This was no ordinary phone meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I thought was going to be another phone call about performance systems with a professional sports team turned out to be an engaging conversation about how to improve culture in an organization through your hiring process and through personnel development. But it ended in the most unusual way. I will never forget it.
“Phil, I know you are busy and I have already taken 45 minutes of your time, but can I ask one final question.... What books are you reading or what have you currently read that you would recommend?"
WOW! I was floored. This guy is at the top of his profession and was asking me what books I am reading. I told everyone I knew about this conversation and the question at the end. I am a huge subscriber to the leaders are readers concept. But this took my perspective to another level. I even discussed this question with my mentor. Why was this question so impactful to me?
1. The question showed humility
By asking what someone else is doing, you demonstrate that you don’t know everything. You demonstrate that you are open to the other person’s ideas. I am blessed to work with some of the best of the best leaders in business, health care, professional sports, and the military. The one thing they have in common is that they are avid readers of both fiction and non-fiction.
2. The question showed respect
This is really the other side of the coin of humility. Asking what I am reading shows a great amount of respect for my opinion. The question of what I am reading shows openness to others ideas. It immediately screams that you don’t believe that your way is the only way.
3. The question creates connection
Recommending a book can be a highly personal experience. It is saying that you like the way the author expressed her thoughts and may have even liked her thoughts. It is revealing a part of you. Part of who you are and what you are interested in.
So go ahead, take the leap ask someone what is the last book that he read. I think you will be pleasantly surprised about the discussion it sparks.
Let’s get a discussion started below on what is the last book you read that you would recommend. I’ll go first...