The first day of summer is right around the corner! In honor of the season and ongoing learning, we’d like to share a list of our top book recommendations. These picks are entertaining enough to accompany you on beach outings or afternoons spent lounging in a hammock… while also including key business learnings and thought-provoking ideas so that you get something meaningful out of the experience.

These books are all near and dear to our philosophy here at IncentViz. The authors present ideas that exemplify the IncentViz frame of mind and our approach to resolving issues. Without further ado, here is our summer reading list:

Traction, Gino Wickman

Traction is all about making sure you have a grip on your business, not the other way around. To make sure your company is firing on all cylinders, everyone should be tracking something and be on the same page about the company’s underlying goals. The author, Gino Wickman, outlines how to approach ubiquitous business hurdles, including interpersonal conflict, lackluster growth, and disappointing profits. Traction is structured around the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, which outlines six practical steps for creating a healthy business and realizing your corporate vision: Vision, People, Data, Process, Issues, and Traction.

Rocket Fuel, Gino Wickman and Mark C. Waters

The core of Rocket Fuel is the idea that “we are better together.” More specifically, it advocates connecting Visionaries and Integrators. By joining forces, these two types can dream up revolutionary ideas and masterfully execute their realization. Without Integrators, Visionaries are not sustainable and have difficulty bringing their idea to fruition. Likewise, even the most skilled Integrators are only as valuable as the concept they are implementing. Companies need both types of employees. Citing success stories like Disney and McDonald’s, Rocket Fuel recommends that management pay close attention to balancing personalities and identifying their employees’ strengths. To that end, the book includes assessments so that the reader can gauge whether he or she is a Visionary or Integrator.

Unique Ability: Creating the Life You Want, Catherine Nomura, Julia Waller, & Shannon Waller

As the title suggests, this book is designed to help you identify and leverage your individual talents, interests, personality, and expertise. The authors suggest that self-analysis is the first step towards success. By understanding who you really are, you can move forward in pursuing paths where you can succeed, enjoy your daily activities, and contribute to the world around you. Going beyond lofty theories, Unique Ability offers a specific process for how you can begin to get a better grasp of your core identity.

The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes

Like many of the books on our list, The Ultimate Sales Machine is focused on one powerful principle. In this business guide, Chet Holmes makes the case for focus. Instead of trying to be a champion multitasker, Holmes recommends shutting out distractions and honing in on what really matters. This simple concept has the potential to positively affect nearly every part of your business. If holistic business improvement is what you are looking for, focusing may be the first step.

Everything Counts, Gary Ryan Blair

Getting the big picture right begins with mastering the details. In any customer-centric business, focusing on the small stuff that comprises the customer experience can make or break a brand’s image, value proposition, and ability to inspire loyalty. Everything Counts offers actionable guidance regarding how to systematically organize your efforts relating to sales, service, and overall performance improvement. The author, Gary Ryan Blair, has written several other books relating to goal-setting, and his insights are focused on creating a process that actually works for you. He also offers strategies for motivating people and teams, at both an individual and broader corporate level. Here at IncentViz, we appreciate that theme, given our focus on streamlining and optimizing incentive management. If a certain accomplishment or metric has been eluding you, Everything Counts might be the perfect way to kick off the season.

Hopefully you enjoy these books as much as we did. We’d love to hear your thoughts and the books you plan to read this summer!