It's summer – spend time reading with your children (YOU'LL benefit more, promise!)

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Individuals with strong leadership skills are in demand within the Shared Service Centre market. And there have been many articles written about the types of skills a SSC leader needs to be successful. A couple of my favourites include the four “P's” of SSC leadership, as described by ScottMadden, where the four “P’s” include:

  • Planning
  • Persistence
  • Performances
  • Patience

In addition, SSON Analytics identified 8 leadership skills to be a “super hero” in shared services, ranging from Process Expertise to Relationship Management

But while the leadership skills for an SSC manager are not significantly different from those required for most leadership positions, the mix of expertise is different. Based on my experience, skills like patience, communication and change management are top of the list. So: what can you do to increase your skills and capabilities in these areas?

The answer is, take some time to read a book.

summer reading

Many people are getting ready to go off on holiday, and what better time to select new books to gain leadership and management tips? Here are my suggestions on what books you might want to read and the added value of my ideas is that you can read them with your children – allowing you to multitask, even while on holiday!

1. Clear Communication

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish Published in 1963, it is a great story about the importance of being clear about your instructions when you communicate with your teams.  Amelia is a cleaning lady, working for a family in a grand house. She is left instructions to “draw the curtains” which she dutifully does leaving a lovely picture of the curtains for her employer. There are several examples in this book that help make the point regarding clear and concise communication, especially if you are working in multinational teams, where everyone’s first language is not English.

2. Attitude

Madeline says Merci by Ludwig Bemelmans, 1939. Madeline is a student in an all-girls school in France where manners and proper behaviour is the foundation for all well brought up ladies. There are some great lessons about saying please and thank you, and never forgetting your behaviour and attitude affect those around you. A vital lesson for all business leaders. 

3. Curiosity

Green Eggs and Ham, 1960. A Dr. Seuss classic and one of the top most-read children’s books. Hidden in this iconic story are many lessons for managers and leaders with the most important being the willingness to try new things. Whether it is green eggs or new technologies – if leaders do not show an interest in trying new things, then their teams will not take the risk to be innovative or think outside of the box.

4. Courage

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, published in 1930. This is the classic book of determination and positive thinking.   “I think I can, I think I can…” from the smallest train who has the optimism to accomplish a task the bigger engines did not want or could not do. Leaders and managers can learn a lot from the little engine, on showing determination to achieve an end deliverable, even when it feels impossible. Great leaders provides encouragement and positive insights to their teams to help them climb to the top.


These are just four examples of children’s stories that you might want to add to your reading list for the summer holidays.  Reading for you and your children – a real “win/win”.