Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Margaret Heffernan’s Required Reading

strategy+business, November 9, 2016

by Theodore Kinni

By 2100, we are going to eradicate disease and colonize Mars. In a time when it can be hard to tell corporate leaders from sci-fi writers, Margaret Heffernan speaks more to achieving lofty visions than announcing them. The author, speaker, and executive coach is particularly interested in how to identify and empower talented people — a key trait of effective executives, whether they are bound for Mars or not.

Heffernan, a journalist by training, has written extensively on the theme of talent. In The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters (Jossey-Bass, 2004) and Women on Top: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Rewriting the Rules of Business Success (Viking, 2007), she examined the costs of undervaluing women in the workplace. In Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril (Walker & Company, 2011), Heffernan explored how having the right team can save leaders from catastrophic blind spots. In A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition (Public Affairs, 2014), she explained why more inclusive, collaborative cultures outperform competitive ones. Most recently, Heffernan reprised her popular TED talks in Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes (Simon & Schuster/TED, 2015), a short book that describes the powerful, positive effects that result from minor alterations in how we work together.

Heffernan began her career in television production at the BBC and subsequently led IPPA, an English film and television producer trade association. When the Internet disrupted media, she turned serial entrepreneur, serving as CEO of iCast, ZineZone, and InfoMation for CMGI, one of the first Internet company incubators. Currently, in addition to writing and speaking, Heffernan serves as a Merryck & Co mentor, teaches at several business schools, and serves on the boards of three organizations.

When I invited Heffernan to talk books, she quickly agreed. “I mentor a handful of senior and chief executives, and the ones that read a lot have so many more choices in their heads than those who don’t. So, I say read, read, read, read, and read some more,” she said, and offered up the following four titles. Read the rest here.

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