Coffee Break MBA

What is a Coffee Break MBA?

Lots of people work 9 to 5, then come home and parent. When things finally settle down, about 9 or so, they take out their iPad and look at the apps. They have a business book they should read, they're on page 22, it will be good for them. And they have Netflix.

50 minutes later, they've enjoyed an episode of a show they just discovered, and their brains are settled down enough that they can think about sleep.

It might be two books on the nightstand, and George R. R. Martin wins over Warren Buffett.

We know we need to fill our minds with positive, encouraging brain food that will help us at work. But honestly, at 9 pm, we're done. And at 5:30 the next morning, we are just getting through the routine, hoping to be awake by the time our butt hits the chair at work.

So here's my proposal:

Start a new habit. During your daily coffee break, when you're awake, but not completely in the zone cranking productively, take out your business book. Be obvious about it.

Now wait for your co-workers. Someone will ask about what you're doing. Here comes the tricky part.

Describe the reason you're reading that book. What's the big idea you're trying to learn from the author?

Now, if you stick to this, you'll finish your book (in fact, you'll probably get into the book enough that it will be okay to read it at night or on the weekend). Then you'll bring another good book to work.

After a few conversations, set up a coffee break book club. Just read for 15 minutes during your break, and then every week, take one coffee break to have one person share with the group what they have been learning.

If there's four of you, that means you have to finish a book and talk about it once every four weeks.

If one of the group is a manager, expand the meeting to 30 minutes, and bill it to the company training budget. Have the manager get an approved reading list (suggestions right here).

If you do this with four co-workers, and you read 12 books each, you will have assimilated 48 big ideas within a year.

There are lots of lists of suggested books. We just need to figure out how to get into them enough so that they don't feel like a chore. We need to create the habit.

Please try this. Let me know how long it takes to get your first conversation with a co-worker. I'd love to hear a manager's take on this idea.

More to come on this idea - email me if you want to keep up as I explore this idea.


Dave Block
Professional Learner

Categories: Books , Business