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.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Student Leadership Challenge


The second edition of The Student Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner is an excellent resource for students who want to develop their abilities to lead. Actually, anyone wanting to lead can benefit from reading this book. The authors explain in clear, accessible language the five practices for becoming an exemplary leader. Each chapter ends with specific actions students may take to develop their skills as leaders. Stories of student leaders from around the world illustrate the leadership behaviors in practice. These stories also encourage students reading the book that they too can be leaders. This book would be excellent for leadership courses, student leadership development programs, or as a resource for students holding lead roles on or off campus. New copies of the book include an access code for the Student Leadership Practices Inventory. A practical and inspiring book from two well-respected experts in leadership development.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Ready To Be A Thought Leader?


Ready to Be a Thought Leader? by Denise Brosseau is a book for those who want to transform the world. Think there is no way you could have such an impact? Read the book and follow Brosseau’s seven-step process for becoming a thought leader. Brosseau explains how to find your change arena, how to build your influence, how to create models that others can replicate, how to become recognized as a thought leader, and how to lead a transformational movement. She provides clear instructions for what you need to do to gain status as a thought leader. The world needs transformational change agents. Read Ready to Be a Thought Leader? and contribute to creating a better world. Brosseau will tell you how.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Holistic Perspective on Leader Development

Grounded by Bob Rosen is about the inner aspects of being a leader. Rosen identifies six dimensions of personal development that constitute healthy leadership—the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, and spiritual. This is not a groundbreaking book and the explanations of the dimensions do not go into great depth. Rosen’s contribution is in emphasizing the importance of the inner aspect of leading and synthesizing its many dimensions. Rosen brings together findings from multiple disciplines and relates them to leadership development. Many practical ideas are provided and illustrated with examples of accomplished leaders. Grounded is a solid contribution to the literature of leadership development.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Timeless Leadership


Timeless Leadership provides eighteen lessons about being a leader from the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Indian sacred text. This is no ordinary “leadership according to” book. The author plummets the depths of what it means to be a leader. Chatterjee, a scholar and leadership coach, approaches his subject with sensitivity and reverence. Reading this book is like entering into the calm of a sacred space. Chatterjee makes clear the spiritual, philosophical, and practical implications of the Bhagavad Gita for leaders. This book explores the spirituality of leadership without advocating any particular religious perspective. True leadership emerges from within the leader. This book should be the starting point for anyone wanting to be a leader. There are many volumes that focus on technique. Chatterjee has written a guide on how to integrate being a leader into one’s personal identity.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thinking In Systems

A key ability of leaders is to be able to think in terms of systems, in wholes. Systems are complex. However, they need not be complicated. Donella H. Meadows in her book "Thinking in Systems" does an excellent job in untangling the complex elements of systems so as to make an understanding of systems less complicated. With diagrams and clear explanations, Meadows provides the reader with the basic knowledge needed to comprehend the complex world of systems. But she does not end there. She also explains how systems may be influenced. The book identifies system traps and how to avoid them. Leverage points for intervening in systems are explained. How to live within systems is discussed.

This is a timely book. The economic, social, political, and environmental crises we face today are systems problems. They can be resolved only if we understand the dynamics of systems. A quote in the book by Václav Havel reads that “we must learn to wait as we learn to create.” An understanding of systems can give us the patience and knowledge we need as citizens and leaders to resolve our current crises. Reading this book is an excellent start toward achieving that understanding.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Learning As A Way Of Being

I highly recommend reading Peter Vaill's book Learning As A Way of Being. The book focuses on how to educate for managerial leadership, whether taking place in corporate training programs or higher education. Vaill describes seven qualities of learning as a way of being that are critical for training leaders. The seven qualities of learning proposed by Vaill include:

  • Self-directed: The learner should be able to manage his/her efforts to confront unique learning challenges.

  • Creative: An attitude of exploration is needed when confronting novel learning problems.

  • Expressive: This is learning by doing.

  • Feeling: The learner needs to be able to deal with feelings of confusion, fear, and incompetence as well as experience the meaning of what is learned.

  • On-line: Learning takes place within the environments we find ourselves rather than being confined to educational institutions.

  • Continual: The realization that we are to learn throughout our lives and maintain the mindset of a beginner.

  • Reflexive: Learn about learning and be aware of one's own learning process.

Vaill explains each of these qualities in depth. The book will be valuable to those responsible for leadership training. It will also provide those who would lead with an understanding of the type of learning that is required to grow into being a leader.