What will you 'soak' in this summer?

The temperature is rising and summer mode has kicked in, as well an opportunity to consider how we, as PR professionals, can make the most of the season and savor more than the sun.

If my colleagues were to guess my top picks to post for PRWeek, bets would be on building winning teams, new metrics of a successful campaign, or integrated communications.

The temperature is rising and summer mode has kicked in, as well an opportunity to consider how we, as PR professionals, can make the most of the season and savor more than the sun.

With an ever-changing communications landscape, knowledge and skills for success have also evolved. Just as our industry shifts, so does our mindset and our people. With that in mind, thoughts of a relaxing summer turned to summer reading, summer school, and summer interns.

Let's begin with summer reading…a rite of passage for students across the nation (OK, a dread for some). Somehow when you enter the workforce, reading quickly becomes a privilege and a luxury. Romance, science fiction, or murder mystery may top your summer choices, but there's always room for a bit of non-fiction, business intelligence to be included.

A great way to encourage your peers to add a few non-fiction titles to their summer reading is to create and circulate an employee-suggested list of favorites, like we did at HL Group. I took a categorical approach and suggested the following titles to consider:

Re-read a classic Good to Great, by Jim Collins
I keep a copy of this at my desk earmarked to pages with my favorite lessons including “filling the bus” with the right talent.

Explore a new philosophy – The Start Up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
“Permanent beta” is an ingenious notion to apply to an individual, brand, or even a client strategy.

Go on a journey – Zero Moment of Truth, by Joan Mullally and Andrew Simon
Understanding the new customer journey or purchase path is essential to everyday planning and execution.

Master the basics – Brand: It Ain't the Logo, by Ted Matthews
I recommend this to all of our new team members; rudimentary and core principles of branding are laid out in a simple, enjoyable read.

Get organized – Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande
The most brilliant strategy only becomes a success with flawless execution, helped by a masterful checklist.

Cultivate relationships – Face to Face Book, by Ed Keller and Brad Fay
With 90% of conversations happening offline, we are reminded that social is more behavioral than technological and that it's time to increase human interaction efforts.

For more summer reading picks, check out a full list of HL Group employee suggestions on Facebook.com/HLGroup. We'd love to hear from you, too. If you have a book to share, tweet us at @hlgrp or email summer@hlgrp.com. Go ahead; get more out of your summer reading!

Michele Cerwin is president of HL Group. 

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