Friday, June 10, 2016

The Christian Leader


The Christian Leader by Bill Hull explains how Christians are to lead. This book is aimed at all Christians, not just those in formal church leadership roles. Hull believes all Christians are called to lead others to Christ. But this is not a book about discipleship, not directly. Hull challenges the appropriateness of secular leadership models for Christians who would lead in any sector of society. Hull holds up Jesus as the model leader and outlines in the book the leadership lessons Jesus teaches us. For Hull, being a leader is about character. To be a Christian leader means to allow ourselves to be shaped and led by God. Hull’s description of the Christian leader goes contrary to the usual secular model of a leader. Hull identifies as an evangelist but has little patience for the holier-than-thou variety. But Hull’s strong Christian language leaves no doubt about his faith commitment to Jesus Christ. There are lessons to be learned about authentic leadership from the book even for those who do not share Hull’s faith perspective. It may be difficult, though, for such readers to get past the Christian language to glean the universal lessons for leaders. But Hull is clearly writing for Christians and based on that premise, he has written a useful book for those who would lead following Jesus Christ as their model.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

That's Not How We Do It Here!


The latest book from John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber entitled That's Not How We Do It Here! is a quick, inspiring, entertaining read. Written as a fable about a clan of meerkats, the book addresses how entrepreneurial startups and mature organizations alike can thrive in an ever-changing business environment. The story highlights such issues as dealing with change, handling increasing organizational complexities that come with growth, fostering teamwork across departmental silos, encouraging innovation, and becoming a learning organization. The key lesson of the book is the difference between leading and managing and the need for both if an organization is to thrive. There is a short section at the end of the book that outlines the concepts illustrated in the fable. This is not a how-to book, however. Readers will need to refer to Kotter’s more detailed works for guidance on how to implement the approach described in this book’s storyline. The value of this book is as a tool to introduce readers to the need to consider the premises introduced through the fable. Having managers at all levels read this book and discuss as a group can initiate stimulating conversations, innovative ideas, and a desire to act.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Mindfulness Edge


The Mindfulness Edge by Matt Tenney and Tim Gard is a practical guide for mindfulness self-training. The authors show how to develop greater self-awareness without having to carve out time from a busy schedule to add mindfulness exercises. The authors explain how mindfulness can be developed as you go about your normal day. Interspersed throughout the book and separated from the main text are notes explaining the neuroscience of mindfulness training. Clear instructions are given for mindfulness practices for beginners to advanced-level practitioners. The authors explain how mindfulness improves leadership and personal excellence. This is the book for those wanting to understand the importance of mindfulness to personal and professional effectiveness and how to cultivate increased awareness of self, others, and one’s surroundings without complicated exercises. The authors admit that their approach is simple but not necessarily easy. But for those who truly want to increase mindfulness, The Mindfulness Edge provides a realistic process for achieving that goal.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Discover Your True North


A former CEO and now a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, Bill George explains in his latest book Discover Your True North what it means to be an authentic leader and how to develop into being one. George explains what you have to consider and do to be a values-led leader and the pitfalls to navigate around so as to avoid the shadow side of leading. The bulk of the book consists of stories of leaders used to illustrate George’s points and lessons. The vast majority of leaders highlighted are from business, but George’s lessons are relevant to those who would lead in any field. This is a useful book for those who are striving to grow into a leader for the 21st century.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Ignorant Maestro


The book The Ignorant Maestro gives the feel of being orchestrated more than composed. There is a sense of artistic flow as author and orchestral conductor Itay Talgam takes us on a journey into the minds of six great orchestral conductors. The author’s purpose is to expose us to the leadership lessons to be learned by the differing styles of each maestro. In the process, Talgam offers his own insights into how leaders may use ignorance to produce new knowledge and use gaps to achieve unity. The fascinating stories Talgam shares about each conductor are used to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of various leadership styles. This is not a how-to book. There is no definitive prescription for how to lead. Rather, Talgam encourages us to synthesize whatever lessons we may extract from each example to compose our own approach to leading. An inspiring, informative, and practical read for those who wish to find their own voice as a leader.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Power Score


Power Score provides an extensively-researched, well-tested, practical process for helping teams achieve dramatically better results. The authors hope that Power Score will come to be considered the most useful leadership book on the market. An audacious goal. Whether the authors successfully fulfill that hope will be for each reader to decide. Nonetheless, the authors, all members of the acclaimed ghSMART consulting firm, have produced an enormously useful book. They have devised a simple formula for measuring team effectiveness. Three aspects of the team are assessed—priorities, who, and relationships. A successful team has the right priorities, the right people, and the right relationships internally and externally. The authors provide scoring charts whereby teams can assess each aspect with a score of one to ten. The three categories are multiplied together and the result is the team’s power score. Numerous examples are provided to illustrate successes and failures in achieving full-powered teams. There is also a scripted process for reviewing the power score results with a team. The book can serve as a valuable resource for any teams wanting to operate at full power.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rebels At Work


Rebels at Work by Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina is a book for nonmanagement employees who feel compelled to lead change within their organizations. Kelly and Medina have managed to write a book that is succinct yet detailed. Even experienced workplace rebels will find practical guidelines on how to be more effective in getting their ideas heard and implemented. The authors differentiate between good rebels and troublemakers, explain how to gain credibility, advise on navigating an organization’s landscape, describe how to manage conflict, provide guidelines for bolstering courage, offer ways to avoid burnout, and much more. Appendices at the back of the book summarize the book’s key processes as well as providing additional tips. This is an important and practical book for employees who may lack management authority yet are motivated to lead organizational change.