The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

8 Great Reads on Cultural Change, Diversity, Recruitment and Talent Management

A Chance in the World book coverTo prepare for the upcoming CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, I thought I’d take the advice Wes Harmon gave in this blog post last year on making the most of your conference experience, so I set about reading a book by keynote speaker Steve PembertonA Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past and How He Found a Place Called Home.

Steve Pemberton

Pemberton’s story is one that begins with profound abuse and neglect, yet ends (spoiler alert!) in victory with him overcoming his tough situation through hope and courage.

It’s tempting to think that Pemberton’s story is an extraordinary case — one that can’t be applied in an ordinary setting. You hear a story like his and might think, “Hey, that’s great, but my life is ordinary; I don’t have challenges that serious.”

Think again. Although Pemberton’s story is extreme, it’s one to which we can all relate. Have you ever been bothered by your fear of change? Have you ever felt as though you weren’t getting the whole truth about something? Have you ever experienced a situation in which your voice wasn’t being heard? If so, you’ll find a commonality with Pemberton, and perhaps be inspired to take on your own troubles, however small or seemingly unextraordinary your situation might be.

Kill the Company book coverLisa Bodell

CUPA-HR will also welcome Lisa Bodell, innovation leader and futurist, to its upcoming conference. Don Harris, senior vice president of national education markets for VALIC (sponsor of Bodell’s keynote presentation at the conference) recently shared his thoughts with me on Bodell’s book, Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution:

“Culture can be a wonderful thing (especially for yogurt), but let’s face it: there are times when an organization’s culture can inhibit employees from taking risks or breaking away from organizational conformity. Bodell’s book is a uniquely challenging toolkit for breaking through the status quo and creating a culture that can foster innovation. I think almost everyone, at some point, has worked somewhere in which they could have benefited from a hearty round of ‘kill the stupid rule.’ Some of her exercises are surprisingly simple, but getting your institution or department to the point of trying them may take some courage.”

 Other Authors

Many of CUPA-HR’s other conference speakers have authored books on the topics they’ll share with more than 900 attendees later this month in San Antonio. Those books include:

I encourage you to check out these books (whether you’re going to the conference or not!). If you are planning to attend, you’ll expand your understanding of the topics you’ll hear at the conference, and if you’re not going to be in Texas with us, you’ll be there in spirit by exploring these topics on your own.

What’s your latest victory in the workplace? How did you make yourself heard by someone who wasn’t listening at first? What success have you had ending the status quo? What innovation have you been a part of recently? Share your experiences in the comments section below or share the title of your favorite HR or business-related book.