A big challenge for many organizations today is providing learning and development opportunities when many managers, supervisors, and staff are extremely pressed for time. It gets even more challenging when many people are spread out among a number of locations. Gerry Parker, Lead HR Advisor for Rural Areas at Vancouver Coastal Health, has a major geographic challenge with this.

Gerry first pulled together a number of people at various sites to view my December Thriving in Turbulent Times webcast (CLICK HERE to view). This learning event worked so well for them that he and members of the group decided to use webinar technology to connect each other with a book club. Over the years we’ve seen other teams and organizations use similar approaches using leadership/personal development books and/or corresponding workbooks.

Using a webinar service, everyone was connected through the Internet with audio and video connections. Gerry has made the slides they used available to show how they organized their club. CLICK HERE  to view them.

You can also get more background on their approach and how they used Growing @ the Speed of Change from Gerry’s e-mail at the end of this blog posting.

Hi Jim,

Thought I’d send this along to you. We had our Leadership Book Club discussion today. The feedback was that the book was very packed full of information and numerous people plan on buying copies for people they know.

On a more personal note, thanks too for that “Thriving in Tumultuous Times” webinar as that inspired me to use a webinar format (a first time for me) for presenting this Leadership Book Club. While I didn’t record it, I am happy to send along the PowerPoint that was used. I also had someone from our Management and Leadership Development team on the webinar and they’re interested in the book so we’ll see what happens.

One person described using your book as follows:

“I met with a nurse who was wallowing in hurt and disappointment on the Bitter Bus on her way to Pity City. As we talked I slowly introduced some concepts associated with self- leadership. Clemmer talks about imagining how things could be different and what could be and the nurse began to describe so clearly a more positive environment that she truly wanted. From there we began discussing some steps she might need to take. At the end, it seemed her bus had turned around and she was heading in a new direction.”

In terms of additional book feedback, I’ve sent along this comment:

As this month’s host of a Leadership Book Club, I selected “Growing @ the Speed of Change” for discussion. Described as a type of tour where readers take a quick look around at the topic at each stop and then head along to the next stop is effective and important to keep in mind. Jim called it a City Tour but I liked calling it a “stopic”. It definitely left many of us wanting more. The nice thing is that more was available.

Jim builds on material from his previous books and his decades of experience so some prior exposure to his work is helpful but not essential. Peppered with personal examples, extremely witty and “punny”, the quick look around is enhanced by reams of additional material offered at each “stopic” for further exploration. During our discussion, we all agreed that the book was practical and realistic and we shared examples of putting the concepts of this book into action in the workplace. It’s difficult sometimes to deal with people who are on the Bitter Bus on their way to Pity City but that bus can be turned around in the space between cynicism and skepticism. It’s a choice – and as Jim said – Lead, Follow, or Wallow!

All the best,

If I were to suggest a couple of considerations for future revision or other work, I’d develop the branding behind that City Tour concept, maybe a little picture of a bus or a bus stop at each point. Some of the readers missed that concept and, as a result, felt like the content was either missing or that they had to go look elsewhere. Those that did get the concept loved it (myself included) and really appreciated the quick stops and corresponding high volume of info and the additional resources linked right there. One reader really appreciated those links and has ordered 2 or 3 other books just based on your references. I also really appreciated and expect to continue pulling links to articles and sharing with others.

One other suggestion would be to consider a few more graphics (all involved loved your p. 60 WFL model) and to pull graphics forward from your prior work when it’s mentioned. For example, you described the Leadership Wheel on page 126 and a small insert would be recommended. I thought perhaps it was a wise marketing move encouraging readers to go get your other books.

Anyhow, the overall rating was 100% on the survey in terms of it being a book that is both practical and realistic; most of the leaders on the call had already applied some of the learning in real life situations at work. One is buying a copy to give to her son.

Thanks again for everything and I wish you all the best,