Readership in Leadership

January / 2021
Author: Fran Racioppi

Leadership is dynamic and ever changing. Different points in a company’s lifecycle and different stressors on an organization will require different types of leadership. Leaders must therefore constantly iterate to make ourselves better. 

Professional development is often misunderstood and even more so mis-implemented. In many companies it is a hand wave or a compliance driven event in which employees (and leaders) click through endless slides while multitasking on other projects. Professional development must have a goal and a focus. It is too broad to simply say, “I am going to professionally develop myself or my team.” We must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of ourselves and our teams. Then focus professional development on a clear and defined goal.

Reading is one method of personal and organizational professional development. Our experiences and what we can consume and learn by being present in a function all day can only go so far and be so broad. Reading opens up other venues and experiences for increased knowledge exponentially adding to our effective intelligence (the ability to use our experiences as a basis for future decision-making).

Many times we are overcome by other events, or we claim we are too busy to read, or maybe we are just being lazy because our eyes hurt from video calls all day so we don’t want to read. This complacency will quickly set in and become the norm. Before we know it, six months or a year will go by without reading anything. 

To combat complacency it helps to think in terms of “micro” vs “macro” discipline. We as people too often think that we need to achieve everything at once. We need to make more money now; we need to lose 10 pounds now; or read the whole book today. We look around at successful people with nice houses and cars and assume it just happened to them in a day or week. The reality is that those results took time and effort along incremental steps. They did a little bit each day without compromise and without substitute. 

There is no excuse for being too busy to read. What if you read 10-15 pages a day. That is 10-15 minutes a day. That is over 300 pages a month. Most books are 200-300 pages. That means that if you can have the micro-discipline to read 10 pages a day (10-15 minutes) you can read 12 books a year. That is 12 times the effective intelligence, drive, humility, and curiosity you have today. Then compound that annually over five years, 10 years, or a 20 year career. The value brought to our organizations and personal success of reading hundreds of books at 10 minutes a day is time much better spent than scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.


Francis Racioppi, CPP, CBCP, most recently led Genius Fund as the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, a vertically integrated cannabis company in Los Angeles, CA leading operations in cultivation, manufacturing, production, sales, retail, delivery, as well as cannabis and hemp derived brands of consumer packaged goods. Prior to Genius, Fran served as the Director of Global Security for Snapchat where he was recruited to professionalize and scale the security organization across the globe and among all business units. Fran served 13 years in the United States Army as a Green Beret, deploying three times to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. In 2013, he deployed to Djibouti, Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he coordinated Special Operations combating Al-Shabab throughout East Africa. In 2014, he planned and coordinated the Special Forces response to Boko Haram in West Africa, as well as oversaw the operations of Special Forces teams countering the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa and ISIS in North Africa.