Three New Summaries to Unlock the Door to More Success

The barrier between standard and extraordinary leadership can be symbolized by a door. At a certain point in your career, particularly if you’ve acquired a degree of success, you’ll find yourself trying to unlock the door with the skills you’ve developed. Soundview now offers three new book summaries that can help sharpen your abilities and blend them into a single key that can open the door to greatness.

by Mike Myatt

by Mike Myatt

Hacking Leadership by Mike Myatt. In Hacking Leadership, Mike Myatt identifies 11 leadership gaps that can be holding leaders back and affecting their performance. The gaps are found in areas of leadership, purpose, future, mediocrity, culture, talent, knowledge, innovation, expectation, complexity and failure. Myatt provides actionable leadership and management “hacks” to bridge the gaps in order to create a culture of leadership within organizations and help leaders drive exceptional results.

 

by Bob Rosen

by Bob Rosen

Grounded by Bob Rosen. Internationally renowned CEO advisor Bob Rosen proposes a new approach to leadership in Grounded in which leaders at every level can become more self-aware, develop their untapped potential, and drive better results for themselves, their teams and their organizations. Rosen’s Healthy Leader model highlights six personal dimensions that any leader can master: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational and spiritual health.

 

 

by Jim Burkett

by Jim Burkett

The Learned Disciplines of Management by Jim Burkett. In The Learned Disciplines of Management, Jim Burkett presents a framework of individual disciplines that form a self-reinforcing management system for making the right things happen. These include planning, organizing, measuring performance, executing, following up, real-time reporting and problem solving. Practicing these will reveal what effective management can do.

Getting to More Without Settling for Less

SCALING UP EXCELLENCE

How to Scale Up Faster and Farther

Most companies have “pockets of excellence,” according to Stanford University professors Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao — units, departments or subsidiaries where people perform at the highest levels and generate the best results in the organization. The problem that bedevils many leaders, however, is how to spread that excellence throughout the company — what is known to practitioners as “scaling” or “scaling up.” In their new book, Scaling Up Excellence, Sutton and Rao describe five principles required to scale up the excellence.

  1. Hot Causes, Cool Solutions. This first principle involves the debate on what comes first: changing the mindset and beliefs of the people in the organization (hot causes) or making people change their behaviors whether they believe in the cause or not. The authors argue that either order can work.
  2. Cut the Cognitive Load. Scaling up requires new actions, new processes and new learnings, and sometimes employees can get overwhelmed by all that is new. The authors recommend that organizations that are scaling up look not only to add” but to “subtract” as well. Limit the bureaucracy whenever possible. Find the old processes or old structures that are no longer needed in the new scaled-up organization.
  3. The People Who Propel Scaling. “People propel scaling,” as the authors put it, and that first means having the right people with the right skills doing the right      things. Hiring the right people, however, is just the beginning. No matter how talented your employees, scaling up doesn’t work unless they are accountable: that is, they are compelled to work in the organization’s best interest.
  4. Connect People and Cascade Excellence. Connecting people is also key to spreading the excellence. Diversity plays a role: The more departments, functions, locations and positions on the organization’s ladder are represented, the greater the reach of the scaling-up effort.
  5. Bad Is Stronger Than Good. Because they will have much more impact than any positive actions, it is essential to prevent and eliminate any and all destructive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors from the organization, according to the authors.      Lesson number one: Nip it in the bud.

Each of the principles are supported and illustrated through a variety of case studies and academic research. In addition, the authors offer a specific and detailed list of practical how-tos to instill the principles in an organization. For example, among the seven ways to ensure the talent and accountability required for successful scaling up (principle three) are squelching free riders and bringing in guilt-prone leaders — those who will feel guilty for putting their needs above the needs of those they lead.

Catholicism vs. Buddhism

One of the key questions that leaders of scaling-up initiatives will need to ask themselves is whether or not one size fits all. The authors call this the Catholicism (replicating tried-and-true practices throughout the organization) vs. Buddhism (having a guiding mindset but adapting the practices to fit local conditions). There is no right or wrong answer. Leaders, however, will need to figure out which path is best as they launch their initiatives.

Based on what they call a “seven-year conversation” that included combing through hundreds of academic studies, conducting detailed case studies as well as targeted interviews, and presenting emerging ideas to a wide range of business audiences, Scaling Up Excellence is a definitive guide on one of the key paths to organizational success.

The #1 Rule for Real Leaders

WALK THE WALK

The Power of Doing What You Say You Will

People who become leaders have many options. One way a leader can lead is by becoming a ruler. Machiavellian leaders who rule tell people what to do, and intimidate, coerce or bully them into compliance. Other leaders ask their followers to help them sustain business as usual, often with declining results. Another type of leader simply holds his or her position until somebody else comes along to mop up the mess.

Finally, there is the true leader. This leader, whose attributes are described in detail in author Alan Deutschman’s latest book Walk the Walk, is the powerful person who does exactly what he or she says he or she will do. A leader who doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk is somebody who stands up to opposing forces by following the values and belief systems that he or she described while rising to the top position in the organization.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the beginning of Walk the Walk, Deutschman describes an elegant example of a leader who embodies the quality that he illuminates throughout his book: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only did King preach a nonviolent approach as the best way to end the inequality suffered by African-Americans in the United States, but when called to task, he lived the beliefs that he spoke about in his speeches.

Deutschman describes a day in September 1962 when King was speaking before a crowd in Birmingham, Alabama. While talking to about 300 black civil rights leaders at the annual national gathering of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi stepped up to the podium and punched King in the face. He then proceeded to pummel the civil rights leader with his fists. Instead of defending himself and returning the man’s blows, King dropped his arms to his sides, demonstrating how somebody who chooses nonviolence should act when encountering a violent response.

When King’s followers in the audience rushed to his defense, King told them not to touch his attacker. King followed the words he had been preaching all along. He showed his constituents how to turn the other cheek. When King did this, he served as an example to his followers of how they should act when involved in their own struggles for fairness and freedom. By doing so, King walked the walk, embodying the rule that Deutschman writes is the singular quality that separates those who truly lead from those who only claim to lead.

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos

Throughout his book, Deutschman offers dozens of colorful examples from a variety of professions to show readers how this quality manifests itself in a multitude of ways. For example, he describes the actions that allowed Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com, to become one of the most admired leaders in the world. Early in his life as a leader of Amazon, Bezos said that his main priorities were his company’s customers and its long-term success. Defying the Wall Street analysts who were looking for shorter-term results, Bezos grew his company slowly while creating an infrastructure that never wavered from his original goals. Today, Deutschman explains, Bezos is a leader among leaders whose success is a direct result of his ability to walk the walk.

Part of Bezos’ success, Deutschman writes, comes from one of the crucial ways that a leader who walks the walk can stay on track. To do this, he writes, “you reveal the ranking of your values.” For King, his two values were nonviolence and equality. When he refused to strike back at his attacker, he showed that nonviolence was what Deutschman calls “his paramount value for the movement that he led.” When Bezos refused to remove several customer-centric applications that he installed on his Web site to improve the value that they get from their interactions with his company, he demonstrated his “first virtues” of customer-centricity and a long-term focus.

Many powerful examples like these fill Walk the Walk. Deutschman’s ability to tell stories filled with highly pertinent details make his latest book a compelling inroad to the most important attributes that a leader can embody. Using the techniques described by Deutschman, leaders can take the necessary steps to find their way to organizational success.

Book Review: Choosing Change

by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

Change is a business topic that generates both fear and excitement among readers. Executives are being constantly reminded that the pace of change is ever increasing. The business impact of not being able to stay ahead of change is sometimes described as catastrophic. What’s missing from many books on change is a by-the-numbers approach to making change a repeatable process. In Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time, Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy provide a model that helps leaders focus on the personal and organizational dimensions of change. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

The authors created a framework called the Five Ds to provide an overarching set of guidelines to create change. Readers are given detailed steps to become a change-focused leader through the lenses of disruption, desire, discipline, determination and development. Once a leader understands the principles that create change in an individual, the focus turns to the organization. This section will prove helpful to any leader who, while personally full of fire to lead a change effort, encounters a tepid or resistant response from employees.

Choosing Change delivers its principles in a tight, research-dense package. McFarland and Goldsworthy are timely in their combination of findings from neuroscience and psychology. They use a level of restraint that prevents their book from falling into the “deep dive” trend that can derail books that lean heavily on the science side of management science. It is one of the most balanced, impactful books on change that executives can read today.

How Do Our Beliefs Affect Our Leadership?

“When we hear ‘belief,’ we tend to think of religious views or philosophical outlook on life, but ‘belief’ has a broader meaning; beliefs, in fact, shape all of our perceptions, decisions, actions, and outcomes.

‘Belief’ has a specific meaning in the context of leadership, behavior, and awareness: beliefs are theories based on past data. We usually act based on what we believe about a situation. We were not born with these beliefs, we developed them —and they’re not irrational. Indeed, beliefs and the automated behavior that springs from them are essential for ordinary daily life and for survival.” John Grinnell

Have you ever thought about how your beliefs affect your leadership? Are there theories that you have developed based on your past experience that cause you to act, or not act, a certain way in the present? Is it possible that some of those theories are limiting your ability to respond to new issues and events, and instead have you caught in the past?

John Grinnell speaks to this issue clearly in his book Beyond Belief, using seven powerful models, case studies, and research from the author’s more than twenty-five years of experience. He clarifies the intangible psychosocial basis of organizational life so outcomes of leadership are more predictable. A lucid explanation of the way a leader’s self-awareness of personal beliefs influences outcomes lays a solid foundation for pointing out how to more rapidly cause followers to gain perspective, act accountably, and rapidly align to adapt faster in the marketplace.

We’ve invited John Grinnell to our next Soundview Live webinar Awaken Potential, Focus Leadership, to learn how our beliefs influence our ability to lead, and to explain in detail the seven models to help us to adapt. Please join us for this live webinar, and bring your questions for John.