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Book Clubs Are the New Corporate Classroom


Fri Dec 01 2023

Book Clubs Are the New Corporate Classroom

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“If you are a leader, if you want to be one, you have to read. You cannot grow in your leadership without learning from others and that requires reading—to acquire new insights, you have to read as much as you can.”

Journalist and editor Margaret Fuller knew that leadership isn’t simply a question of learning some lean processes—it takes depth. We need humility and finesse to build our knowledge while learning to tap into the collective wisdom of our past and future.


And book clubs are the perfect platform for doing this.

Cultivating Leadership Skills Through Book Clubs

These days, leaders don’t just juggle vision, strategy, and delivery. They face unprecedented complexity and uncertainty, and they can’t do it alone.

They need the right culture of resilience and passion that allows teams to adapt and support each other. To cultivate such a culture, leaders must have empathy and an awareness of how their actions affect those around them.

Books increase psychological confidence, including self-awareness and empathy. In other words, books provide an escape from our problems—but they also connect us to the problems that everybody else struggles with. As such, we realize that we are all struggling. This realization brings us closer to others and increases our compassion and empathy.

It’s also inspiring to read how someone else resolved their problems. Such stories boost our confidence as leaders and make us want to become better people.


But it’s hard to find the time to read a whole book on your own. And that’s why we have BookClub. By collating nuggets of wisdom from books into bite-sized chunks for groups to debate and explore, leaders can challenge their beliefs and habits.

Leaders gain multiple benefits from such book clubs:

Wider perspectives. By reading about different worlds, we learn empathy through our imaginations and emotions.

A sense of belonging. Talking about books brings people together and creates a sense of community and safety, which we can then apply in the workplace.

Co-exploration. Stories and nuggets of wisdom can help engage a whole group. By committing to shared goals, the group naturally nurtures accountability.


Boosting Organizational Goals With Reading Programs

Talent development (TD) plays a key role in fueling organizational capability. Unlike in the days of tactical training deployment, now TD needs to be just as innovative and adaptable as the business leaders.

Technology is the obvious answer, but it needs the human touch.

For example, new managers often struggle to let go of individual contributor traits. Bring them together into a book club so that they can support one another while gathering valuable tips on dealing with crises using the book The First-Time Manager: Leading Through Crisis.

You also need the human touch to promote the right safe space for that learning and support to happen. Create shared working knowledge that endures by applying these foundations:

  • Microlearning. Easily process and assimilate new learning with BookClub’s sparks, or snippets of wisdom, that build learning paths.

  • Facilitated, diverse discussions. Use BookClub’s prompts and guides to enable leaders from all backgrounds to create new meanings from various situations.

  • Co-created purpose. Work through the checklist for infusing “why” into your book club to ensure commitment and passion.

Implementing Your Organizational BookClub

Digital change, economic crises, and global upheavals put great pressure on leaders who need to be adaptable and resilient. But without empathy and self-awareness, they risk alienating their people—whom they need in order to succeed.

Book clubs are the new corporate classroom to help your leaders develop the psychological confidence they need to better deal with challenges.

Simply make sure you include the human touch by ensuring that each book club has a purpose. As Simon Sinek has said, “When we know why we do what we do, everything falls into place. When we don't, we have to push things into place.”

Register to view the webinar Book Clubs Are the New Corporate Classroom to gain insights on using books to nurture a growth culture and develop leaders at scale.

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