Leadership Toolbox: Reading List

 A Reading List for Leaders, by Ryan Hansen

Imagine, if you can, suddenly finding yourself with some extra time on your hands. Perhaps your office is closed to the public and you are working from home for the next few weeks, wiping out hours of commuting and meetings from your schedule. How will you spend this newfound time?

Certainly, you will have to adjust to your new surroundings and adapt your habits to fit new routines. Would you use this time to learn a new skill or knock out some chores you have been putting off? Maybe you're a personal-growth junkie like me, and you need something to keep your mind occupied so you can stay focused and motivated. To that end, I surveyed our Alloy team members to create a list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development.

You can see the list for yourself, and if anything speaks to you, go ahead and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon (links included below).

Jamie's Favorites:

Put Your Dream to the Test -...

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Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times

Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times, by Jamie Hansen

“Mama said there’d be days like this,” sang The Shirelles in 1961. While no one could possibly have predicted the mass emergency declarations, corporate policy changes, and major event cancellations that we’ve seen nationwide this week, those words do ring true. Times of major change and uncertainty do, and will, continue to come upon us. While the breadth and depth of all of these changes at once may have us in unchartered waters, dealing with change itself is not new territory. In fact, there are learnings we can apply from the seas of change we’ve sailed before. Here are a few strategies to keep your physical and mental health boat afloat as we head into some choppy and sometimes scary - though not completely unchartered - seas.

1. When you can't do something about the situation, do something with it.

Let’s face it – there’s a significant feeling of loss of control in this...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 3

Communicating Like a Leader (Part III), by Jamie Hansen

This is the third and final piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can find the first installment here, the second installment here, and receive the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Welcome back to the Leadership Toolbox! This series focuses on skills that leaders should develop in order to maximize their effectiveness. Whether you are a new or experienced leader, these skills will increase your influence as you connect with the people around you. We have highlighted four critical skills already, and we have two more to complete this list:

5. Connecting with Curiosity

Great communicators have learned, often the hard way, how assumptions can throw a conversation into a downward spiral. Our desire for efficient conversation, combined with past experience with...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 2

Communicating Like a Leader (Part II), by Jamie Hansen

This is the second piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can find the first installment here, and receive the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Welcome back to the Leadership Toolbox! Today, we are focusing on two additional communication skills that leaders must develop to effectively lead the people and teams around them. If you have already read Part I of this series, you know that the first two skills are Assertiveness and Listening. Leaders absolutely must possess the courage to say what needs to be said, and the patience to hear what must be heard. Next, let's examine two more communication skills for leaders:

3. Proof in Paraphrasing

I call this the drive-thru skill. Anyone can "phone it in" or act like they're listening while their mind wanders. Most of us have...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 1

Communicating Like a Leader, by Jamie Hansen

This is the first piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can get the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Many of us have seen this play out time and time again: A supervisory position opens up in the organization, and an internal team member gets promoted into the leadership position. They are a great strategic choice because they’ve been a high-performer in their individual role, they know the company and the culture, and it seems the natural next step in their career. The stars have aligned and it’s all systems GO, right? Well . . . maybe, or maybe not. Whether this individual has 30 years or 3 years with the company, they are essentially moving from a position of working through processes, managing operating systems, or overseeing machines, to leading people and teams....

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Comparison Done Right

Comparison Done Right, by Haley Hansen

If you are anything like me, you have an intense desire to grow and succeed. I find myself constantly looking forward: to the next goal, the next challenge, the next destination to pull me out of my comfort zone. This takes many forms, like a fitness goal or a plan to read more. Last year, I started giving something up for a month at a time to challenge my self-control. It is only a month, but I love that feeling of accomplishment!

When you are looking ahead and above, it is natural to start looking at the people you perceive to be ahead of and above you. “Look how well they are doing,” you say to yourself, “I want to get to where they are. I want to do what they are doing.” Then you look back to your progress and cannot help but notice how far you still must go.

This experience was very real for me a few weeks ago, on a ski trip with my husband, Ryan, and some college friends. Now, Ryan and I are at different...

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5 Tips for Building the Culture You Want

culture ryan hansen values Jan 29, 2020

5 Tips for Building the Culture You Want, by Ryan Hansen

How do you feel about workplace culture? Does anything come to mind when you see those words together? Maybe you're thinking about bean bags and ping-pong tables. Some leaders managers will literally roll their eyes when you mention it (That's not a joke - I've seen it!) On the other end of the spectrum, some leaders value their workplace culture, hold it close, monitor it, and actively work to protect it. These are the organizations that I want to spend time with.

If it's not abundantly clear, Alloy Solutions believes in creating cultures where high-performing team members want to work and succeed. A great culture should bring the best out of the people that work in it. A strong culture is a competitive advantage for the organization: LinkedIn says that companies with strong cultures can cut their hiring costs by half, and Gallup says that companies with strong cultures see a 10%...

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Looking for a New Habit? Try Resilience.

How Leaders Use Resilience to Sustain Excellence, by Ryan Hansen

This week marks the first full week of a brand-new decade! I hope that this week finds you full of excitement, optimism, and amazing plans for big things to come in the new year.

As we kick off the new year, it seems that a single topic is getting the most attention: Habits. My inbox and social media feeds have been filled to the brim with suggestions from every expert, influencer, and thought leader on the habits that made them successful. Frankly, every article seems to suggest the same few things. Wake up at 5 AM. Establish a morning routine. Budget your time. Get daily exercise.

Without a doubt, these are good suggestions. I won't disagree with any of them - in fact, I have incorporated many of them into my personal life. However, in everything I have read, one piece is missing: What happens when circumstances interrupt our habits? How do we sustain our positive momentum?

Even with all the planning...

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Reflecting on Lessons and Successes from a Jam-Packed 2019

Reflecting on Lessons and Successes from a Jam-Packed 2019, by Ryan Hansen

Two weeks ago, I was in Centennial, Colorado, setting up for one of our biggest events of the year. Our team was bustling around, welcoming guests and setting out materials for the meeting portion of the day. It was a warm and sunny day at a golf course in this Denver suburb. Later, as our group took to the course for a quick golf scramble, I even managed a mild sunburn.

Wait a second. That was not two weeks ago - that was three months ago, at our Leader-Chip event in September. It sure feels like it was only two weeks ago - 2019 really is flying by! Today, in the heart of December, I'm sitting by a fireplace with a hot cup of coffee on hand and a chocolate Labrador lying across my feet (I don't mind, he's warm!).

It's easy for me to spend this time of year dreaming about our great, big plans for 2020 (trust me, they're big and they're bold). In fact, our team...

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Leading through the Holiday Stress

Leading through the Holiday Stress, by Ryan Hansen


It's that time of year again! The air is changing, the leaves are changing colors, and the days are getting shorter. Joyous holiday plans are coming together, families and friends are gathering around tables, and belts are loosening across the country.


It's that time of year again. The calendars are filling, deadlines are piling up, and the final business days of 2019 are bearing down. Schedules are unpredictable, clients and coworkers are unreachable, and tensions are increasing across the country.


If your workplace is anything like mine, both of these cases are true for you in November and December. The holiday season brings a slew of stressful scenarios, unlike anything the rest of the year has to offer. In many cases, it's the necessary trade-off for spending more time with family and friends to celebrate the season. As team members at every level - from the production floor to the boardroom - spend more...

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