A book club – yes, a book club – can be a great professional development tool.  These already exist at many organizations, except they’re deadbeat clubs.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the token practice of giving new hires an employee handbook.  They are meant to help introduce newcomers to the company culture.  But often times, these are standard HR documents that are overrun with dry verbiage and CYA procedures.  As such, your spouse is more likely to skim through it as a coffee table book than you are to study it as a foundational text for the new job.  The handbook as most of us know it is static and uninspiring.

A ‘real’ book club, however, would include all the latest research and findings of today’s most exciting and groundbreaking authors.  Imagine a company with staff members en masse reading, discussing, and actualizing concepts from leading works like:

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

The Thank You Economy

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Outliers: The Story of Success

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Such a practice would spark new ideas and ambitions, enliven dialogues, inspire engagement and update protocols. It would forcibly drag you (in a good way) out of circular and stagnant thinking.  In addition to (or if you’re on a shoe string, in lieu of) hiring retreat consultants, your team could enjoy the benefits of motivation and innovation that a strong book club would bring.

The next time you find lack of morale and lack of inspiration setting in at the workplace, consider how you can get your troop unstuck with an instrument as simple – and as powerful – as a book.