R Builders Book Club – The Surprising Success of Starting Our Company Book Club
The R Builders team has always actively encouraged innovation within our company. Back in the summer of 2018 we were regularly brainstorming during meetings when one day in particular our servant leader, Mark Rehberg, placed a stack of seven books onto the conference table. A voracious reader, he shared that these books had deeply affected the way he thought and acted and wanted to challenge the team seated around the table to read these books. And then, after reading, determine as a collective if these books could positively impact the company, as well.
A manifesto of sorts was presented to the group. The spirit of the R Builders Book Club was to:
- Foster personal development
- Unify company culture
- Encourage team building
- Improve communication among the entire team
- Earn extra $$ between now and Christmas
- Read something fun and challenging
- Provide encouragement and success in spite of recent events
- Learn and to grow
- Achieve exponential growth
- Have 100% participation
Thus began the R Builders Book Club.
The Team’s Reaction
The announcement of this new initiative garnered a few raised eyebrows throughout the team. Worrisome expressions and a few groans were exchanged, accompanied by a heaving hesitation pondering the addition of this group task. (You may not know this, but a book club within a construction company culture is a novel idea. Project manager Shannon Morris remarked, ”No one does this – or at least nowhere I had ever worked!”)
With slight collective consternation, the group agreed to give it a try.
They committed to read or listen to all 7 of the books and then discuss together. The company provided the team with books in copy and on Audible, and then something surprising happened.
The most impactful books that were read:
- Who Moved My Cheese?
- Checklist Manifesto
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
- Spin Selling
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Just after that initial meeting ended Mark realized that in order for the R Builders Book Club to be a success it needed to not be another CEO-driven task with the team just sitting around the conference tabe listening to him. He called project manager, Odell Grant and said, “I’m going to ask you to do something, and I’m going to give you 24-hours to change your mind.” Mark then asked Odell to take on the leadership for this project and to get 100% buy-in from the team. Odell graciously accepted.
A Surprising Result
As these meetings and conversations continued with Odell at the helm, the team began to realize that when they were all present, attention focused collectively on the concepts within these pages, a powerfully impactful exchange was underway. The experience was allowing the company team to expand beyond the day-to-day business operations and to relate more meaningfully with each other as individuals. The conversations, confluence of ideas, and concepts that were discussed connected the team in a profound and powerfully effective way.
The book club experiment turned into a pivotal and positive experience that has yielded an ongoing ripple-effect for both the team and for the company that was beyond Mark’s wildest expectations. Mark revealed that, “When I started this, I had no idea where it was going.” What resulted was a solidifying commitment to core values that have impacted all aspects of the company to this day.
Look for Odell’s take on an upcoming blog post about the R Builders Book Club, What Actually Happened Was…
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