Five Card Decks Every Leader Should Own

You may have read every leadership book on the planet, but did you know that some of the best tools out there are hidden inside card decks? Here are five of the best.



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Leadership + Design

For gut checking how you’re showing up as a leader

Originally developed for the next generation of school leaders, this deck hits home with leaders in any organization. Each card has a leadership behavior like Tell your group the best way to give you feedback, Make sure the group knows when decisions have been finalized, or Are you hanging on to an idea or outcome? Let go of it and get excited about someone else’s idea. These cards can be used for personal reflection. (I like to focus on one at a time, taping it up near my work desk.) Even more powerful–ask your staff to sort the cards according to what they think are your strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great way to get candid feedback that might otherwise be hard for your team to express.

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FIVEDECKS-02.pngStoryHow Pitch Deck

For giving a killer presentation.

There are several good card decks out there for helping you up your presentation game, but Ron Ploof’s StoryHow Pitch Deck is a great one to start with. The deck contains 60 specific storytelling techniques that really inspire you to think critically about how to communicate with others. Ron claims his cards help business people convert their ideas, messages, and presentations into memorable narratives. I agree!

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Barriers to Change Cards

For getting stuff done with the support of others. 


As a leader, the hard part isn’t always just having a great idea, a vision, or a strategy. Sometimes the hardest part is convincing others to go along with you. That’s when XPLANE’s Barriers to Change cards come in handy. Through a quick sort with your key stakeholders, you can diagnose where the roadblocks lie in bringing about change in your organization. And once the real barriers are on the table, it’s amazing how easy it is to work through people’s authentic concerns.

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The Leadership Architect Sort Cards

For building a team with the right mix of competencies.

Great leaders aren’t great at everything, but they’re great at building a team that compensates for their deficiencies. Lominger’s Leadership Architect card deck is a pretty heavy-duty competency-mapping tool, but I love it because it helps you break down what is expected of your position into tangible skills (e.g. comfort around higher management, priority setting, negotiation). From there you can take a good, hard look at which competencies are personal strengths and which are weaknesses. And “ta-da!” your weaknesses stack becomes a ready-made list of competencies you should focus on building into the team around you.

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75 Tools for Creative Thinking

For boosting creativity.

There are many creativity method card decks out there, but this one is my favorite. From the fabulous people at Booreiland in Amsterdam comes this compilation of 75 activities to unstick you and your team when you’re in a creative rut. These cards will help you spice up your team meetings with concrete ways to get inspired, organize ideas, and boost your creative thinking skills.

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You can find out more about all these decks and dozens more at www.deckaholic.com, the largest online library of card decks in the world.