2. Thinking about the role(s) you identified in Q1, how do you invoke these roles in your business?
3. What other role(s) do you play in your business that you did not identify in Q1? How do you feel occupying these roles?
4. What role(s) do you aspire to, personally and/or professionally? What barriers do you see in playing these roles?
5. In thinking about the role(s) you play in the social change ecosystem, are you explicit about how you see your role with clients? Why or why not?
6. How has your idea of what role you and your business play in the social change ecosystem changed, if at all, in 2020?
7. Who keeps you accountable to your role(s) in the social change ecosystem?
24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week by Tiffany Shlain
Having your own business can often mean being connected and thinking about it 24/7. This book offers strategies for the practice of unplugging all screens one day a week. Join @AES_Consult and #ConsultantsRead on Twitter to discuss on June 1 at 11 AM ET. Here are our chat questions:
1. In what ways do you think technology helps and harms your work? Life?
2. In what ways do you build self-regulation into your business “tech use”? Personal?
3. What benefits of a “Tech Shabbat” are you most drawn to? Why?
4. How could Tech Shabbat help you to contribute more to your community as a business owner?
5. What components would you build into your Tech Shabbat?
6. How could you incorporate journaling into your business practices?
7. What was your major takeaway from reading this book?
Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation by Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Rahul Nair, Natalie Painchaud in Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec 2019. Available at: https://hbr.org/2019/11/breaking-down-the-barriers-to-innovation
How do you think about the role of innovation in your business? Join @AES_Consult and #ConsultantsRead to discuss this article on April 28 on Twitter at 10 AM CT / 11 AM ET. Here are the chat questions:
1. How have you typically thought about innovation in your business?
2. What desired characteristics do you want your businesses to have? In other words how would you end this sentence, “Wouldn’t it be great if we…”?
3. What gets in the way of the desired characteristics you identified in Q2? In other words, how would you end this sentence, “But we don’t because…”
4. Do you have a variation of the 70:20:10 BEAN in place for your business? If yes, how has this worked for you? If no, would you try this strategy?
5. What was your favorite example of a BEAN from a business mentioned in the article?
6. What examples of ‘innoganda’ have you seen and/or experienced in your own career?
7. What was your major takeaway from reading this article?
Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
March 2020 has upended our lives with the COVID-19 pandemic. Rework offers a litany of advice that may be helpful to consultants at any time, but particularly during a time where we are dealing with change, uncertainty and things that are out of our control.
Join @AES_Consult #ConsultantsRead on Tuesday, March 31 at 10 AM CT / 11 AM ET to discuss this book. Here are the chat questions:
1. How have you had to "rework" your business during COVID-19? What challenges have you had?
2. The book has 10 sections of advice. Which sections are particularly relevant to you and why?
3. What aspects of the book did you particularly agree with?
4. What aspects of the book did you particularly disagree with?
5. What was your biggest takeaway from reading this book?
6. What are your thoughts on the format of this book?
7. How did reading this book during this time help you think about how to potentially adapt your business?
The Art of Decision Making by Joshua Rothman in The New Yorker magazine January 14, 2019. Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/21/the-art-of-decision-making
Consultants and freelancers have a lot of decision-making authority...and the stress that comes with that. Join @AES_Consult on Twitter Tuesday, February 25 at 10 AM CT to discuss this article from a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine.
Here are the questions we will discuss:
1. What processes do you use to make business decisions?
2. What processes that were mentioned in the article sounded interesting to try incorporating into your business decisions?
3. Have you gone through the process of defining values for your business? Why/why not?
4. What decisions do you routinely make over and over in your business without much thought?
5. What decisions do you struggle with in your business?
6. What are your business aspirations?
7. “Living ‘authentically’ requires occasionally leaving your old self behind to create and discover a new self.” How do you think this idea shows up in business/consulting?
Let the Story do the Work by Esther K. Choy
"Storytelling has emerged as a strategic skill that every business leader must master."
Esther K. Choy's book will tell us the principal elements of storytelling to help craft stories of our own and build confidence in our storytelling abilities.
Join us January 28 at 10 AM CT / 11 AM ET on Twitter to discuss. Follow @AES_Consult for more.
Questions for discussion:
1. Prior to reading this book, how did you use the concept of “story” in your business?
2. Choy builds a case for considering story by saying, “In a competitive environment, almost everyone has strong qualifications.” Story, therefore can be a differentiator for your business. What is your reaction to this?
3. “When most people are preparing to tell their stories, they tend to think only about what they will tell and how they will tell it. Too often they neglect to think about how their audience will react to the stories, as influenced by their own needs and preferences.” P.9
How have you thought about how your client audience reacts to your business “stories”?
4. In some ways, this book is an extension of a previous read, The 1-Page Marketing Plan, which also encouraged thinking about our clients (i.e., audience) and to anticipate their needs. How did this book help you expand on this idea?
5. The book has a lot of tools to help in story development, including templates, questions, and suggested activities. What tools stood out to you as being the most useful for your business?
6. What would you have liked to have more of or less of in this book?
7. What from this book will you be incorporating into your business going forward?
Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness
Ingrid Fetell Lee
Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing in Business
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World
J. Kelly Hoey
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out from the Crowd
How Consultants Project Expertise and Learn at the Same Time
Alaric Bourgain and Jean-Francois Harvey
Published in Harvard Business Review
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