I love books. I’m talking about the paper and covers type. I have a Kindle on my I-Pad and don’t get me wrong they have their place. You can take your entire library with you and read in the dark. They let you mark pages type comments and several other handy features. When we were raising a baby, I would often sit on the deck, in the dark, reading my Kindle while the baby slept. It was rally convenient. Now for the confession. Most of the books on my Kindle, I have the actual hard copy of the book also. There is something about the feel of a book in your hands and of turning the pages. I love the smell of books. It’s one thing to type notes and leave marks in your Kindle but it’s nothing liking hi-lighting passages and scribbling notes in the margins. And when you want to look back at your notes flipping through the pages. I would say I’m really strange (which my readers already know I am) but on this one, I know several others like me.
I have a collection of books from the 1940’s and older on machining in my office. Some are from the 1800’s. I feel a sense of history just touching them. I found hand written, yellowed notes in the pages of one of them. I felt like I needed gloves just to touch it. I put them back. They belonged to someone else that enjoyed that book before. I’m just the current librarian entrusted with it.
I used to read fiction. Tom Clancy was my favorite. When I was in the middle of a really good book I would find myself wondering what was happening to the characters when I was away from the book. They became real people, experiencing real things. I admire someone who can truly take you on a journey like that. Some writers have a way with their words and spinning the story to make you feel a part of their fictional world. It’s a true art.
I now find myself reading mostly non-fiction business and manufacturing books. When I left Walgreens for my new career in manufacturing I dove into piles of books, many on my I-Pad. I studied Total Quality Management, Lean and my mentor company, Toyota. It was a crash course. Books prepared me to enter a new world in my career. Books sparked my mind and creativity to enter this new world and have been a great contributor to the success I have found. Books have been the major part of my personal continuous improvement project. I have balanced my reading between general business, manufacturing and of course Toyota.
I have recently started a new test program at Ebsco I am calling the Ebsco Book Club. I have identified books that have powerful messages and are easy to read and purchased them for specific departments. I am asking the departments to read a few pages each day. Led by the department team leader they are discussing how what they have read could apply to them, their department, and Ebsco. They have these discussions at their morning department meetings.
We are leading off with the sales department reading “The Simple Truths of Service” by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz. I was fortune to hear Ken Blanchard personally present this at a Walgreens meeting and was very moved. Our sales department are reading the book and determining how they can apply it at Ebsco.
Our Quality Assurance department is reading “The Power of Teamwork” by Scott Beare and Michael McMillan. I had the opportunity to hear Michael McMillan speak as I mentioned in a previous Blog. I ordered several of his books with intentions of utilizing them for training. Team members were excited when they received their personal copies of the book and I look forward to what messages they will find when reading them.
Our production supervisors all received a copy of “Fish” this week. Fish is based on the famous Pikes Fish Market in Seattle. I have read the book several times and always get something new from it. I am going to act as lead in this group. My challenge as mentioned in a previous Blog is to listen and not try to hijack the discussion. If I try to lead the conversation we will only discussion what I have already taken from the book. If I sit back and listen I will be able to learn from all of their insights as well.
These three books are a great starting point for the Ebsco Book Club. As most companies focus this type of training on management, Ebsco is again focusing on the people who actually do the work. With their energy, I am excited to see what these books un-lock.
On a personal note I am having the first of two knee replacements this week. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of a year-long battle I have faced. I think I will still be Blogging every week but if I miss a week here and there I hope you will be understanding. Until then, keep reading.