Wednesday, December 13, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Russel Lolacher

This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Russel Lolacher.

Russel Lolacher is an international speaker and founder and host of Relationships at Work, the leadership guide to creating a workplace we love, a show digging into timely and relevant topics with global experts on how to create healthy organizations. He’s held successful leadership and communication roles for almost 25 years, retaining one team for almost 12 years. His work in building employee and customer trust has been recognized on international stages, in multiple publications, and as a 4-time-named Top Thought Leader by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI).

QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
RUSSEL LOLACHER: In no particular order but certainly all sharing a profound impact on how I viewed work relationships and motivation.

(1) Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Motivated by seeing his TEDTalk on the Golden Circle, this book hit me at a time in my life where I felt my communication was very much 'going through the motions.' It seemed for anyone I was writing for (including myself), it was only about the what and the how aka 'we’re awesome and look how awesome we are!' This book took away that default and helped me see the importance of purpose, not only in telling our stories but also in building connections with audiences. It was a 180-degree shift in how I did my work and helped others.

(2) The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. I was a year or two out of my communications degree, looking to apply it in the business world. I had a background in traditional PR with news releases and media advisories but hadn’t really considered the social media thing. This was a paradigm shift. I’ve always been motivated by talking WITH rather than talking AT people, and this book gave me the inspiration and blueprint to use new platforms in ways most weren’t. To try something new. I devoured this book and used it to fuel multiple 'spaghetti against the wall' tests in engagement and community building.

(3) How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve often said this is the best digital engagement, leadership, customer service, and community building book that I’ve ever read. Even though it was written in 1936, the idea to design our communication and relationship building by considering others is timeless. Whether you show genuine interest, give sincere appreciation, or become a good listener, etc., I would dare to say reading this book inspired me to be more human-centric and enter communications as a career.

SHARE THIS: I’ve always been motivated by talking WITH rather than talking AT people. ~@RussLoL #DebbieLaskeysBlog #Marketing #PR

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
RUSSEL LOLACHER: Adam Grant. He’s killing it with book after book on how to view the world and our interactions with each other differently. He could be stuffy with all the research he does, but instead, I love how relatable, accessible, and relevant he is, and regularly gives me pause to think how I could show up better. Adding some of his self-deprecating personality, and open-ness to question some of his own ideas, and I’m a fan.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
RUSSEL LOLACHER: Hamlet. I know, I know, it’s a play. But it was the first time I remember really digging into the depths and layers of a book. We spent a quarter of our school year just focusing on this work of Shakespeare: playing out scenes, discussing motivations, watching different interpretations of the play.

It opened my eyes to deeper storytelling and complexities of character that I wasn’t used to and actually inspired me to want to read more. It’s rare that we consume literature at this level, and it’s one of best reading experiences I’ve ever had. You’re making me want to go and read more fiction now.

SHARE THIS: Reading Hamlet opened my eyes to deeper storytelling...and inspired me to want to read more. ~@RussLoL #DebbieLaskeysBlog #Reading

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?
RUSSEL LOLACHER: Speaking of reading more fiction...You caught me. I really don’t. It’s a space that I haven’t explored much as an adult. I’m looking at a sword and sandal type book right now on my book shelf, gathering dust. I certainly find my fiction in other forms of entertainment, but it’s often a regret that I don’t dip my toe into more varied and fantastic storytelling. Maybe this conversation will finally push me to get back into it.

(Note from Debbie: I definitely hope so, Russel!)

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
RUSSEL LOLACHER: Bound to Happen.

Why? Even though it’s a fun play on words, I like the idea that, eventually, children and young adults will understand that one of, if not THE, best source for new ideas and stories come from books. And further to the BOUND comment, I like reinforcing that it’s been shown that physical (not digital) books actually help with retention. What better way to get lost in a book?

My gratitude to Russel for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing his inspiring recommendations!

Image Credit: Max Muselmann via Unsplash.

Read Russel's previous appearance here on my Blog:
Tips to Improve Your Brand's Employee Experience (September 2021)

Connect with Russel at these links:

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