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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Leading With Intention

Leading with Intention by Mindy Hall is a practical guide on how to develop the mindset and behaviors of a leader. A straightforward writing style, short chapters, and simple illustrations make this book a quick and easy read. That doesn’t mean, though, that the concepts lack sophistication. The emphasis, however, is on the practical rather than the theoretical. And the author’s recommendations can be applied to other aspects of life other than leadership. Well worth reading for those new to a leader position. The book will also remind experienced leaders of how they may maximize their impact.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Uplifting Leadership

Uplifting leadership, as described by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle, and Alma Harris in their new book by the same title, is about achieving beyond expectations. Uplifting leaders ignite the emotional, spiritual, and social powers of teams, organizations, and communities to improve performance and results. Based on their research of organizations in business, education, and sports, the authors identify six factors that comprise the uplifting leadership process. A key emphasis of the model is harnessing the energy generated by the tension between “hard” and “soft” skills. According to this model, leadership is about managing paradoxes. To create lift leaders must balance dreaming with action, creativity with discipline, collaboration with competition, pushing with pulling, measurement with meaningfulness, and quick wins with sustainable success. The writing is clear and the authors provide many examples of their principles applied in a variety of settings. Yet there is little that is new for those familiar with leadership literature. The authors reinforce what many other researchers have already explained. A good book that provides additional research and another model to support a holistic approach to leadership.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Creating an Organizational Culture of Purpose

Consultant Christoph Lueneburger has released a new book entitled A Culture of Purpose. Lueneburger equates a culture of purpose with one that is focused on environmental sustainability. But sustainability seems to be a secondary focus of this book. The significant contribution Lueneburger makes to the leadership literature is outlining how to create an organizational culture driven by a central purpose. One can apply the author’s research-based model to creating a corporate culture centered on any strongly-held purpose. The author identifies competencies, traits, and cultural attributes as the three sets of building blocks for creating a culture of purpose. He describes five competencies, four traits, and three cultural attributes necessary to creating and leading purpose-focused organizations. This book will be useful to the individual wanting to develop personal leadership abilities. However, Lueneburger’s primary goal is to help organizational leaders identify the people who will help create a culture of purpose. The unique, and perhaps most valuable, aspect of the book is the chart of questions at the end of each chapter. Lueneburger explains how to identify each of the necessary competencies, traits, and attributes. He provides questions to use in hiring interviews to uncover the needed abilities for leading organizational change. The individual reader may also use these questions as a form of self-assessment and as a self-development guide. Lueneburger has written a useful book for anyone interested in leading organizational change and creating cultures of meaning.