As a lifelong learner, nothing excites me more than a book club. I find pure joy in a rich community of people with different perspectives coming together to have meaningful conversations around a particular topic.
Pierce PR launched a new professional development book club this year that brings team members together to discuss books on topics such as leadership, culture, time management and organization, as well as miscellaneous topics such as creativity and mental health. As a relatively new team member, the book club was a fantastic way to get to know my colleagues beyond working with them on day-to-day projects.
For our first book, we read The Six Types of Working Genius. We each took a quiz that matched us with our working geniuses, or areas where you’re naturally gifted, our working competencies, or areas where you’re capable and don’t mind doing, and our working frustrations, or areas where you aren’t naturally gifted and don’t derive energy or joy from. The book taught us about all six geniuses and how they can work together to maximize joy and fulfillment, increase productivity, and boost morale.
We created a map using everyone’s quiz scores to outline how the group can work together – taking advantage of natural gifts and ideally minimizing time spent on areas of frustration. For me, discernment and enablement are my gifts while invention and wonder are my frustrations. Using this tool was incredibly helpful, as it affirmed how I can quickly evaluate ideas and assess strategy and also that I derive joy from helping my team. It validated why I may need extra time to ensure I’m in the right headspace to really tap into my creativity. From a wider perspective, it helped the group easily identify who to go to as a strong resource in each area. The map also helped us identify gaps for future hiring.
My first reaction to this book was how grateful I was to be at a company that values each person and recognizes that we all have unique gifts that we bring to the table. Rather than focusing on areas of improvement, as you typically do in the standard review process, this book club gave each person an opportunity to speak into what they do well. Not only that, but our leadership and operations team approached this with an open mind, willing to have conversations about how we can make changes and be sure everyone is properly using their gifts to ultimately be fully engaged. For me, creating a book club and making space for these conversations was a major motivator in my engagement.
How can you implement a company book club that empowers teams and strengthens community? Here are a few tips from my experience to get started:
We thankfully are at a point in time where people can show up more fully in the workspaces as their authentic selves. By creating nurturing environments and providing resources like book clubs where team members can refine their skills, learn from each other, and ultimately have fun and build community, work becomes more meaningful and people become more engaged.
Amelie Smith is an Account Manager at Pierce Public Relations.