Skip to main content

Flashback To The Best New Leadership Book For 2020

Flashback to earlier this year...

This time each year, I select my pick for best new leadership and business book for the year. For 2020, my pick is, Stand Out! Become a Young Professional Who Wins at Work and Life, by Nathan Magnuson, published in June this year.

Written by a humble, wise, insightful millennial, Magnuson provides a timely resource to help young professionals excel in the workplace and beyond. 

  • I selected this book because Magnuson tells it like it is, provides clear, practical, actionable advice and speaks with authenticity and in a conversational style that will resonate with young career professionals.

Call it a blueprint, handbook, guide or manual, Stand Out! is a must-read for young professionals early in their career, for recent college graduates, and for workplace leaders respectfully guiding and coaching the young professionals within their organizations. Stand Out! also makes for a good gift from a parent or life/business coach and is perfect for a millennial’s book club. 

Nathan Magnuson

Within the book's 10 chapters, he covers the topics of:

  • ownership
  • mindset
  • identity
  • growth
  • engagement
  • leadership
  • and more

Magnuson kindly shared with me earlier this year these additional insights about his book:

Question: What inspired you to write your new book, Stand Out!?

MagnusonI've spent the last decade working in corporate leadership development, so I've seen how hungry young professionals are. I've also been a part of (and led) several YP groups. And it seems I've learned many of the key lessons young professionals face the hard way - especially finding meaningful work. The project was born from a combination of all those experiences. I felt writing Stand Out! was a chance for me to make a difference in the world... and to help young professionals succeed at the things that matter most.

Question: Do you believe millennials are more likely to value and heed the advice in Stand Out! because it was written by a millennial, and why?

MagnusonAbsolutely - There are many generational experts out there, but very few young professionals experts. And of them, some are Generation X, approaching it as more of a mentoring opportunity or wanting to leave a resource for their children. I'm an older millennial, so there's definitely credibility that comes with sharing common experiences. 

Question: What did you learn from writing your first book, Ignite Your Leadership Expertise, that influenced your new book? 

Magnuson: So much! Most of it was going through the publishing and marketing processes. Writing is actually the easy part of getting a book launched! Interestingly, I wrote the first draft for Stand Out! before Ignite Your Leadership Expertise, but it was too big of a project for me just yet, which is why Ignite was published first. 

Question: Chapter 2 in Stand Out! about Mindset could be somewhat “tough love” for some readers. Why was it important to include this chapter’s topic in the book?

Magnuson: The title for Chapter 2 is "Mindset - Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself." It's a funny phrase we sometimes tell young children, but developing a winning attitude is a life-long challenge for all of us. Years ago, Victor Frankel discovered "the last of the human freedoms" while imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps, which is the ability to choose one's attitude despite circumstances. His work influenced many other thought leaders, including Stephen Covey... and me!  At the end of the day, Stand Out! is meant to help young professionals win, and it's hard to win without a winning attitude.

Question: What’s the most important discovery likely to come from taking your recommended 100x gratitude challenge?

Magnuson: Two things. The first is an awareness of how blessed we are. We have so much to be grateful for that we overlook every single day! Second, it starts to make gratitude into a habit. Grateful heart, happy heart! 

Question: What is some good language for a supervisor to use when sharing your book with his/her millennial employees?

Magnuson: Mark Miller, VP of High Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A said, "Stand Out! should be required reading for new employees, and probably all the others, at every organization." I wish every supervisor could read Stand Out! - it would help them form a strong connection with their young professionals! I tried to make it easy by including short takeaways and discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The questions from Chapters 3 & 4 are probably a good place to start. But I also wrote a white paper specifically for leaders of young professionals called 5 Ways to Win the Hearts of Your Young Professionals. I'll spoil it - the first two ways are to connect to their sense of purpose and then to help connect them with each other.

Question: When would be a good time for a Gen Z person to read, Stand Out!?

Magnuson: It's funny, growing up, I remember talking about what job I wanted to get one day, but never about what to do after I got a job. I wish I could have been given Stand Out! as a college upperclassman to help me start preparing for career success.

Question: Why does the advice of Janet Kamerman, "Be Good at Making Others Being Good." resonate so well with you?

Magnuson: I met Janet Kamerman when she was the Chief Learning Officer at the FBI and I was a junior consultant. She made a comment to me in passing one day that changed my life. She said great leaders are good at making other people look good. All of a sudden, I realized that true success is about competing FOR your teammates, not against them. It's a self-actualization turned on its head. Since that's the kind of teammate I want to have, that's the kind of teammate I need to be.

Question: What are your tips for millennials who want to discuss your book through a virtual book club experience?

Magnuson: Well I tried to do the heavy lifting for all the readers by putting some really reflective discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I think whether virtual or in-person, take it 1 or 2 chapters at a time and use those questions to guide you. We're actually working on a "Stand Out! Book Club Experience" as well. Anyone leading a large book club should contact me about it.


Popular posts from this blog

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

Good Sample Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

First-Time Leader

The  First-Time Leader  book by  George Bradt  and  Gillian Davis  begins with a discussion of taking charge of your new team and then tracks through  BRAVE leadership  components from the outside in. BRAVE is a leadership framework that helps first-time leaders successfully build their team by uniting them around a shared purpose. The term reflects an acronym that stands for behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and environment. Carefully considering and analyzing each component will help first-time leaders discover this shared purpose and incorporate it into the company’s larger strategy and their team’s implementation of same. Specifically, the book defines the  five components  as: Behaviors  –  The actions that make real lasting impact on others. Relationships  – The heart of leadership. If you can’t connect, you can’t lead. Attitudes  – Encompassing strategic, posture, and culture choices around how to win. Values  – The bedrock of a high performing team. Get clear on what

A Headhunter’s 11 Strategies To Get Hired Now

  Headhunter, Rob Barnett , distills everything he’s learned about getting hired into his new book, Next Job, Best Job .  His timely 11 strategies will take you from any current state of confusion about what’s next to a new destination that will become clear and achievable as you seek your next best job.   Candidly and step-by-step, with a book chapter devoted to each of the 11 strategies, Barnett teaches you how to:   Regain confidence and optimism after a job loss. Create a focused job search game plan. Clearly communicate your career goals (your true North Star). Brand and market yourself with a unique resume and strategic LinkedIn profile. Navigate and effectively incorporate social media during your job search. Master networking. Score a perfect 10 interview in-person and online. Get immediate replies and callbacks. …and then Pay it forward.   Rob Barnett Today, Barnett answered these questions for us:   Why did you write your book,  Next Job, Best Job ?   Barnett : W

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

The Importance Of Employee Engagement

Debbie Laskey is my trusted resource for expert advice on marketing, customer service and leadership. I've had the honor of featuring her on my blog in the past. And, today, Debbie shares her keen insights on  the importance of employee engagement . As background, Debbie has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and an MBA Degree. She developed her marketing expertise while working in the high-tech industry, the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, the nonprofit arena, and the insurance industry.  How do you define employee engagement? Debbie : Erika Andersen (@erikaandersen on Twitter), author and leadership expert, defined employee engagement in a post for  Forbes , and it has stuck with me:   “If a company’s focus is ‘How can we give our customers what they want,’ then that company needs great employees to come up with the ideas, to make the great products, to interact with the customers. Employees aren’t a begrudged necessity in that kind of company –

How To Be A High Performing Team

According to  Ron Ricci  and  Carl Wiese , authors of the book,  The Collaboration Imperative , high-performing teams have the following characteristics: People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas. Everybody is working toward the same goals. Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks. Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected. Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts. Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed.  Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles. The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, aft

Seven Steps To Creating A People First Culture For Your Company

If you want to create a   heart culture   and a   people-first culture   at your workplace, read the book,  Advisory Leadership , by  Greg Friedman .   Although the book is authored by an award-winning financial advisor and primarily written for professionals in the financial services industry, this book is a must read for any leader who wants to create a nurturing  heart culture  that hinges on the human-centric values the next generation of employees hold in high regard. And, what exactly is  heart culture ? Friedman says, "At its core, heart culture symbolizes how a company values more than just an employee's output. It's not about the work, but rather, the  people  who do the work." He further explains that leaders can no longer afford to ignore the shift toward a people-first culture and its direct influence on a healthy, effective work environment. Friedman teaches that there are  seven steps , based on human virtues we all strive to achieve, that are key to unl

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the book,  Advisory Leadership : What motivates you? What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.) What are you telling your family/spouse/partner about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.) What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.) What opportunities do you see for yourself here?