At Soundview Executive Book Summaries, we spend a healthy portion of our time reading and writing about leadership books. I came across a great article from the Financial Post about the need for mindful leaders in the workplace. Ray Williams, author of the Financial Post piece, cites clinician Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness. He describes it as, “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Kabat-Zinn argues that the modern workplace screams along at such an incredible pace that leaders are often mentally and physically overtaxed. This impacts the executive’s decision-making abilities and reduces his or her effectiveness in the long-term.
What is of interest to Soundview is that Kabat-Zinn cites two books which we’ve previously recommended to leaders. The first of these books is Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman. In this book, Goleman and his co-authors describe the competencies of Emotional Intelligence that can help leaders create a more unified, productive work force. This book is a great read because it combines great advice to help a leader improve him- or herself while also giving tips to strengthen the organization as a whole.
The other book Kabat-Zinn references is Resonant Leadership. This title is written by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Goleman’s co-authors on Primal Leadership. As the subtitle indicates, the book helps executives renew themselves and connect with others through mindfulness, hope and compassion. While there are certainly traditional leaders who may view the subject matter as an unnecessary lesson in “soft skills,” more and more books are being written about the importance of a leader’s ability to connect and inspire his or her employees.
No executive has an easy job. The person that occupies the corner office is faced with budget issues, management decisions and strategic planning. The fate of a company rests on a leader’s ability to balance and blend his or her own strengths with those of his or her team. There will be moments in an executive’s career that, in retrospect, are pivotal to his or her legacy. In Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career Defining Moments, the latest business book now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary, former CEO Harlan Steinbaum gives reader’s an inside look at what shapes those pivotal moments and profiles a group of executives who reveal what led them to take action.
Steinbaum is the ideal guide for this tour of the psyche of the CEO. He is the former chairman and CEO of Medicare-Glaser, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the United States. He also served as chairman of Express Scripts, Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company. Steinbaum tells readers about his own tough call during a time when his family decided to buy back its business from the company to whom they previously sold it.
Steinbaum has a great sense of pace and knows when to insert his or her observations amidst the profiles of more than 35 executives from a wide variety of companies. In the Soundview Executive Book Summary, executives can learn from Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group), Bill Rasmussen (ESPN) and Shelly Lazarus (Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide), and many more. The issues about which Steinbaum writes will definitely echo problems experienced by any reader who picks up this book.
Are you the type of business executive who fills his or her pockets with multiple devices? Do you carry one type of smartphone for work purposes and another smartphone for personal use? You might be interested in checking out this article from The Wall Street Journal. As Roger Cheng, the article’s author, writes, “For lots of workers, the company BlackBerry just doesn’t cut it anymore.” This speaks volumes about the way in which the public’s demand for the latest technology is roaring ahead of many organization’s ability to keep pace. Cheng makes a very interesting point about the fact that many successful companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices. However, such an allowance comes with a tacit understanding between employer and employee that issues of cost and accountability will be shared.
This sort of concept is further proof of the ideas suggested by authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results. The idea that companies are allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices for business purposes matches Katzenbach and Khan’s suggestion that use of practices from the informal organization strengthen a company’s efforts. In the same vein, the rules established between employer and employee that Cheng discusses in his article fit with the authors’ notion that the traditional formal organization still has a place in the new landscape. The Wall Street Journal piece is an excellent indication of the way in which the two ideas blend.
In case you missed our recent Soundview Live event with Katzenbach and Khan, the archive link is now available! Click here to learn more and find out how you can listen to the event at your convenience.
As people prepare for a weekend away from the office (“away,” of course, being a relative term in the age of technology), there’s little doubt that they may find a bit of pain when they pull up to the pump. Gas prices continue to rise across the United States and it’s leading many to speculate that this is, at long last, the moment when the United States will join the rest of the world and pay a higher price for a gallon of fuel. While Americans struggle with that reality, President Barack Obama is attempting to ensure that no one is profiting from the sudden surge in fuel prices. Obama tasked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with pulling together a team to investigate whether there is any fraud or market manipulation that is contributing to the rise in U.S. gas prices. Obama made a tough decision by opting to target traders and speculators who might gain from such market manipulation.
Tough calls are the subject of one of the newest books to be summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career Defining Moments, former CEO Harlan Steinbaum examines the critical thinking and decision-making processes of notable leaders. Steinbaum’s book offers insights from leaders in a variety of industries, even the U.S. military and federal government. Perhaps for his next book, Steinbaum should consider a sequel entitled Tough Calls from the Oval Office. If it were as good as his current book, every executive would have to pick it up.
A biography of a CEO can be a hit-or-miss option for readers. When it comes to an autobiography, readers need to be even more selective. In many situations, an executive ends up reading a brief history of the CEO’s schooling, followed by a laundry list of his or her accomplishments. That’s why Hesselbein’s book earns the distinction of being reviewed by Soundview. She beautifully blends poignant stories with applicable business lessons. Hesselbein’s tenure as head of the Girl Scouts of America led to a true resurgence. She took an organization that served a small segment of the American population and expanded its ranks to be a welcome place for young women from all walks of life. My Life in Leadership is a book that deserves the praise it’s currently earning. Visit Summary.com to learn more about the book.
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