Explicit Type

Introduction and Books I Read in 2018

18 Jan 2019 | 4 minutes

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this New Years Day I decided there’s no better time than now to stop putting off what I’ve wanted to do (or thought I should do) for a few years: start a blog.

I know this seems like a trite resolution, but I think it’s important; many of my mentors and people I admire have blogs, and I read them religiously. I share whole posts or pieces of them with my team frequently, and I think the internet’s ability to share knowledge at an ease and reach we’ve never had before shouldn’t be taken for granted. Since I think that I might have a few things of my own that I’ve learned and others may benefit from, I should contribute what I have. My theory in blogging, Tweeting, Slacking, conferencing, and generally learning with our colleagues in Customer Support shouldn’t be thought as a competitive risk, but rather, a benefit to us all: the better that Customer Support gets, the more we all benefit.

So, with that out of the way, for my very first blog post, I want to share a few of my favorite Customer Support, management, and leadership books (AKA “work books”) I read (or re-read) in 2018, and a few that are up next.

Cockerell was an Executive Vice President at Walt Disney World, which was immediately what attracted me to this book - of everything in my professional life, what motivates me the most is providing unbelievable service and experience, and few do that better than Disney. Cockarell lays out his “Customer Rules”, which aren’t anything mind-blowing, but definitely helpful for putting a name on something you hadn’t previously categorized or compartmentalized. What really kept me reading, though, are the short stories that Cockarell describe during his time at Disney that are the tangible representation of the rule he’s laid out. If you’re like me and seek stories of great service, this is a short read that doesn’t disappoint.

Linode is kicking off 2019 by moving towards being an OKR-driven organization. The Support department has been KPI-driven for many years, and the OKR model is an entirely different way of thinking. This book was my personal kick-off into OKRs. I plan on writing about OKRs more in depth later, after at least a whole quarter of using them, however, I can say that so far OKRs feel like a positive move forward and that this book is an excellent introduction, written by the person who brought them to the company perhaps best-known for using them, Google.

The Customer Support Handbook, by my friend Sarah Hatter, creator of Elevate Summit and Co-Support, is required reading for every Customer Support Specialist at Linode as a pre-requisite for being on-boarded. As far as I am concerned, this is pocket-version of the bible for Customer Support. It is so important to how we do Support at Linode that I re-read The Customer Support Handbook every year.

Up next:

Written by the CEO of Microsoft, I’ve read this is the story of Microsoft “rediscovering its soul” under Nadella. Nadella describes Hit Refresh as “about us humans and the unique quality we call empathy”. Sounds like a winner.

Suggested to me by a friend at work, I like that Scott has developed a framework, as opposed to an ideology, about management. Also, one of the reviews says “Radical Candor was business poetry”, and I really want to know what that means. :)

Do you have any Customer Service, leadership, or management books that have struck you lately? Reach out on Twitter and let me know.

Reading List

I'm Rick Myers, Senior Director of Customer Support at Akamai. Before we were acquired, I was the Vice President of Customer Support & Success at Linode. I also serve on the Board of Directors and chair the People Committee at Hopeworks. Before Linode, I worked at Apple. You can follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or send me an email.

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