Book Lovers Day: recos from Jenn, our VP HR



Today is National Book Lovers Day! And how considerate of the folks who decide these things to drop it into the middle of our all-too-short Canadian summers. Whether you’re picking up a well-worn favourite or a buzz-y new blockbuster, today’s the perfect day to settle into a hammock with a great book.

Stuck on where to start? We checked in with Jenn Johnston, Payworks’ Vice President of Human Resources, to explore her non-fiction faves. If you’re interested in learning more about life, leadership and “less is more”… read on!

The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities

By Patrick Lencioni

Jenn says: “The author focuses on helping leaders understand why they’re leading - their true motives behind entering a leadership role. If you’ve read any of Patrick Lencioni’s books before, you’ll recognize his signature story style - they’re quick and engaging, and always have some helpful takeaways.”

What she learned: “This book spurred a lot of reflection for me personally as a leader. One of my takeaways was to really pay attention to meetings in particular – and to reflect on how our time is spent interacting with each other and helping each other succeed.”

Words to live by: “It is important for leaders to surround themselves with people who will be honest with them.” - Patrick Lencioni

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown

Jenn says: “Greg McKeown defines essentialism as ‘less, but better.’ The book isn’t about how to do less; rather, it focuses on narrowing in on true priorities and focus. ‘You can do anything, but not everything.’”

What she learned: “I enjoyed the lessons on identifying your priorities based on what’s truly essential to you. For me, it’s spending time with my family and prioritizing health and wellness. Now when I make decisions, I can reflect on whether or not I’m being true to my essentials. Sounds easy… but it’s much harder than it looks, or should be!”

Words to live by: “Only once you give yourself the permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.” - Greg McKeown

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

By Patty McCord

Jenn says: “This is one of those books that left a permanent impression. I still reference it, even though it’s been probably five years since I first read it. It’s simple and energizing in the best way.”

What she learned: “I appreciated the author’s take on ‘creating debate,’ as she regularly tests best practices and encourages feedback to evolve them. I like the idea of agility and inclusion of diverse perspectives to drive continuous improvement!”

Words to live by: “We evolve a new way of working through incremental adaptation: trying new things, making mistakes, beginning again, and seeing good results.” - Patty McCord

If you’re an HR professional who’s looking to refocus on the big picture for your team, learn more about Payworks’ HR solutions at

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