Best Book I’ve Read in 2016

November 22, 2016

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The best book I have read in 2016 is Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

It deals with the difficult process of ending things in our lives. This could be letting an employee or co-worker go, ending a bad habit, or making a needed change in our lives.

Take a look at some of the wisdom Cloud shares in this book.

“Your attempts to fix should also include a realistic assessment of the potential for recovery and whether or not you are indulging in false hope. Leaders by nature are often optimistic and hopeful, but if you do not have some criteria by which you distinguish legitimate optimism from false hope, you will not get the benefits of pruning.”

Working in a volunteer organization, I found the next one very challenging.

“I do believe that there is some number of people in every organization and every life who will be routinely “let go” if leadership is doing its stewardship job. The very nature of people is that there are some good ones who are not right for you, some sick ones in denial who are not going to change, and some who are adding nothing. Always. So if no one ever leaves your organization or your life, then you are in some sort of denial and enabling some really sick stuff all over the place. And it probably is accumulating. I have found this to be rampant in companies that have a high “people value.” The value is good, but sometimes it keeps them from doing what is truly valuing to people.”

One of the hardest things to do in an organization, or even in our personal lives is to admit a change need to occur.

“The awareness of hopelessness is what finally brings people to the reality of the pruning moment. It is the moment when they wake up, realize that an ending must occur, and finally feel energized to do it. Nothing mobilizes us like a firm dose of reality.”

So, when do we have hope? When should we believe and continue walking in faith to see change occur? Cloud speaks to this as well.

“Hope is based not only on desire, but also on real, objective reasons to believe that more time will help. That is way different from mere desire. Here is the principle: In the absence of real, objective reasons to think that more time is going to help, it is probably time for some type of necessary ending.”

“As the saying goes, “Hope is not a strategy.” This kind of hope is not worth spending more time and resources on. It is only buying you the time to continue to make more mistakes. If you are in a hole, rule number one is to stop digging. The last thing you need is more of this kind of hope.”

 

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Here is a simple question to ask. Since reading this book, I’ve been used this question on multiple occasions.

“What reason, other than the fact that I want this to work, do I have for believing that tomorrow is going to be different from today?”

“So the question is this: when can I have hope that a person is going to be different in the future than he is now or in the past? Answer: again, look for the objective reasons to hope, other than their saying “I’m sorry” or “I am committed this time.” You need a “reason to believe.”

Cloud gives nine objective factors to help you determine whether you can have hope that tomorrow will be any different from today:

  • Verifiable Involvement in a Proven Change Process
  • Additional Structure
  • Monitoring Systems
  • New Experience and Skills
  • Self-sustaining Motivation
  • Admission of Need
  • The Presence of Support
  • Skilled Help
  • Some Success

Another truth in this ending process is:

“How do you know when to have hope for the future of someone’s changes?

Look at the degree to which you are having to drive the process.”

 

I hope these quotes give you an idea as to the depth of this book. I’ve read it twice and it has helped me greatly. Even in areas where I realize change isn’t going to happen….it has brought me peace.

I would highly recommend Cloud’s book to anyone on a team which feels stuck or people who wonder if “this will ever change?”.

Grab a copy today!

 Photo by Veri Ivanova

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God